Trending Now: Auto AftermarketThree Ways Digital Can Accelerate Sales
From preventative maintenance to tire changes, vehicle service is one of the few things that will never exist entirely online. But that’s no reason to ignore digital when it comes to promoting your business and building brand affinity. After all, the rise of the Internet has made consumers more savvy than ever before. If you want to capture and keep their attention, you need to reach them on their screens.
1. Send Reminders and Notifications
For your business to stay top-of-mind with consumers, your communication plan needs to include frequent touch points. However, to avoid becoming nuisance, these messages must be both valuable and relevant.
Whether a customer is trying to keep an aging vehicle going or just needs routine maintenance on a new model, there is no shortage of communication opportunities in the auto aftermarket. And studies show, they want to hear from you. Roughly 33% of auto service customers rely on maintenance, service, and recall notifications.  Though you may already be sending out postcards and coupons through direct mail, consider expanding these messages to email. This will make it easy for customers to save, find, and forward your reminders and notifications. And you can expand your messages beyond your mailing lists by including everything from recall information to special offers on your website.
You can even take convenience a step further by allowing customers to schedule their appointments online. A recent survey showed that online scheduling boosts customer satisfaction.  And remember, to maximize ease and convenience, make sure that your website is optimized and that all information and features are available on mobile devices.
2. Build Trust with Video
It’s no secret that consumers are leery of auto repair shops and services centers. According to a recent AAA survey, two out of three drivers don’t trust them.  This is due in no small part to news exposés showing how some mechanics pad their bills or recommend unnecessary, expensive service. In one such story, ABC News recommended that “consumers to be well-versed in how a car works to avoid being ripped off at the auto repair shop.”  That’s easier said than done. Most people don’t have the time or aptitude to learn about the innerworkings of their vehicles, and many vehicles utilize complex computer systems beyond the capacity of home mechanics.
Rather than get defensive, auto service providers should demonstrate that they’re not only knowledgeable, but reputable, too. And when it comes to building trust, it’s not about telling, it’s about showing. Considering developing a video series where you show customers how simple repairs are performed, help them identify the sources of anxiety-inducing sounds, and help them become a more informed customer. These videos could live on your website, be posted to your social pages, or even be featured as a piece of branded content on a trusted network. Again, the key is to build trust—and building trust means treating your customers as partners and educating them to be good customers.
3. Use Content to Become a Resource
You can create content, video or otherwise, not only to promote your business or showcase your abilities, but also to educate and inform your customers. In fact, 70% of consumers would rather learn about products through content than through traditional advertising.  With the rise of mobile, content is influencing shoppers more than ever before—and businesses that are providing web content are reaping the rewards. A survey showed that when the information is valuable, 51% of smartphone users have purchased products or services from a company/brand other than the one they intended to. 
The key to creating compelling content is to make sure that it adds value for viewers. For example, instead of showcasing a product, show the audience how to use or install that product. DIY videos are increasing popular, featured heavily on video sites like YouTube, and shared often on social media sites such as Facebook. Car service centers can develop a video series with supporting documentation that shows customers how to do everything from performing simple repairs themselves to completely upgrading a vehicle’s sound system.
We Can Help You Get Digital
Need help developing the digital strategies that will attract and retain customers? We can help! We have the insights, expertise, and digital solutions to drive sales. Contact us or call 607.798.1325 for your free custom consultation today
1. "Maintenance and Repair Study Reveals Multibillion-Dollar Opportunity for Dealers," by Steve Pawlett; AutoServiceWorld.com; 03/23/2017
2. "Consumers increasingly happy with auto service providers," by Mark Huffman; ConsuemrAffairs.com; 04/12/2017
3. "AAA survey: drivers leery of auto repair shops;" TireBusiness.com; 03/23/2017
4. “How Auto Mechanics Can Rip You Off, and How to Avoid Being Taken for a Ride,” by Gerry Wagschal; ABC News; 09/12/2014
5. Morgan Stanley Survey 2011; “Consumers in the Micro-Moment” Google /Ipsos March 2015
6. “Consumers in the Micro-Moment” Google /Ipsos August 2015