Your five-step, budget-friendly marketing guide to achieve successful results in 2023
Column by VENESSA DI VITO
Why is it that the phrases “marketing budget” and “collision repair facility” are rarely if ever mentioned in the same sentence?
For 60+ years, we as the collision repair industry have constantly put the concept of marketing—and the actions that marketing entails—on the back burner. Many business owners have the mistaken impression that marketing requires too much time, money, and effort. In fact, most collision repair facilities operate year in and year out without the benefit of setting aside a dedicated marketing budget, because they just don’t realize how beneficial it can be to increase their visibility and make businesses and individuals within their local communities aware of what they have to offer.
I often ask myself why. Why wouldn’t a business want to build awareness among individuals and industry peers in their local communities, thereby gaining the business and traffic they need to not only survive, but to thrive on their own?
The answer is simple: most businesses have never had to, as there was never a need to. With insurance companies, franchises, networks, and manufacturers providing collision repair facilities with tons of work, why would a profitable, sales-generating, goal-achieving business invest time and effort into generating additional sales or building additional relationships? Why would they feel the need to set aside funds for increasing awareness of their brand within their local communities? Since they are already established and successful, they probably don’t believe there is any good reason to.
Yet the circumstances in the industry today have led to a surging climate of frustration, fear, and control—all of which have an impact on where work is being distributed, how well your business can comply with rapidly changing expectations, what level of quality and safety you should be executing to your customers’ vehicles…do I need to go on? Something about this all seems so confusing.
To me, the best way to truly set your business free is by nurturing many different relationships, with many different types of customers, in your local market.
Plus, customers with whom you have taken the time to build a solid, trusting relationship will also pay more for your services!
Now, don’t be tempted to label me as an Insurance Company/Franchise/Network/ Manufacturer Hater, because I am far from that, too. I respect these entities and the businesses they operate. I just believe that businesses need to maximize the control they have over their own income and profit stream compared to what they are doing today. And that starts directly with you.
For 2023, let’s put all the parts delays, rental bill expense, employee issues, cash flow concerns and receivable backlogs behind us. This year, I want you to have your most successful and goal-achieving year to date—a year for your business to realize its full potential in terms of growth and profits to whatever level that you desire.
This article has been written to help guide and support to get you started with exactly that—tapping into the power of marketing to supercharge your success.
HOW MARKETING HELPS COLLISION REPAIR
Today, customers that get into a car accident most often call their insurance company, which typically refers the damaged vehicle for repairs to its own preferred body shop. Most of the time, the customer doesn’t question this and heads on over to the preferred body shop for repairs.
Now, let’s assume your collision centre is the best collision centre in town. Everything you do is over the top and everyone in your community knows that your business is the place they need to go, not just for high quality, safe and superior repair services, but also to get the most accurate and trusted information in response to any questions or concerns.
As a customer in need of a vehicle repair, if the insurance company or third party referred your vehicle to anywhere other than the local body shop that is commonly known as the “best,” would you be a bit concerned?
My goal as a business is not just to educate you, but also to provide the tools, resources, and support your business needs to be marketed and properly positioned at the top: the #1 body shop in your local community. By adopting just a few marketing strategies, you have the power to influence, inspire, change, and grow your business—perhaps even beyond the level you have ever visualized! Some of the metrics where you would quickly see a change for the better would be:
• Balance (during slow periods)
• Reduced stress and increased comfort during difficult times, like recessions Even if you only commit to making a small financial contribution each month towards marketing your facility within your local markets, do you see the value it can bring?
Once you’ve answered the questions from Step 1 to 5 above, it’s time to execute the plan to the public and your local markets.
Keep in mind that the increased awareness you’ll be able to generate is directly related to the amount of time and money you put into your marketing strategy. In other words, the more you do (and spend), the better results you’ll get!
I hope this article has been a useful springboard to get you thinking about marketing strategies, and how to use them to your advantage. Even though your business may already be successful, profitable, and stable, you will likely be surprised at the results you can achieve just by setting aside a modest marketing budget and tapping into some of the simple strategies like those listed above.
Within our industry and in the world today in general, it’s important for us to stick together, support one another, and constantly be on the lookout for new ways to improve and flourish. In addition to health and happiness, my wish for you this year is that you’ll find the mindset and strength you’ll need to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself and your business. Most of all, I hope you’ll exceed your own expectations in securing the growth, increased visibility, and success you envision.
About Auto+ Performance
Auto+ Performance is a full-service automotive solutions company specializing in generating growth in sales, traffic, and customer retention for a collision repair facility within their local communities. The company offers products, services, and solutions around Websites, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing, Advertising, Estimating, Jobs & HR Services, Scheduling, Production, Bookkeeping, and much more. You can learn more about them at www.autoplusperformance.com or send them an email at email@example.com