Grow or Die NOW!

Posted by & filed under Blog, Marketing, Shop Solutions.

This is my 6th recession as a business owner. The first 5 were relatively short and simple. This one isn’t — for most businesses. Now I admit in the early part of my career I was lucky to make it through those tough times. But as I applied lessons learned I began to focus on what I could control and not allow paralyzing fear to set in.

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“Interesting” ideas for marketing your repair shop

Posted by & filed under Benchmarks, Blog, Marketing.

I recently read a blog from a former shop owner-turned-consultant about how to supersize a shop’s car count. He had a few…let’s call them “interesting” ideas about running a repair shop. “Interesting” Idea #1: You don’t need to focus on attracting new customers. “Interesting” Idea #2: The reason you don’t have to focus on attracting new customers is that you can retain 90% of your existing customers. “Interesting” Idea #3: You can make up for not advertising to new customers by getting 3-4 referrals from all of your existing customers. Now, I’ll get to why I think these ideas are “interesting” and not “anywhere close to reality” in a minute. First, I want to take this guy at his word If your shop has at least 500 customers, limits attrition to 10%, and every customer refers 4 friends or family …… ( more )

TOMA Part 2: How to get a customer newsletter for your shop that GETS READ!

Posted by & filed under Blog, Marketing, Repair Shop Management.

This is part 2 of an article I posted earlier. To read part one and learn more about how to get a customer newsletter for your shop that gets read, click here!   Encompass a Wide Range of Interests   What do your customers care about?  Maybe it’s seasonal items, like winterizing their house for less.  Maybe you’re in San Diego and there isn’t a winter but your customers care about ten great inexpensive vacation destinations. What about back to school supplies for less?  Christmas shopping on a budget?  Ten great ways to celebrate Memorial Day on the cheap? Most people like to save money, as you can see.  But there’s more. The history of Valentine’s Day.  The best recipe for pork tenderloin.  The best weight loss tips from Once you get away from automotive articles, the sky’s the limit.  …… ( more )

TOMA: Do you have it? Why your shop NEEDS a customer newsletter!

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Does your shop have TOMA? Top Of Mind Awareness means your customers think of you whenever they have an auto repair question or concern…and it can lead to your best customers coming back more times each year! David Rogers explains  why customer newsletters are so important and what every newsletter SHOULD and SHOULD NOT have- check it out below! A customer newsletter isn’t a magic bullet.  It doesn’t solve all of your shop’s marketing ills and won’t blow up your car count…but it is an INDISPENSABLE part of any marketing budget. Why? Newsletters are perfect for Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA)!  A well done customer newsletter keeps your shop in front of your customers all month long, so that whenever they think of oil changes or maintenance questions or the check engine light comes on, that customer immediately thinks of …… ( more )

Is Napa Vision Right for my Shop?

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Napa has rolled out a new set of online tools for repair shops, ranging from blogs to videos and beyond.  Is it worth purchasing? We’ve been using it at our shop, and here’s our report… What Does Napa Vision Do? Similar to AutoNetTV’s web services, Napa Vision provides regularly published articles and videos.  The articles link to your shop’s website, and provide some useful content. However, the downside of AutoNetTV is that the articles are nearly identical from shop to shop, so there is no SEO benefit for unique content because there is no unique content.  It appears that Napa is doing things the same way. Napa also provides two types of videos.  The first is also similar to AutoNetTV.  It’s a live action video where actors describe preventive maintenance services.  The second are a series of animations that help …… ( more )

The Money You Need For Great Marketing Is Already In Your Shop!

Posted by & filed under Blog, Investing, Marketing, RPM ToolKit, Shop Solutions.

Over the last month, the markets wiped out the gains they’d made this year.  From where I write this, European banks and governments are struggling to stay afloat (and Bank of America’s financial and legal problems show things aren’t much better here). Most people probably remember Lehmen Bros and what their collapse did to the market. In other words, we’re right back where we started in 2008.  What are the chances that it goes differently this time around? This isn’t a big “I told you so” (though if you were listening 3 years ago, you could have bought gold at $800/ounce).  This is your wakeup call. Three years ago the government tried to keep people happy and confident in the market by propping up banks with the $800 billion TARP. This time around, the government is just shy of its …… ( more )

How Do I Ask For (and Get) a GREAT Testimonial?

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When was the last time you kept tabs on what people are saying about you on the internet? Just take a look at what has happened to a local post office who does not pay attention to their online reputation… Google doesn’t just give people the ability to leave bad feedback…it also collects feedback from other websites across the internet! I picked a Post Office so I wouldn’t embarrass anyone, but I know there are repair shops out there who are buried beneath bad reviews on the internet. (Wondering why this is so important? See how targeted online marketing destroys regular yellow pages.) Whether you’re talking about online reputation or any other kind of marketing, it’s never been more important to keep a steady stream of great testimonials coming into your shop. But even when they know they need great …… ( more )

Part 2: What to Do When You’re Short on Cash But Need to do Marketing!

Posted by & filed under Blog, Investing, Marketing, Repair Shop Management, RPM ToolKit, Shop Solutions.

This is part 2 of an article Terry posted earlier. To read part one click here! Here’s the Problem Deep discount ads can bring a high response, no doubt. They can flood your bays with cars. But if you stop there, you confuse activity with results (a whole different discussion for another day). If there’s a downside to high quality advertising (and I’m stretching to find one), it’s that it takes repetition. It doesn’t usually reach its greatest potential response or get the best return on investment from one-off mailings done at random. Some shop owners see this as a dilemma and make a false choice. They assume that they have to do cheap marketing now to get enough money to do high-quality marketing later. This couldn’t be further from the truth! No matter what the excuse, if you keep …… ( more )

Will Hyper-inflation Kill Your Shop?

Posted by & filed under Blog, Marketing, Repair Shop Management, Shop Solutions.

A few weeks ago, the Federal Reserve announced that it would purchase $600 billion in U.S treasuries. What does this mean? What could it mean to your shop? Very high inflation will cause prices and the cost of living to go way up. That will hurt your customers and your business in several ways. Is it possible to fix it? What can we do right now to stay busy and profitable in the face of high inflation that may continue for years?   The Problem Begins   When the Federal Reserve purchases treasuries, it has one goal in mind: inflation.  The government is scared to death of deflation, so it actually encourages slight inflation at all times. Problem is, energy and food prices are already increasing.  And the injection of cash that the Federal Reserve is conducting will only push …… ( more )