Marketing Auto Repair To A Millennial
When it comes to auto repair marketing, many repair shop owners are often missing out on an important demographic – millennials (now accounting for a third of the population). This can simply be understood through the rise of technology within the millennial generation. Technology has become a complete necessity with their way of living which means automotive businesses have been forced to adjust their auto repair marketing game plan. The millennial generation have disrupted shopping patterns and the way repair shop owners should advertise. The demand for increased car count, more customers in the shop, and higher annual sales remains stable – but how you reach (and understand) the market has changed.
When it comes to marketing and advertising to this younger generation, there are four key elements that I’d like to share. Following these trends and applying them to your auto repair marketing game plan will result in more customers and car count in your shop:
Online customer reviews
Often before ever making the decision to come to a repair shop, the trend within the millennial and tech-savvy generation is to search for and rely upon customer reviews. This means, if your shop suffers from an overload of negative online reviews, you could be losing out on customers before they even walk through the door. In fact, nearly 70% of consumers rely on social media and online reviews before making a purchase (Mintel).
Why are online reviews crucial for your auto repair business? Because of the trust that millennials have in people and social media over brands. Amazingly, 93% of millennials say they rely on blogs and user/consumer reviews before making a purchase (Adweek). Aside from this, if your shop isn’t receiving reviews, or not even ranked on Google, you’re not only missing out on potential customers walking through the door, it’s highly unlikely for them to even be able to find or search for your shop. A higher rank status on Google will result in more exposure online for your shop and on top of search results for auto repair in your area, generating more car count.
Word-of mouth (WOM), especially nowadays, directly correlates with online reviews. As a shop owner it is important to reply to each and every review, good and bad. In regards to positive reviews, all customers like feeling appreciated, and knowing you appreciate their business with a reply. For negative reviews, a reply is a chance to solve what went wrong and more importantly, show off your customer service from outside of the shop to other potential customers who find you online. This serves as an opportunity to build important relationships and retain customers – and perhaps a second chance at business with a dissatisfied customer. This also asserts the importance in having excellent customer service inside, as well as outside, the repair shop.
When potential customers find your business online, another customer’s review, alone, can be positive WOM. Even with negative online reviews, WOM still proves a significant importance to the tech-savvy consumers in the 25-34 age group. According to studies, 58% of satisfied customers will share their experience online (SDL) and 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts (BrightLocal). These two statistics alone shows how online reviews and social media have taken over as the new word-of-mouth marketing, and the importance in matching your auto repair marketing to online trends.
The millennial generation is undoubtedly a technology generation. More specifically, it’s a generation
addicted to their phones. 4 out of 10 of millennial consumers actually admit to having a closer relationship with their cell phones than they do with important people in their lives (MarketWatch). What better platform to present your auto marketing message? Not only can text message marketing allow your consumer to see your message fast and easy, it’s also another way to let them know they’re appreciated. Through this you can offer discounts, promotions, or even a simple follow-up appreciation for their business (see below).
Many repair shop owners have utilized email marketing as their only tool to keep in touch with their customers. This is a critical auto repair marketing mistake. Over the past decade trends in the younger generation conflicts using email as the only way to reach customers. Not only do text messages have a 99% overall open-rate, you’re almost twice as likely to get a response from a text message than you are having your emailed even opened by a consumer.
A follow-up can be your best friend. Millennials admire personalized messages and knowing your business is paying attention to their consumer needs. A follow-up also opens communications for other opportunities. A quick text – or even social media marketing message – expressing appreciation to the customer for their business and can also include a quick link to write a review about their experience at the shop. Use this as a chance to grade your service and ways in which you can improve every day. Meanwhile, important auto repair customer relationships are built through this communication style that increases your shop’s credibility and spreads WOM. Eventually, this leads to retaining customers and heightened exposure for the shop.