In my opinion, the answers to the two questions above are simple: collision repair facilities have never marketed or focused on their relationships with customers because there has never been a need for this. Insurance companies, dealerships and fleet companies have always provided endless amounts of work, and franchises and networks provide the customer with a recognizable brand.

So, why market? Right?

Well, times are changing, demands are higher, and people want to do things the right way rather than doing what’s expected of them. Businesses want to thrive, not just survive.

With this need to thrive comes the understanding that, for a business to be successful within their local markets, things must be done differently than they used to be.

This out-of-the-box mindset, looking at the business from a bird’s eye view, is where automotive marketing comes into consideration for many. This is because businesses are now seeing potential for an insane number of opportunities that will arise by investing time, resources, and effort into marketing their businesses within their own local communities.

So, what is marketing? Marketing, in collision repair terms, is the process of delivering value to meet the need of a target market or local community with regards to the services (and products) you offer. Collision repair facilities can provide such value and build strong relationships within their local markets. So, perhaps marketing is an affordable solution to help you become the ‘best body shop in town’.

What do you think?

In today’s article, I’d like to provide you with an easy guide on how to kick start your marketing campaign with a focus on capturing stronger brand awareness and building relationships within your local communities.

Let’s say your target audience, or your community’s local population, is 100,000 people.

That means that 85,000 to 95,000 people in your local community are actively using the internet and social media on a regular basis. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of potential, wouldn’t you agree?

With so much of your local community possessing an online presence, and with digital marketing becoming affordable, we suggest that to market your business you should begin by focusing your attention on the digital world as it provides an easy, affordable, and powerful way to reach your customers.

So, how can a collision repair facility start to market their business within their local communities? First, let’s answer three main questions.

Where do you want your message to show up?

Your customers are everywhere. Some prefer to watch YouTube videos while others like to socialize on Facebook.

Some like reading blogs on Google and others enjoy following and staying up to date with a brand by viewing what’s new on your website. So, you’ll do well with whatever method you pick, but the most successful businesses typically favor a mix of such strategies to capture a larger audience. Here are a few suggestions…

✓ Social Media Marketing

✓ Email Marketing

✓ Texting/Communications

✓ YouTube Channel

✓ Blogs

✓ Websites

What is your budget?

Marketing can cost as little or as much as you’re willing to put into it. It’s not so much the cost I’d suggest you look at, but rather, what you want to achieve and how much time and resources are you willing to allocate to achieve that goal.

What I suggest is coming up with a dollar amount that your business can afford, and if you can’t do it in house, hire a company and tell them your maximum budget and see what they can do with that budget. Most businesses put three to five percent of its total sales towards online marketing, but we know that with the cost of other operating expenses, this can be a lot to commit. Therefore, pay what is comfortable for you, as no matter what, you will still see results.

How much time are you willing to commit?

To be frank, marketing takes a lot of work to perfect. It takes commitment, an assigned amount of time, creatively, execution, and a lot of planning to get your message and brand awareness out and into your local communities. Are you willing to commit the time to do so?

A reasonable recommendation on what one should commit to the amount of time used to market one’s business would be 10-20 hours, minimum, per week.

If you don’t have the time or resources to help fulfill this, hiring a marketing agency is another great way to help, but be cautious; you will need someone who comprehensively understands the industry.

General marketing agencies are known to provide more ‘basic’ yet high-level marketing strategies which will not provide a collision repair facility with the value, awareness, and relationships they would have hoped. Once you’ve figured out the answers to these three questions, you are then able to make some more important decisions on exactly how you are going to execute your marketing strategy.

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