Creating an Auto Repair Shop Marketing Plan: A Practical Guide

Jamey Walsh
December 14, 2023

What does it take for your auto repair shop to thrive? Access to the latest auto-diagnostic technology? A steady stream of new and repeat customers?

According to recent automotive market research from IMR, 31.8% of independent auto repair shops say their most significant challenge is bringing back repeat customers and offering incentives to do it.

You need a solid auto repair shop marketing plan to drive customer retention and new customer acquisition. But what does this entail? Knowing your customer base, a bit of planning and cutting-edge digital technology will give them the ultimate customer experience every visit.

How to get started making a marketing plan for an auto repair shop

To save time and money, your auto repair shop marketing plan will require some pre-planning. Kick off that process with our ultimate guide on how to market an auto repair shop, a comprehensive marketing guide loaded with in-depth auto repair marketing strategies and more.

Answer some key questions: The first step toward generating a revenue-driving auto repair marketing strategy is to know your business and your customers inside and out. Tapping into what services and products your target market wants, how often they’ll need them and how your business can deliver what they need will aid in tailoring your marketing plan.

To customize your auto repair marketing plan, consider the following questions:

  • What makes your business stand out from the competition?
  • What specific services do you offer?
  • Who are your target customers?
  • Which services does your customer base want from you?
  • Could you implement an automotive loyalty program to spearhead customer retention?
  • How can you give your customers the best customer experience in your shop?

Set your current benchmarks: You need an eagle-eyed view of where your business stands today so that you can see whether your marketing efforts will yield results tomorrow. Setting clear benchmarks from the beginning will give you a point of comparison to measure future marketing success—and areas that need improvement. 

Some common benchmarks you could set include:

  • Percentage of sales from return customers
  • Your current quote capture rate
  • Rate of new customer acquisition (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.)
  • Customer engagement and rate of positive customer experience
  • Overall product sales
  • Current proficiency rate

Define some clear marketing objectives: When you envision what you want your business to achieve over the next year, what do you see? A 25% quarterly increase in new customers? A slew of positive customer reviews? A waiting room outfitted with the latest digital technology, keeping your customers engaged day in and day out?

By defining your objectives, you’ll tailor your marketing efforts from the beginning—saving you time and money down the road. Your objectives may change as time passes, though, so remain flexible.

Outline your marketing budget: Often, we have to spend money to make money. Your auto shop marketing budget will look different than your competitors. That’s because multiple, unique factors will factor into how you decide what to spend, such as:

  • Your specific marketing objectives
  • What you can reasonably, consistently spend and still see a positive return with
  • Timing (e.g., spending more in the winter months because of seasonal repairs)
  • What marketing measures you’re implementing (e.g., a loyalty program)

Start allocating the right resources

No doubt you’ve seen competitors circulate expensive-looking PPC ads and eye-catching roadside billboards. Unfortunately, those auto repair marketing strategies are a little behind the times as far as what today’s customers want. Additionally, they’re very expensive ways to boost customer retention and new customer acquisition.

You need the right resources in your marketing toolbox that will attract the modern customer and won’t break your budget’s back. UPshow CONNECT is a best-in-class on-premise digital signage solution, allowing you to power your digital screens with engaging content to give your customers the ultimate customer experience. UPshow can also assist with your marketing initiatives, promotions and more.

Auto shop marketing ideas your marketing plan should include

With UPshow CONNECT, your auto repair shop marketing plan will become affordable and sustainable. You’ll be able to pre-plan your marketing content, measure its performance and even make instant changes on a screen-by-screen basis. 

Focus on marketing on-premise

What better place to improve customer retention than right in your shop? Focus on on-premise marketing that will appeal to your customers and make their customer experience like nothing your competitors have ever given them.

For example, with UPshow’s QR code technology, you can connect your customers directly to the following right from their own devices: 

  • Your auto shop digital storefront
  • Loyalty program platform
  • Customer feedback forms
  • In-shop or online shop digital promo codes
  • Your auto shop website and social media channels
  • Referral challenge page

In addition to educational and entertainment content, you can utilize the fixed panel and multipanel display features to post announcements about new operating hours, open houses or other customer loyalty events and limited-time offers, such as BOGO deals or “act-now” maintenance offers.

There are many places to practice on-premise marketing, but we suggest focusing on your auto shop waiting room since that’s where most customers spend the majority of their time. 

Try to optimize your website for local SEO

Did you know that 77% of auto-shop customers use the internet to look for or conduct research on a local auto repair shop? Today’s auto shops can’t just rely on word-of-mouth marketing efforts to zero in on new customer leads. Instead, you need a website optimized for local search engine optimization (SEO).

Never heard of local SEO, much less how it can benefit your auto repair shop? Local SEO is when you optimize your auto shop website and online content so that it ranks high on search engine results for geographic keywords and generates local business. 

Say, for instance, a potential lead five miles away needs a tune-up ASAP. They might search “auto shops near me” or “auto shops in Ann Arbor.” Local SEO optimization will help your website show up in those search results. If anything, you should definitely ensure your Google Business Profile is correct (which is completely free).

Start building your owned media

Besides building a user-friendly auto-repair shop website and social media channels, you’ll also need engaging auto-related content to display to your customers on-site.

UPshow CONNECT gives you easy-to-use tools to create striking media and other marketing content that will give your customers the best customer experience in town. For instance, with the Canva integration and its library of royalty-free images and videos, you can develop product and service spotlights, digitized promotional materials, auto-educational infographics and countless other types of content. The best part? You own all of it!

What’s more, you can get ahead by creating and scheduling your marketing content via playlists specific to each screen across all of your locations. Of course, you’ll need to know if your content is connecting with customers the way you want it to. UPshow’s real-time insights and analytics break down how your auto repair marketing strategies are performing so you can adjust your marketing plan as time goes by.

UPshow: a solution your auto repair shop marketing plan needs

Now that you have a solid strategy for an auto repair shop marketing plan, the next step is to hit the marketing road in the easiest, most affordable way. UPshow CONNECT will put you in the driver’s seat, and on the path to a positive marketing ROI. With UPshow, you’re not just getting digital signage—you’re getting an advanced on-premise marketing platform.

Schedule a custom demo with UPshow today, and start your journey toward a revolutionized auto shop marketing plan!

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