For an automotive repair shop the customer acquisition rate refers to the percentage of increase in the customer base within a given time period. For example if a shop starts the year with 100 active customers and 20 new customers are added during the year the acquisition rate would be 20 percent. Another way to look at customer acquisition is to look at the number of customers added in a year and compare it to the previous year to see if the numbers are trending up or down. There are some key areas that impact a shop’s ability to attract new business and if these are managed the shop will see success in customer acquisition. Areas to manage are:
- Website Search Engine Rankings – Whether or not potential customers find an automotive repair shop when searching on the Internet can be the most significant factor in attracting new business. To perform a quick test on website search engine rankings open an Internet search engine screen and search for ‘most used automotive repair search keywords’. You’ll find the top used words people use when searching for an auto repair shop. Then take those keywords and search on them. If your shop doesn’t show up on the first or second page then you probably could benefit from some search engine optimization (SEO). There are many factors that go into search engine rankings and they keep changing. So the best thing to do if affordable is to engage the services of a company with SEO expertise. Statistical analyses show that more than 80 percent of consumers shop for goods and services on line so investing marketing resources in being found should be part of any marketing strategy.
- Online Reviews – Once an auto repair shop is found on the Internet more often than not the customer will check online reviews to see what other people say about the business. More than eight out of ten prospective buyers trust online reviews when making a buying decision. So it’s important to have as many positive online reviews as possible. Many shops offer incentives fpr customers to post reviews. In addition to encouraging customers to post positive reviews – it’s also important to monitor reviews and handle any negative postings if necessary. Positive reviews can have a huge impact on attracting business and negative reviews can be just as powerful.
- Outbound Marketing – With the advent of inbound marketing (below) traditional advertising was rebranded ‘Outbound Marketing’. The distinction refers to the act of sending messages outward promoting services and specials, etc. Sometimes advertising strategies will work for a time and then become less effective or even ineffective. There are various reasons for this but the one constant that must be recognized is that change is inevitable. So advertising methods and venues must not become stagnant or their effectiveness will.
- Inbound Marketing – The Internet and social media have given rise to new avenues for attracting business thus the method known as Inbound Marketing was born. Inbound marketing involves providing value and building relationships and trust over time. This is mostly done through blogging and social media posting. For an automotive repair business value would be information that would be useful to vehicle owners such as reducing cost of vehicle ownership or improving safety. Sharing in this manner helps to build trust and form relationships before actual business transactions occur.