In this 8-minute read:
- Free local advertising ideas
- Community involvement
- Online listings
- Customer reviews
- Social media
- Shared knowledge
- And more!
Advertising is so important for any business, but it isn’t always easy to get started. We know how tough and expensive it can be to advertise your auto services, repair, or tire shop.
But it doesn’t have to start out that way. We have some free and easy ways for you to boost your local advertising and start bringing more customers into your auto shop.
1. Create and claim your online business listings
First, in order to help your auto shop show up well online, you’ll want to make sure you add it to several online directories. These listings that you create (also called citations) will help search engines like Google and Bing to verify your information across a variety of trusted sources and then they’ll reward you with better rankings on their platforms.
We have several guides to get you started:
- How to claim your Google My Business listing
- How to claim your Yelp business listing
- How to create and claim your free business listing on Yahoo
- How to create and claim your Bing business listing
- How to get your business listed with the BBB
- How to add your business to Citysearch and claim your listing
- How to create and claim your free business listing on Manta
And when you’re done with those, be sure to finish this list: 23 free listing sites every auto shop should be on
2. Get customer reviews online
After you’ve added your auto shop to several online directories, you can start getting customer reviews online.
You’ve already done the first step to get these reviews, but sometimes your customers need a little more encouragement to actually go online and leave a review.
Here are a few ways that you can encourage customers to leave your auto shop a review:
- Provide great customer service and then ask for a review. Most happy customers will agree to do this.
- Send text reminders for customers to leave you a review (with their permission of course).
- Provide instructions to leave a review on your customers’ receipts.
- Try reputation management software.
3. Respond to your customer reviews
When you have customer reviews coming in, it is crucial to respond to them. Responding to your reviews not only shows potential customers that you are engaging and professional, but it also sends good signals to Google and can help your local SEO rankings.
Reviews are critical to gaining new customers in this digital age where Google is the phone book. So make sure you stay on top of these and respond to every single one.
Whenever you get a positive review, simply respond with a personalized “thank you.” And should a negative review come in, be sure to try and resolve the issue in person and leave a professional and friendly response online.
Go deeper: How to respond to negative reviews
4. Start a free website for your auto shop
A website can greatly help improve your online presence. This is the perfect way to start advertising your auto shop.
If you don’t already have a website for your auto shop, there are plenty of free options out there to help you get started. Some of the resources we like for building free websites include:
Disclaimer: While these platforms are all free to use, there may be some small costs associated with putting your website together, like obtaining your own domain name and paying hosting fees or labor for help putting the site up. These are totally worth it though.
5. Boost your auto shop’s local SEO
Once you have your website and online business listings set up, there are several things you can do to help boost your auto shop’s local SEO and show up higher in the search engines.
This is critical for advertising your auto shop because when someone needs a new auto repair guy, where do you think they look? That’s right, online!
Here are a few ways you can boost your SEO:
- Get in the local news and ask the news source to link to your website
- Start a blog on your website
- Make sure you have great content on your website for your services
Check out this article for even more free ways to improve your search engine rankings: 15 free tips for better local SEO
6. Start a blog on your auto shop’s website
One way to improve your SEO is to keep a blog on your website. Google loves to see fresh content on your site on a regular basis, and the more frequently you update your website, the more often Google will crawl it.
A blog is also a great way to provide valuable content to share across your social media channels and give your customers some good support.
A few ideas you can use for your auto shop’s blog:
- Video tutorials for simple tasks (changing a tire, replacing air filters)
- Routine services that every car owner should have done
- Maintenance tips for common vehicles
7. Start up social media accounts for your auto shop
Now that you’ve got some awesome content on your website, you need some places to share it! Create social media accounts for your auto shop to share your latest tips and tricks from your blog, promote new deals, and share fun facts about your business.
These social media accounts also count as online listings that the search engines use to help verify that your information is accurate.
Here are a few tutorials to create your social pages:
8. Partner with other businesses in your community
A great way to get your brand out and known in your local community is by partnering with other well-known businesses. Collaborate on a Facebook Live video with a neighboring business or host an event with another auto shop that complements your services.
This can help you network with other businesses to gain good referral opportunities and help increase brand awareness.
9. Send out email newsletters
Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written email. Email campaigns can be a great way to retain your current customers.
Utilize emails to advertise new promotions and discounts. Make sure to write an enticing (and truthful) subject line to catch your customers’ attention.
10. Meet with your local chamber of commerce
Your local chamber of commerce is an awesome resource that can help you advertise your auto shop in your community. They usually have marketing resources and will add a free listing for you to their website.
11. Get involved in your community
Another way to get your name out in your community—get active and participate in local events. You don’t have to sponsor events with large amounts of money to get involved.
Volunteer to help with local events and non-profits. Some ideas for you:
- Holiday parades
- 5ks and other races
- Giving tree/Christmas services
- Car shows or cruise nights
- Teach a workshop at high schools and local colleges
- Community cleanups
12. Host a webinar or online Q&A
You are a specialist in an industry that everyone is impacted by—automobiles. We all need vehicles to take us from place to place, and when that vehicle has problems, we need you! Take advantage of that.
Use your knowledge to provide valuable tips and tricks via live webinars or Q&A sessions. Show your community that you know your stuff and get them to trust you by providing some free value to them.
13. Offer discounts and promotions
Everyone loves to save money. Use that to your benefit. Create timely promotions and discounts like back-to-school and holiday specials as people start traveling. Blast those deals on your website and social media channels.
14. Start a customer loyalty program for your auto shop
A good customer loyalty program can be a powerful tool for your customer retention efforts. Start a points program or offer a percentage off of a specific service after 3 oil changes at your shop. There are several ways that you can implement this idea.
15. Make short promotional videos to share online
People are visual creatures. Appeal to our visual side by creating some awesome promotional videos for your auto shop.
One tool we like to use for this is Biteable. It’s free and can help you create beautiful and professional videos to share on your website and social media.
16. Start a YouTube channel for your auto shop
A YouTube channel is the perfect place to share your video tutorials, webinars, and promotional videos. Start a channel and share it on your website and other social media platforms to gain more visibility.
And take advantage of the number of people that search YouTube every day for simple fixes on their cars (how to change a tire, how to replace an air filter, how to replace headlights). Make several videos and share them. This increases brand awareness and can help increase your online visibility if your videos are getting lots of views and shares.
17. Show off your customer testimonials online
When you get customer reviews, share them. You can share your customer reviews on your website and social media channels to show that your customers love you!
Another great way to share customer testimonials is to find a customer who would be willing to do a video testimonial for you. Create a short testimonial and share it everywhere.
18. Print out flyers
There is still a place for printed media. Create a catchy flyer with a new promotion or hiring opportunity and post it in high traffic places like college campuses, grocery store bulletins, and even on your shop’s front door.
As you can see, there are plenty of free opportunities to advertise your auto shop. And if you want a little help to achieve some of these tasks, there are solutions that you can pay a small monthly fee to get started.