If you aren’t getting the business you need anymore, it’s not for lack of customers with auto body damage. Everything from high-impact collisions to rock chips on windows happens every day, which means there is no shortage of demand. To take advantage of that demand, use these auto body shop marketing tips to stay competitive and be visible to your customers.
What Do Auto Body Shops Do vs Auto Repair Shops?
If you own an auto-body shop, you should (hopefully) know the difference between auto body and auto repair shops already. But for those who don’t, an auto body shop repairs dents, glass, bumpers, and other exterior body parts of the car. Auto repair shops, on the other hand, focus on the interior, offering oil changes, wheel alignment, and internal parts replacements.
While both shop types specialize in car repair, the fact that they cover different parts of the car often results in customers going to the wrong place. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem. If you set up a partnership with your local auto repair shops, they will refer customers directly to you for auto body repair, and you can refer customers back to them when they need an auto repair shop.
But don’t stop there, partnering with others in the auto industry can increase your appeal to customers by expanding what you can offer them. Give your business an edge over your competitors by coordinating with the following businesses with your auto body shop marketing:
- Towing companies
- Auto scrap services
- Car dealerships
- Car washes
- Auto customization shops
Marketing Glass Repair
Windshield repair can range from a minor rock chip repair to a full windshield replacement, and one mistake many auto body shops make is treating them all the same. When a customer comes looking to repair a small chip in their windshield, regardless of the cost in time and labor, they want something quick and cheap. You can either scare them away from ever taking care of the problem with high prices and long wait times, or you can sow the seeds for return business by offering low costs and quick repair times.
Major cracks or windshield replacement, however, is where customers expect things to become costly, which means this is your opportunity to upsell. A few ways you can upsell your glass repair without scaring the customer away include:
- Offer discounted add-ons: Customers won’t balk as much at a higher windshield replacement cost if it comes with free high-quality wipers or discounted window tinting.
- Help them with the paperwork: Educate your customers on when it’s better to file a claim and when it’s cheaper in the long run to pay out of pocket. Help them with the filing process and do everything you can to give them a stress-free transaction.
- Be transparent with pricing: Customers are terrified of being taken advantage of in the auto industry, so don’t surprise them with a big bill at the end. Lay out their options with an intuitive spreadsheet and help them figure out what they need, what they can send through insurance, and what add-ons they might want to get now instead of later.
Marketing Dent Repair
Just like glass repair, dents have a wide range of severity and cost. While many customers are just fine driving around with a few dents to save money, you can earn yourself loyal customers with a few of these marketing ideas for auto body shops:
- Free minor dent repair: Is the dent small and easy to pop out? Offer it for free! If a customer comes expecting a high price tag and goes home in an easy ten minutes with their dent fixed for free, you know where they’ll come when they have a bigger problem.
- Be educational: A dent on the door, a dent on the bumper, and a dent on side all have very different repair needs and associated costs. Make sure you explain to the customer, either in person or with an educational pamphlet, why you have to treat these dents differently and what happens if they are left alone.
- Free or discounted paint touch-ups: Just need to touch up a small paint chip? Something that takes you ten minutes can earn you a lifetime of return business. If they need something bigger but are already paying for major dent repair, throw in a discount on the paint to reduce customer bill anxiety and send them home smiling.
Marketing Collision Repair
Collision repair is generally covered either mostly or entirely by insurance, which means customers aren’t going to be looking at the bill quite as much as they will for out-of-pocket costs. However, while insurance is mandatory, not all insurance coverage is the same, so it’s important to work with your customers when repair isn’t fully covered. Some auto body shop marketing ideas to help improve customers satisfaction in difficult situations include:
- Give accurate upfront estimates: Is it going to be cheaper for them to scrap the car than repair it? Crunch the numbers, show them, and walk them through the process. Is repair a viable option? Again, walk them through the process and show them how to get the most out of their insurance coverage without shooting themselves in the foot in terms of high premiums later.
- Give insurance referrals: Do they just have awful insurance? Do you know where they can get better coverage? Contact your favorite insurance companies to work with and see if you can get any sort of commission for referrals, or just have a list ready for customers who really need a better deal.
- Be an advocate: Insurance company ripping them off? If you’re willing to call their insurance company and negotiate for better deals to benefit the customer, your customers will be grateful and know they can trust you to look out for them through the repair process.
- Itemize in detail: Again, customers are very wary of being ripped off when it comes to car repair, so make sure they fully understand what they are paying for and why. Feel free to mention what you’re offering for free, as well, such as cleaning the car after repairs, waxing, etc.
Make Your Brand Visible
When you know you’re the best in the business, you need to make sure potential customers can find you. Need ideas? Here are some of our top tips for marketing auto body shops in a way that brings visibility for your brand:
- Company coordinated giveaways: Remember how we talked about working with other companies? Make sure they have something to give customers with their referrals, such as pamphlets, magnets, business cards, window decals, etc.
- Local events: Being visible in your community means being present in your community. Fairs, tradeshows, and other places where businesses are setting up booths should be part of your marketing agenda. Not sure what to present? Just educate people on when to come to your business.
- Ambulance chasing: Okay, don’t actually chase ambulances, but the idea is to market where you’re most obviously needed. This means you should have your posters, pamphlets, and more available in places like tow yards, billboards in collision-prone highway areas, etc.
- Promotional giveaways: We’ve talked about magnets and decals, but there are other promotional products your brand can benefit from circulating in your area. Want some of our best suggestions for the automotive industry? Check out our other blog post on Auto Repair Shop Marketing.
Marketing Auto Body Shops Online
If you’re not online today, you basically don’t exist. Customers who aren’t being directly referred are going to be taking to the internet to find the best auto body repair option, so you want to make sure you’re at the top of the list both in the search engine and general internet user appeal for the majority of your incoming business. Here are our tips to make that happen:
- A fully fleshed-out website: Make sure your website has it all: an about-us page, a place to get quote estimates, contact info, high-def pictures, your physical address on the bottom of every page, etc. Check out our other blog post for detailed tips on website and logo design.
- Active social media: Your company social media pages should be an extension of your website, containing most of the same information plus details on promotions, customer-engaging contests, events, and more. Check out this other blog post for how to attract customers with your social media.
- Localization: Are your PPC ads targeted to your geographic location? Do you have your address on your social media and website so Google knows where your customers are? Make sure that all of your online marketing efforts are primed for your location so your work and money aren’t falling on distant ears.
- Reviews: Anytime you need to build customer confidence, reviews are the place to start. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your website, Yelp, Google, and more. Need tips on how to make that happen? Here is our blog post on how to encourage customers to leave reviews.
When it comes to auto body shop marketing, your best angle is to show that you can turn a stressful situation into a positive experience. Show your customers that you are equipped to offer faster, cheaper, and more transparent services that your competitors can’t or won’t match. Be visibly amazing and your business is sure to become the go-to body shop in your area.