Like just about anything else, if you want to do it right, you've got to follow a recipe, right?
Stop and think about something most would consider simple—something like apple pie. You do need a lot more than just apples, right? Well, the same applies to your marketing and advertising.
Here's my personal list of seven rules for successful marketing in today's new economy:
1. The “build it and they will come” business model does not work.
No matter how much you believe that you're the best, or that you've got the best tools and equipment or you're the most honest and trustworthy shop in your market, understand that it really doesn't matter. It's just not your marketing advantage.
2. If you can't measure it, don't do it.
No matter what type of advertising or promotion you decided to do, it's critical that you are able to measure it. If you can't measure it, you'll never know if it worked or how well it worked. (Or failed—yes, some things can fail!) You'll never know what revenue it generated. You'll never know if you should repeat it or not.
3. It's all about R.O.I.
Yes, the most powerful number you can learn about any marketing is your R.O.I., or return on investment. Of course, there's always a lot of talk about response rate. How many responses did you get? It really doesn't matter. You don't bank response—you bank R.O.I.
4. Never rely on a “one-shot” campaign.
I call it “drive-by-marketing.” The professionals know and understand that typically, they have to touch their prospect seven times before they can expect a response. That's seven times, not once. Take that as a lesson. Sending out one postcard, e-mail, flyer or any other promotion is useless. Don't do it!
5. Always use and maintain “marketing funnels.”
A marketing funnel is a simple sequence of messages that are pre-planned to be sent to every person who has expressed an interest (or current to customers). The most important part of this is that there is planning in the messages. The entire sequence is focused on one specific result.
Each message is designed to move the prospect one step closer to becoming a customer. Secondly, every funnel should be directed to specific types of customers or prospects, offering information and offers that appeal specifically to those people. (If you're an import car specialist, don't send offers for BMW service to Toyota customers. That's a waste of money!)
Utilizing micro-targeting strategies let's you spend more to reach fewer (because there's no waste) and get a far better R.O.I.
6. Concentrate on existing (and past) customers.
I know, I know—it doesn't sound appealing. I get it. But it works. Concentrate a significant amount of your marketing efforts on your existing and past customers by encouraging them to return to your shop, make more return visits annually, provide customer-only specials and offers, continuity cards, prepaid auto service programs, preferred customer programs and a solid customer referral system to generate more new customers just like the good ones that you've got.
7. Your name in a headline makes it a deadline.
I can't tell you who said that originally, but truer words were never spoken. In fact, this one simple rule almost makes me feel psychic at times. I can talk to a shop owner and when the conversation shifts to his last promotion, I tell him to grab a copy and hold it up to the phone—I'm going to tell him what it looks like.
In 99.9 percent of the cases, the ad, flyer or coupon starts with the shop name and/or logo. Let me ask you this: When you read a newspaper, do you read every single page? Or do you skim the headlines and read only what you're interested in?
Well, ads work the same way. People only read what appeals to them. So why would you think that your shop name is appealing? Well, it may be to you, but you don't spend money there, right?
Follow these rules and you will instantly improve your marketing and advertising efforts so that every time you send out a marketing dollar, it comes home to you with friends.
Matthew Lee, is an automotive service marketing specialist and author of the book, “The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing,” which offers “no-cost” and “low-cost” marketing strategies for auto service businesses. For a free copy of the book, visit www.JustTheBestMarketing.com.