I've created literally hundreds of auto shop marketing campaigns and strategies. I've discovered 38 critical details as a result of tracking, testing, measuring and verification. Last time I shared the first 11. Below I've listed numbers 12 through 24, detailing what works best online.
What works best online?
12. Testimonials. Customer testimonials are almost always successful, as long as they're credible. Client pictures, full name and city/state details improve credibility and believability. I've found that recorded video testimonials work even better.
13. Your free offer. If your website isn't making an obvious free offer to collect names of visitors, it's nothing more than a waste of server space, time, effort and money.
My personal findings support the empirical data. The absolute best way to attract new customers is to use free information products. As an example, and e-book, report or downloadable product entitled, “The 7 Questions you Should Ask Any Repair Shop Before you Authorize Any Work.”
14. Don't ignore mobile. Internet strategists confirm that there are really two Internets. One is for the desktop and notebook user. The second is for mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets.
If you don't believe me, just take a look around you. If you can't see, almost immediately, people who are totally focused on their mobile phone (almost to an extent of putting themselves in harms way) then you really may be living on another planet.
Further evidence is Google's recent claim that every new development is focused on mobile first.
15. Visual demonstrations. Visual demonstrations are generally effective in the marketplace. When trying to attract new customers, they are even better than testimonials. When people see it with their own eyes, it's powerful. It pays to utilize video and visualize your promise. Video saves the consumer time. It drives the promise home. It makes it memorable.
16. Slice of life. If you really want to skyrocket your car count, show your prospects a “slice-of-life” from people that you've helped. I refer to them as “infomonials”—customers talking about their experience with you. Some claim they're corny; a lot of copywriters detest them. But they have sold a lot and are still selling.
17. Avoid the deadly “gray wall of text.” Most people don't and won't read your incredibly long, not to mention boring, Web page that talks about how great you are.
When it comes to reading online, a large majority of people are skimmers. Give them short chunks of helpful information, break it up with sub-headlines and include pictures.
You will do better when you make pictures tell your story. I've found that what you show is more important than what you say. Auto repair shop websites drown the viewer in a torrent of words.
18. Be the on-camera voice. Videos using the auto shop owner as the on-camera voice do significantly better than video using a hired voiceover.
19. Musical backgrounds. A lot of videos use musical backgrounds. However, on average, musical backgrounds reduce the recall of your video. Very few creative people accept this. However, I've never heard musical backgrounds in their new business presentations.
20. Stand-ups. The “talking head” type of video or the stand-up pitch can be effective. It must be delivered with straightforward honesty, sincerity and believability.
21. Focus on singularity. The average consumer sees thousands of messages a day—oh, the poor dear. Most of the messages slide off their memory like water off a duck's back.
Give your website, video and every piece of marketing singularity that will stick in their mind. Do it as if you're talking to one person, and that person should be your best or ideal customer.
22. Animation and cartoons. An overwhelming amount of online video uses animation. If done properly, it will work. It can hold the attention of views longer than normal.
However, cartoons are less persuasive than real people. The consumer cannot identify with the cartoon character, and cartoons don't invite or create belief.
23. Factual versus emotional. In auto repair marketing, I've found that factual video and content tends to be more effective than emotional. Provide the facts. Tell them why it's important, tell them what it means to them and then tell them what to do next.
24. Grabbers. Especially on video—but this really applies to all marketing—I've found that starting with an exciting opening will hold your audience at a higher level than videos that begin quietly.
Next time, I'll share my strategies about print and direct mail.
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.