Fall and winter aren’t the worst seasons for auto shops. In cold-weather cities, cars tend to need more maintenance in the winter, and thanks to ice and snow, accident damage that must be repaired is more frequent. On the other hand, with thoughts of the holidays—and paying for the holidays—in mind, car owners might put off big-yet-not-urgent repairs for spring. And often, customers won’t even consider bringing their vehicles into the shop for a cosmetic repair, much less a car wash, until the weather improves.
So how do you keep customers active during the fall and winter seasons? After all, you want to be able to pay for the holidays, too! Here are some auto shop advertising tips for attracting extra vehicle owners over the coming, cooler months:
Keep Your Website Active
Regularly and robustly updating your website is good advice for any season, but it takes on some added importance in the fall and winter. For starters, having summer deals on your website in November simply doesn’t look good—besides not giving customers extra incentive to use your shop, they might think that if you aren’t diligent in keeping a simple website updated, you might not be as diligent with their brakes. Also, conditions can change quickly: That first snow falls, and car owners adjust their priorities on what services they need done. An updated website shows that you are on top of what customers need as the seasons progress.
Don’t Back Off Coupon Advertising
Because car owners require service more often in the fall and winter than summer, you might be tempted to back off your coupon advertising spend, thinking that because customers need the work done, they will bring in their vehicles no matter what. This is a dangerous strategy because if your competitors are advertising and you aren’t, they can steal your customers—even loyal ones. Also, you still want to give customers an incentive to purchase non-urgent repairs and services for which they might otherwise wait until spring. Remember, this is an expensive time of year for car owners—you want to be sure they include your services in their budgets. And if you are concerned about your own budget, register tape advertising is a great way to deliver effective coupons for less money than other marketing channels.
Reminder: Winter Is Coming
Winter is hell on cars. Heaters stop working, icy roads lead to fender benders, and snow and mud take their toll on a vehicle’s interior and exterior. Advertising the impending winter season reminds customers that they might want to get their heating systems checked or purchase snow tires before the first blizzard hits. Tying register tape coupons into this reminder gives you the flexibility to specialize offers to local grocery shoppers, who may then look for updated coupons once spring arrives.
Coupons for Battery Checks
It might not scare you, but the thought of a battery dying in winter—and a car not starting on a chilly morning—frightens the average person. Offering coupons for free battery checks gives customers peace of mind that their cars will be ready for whatever winter throws at them. Yes, many auto shops already will check the battery for free, but the coupon gives them a reminder and/or the impression they are receiving something of value. Hopefully, they appreciate this gesture, visit your business, purchase other services if their battery is OK (or a new battery if it isn’t), and remember how much you cared about their vehicle—and their well-being—if and when something does break down over the winter months.
Car Washes and Detailing
Fall and winter require some out-of-the-box auto shop advertising tips for car washes and detailing services. Customers are hesitant to bring their vehicles in for a wash during these months, fearing it’s a waste of money because it could rain or snow again a couple of days later. The same concern applies even more to costlier detailing services. Coupons and other deals for these businesses might need to be more aggressive than in other seasons. For example, a buy-one-get-one-free car wash enables customers to feel confident that even if their vehicle becomes dirty again, they can bring it in and have it sparkling new in time for spring. And for detailing, a deeper discount than you normally offer will be more attractive to customers, who then might be more likely to remember you in the warmer months. These cosmetic services not only make customers happy, but also remind them that winter won’t last forever, and that spring is just around the corner.
What auto shop advertising tips have helped your business through the fall and winter months?