Advertising for Your Fast Lube
Advertising is essential for any business. There is probably not a single soul on the planet that doesn’t know what a Coca-Cola is or how it tastes, but millions of dollars are still pumped into advertising to keep you aware.
Customers move away, competition moves in and demographics change. You have to stay fresh and appealing to woo the mob of customers you want gracing your driveway.
Those with a degree in business administration will give you a figure of about eight percent of sales as the magic number to spend. I tend to agree with that figure, but would suggest some better alternatives than conventional advertising media. The problem with radio is that I’m driving while listening and my focus is on driving, not absorbing messages. Television works much better because I both see and hear messages, and I’m on my living room couch with no distractions. The problem with TV is the cost, unless you are a sizable company with a large budget. And the newspaper? How many ads did you read this morning?
I think that a fast lube is a unique form of business that deserves unique forms of advertising.
The first advertising money you should spend is on cleaning supplies, paint, hedge trimmers and employee training. A profound fast lube fact of life is that advertising money spent on getting the customer in once is a losing proposition. Do the math. Spend $2,000 on a newspaper coupon and if it brings in 200 new customers that is ten bucks a head--probably more than your gross profit. Write this down: fast lube advertising money must produce repeat business.
When your advertising brings in a first-time customer, your show must be good enough so they return again and again. Don’t invite people to the party until after you have spiffd up the place.
A fast lube is a personal service business similar to barber shops, beauty salons, landscaping services and such. The most effective advertising is word-of-mouth and it’s not only the most effective, it’s the most economical. A little imagination can produce more than a big check.
Get in the newspaper — the sections that people actually read — by submitting an article about what is unique about you, your crew, your location or what you do. Newspaper editors love to receive general interest stories and sometimes print it right there on the front page. If there is nothing interesting about your business, well, you might want to work on that.
Build relationships with the right people — those who come in contact with a lot of others. Real estate sales persons, business owners, bankers, mechanics, medical professionals and those in government are powerful influencers who can spread the word faster. Focus on the influencers mentioned above with your direct mailings and good-deal coupons.
Consider the bulk selling of pre-paid tickets for business owners to pass out to employees as performance awards or gifts. Everybody needs their oil changed. It’s a way for the business owner to pay more at less cost. The tickets are deductible, but the benefit isn’t taxable.
Become known. Join the Rotary Club. It’s an opportunity to serve your community and mingle with other business owners. Yep, at this point you should be connecting some dots.