Are You Ready for National Car Care Month?
In the fast lube industry, we think about car care every month, every day for that matter. We’re always thinking about oil change intervals, correct tire pressure and the conditions of windshield wiper blades. We work on teaching customers best practices when it comes to taking care of respective vehicles each time they are in the bay. With National Car Care Month on the horizon in April, it’s time to start thinking about continuing the education.
“It’s a time for the industry to celebrate itself and the need for consumers to take better care of their vehicles,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “People are hearing about National Care Care Month on the radio, on TV and in newspapers, so it would benefit shops and stores to participate in some way. It is a good time to leverage the visibility and the publicity that’s going on during the month.”
National Car Care Month provides a chance to bring awareness to your business, increase car counts and educate your customers about how much of their vehicle maintenance is going unnoticed. When it comes to participation, there are countless ways to get involved and all can be customized to fit the needs of your shop, as well as your budget.
To aid in the planning process, the Car Care Council has produced a variety of resources, including marketing and promotional materials as part of their Be Car Care Aware campaign to help shops get started.
So how can you get involved? One of the best ways is to host an event. The Car Care Council recommends hosting a car show, partnering with police to provide free child safety demos, providing refreshments from a local restaurant or setting up demo tables. Demo tables can be used to show your customers worn wiper blades, hoses, dirty filters or worn tires, providing the opportunity to discuss preventive maintenance.
A full-blown event can be a daunting task, even without day-to-day operations to keep running, so think of the Car Care Council as your ally.
“We have a ton of resources for shops,” White said. “That’s one of the purposes of the Car Care Council and the Be Car Care Aware consumer education program. It’s not just to be the voice to the media; it’s to help the industry better communicate to consumers what they need to do to maintain their cars and what happens when they don’t.”
A key component in education is relevant content. Content is king. And if content is king, that makes the Car Care Council a form of educational royalty.
“We have tons of content,” White said. “Businesses are usually just trying to get the vehicles fixed and out the door. That leaves very little time for marketing and promotions, so we have many of the resources ready, free and available for shops to use.”
The best way to obtain these valuable resources is directly from the Car Care Council website: carcare.org
“There is an industry section at the top,” White said. “That whole section is for the shops and stores to get started. It has a wealth of information on how to participate, get involved and how to host various events during the month.”
Also included are promotional materials that can be downloaded for free to use on websites, in emails and across social media channels.
“We have point-of-sale kits with materials, posters, banners and brochures, all kinds of materials that can be taken and used for the shop’s purpose. It’s turnkey, and it’s all on the site,” White said.
If you’re familiar with the Car Care Council and National Car Care Month, you may notice a couple of updates.
“We totally redesigned the Car Care Guide, and it’s one of the most popular products we’ve ever done,” White said. “We encourage shops to order quantities to hand out to customers.”
Despite how it sounds, ordering a bulk amount of copies won’t set you back too much.
“We provide things at cost,” White said. “We aren’t about making profits. If you don’t want to order copies, it’s available digitally, so it’s possible to link to that.”
The other addition to the awareness campaign is a social media effort called Maintenance Monday that is being implemented across the Car Care Council platforms. It includes videos and quick tips related to preventive maintenance posted each Monday.
“We also have a new monthly newsletter that shops can sign up to receive,” White said. “It gives tips, ideas and lets them know what the council is doing. We’re always adding content to the website. Again, that’s all free for shops to take and make their own.”
It’s always difficult to add one more thing to your already overwhelming to-do list, but National Car Care Month is worthy of a spot at the top.
“Being involved in National Car Care Month at whatever level can be good for the shop,” White said. “You don’t have to do a full-blown vehicle inspection lane with balloons, orange cones and moonbounces. It could be as simple as getting a banner and putting it across the bay or putting out a newsletter, inviting customers to come and celebrate National Car Care Month. There are things you can do without spending a ton of time.”
Once April is over, the banners and moonbounces taken down, the campaign will continue. Like oil change intervals and worn wiper blades, consumer education is something to keep in mind every day.
“A better educated consumer is a better customer for the shop,” White said. “The more they realize what their vehicle needs, they’ll be less likely to think they’re being recommended a repair or service they don’t need. Shops should make it easy for customers to find them, have good, robust content and helpful information on their site, in their shop and in their communication with customers. Consumer education is a win-win.”