Cut Through the Noise: Marketing Tactics to Help You Reach Your Audience
It’s no secret that marketing to your customers — and potential customers — is one of the most important undertakings for small business owners. Despite its importance, when it comes to marketing, some quick lube owners are left wondering where to start. Here are a few marketing tactics to put into practice to ensure your business is reaching the biggest audience possible.
In an era when social media lets anyone say just about anything, it can sometimes feel like a daunting task to control your company’s brand. But there are simple steps you can take to keep ownership of your brand. In his article “5 Ways Small Businesses Can Build Their Brands in 2015,” Adam Stetzer of Search Engine Watch lists steps small businesses can take to manage their brands. These include:
• Get a polished, professional logo. Logos are the visual interpretation of your company and should be used in all of your marketing content.
• Give things away, but, don’t give away just anything. Stetzer notes that you should give away “branded, promotional goods.” Stetzer cites studies that show that 76.1 percent of consumers remembered the name of a company that gave them a free promotional item in the past year. So add your logo to pens and T-shirts and start giving them away!
• Be active in charitable events. Consumers like companies that help others, and the event gives you significant brand exposure.
• Use social media, and make sure your audience is engaged. It’s one thing to have a Twitter account, it’s another to have your customers joining in on conversations on social media and sharing your branded content for you.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Rest assured: SEO has gotten less complex, and there are lots of resources that can help you understand and implement an SEO strategy. A January 2015 SmallBusinessComputing.com article titled “SEO in 2015: Trends and Tips for Small Businesses” offers some great tips for small businesses looking to boost their SEO efforts.
The biggest takeaway is that SEO has become more about content and less about keywords. Here are some other tips noted in this article for getting high rankings on Google:
• Make sure your business information is consistent across all sites.
• Regularly update the content on your website.
• Make sure your website is user-friendly on mobile devices.
• Focus on “dominating local search queries.” Ensure your address, phone number and location page is consistent with what’s listed in online directories.
• Expand your local reach. The article notes that you should add “location-based keywords, such as Columbus Ohio Wedding Venue,” to your website. Also look for opportunities to be quoted in the press, which will help build links back to your website.
There’s no way around it. In today’s marketing world, content is king. Good content helps businesses because it allows you to engage with your customers outside of your shop, showcases your experience and helps boost your search engine rankings.
So how can you create content that your customers, and potential customers, will enjoy? Here are a couple of ideas:
• Send a weekly email to your customers that features non-promotional content. Make sure it’s valuable to your customers and highlights your expertise. For example, you could send tips for winter driving, recall notice alerts or tips for tire maintenance.
• Produce videos for your website. Again, these should be interesting and valuable for your audience but also help drive would-be customers to your site. For example, you could post a video showing how to check your oil level or the steps for changing a tire. Post the videos on your website, social media channels and on YouTube. Bonus: Videos increase the amount of time readers spend on your website, a key metric for SEO.
Whether you’re just building a marketing strategy or looking to refresh your plans for 2015, there are plenty of resources available to guide you. Moz, MarketingProfs and Social Media Examiner are just a few sites that give valuable tips on SEO and marketing and social media strategy.
Want to hear what other marketing strategies quick lube owners are trying? AOCA members can join AOCA Talk to ask questions and share tips with their fellow members. Learn more at: www.aoca.org
EMILY SCHMITT is editor at the Automotive Oil Change Association. For more information on membership in AOCA, call 800.230.0702 or visit: www.aoca.org