“Quick lubes are now seen as a commodity,” says Tom Zoebelein, principal at marketing agency Stratosphere Studios. “It’s a matter of who can get me in. If I see one that’s busy, I move on to the next one available.”
Particularly in busy markets, it’s paramount that shops make an impression on customers so that they’re less inclined to move on to the next nearest shop. It can be tough, but it can be done.
“Customer loyalty is not something you can build easily,” he says. “The hardest thing is getting that first customer, then it’s about keeping them engaged.”
Stratosphere Studios specializes in automotive marketing, and Zoebelein says there’s a way to target new customers while getting your current customers to come back. While it’s important to provide great service during the appointment, you can also attract and retain customers outside of the service through digital platforms.
As told to Abby Patterson
Targeting Future Customers
Put yourself in front of them.
If you want to outbeat competition, start targeting their customers. One way to do that? Start conducting Facebook Ads to target people, tailoring it to people within five miles of your shop, and run as many digital ads as you can put out.
Utilize geofencing to target customers.
There are a couple of ways you can target people with geofencing (a service that triggers an action when a device enters a set location, according to CIO). You can limit the geofencing geography to your town, county, or however far out you think someone would be willing to drive.
You can also target someone searching for specific competitors or anyone searching your business category and then “near me.” The beauty of geofencing is that it even tracks your walk-ins, so when the customer is at your location, it then tracks his or her activity in the future.
Catch them when they need it.
I think the trick is to stay in front of customers for when they need their next service. If customers go through your quick lane, it can capture their device ID. On Facebook Ads, you can then delay the ad to customers in your database for three months after their oil change so it will pop up around the time they are due for their next appointment.
Targeting Current Customers
Set up reminders.
The hardest thing is getting that first customer, then it’s just about keeping them engaged. There are different systems out there that do this by estimating the last time an oil change was done on that car, making sure you are just hitting customers at the right time before their due for another service.
With this, you can set up email or text reminders. With text message reminders, you have to get opt-in permission. To do this, simply start having customers fill out an intake form to get permission and send out a text message to them, attaching a coupon to the message, like $10 off your next oil change.
Add a scheduler.
On your business website, set up a tool to help with convenience. You can set up a scheduler through your website, on Google My Business, and even on your Facebook business page. When you send out a reminder, you can even send out a reminder with the scheduler link in message. Customers would appreciate a timing reminder with a discount involved, too.