By Bob Cooper of Elite
Believe it or not, price advertising is a good thing. I am
sure you will agree, everyone likes to find a good value, and price advertising
lets people in your community know that you are looking for ways to help them
save money. The problem most shop owners come across is that they’re unsure of
exactly how to price advertise.
When you advertise something like an oil service at a
discounted price, a number of predictable things will occur. First of all,
unless you use a media that specifically targets your ideal customer, you’re
going to get a lot of the wrong people coming into your shop. If you’ve been in
business for any period of time, I am sure you have experienced this in the
past. Ironically, at the same time that you’re bringing in the wrong people,
your advertising is sending the wrong message to your ideal customer, who you
haven’t had the chance to meet yet. This
method of price advertising is telling your ideal customers that you’re looking
to entice them with a low price.
As you can imagine, this will often make your ideal customers
anxious because the “What’s the catch?” question comes into play, and they’ll
be wondering if you’ll try to compensate for the discount by recommending other
repairs and services. Pretty much a lose-lose situation, right? That is, unless
you do what your competitors would never dream to do, and make your ideal
customers an offer that is hard to refuse; an offer that also reassures them
that you’re not just trying to bring them into your shop with hopes of an
up-sell. So here’s the most effective way to approach price advertising for
your auto repair shop….
The first thing you’ll need to do is pick a social cause
that a good percentage of your targeted, ideal customers will believe in, which
will of course have to be a cause that you believe in as well. Organizations
like the Fallen Soldiers Fund, the American Cancer Society, Humane Societies
and organizations that are focused on the health and well-being of children are
all good examples. Then you’ll need to put together a limited-time promotion
that supports your particular cause. When you put together your ad, you
should lead with an image that is relative to the cause, such as a silhouette
of a mourning soldier on his knees (using the Fallen Soldiers Fund
example). You’ll also need to have a captivating headline like, “Help Us
Help Them.” Your ad should then go on to tell your readers that for a limited
time, if they bring in a check for any amount payable to your cause, you will
perform a complete XXX service for only $XX.XX.
If you run this kind of ad then a number of positive things
are certainly going to occur. First of all, you are going to be sending a
strong message to your community that you care about others. This in itself is
a powerful statement that no amount of ad money will ever be able to buy.
Secondly, your target customers will be influenced by the ad because they more
than likely have a charitable side to them, and will appreciate seeing this compassion
in others. Not only will this kind of price advertising eliminate the anxiety
that comes with suspicion of a low price bait and switch, but it will separate
you from your competitors, it will help you showcase the culture of your
company, and it will get people in your community talking about you.
You also need to consider that when your targeted customer does
comes in, there’s going to be a conversation between your advisor and the
customer about the charitable cause you are promoting. This is when you and
your advisors have the opportunity to build relationships with your customers
that can last for a lifetime.
One of the questions I often hear is whether or not a shop
owner should rotate through different charitable causes in order to reach a wider
range of potential customers. For example, someone who is not influenced by an
offer that’s tied to a particular disease may very well be drawn to a cause
that’s related to children. Here at Elite, we feel that you should choose one
cause and then stick with it. Not only will sticking to one cause prevent your
charitable drives from looking like nothing more than marketing schemes, but it
will help send a message to your community that you really do care about the
cause that you have chosen.
Lastly, you have my promise: If you
take my recommendations and put this plan in place, you’ll make a lot of new
friends through the charity that you support, you’ll create a lot of new
customers, and you’ll be serving as a role model to your entire staff by
demonstrating that you really do care … about people in need.
help building a more profitable, successful auto repair business, learn more
about Elite’s auto repair shop management solutions.