Helpful Resources for Local Auto Shops
As a local auto shop business owner, it’s helpful and even critical to your success that you gain access to the resources, community networks, news and events that will keep you in-the-know when it comes to industry trends and staying ahead of the curve. We have our finger on the pulse of marketing services for local auto shops. It’s our specialty and, as such, we’re dedicated to helping auto shops grow and expand.
We hope this guide helps you navigate the auto repair business so you can continue to grow your brand. Here at Today’s Local Media, we have worked with many auto shops over the years, which puts us in a strong position to advise local auto repair business owners like you in implementing the most effective online marketing strategies for your particular industry. Here we will outline the must-have components of your online presence, networking associations to belong to, blogs to read and software to try.
Components of Your Online Presence
The strategy you take with your online marketing plan must incorporate a good blend of web design, paid advertising, SEO and social media if you have any chance of gaining exposure, branding, trust and credibility. Here the four main elements you’ll want to touch on. We can help; it’s what we specialize in:
- Web design: First impressions are everything. When you present a professional web design for your business, you start to build trust with potential customers. Why? First, they will know you’re serious about your business. Second, they will know you put a lot of time and effort into looking as professional as possible. And third, it shows you care about your users enough to give them an enjoyable, easy-to-navigate experience through your website.
- Social media: Being seen and heard on a wide variety of social media platforms helps make connections with your audience, building their trust in your auto repair business along the way. Auto repair is a sensitive issue with many people – they really have to trust someone to leave their car with them. You have to foster that trust and build it slowly. Take the time to grow your social following, and it will pay off big time in terms of support for your local business. You can do this through regular posts, comments and interactions with followers, ensuring you remain visible to the community and expand your reach on an organic level. Not only does social media exposure help you connect with other auto shop business owners, it also gives you front-row access to member-only industry events and news platforms. Sustaining growth and staying up-to-date on industry trends starts with a strong social media presence.
- Paid advertising: PPC, or pay-per-click, enhances your brand awareness with specific targeting and helps you snag more qualified leads. We achieve this mainly through Google Ads. This approach garners fast results but you have to pay for it, unlike SEO.
- SEO: Compared with PPC, SEO garners slower, more organic results that start off slow and build over time. It’s more cost effective than PPC because it’s free, helping you rank higher in search results pages. It does take longer to see results though. In the end, when done right, you can generate more clicks and traffic to your site with a well-orchestrated SEO strategy and approach.
As an auto shop business owner, it’s of crucial importance that you maintain your networking capabilities, which achieves three things: it expands your reach, it helps you meet new people in your line of work, and it paves the way for long-lasting beneficial business relationships. Associations like the Auto Care Association, ACPN and the AAAS are all good to have in your corner.
Let’s take a look at some of those beneficial associations and what they offer you.
1. Auto Care Association
The Auto Care Association offers educational, networking, advocacy, market intelligence and communications resources for its members, serving the entire supply chain of the automotive aftermarket. It’s comprised of 3,000 member companies representing 150,000 businesses throughout the industry that manufacture, sell and distribute motor vehicle parts, tools, accessories, equipment, materials and supplies, as well as perform vehicle service, repair and maintenance.
The Automotive Content Professionals Network (ACPN) is a professional network with more than 380 members employed in the automotive industry, the only one of its kind devoted entirely to the education and professional development needs of automotive content management professionals.
Created in 1938, Automotive Aftermarket Association Southeast, Inc. (AAAS) is a nonprofit trade association that represents the automotive parts manufacture, distribution, repair and service industry. Serving automotive aftermarket businesses in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi, membership is comprised of parts manufacturers, jobbers, distributors, service facility specialists, engine rebuilding and machine shop specialists.
AAAS holds many annual events, such as the upcoming AAAS Conference and Trade Show June 12 to 14 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, as well as regular Saturday Business Sessions throughout the year.
The Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA) strengthens relationships between motorists (consumers) and the automotive repair and maintenance service industry. Members gain access to a wide spectrum of up-to-date consumer education resources, consumer communication programs, technician training, best practices, translation of automotive terminology and more.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) advocates for professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry via representation, education and member services. Established in 1951, the ASA has been a leader in the industry for owners and managers of automotive service businesses that work hard to deliver excellence in repairs and service to consumers.
The ASA holds many annual events for members, including the 2020 ASA AZ Training Event & Expo at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, AZ.
6. Automotive Intelligence Summit
The Automotive Intelligence Summit provides answers to questions about the future of the auto industry, regarding anything from compliance regulations and predictive analytics to economic forecasts and digital retail. It, too, holds events such as Insights for the Future of Auto, held this year in Raleigh NC August 17 to 19.
7. Automotive News
Automotive News is the nation’s pre-eminent newspaper covering all aspects of the automotive industry. Its mission is to be the main source of industry news and data for key decision-makers in North America, serving top auto industry executives including vehicle manufacturers, and suppliers and franchised dealers.
Each year, it holds the Automotive New World Congress event in Detroit at the TCF Center.
Software to Help You Manage, Grow & Thrive
The software you use as a local auto shop business owner fuels your productivity. That’s why it’s so important to have powerful moving software to streamline your operations, while ensuring a greater customer experience and a higher return on investment (ROI).
There are many advantages of auto shop software, such as:
- Higher Levels of Productivity
- Eco-Friendly Paperless Options
- Better Lead Capture
- Cost Savings
- Electronic Billing
- On-Site Estimate Capability
Check out these automotive industry software resources that we have found work best for our clients:
Capterra ranks all the best providers of auto repair software. Such software manages business operations for auto repair shops and aftermarket retail stores. Capterra helps you consider the pros and cons of each kind, featuring star ratings, customer reviews, website links and price comparisons. This is a round-up of all software, a very helpful resource indeed.
AutoFluent helps you better manage your automotive business, thanks to its powerful automotive business management system providing easy-to-use tools for a more cost effective business. Its intuitive business dashboard gives you a more accurate view of all components of your business so you can not only improve how you track customers, employees, sales, inventory and suppliers, but how you manage them as well.
3. NAPA TRACS
NAPA TRACS helps local shops just like yours manage and grow their businesses with the latest in estimating, shop management, accounting, customer retention, wireless and technical information tools.
With Protractor, you can schedule, educate, inspect, monitor, remind and estimate all aspects of your auto shop operation from a single cloud-based solution. It was developed with shop owners using aftermarket industry best practices, with the purpose of building and connecting software solutions that facilitate processes while focusing on simple automation and efficiency.
5. Shop Ware
Shop Ware is ideal for managing:
- Digital vehicle inspections
- Workflow management
This shop management software gives you the tools you need to quickly and clearly understand what needs to be done to get happier customers and increased sales. You can prepare quotes in seconds, win more approvals to drive more revenue, showcase your expertise and add value to the customer experience, earn great reviews, and boost efficiency and profitability.
ShopController is a complete Online Auto Shop Solution, providing you with the tools necessary to manage your automotive repair shop, maintain your competitive edge, and service your customers’ needs. It will prevent lost data with real-time and multi-location backup, maintained in a secure facility with consistent maintenance. With this software, there’s no need for local servers, backups, and network maintenance. You have the freedom of logging in to your system anywhere with 24/7 authorized access.
Blogs and News
In your industry especially, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your niche. The best way to achieve relevancy and connectivity is through perusing blogs, news articles and updates. Check out these helpful sites that you can bookmark and check regularly for inspiration.
1. Auto Care Insider
Auto Care Insider, a quarterly magazine published by the Auto Care Association’s editorial team, gives you in-depth articles on marketing and industry trends, member-focused features, briefings on issues affecting your automotive business, coverage of auto care programs and events, and updates on industry and association news.
2. Auto Care Insider Weekly
Auto Care Insider Weekly gives you all the latest news and events, and highlights from the auto care industry. Published by the Auto Care Association marketing and communications team, it’s delivered to all association members every week.
3. Automotive Digest
Automotive Digest covers a broad range of topics of interest to auto shop owners and other industry professionals. They cater to aftermarket, dealers, fleets, rentals, manufacturers, marketers, and remarketers, covering anything from vehicle safety and funding to energy and environmental concerns.
4. Automotive News
From news and opinion to jobs and videos, Automotive News is your all-under-one-roof spot. It’s chock full of auto news from all the country and world, keeping you in touch with all the latest advancements for all members of the industry.
5. Openbay Overdrive
Openbay Overdrive is basically your go-to source for all things automotive, offering lots of news, tips and trends for auto repair shops and drivers. Get access to service provider resources, industry news, statistics, reports, studies and even car care advice.
As you can see, there are many helpful resources, associations, networking events and blogs that can benefit you as a local auto shop business owner. We hope this guide has been helpful as you look for new and innovative ways to connect, thrive and grow with your audience and stay on top of your craft.
If you would like to learn more about how to market your automotive business successfully online, contact Today’s Local Media for a free quote on your auto repair company website. We have a lot of experience with this particular industry and know how to ensure your online success.