Auto Service World
News   September 14, 2023   by Joe Flammer

From the Magazine: Marketing in an age of reduced physical interaction

It's all digital now, so what do you do differently?

The world changed. COVID-19 forced businesses to adapt to a new reality — one where physical interaction is significantly reduced.

When customers couldn’t visit stores, business moved online. Effective websites and digital marketing tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), paid online ads, email marketing and social media all became essential to finding and keeping happy customers.

And now? Customers still want convenient, easy online interactions. Younger Millennials and Gen Z in particular — who have grown up with smartphones and fast internet — expect your business to be online and ready for them. If not, they won’t give you a second chance.

But a lot of repair shops don’t have a strong online presence. They might have an outdated website, an incomplete Facebook page, and a Google Business Profile that someone did something with a few years ago.

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

So how can a busy shop owner navigate the new landscape? Here are two tactics to get you more leads and help your shop thrive.

Stay relevant with SEO

When you use a search engine for something like “auto repair near me,” you expect to find local repair shops with good reputations. But if the search engine returned a bunch of shops that were closed or had poor reviews or weren’t actually in your neighbourhood, that wouldn’t help you at all. And you’d start looking for a new search engine.

Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even social media platforms, need to show results that keep you coming back. In other words, they need to show relevant results.

Search engines avoid irrelevance by constantly scouring the internet for proof that your business is functional: New Google reviews and review responses, updates to your website, recent photos and interaction on your social media.

The more up-to-date and trustworthy your online presence is, the more search engines will push your business to the top of their results — and the more likely customers will be to click through to contact you.

This process is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

For a busy entrepreneur, it’s a lot to manage. Work with professionals. Be careful about cutting corners and going with the cheapest company you can find because you might get what you pay for.

Faster results with paid ads

Many businesses take a shortcut around SEO with paid ads. The results you see at the top of a search page often say “Sponsored.” This means those businesses paid to have their product or service appear at the top.

Effective SEO can take a while. Instead of putting in the time and effort to optimize your digital footprint, you may want to pay for your website, social media profile or a graphic ad of your business to be seen more frequently.

Strategy: Find the right mix

SEO and paid ads work best when they’re mixed into your overall marketing strategy.

For a busy entrepreneur, it’s a lot to manage. Work with professionals. Be careful about cutting corners and going with the cheapest company you can find because you might get what you pay for.

When you hire an agency to manage your marketing, meet with them monthly to review how everything is working. Your marketing agency will be able to help you better when they’re getting regular feedback and updates from you.

Yes, the world has changed. Embrace the change and connect with your audience by building a strong online presence. You can get more leads, fill your bays, and bring in more revenue than ever. image across all your marketing and don’t overlook the little things that can set your shop apart. When you do, you can create an inviting and positive experience that keeps customers coming back to your shop — and referring their friends — time and time again.

Joe Flammer is a director of marketing for Turnkey Marketing. Based in Kansas City, he serves as outsourced director of marketing for auto repair shops. Learn more at

This article originally appeared in the August issue of CARS.

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