(Listed below is a case study created, to show how we would apply marketing strategy to a defined industry. While these steps may not apply to each industry, you can use a case by case approach to implement some of these steps depending on where your customers exist. Your customers attention will always determine which platforms are right for you and your business.)

Like many business owners, John started his business with the end in mind of being the best auto mechanic repair business in the region. He would focus on great repairs, timely service, great customer service and a decent pricing structure.

After 8 months of getting his business up and running and hiring the best staff he could, john was challenged with getting customers to know about his business and getting them through the front door.

Initially he thought word of mouth would have been enough, but he soon noticed that customers just weren’t raving about the best oil change they experienced to their friends after they left his shop.

So, he was stuck with the vast challenge of now getting news customers to stop by his business and to ensure repeat customers came back. When John and I sat down and discussed his problem it became apparent that john didn’t have a service issue, he had a sales funnel issue.

So John and I decided to plot out a strategy.

Step 1 -Search engine presence:  We realized he needed an online portal where customers could not only find him , if they did a random search but could receive contact information if they wanted to call.

So for John step one was getting his business listed on the strongest and most used search engine for his region, which happened to be Bahamas Local. The reason we highlight this point is that , some regions and countries tend to have a more frequently used local search engine than google. So, it always helps to research that first, prior to going to the default of Google; and many times, it turns out to be cost effective as well.

Once you are listed on the local search engine, ensure that all contact information is relevant, shop hours are listed promptly and if they allow you a big enough space, ensure to list out key services and use a relevant photo of your business storefront.

While customers may be familiar with your location, it helps to build memory cognition with your company as it builds a familiarity when the customer does stumble upon your establishment.

Step 2 -Online shop:

While John was not at the stage where he wanted to sell parts or services online, it was still vitally important for him to have a website. Prior to the dotcom bubble period between 1997 – 2001 websites were still an obscure thing mainly utilized by large companies, big box stores and e-commerce business’s. After the dotcom boom ended more and more retailers began to recognize the benefits of an online presence. For John it provided his customers with a deeper look into his business and it gave them a sense that John’s repair shop had some integrity and wasn’t a fly by night mechanic repair shop.

On his website he further expanded on the basic stuff that was visible from the search engine; which included all the industry certifications his mechanics had, an explanation of his diagnostic process, what a service entails, proper maintenance and why regular checkups were important.

Also, customers got a peak, “behind the hood” of how his repair shop operated as he expanded in detail on how his mechanics checked your car from top to bottom to ensure everything was running in great shape using a few short videos we had prepared of his top requested services.

Step 3- Facebook for business

While social media, tends to be a daunting task for many , people are becoming more and more comfortable with some of the established platforms such as Facebook. Facebook for business not only allows you to market your business, but it gives your customers another easy way to search out your products. This is typically a very good place for users to leave reviews and feedback. Our suggestions for when a business is just starting out, this page should be managed by a knowledgeable and passionate employee. And don’t get overwhelmed with this, as its more important for the person managing this page to be somewhat responsive and provide knowledgeable feedback, than it is for them to be available 24-7 to answer every question.

This management is also made much simpler with the Facebook mobile app.

Step 4- Advertising:

While many marketers like to use the big bang approach for business, such as suggesting John host an elaborate grand opening celebration, and possibly include a live remote this is not always our go-to solution. We’ve seen this approach fall short many times, when the industry is not properly aligned with the right marketing strategy. For a business such as John’s that has a higher initial commitment fee, possibly ranging from a $65 oil change to full service that can cost up $500 depending on the model of the vehicle, a pragmatic marketer would then deduce that a customer will not be just driving around on a Saturday afternoon running errands, hear an ad on the radio and then decide to commit 3 hours of their day for a full service, because of a grand opening celebration on the radio.

So, in John’s case a drip campaign would be more effect, where you consistently drip your product to the public and remain in front of their attention, so when the need arises, his business is the 1st to come to mind.

This campaign can be run on a cost effective basis, by running ads on his local search engine, as well as placing some strategic ads on Facebook, that are geography based within 20 miles of his business.

Step 5: word of Mouth

Now that John has a visible online presence on multiple platforms, he can now seek to implement his word of mouth strategy which does build momentum when done consistently. In his store near his cash counter, I would recommend a sign that invites customers to like them on Facebook and leave a comment. On the bottom of their receipts , I would also recommend a note saying the same thing.

In the word mouth arena, reinforcement and Call to Actions are important. If your not encouraging a customer to respond or leave feedback on a quick and easy platform, you just missed an opportunity.

Bonus Step:

An important step that most businesses don’t take advantage of, is gathering their customers email address’s so they can stay in touch. This email can be gathered at the point of sale, when the customer is conducting their checkout so it just seems like part of the process. Also, it is important to note that, do to new and updated laws such as the GDPR and the privacy act, you would also need to ask the customer if they would be okay with receiving marketing emails from your business from time to time.

Once approved, you now have the ability to stay in touch with your customers, by sending them monthly newsletters or updates announcing promotions or incentives.

This is always and will remain one of the best ways to stay in front of your customers.

In conclusion while this is a longer approach than a one day live remote, this approach is systematic and does work. And don’t feel overwhelmed by the steps. As step 1 and 2 are set and go implementations that don’t require much work after they are already established.

The most responsive element of these steps will be the Facebook for business, but this just requires a quick check in of 5- 10 minutes on a daily basis and responding to a few questions as the need arises.

I hope this information was helpful and if you do have any questions. Please feel free to drop me a line at fabian@creativeflowinc.com

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash