This post was originally published on April 21, 2017, and was updated on April 30, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many brick-and-mortar businesses, including auto body shops. But there are things you can do now to help weather this storm and put your business in a stronger position when the economy starts to rebound.
Continuing regular updates and communication with previous customers, as well as potential new clients while they are practicing self-distancing procedures, isn’t difficult if you use technology to your advantage.
Here are a few ways to help bring in business now and in the future.
1. Make the most of email
With people going online for information more than ever before, now’s the time to leverage your email subscriber list to keep in touch with current customers and prospects.
Send out a weekly update on specials, any changes to your business hours or services, and helpful auto-related tips. This will help to keep your auto body shop top-of-mind and build trust in your business.
A monthly newsletter also is a great way to proactively inform potential customers and former clients of any important upcoming events such as closures for maintenance, specials, and reminders to perform regular maintenance and repairs to extend the life and beauty of their vehicles.
To save time, create an email template that you can quickly customize with new text and images from week to week.
Have GoDaddy Email Marketing? Here’s how to use a template to create an email campaign.
2. Offer coupons and discounts
Including a coupons or specials page on your business website provides customers with ready access to these valuable tools.
Be sure to include a link to this page in all of your email blasts and newsletter correspondence to make it easy for customers to access them. Promote coupons and specials on your auto body shop’s social media pages to reach even more potential customers.
3. Provide contact-free auto drop-off and pick-up services
On your website, in your emails and via social media, assure customers that safety is priority No. 1 at your auto body shop.
Consider taking the following steps:
- Designate an outside area at your auto body shop for contact-free vehicle drop-off and pick-up.
- Sanitize ignition switches, steering wheels, door handles and any other place of contact both before and after driving or working on a vehicle.
- Maintain the 6-foot distancing requirement and wear eye and face protection as well as gloves when having contact with customer vehicles and customers themselves.
4. Use video to engage customers
Video is a great way to communicate with clients and prospects — especially when they’re stuck at home. You don’t need expensive equipment to create short videos that your customers and prospects might find useful. Some topics you might cover include:
- DIY hints to keep vehicles in tip-top shape
- How your auto body shape is working to keep employees and customers safer
- Behind-the-scenes at your shop
- Get to know the owner
If you don’t yet have a YouTube channel for your auto body shop, here’s how to set one up.
You can then embed your YouTube videos on your website and share them in your social media channels. This is an effective way to grow your business now and in the future.
5. Send customer reminders
With everything going on right now, who wants to rent a car or use alternative transportation? Use email, text messaging, online messaging (like Facebook Messenger and personal phone calls to let customers know that you are open and ready to handle their auto body needs.
Maintaining a healthy bottom line during this difficult time is possible if you continually monitor what’s happening in your community while remaining flexible with your business practices and methods of operation.
To keep customers' vehicles coming in the door, it is even more vital to provide regular updates and services that will help to keep your staff and customer base healthy. Communication is key — and by making the most of your digital toolbox you can continue to keep business flowing now and down the road.
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by John Locke.