Wednesday, 28 September 2011 16:15

San Diego Chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) Hosts Frank Terlep for Digital Marketing Meeting

The San Diego chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) held their monthly members meeting on September 27 at 7p.m. at Tom Ham's Lighthouse in San Diego. The meeting's guest speaker was Frank Terlep of Summit Software and Mobile Solutions.

Frank's focus was digital marketing and how shops can better use digital marketing to capture more cars, customers and revenue.
Digital marketing produces exact, measurable results and allows customers to reach a more targeted audience than traditional marketing efforts. The cost is also dramatically lower than that of traditional marketing. Frank's presentation focused on how to use email, web, mobile and text services and social media to accomplish marketing for shops.

"82% of consumers will purchase a product or service from a company when marketed to consistently for 24 months," said Terlep.

The first order of business for shops to start taking advantage of the large amount of 'digital consumers'--people who regularly use digital markets--is to increase their web presence. Terlep talked about a few ways to go about doing this including using social media sites, review and location sites, and creating a company newsletter; however the number one way should be to have a complete and engaging company website.

"Treat your website like your online lobby," said Terlep.

Terlep also encouraged shops to start actively collecting email addresses and mobile numbers from customers in order to better reach them throughout the job process. According to Terlep emails are a great way to folllow up on unsold estimates as well.

Terlep also touched on using mobile phones to communicate with the increasing amount of people who regularly use them. Terlep's is NOT talking about calling these mobile numbers, he's talking about texting. Terlep said shops can text a customer about their vehicle status, emergency communications, promotions and short surveys. Mobile texts also have a 7 to 10 percent response rate, which is a large return on investment when you consider the amount of effort required to send a text, according to Terlep.

Reaching out to mobile phone customers also means thinking about having an app created for your business. Read more about Terlep's app success with Nigro's Auto Body in Philadelphia, PA, by searching Nigro's on www.autobodynews.com.

"Shops need to start thinking like a retailer," said Terlep. Terlep was adamant about shops making their customer experience closer to that of a retail store, which is the experience most customers are more familiar with.

Terlep also talked about using social media to market shops. He suggested that shops only use Facebook and other social media sites to educate, post activities, create contests and post specials and reviews about their businesses--not to sell to their followers.

According to Terlep 82 percent of customers select a shop based on reviews, so checking and managing your shop's Yelp page is critical.

Terlep talked about using surveys to create your own reviews on your personal website. He said that most shop surveys are entirely too long and wordy for customers. Terlep said the only two questions that really must be on a survey are "What did you think about us?" and "Would you refer us to friends or family?"--"That's all you need," said Terlep.

Lastly Terlep touched on using e-coupon sites and posting your own specials and deals on your website and social media to draw in more repeat business. He used an example of texting "Half price detailing until noon tomorrow" to your database of mobile numbers when having a slow afternoon at your shop. He said with that 7 to 10 percent return on investment from texts you should have some business come in on that slow afternoon.

Using coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social are also a great way to get customers in for maintenance type work and get them to know you and your shop, according to Terlep--this way they are more likely to choose your business when they have a collision.

Effectively using the database your shop already has from existing customers is a great way to increase sales.

"It is much easier to get repeat business than it is to get new business," said Terlep.

Terlep recommended that shops spend 80 percent of their marketing efforts and budgets on digital marketing.

"You need to fish where the fish are," said Terlep.

For more information please visit www.summitsoftwaresolutions.com.

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