Marketing for Shops: AUUX Specializes in Helping Body Shops Online

Marketing for Shops: AUUX Specializes in Helping Body Shops Online

Only 25 years ago, the average body shop's marketing plan involved buying a Yellow Pages ad and sponsoring the local Little League team.

Back then, most body shops didn't have marketing managers or marketing budgets and relied primarily on word-of-mouth for its new customers. Boy, things have surely changed on many levels. Now, the majority of every shop's marketing plans revolves around the Internet.

Today, a first-rate reputation that leads to positive referrals is still as good as gold. But now the marketing universe is huge, so unless you know what you're doing, it can be a black hole that can suck up your money before you know it. Shops are always hearing about the newest and the latest, which can be overwhelming to say the least.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), local marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, e-commerce marketing, remarketing, lead generation, Internet advertising and public relations are just some of the marketing tactics that shops have to sift through. Direct mail, broadcast advertising (radio and TV) and other forms of marketing are now prehistoric. Forward-thinking shops that aren't afraid to try new approaches will excel. There are only so many cars in your town, so shops that aren't stepping up are losing market share. How long can you rely on your DRPs or inclement weather to generate business? In the old days, that might have been enough, but no more.

Vic Krikorian, co-owner of AUUX in Glendale, CA, has succeeded by helping a wide range of small-to-medium-size businesses with their marketing and advertising, including body shops. With his partner, Abram Ter-Oganesyan, Krikorian is taking collision repairers to an online world that's getting them results that are both tangible and trackable.

One client giving AUUX five-star reviews is Pacific Coast Collision Center (PCCC) in Rancho Cordova, CA, for its beneficial three-year relationship with Krikorian and his team. PCCC's owner, Eddie Shadarevian, is repairing approximately 220 cars with a crew of 22 and will soon be moving into a cutting-edge facility down the street. His car count has increased since contracting AUUX and credits much of his success to smart, targeted and results-oriented marketing.

"AUUX re-vamped everything we were doing, and we saw results within roughly three months," Shadarevian said. "We were pleasantly surprised by how everything happened so quickly because other companies were telling us that it would take at least eight months to one full year to gain some traction. We hired AUUX for a lot of reasons, including the fact that we were in the process of adding a second location. We wanted to get the word out and grow intelligently because many shops expand their services and add locations, but they don't know where the business will be coming from."

When Krikorian started working with body shops, he was surprised to learn that some collision repairers are savvy when it comes to marketing while others are still in the dark.

"When we found out that many top shops don't even have websites, we couldn't believe it, which is a major red flag," he said. "It's not that they don't realize the importance of a strong presence online, but business is good, so they're not ready to commit. Once they lose a DRP or another shop moves in nearby, they will start scrambling around, but then they have to catch up, which can be difficult."

AUUX is all about creating custom solutions for its clients, as opposed to using a "one size fits all" approach, Krikorian said. 

"We focus on the customer experience and stress a seamless process that makes generating leads easy and simple. Consumers today expect things to happen quickly, so we need to get the information into their hands fast and use the technology to achieve it. They want to be able to get quotes online and monitor the entire repair process from the convenience of their cell phone, iPad or laptop computer."

By being experts on how to use Google and Bing for leads and staying in the loop with Facebook and Instagram to keep clients engaged, AUUX has helped PPC hit the ground running with its newest location. Part of the plan is targeting services and getting specific results, Shadarevian said.

"It's a lot about setting search parameters that bring us the right type of business,” he said. “In the past when we were working with some other marketing companies, we were getting leads that didn't apply to what we do here. We're not a MAACO, so when we get inquiries about doing inexpensive fast paint jobs, that's not our market. We also used to get leads about doing mechanical repairs, but we don't do that either. We learned that the Internet works, but if search results get us leads that are irrelevant, what's the point?"

By stripping all of the guesswork out of the marketing process and concentrating on where their strengths lie, AUUX is getting results others aren't.

"We know what's working and not working for body shops, and that's what sets us apart from the competition," Krikorian said. "Some shops try a lot of things, but that can get costly, so we guide them in the right direction and get the most out of everything they spend."

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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