Great news for you: spring is in the air, and the Car Care Council’s National Car Care Month is nearly upon us. As part of the media campaign, throughout the month of April, consumers across the country will be receiving frequent reminders to visit their neighborhood service centers for an oil change, or scheduled maintenance, similar to the spring cleanup many will be doing around the house. You want in on the action, right? Yes!
And yet, you’ve got a business to run, employees to train, bills to meet, and stay busy trying to bring in new customers. How can you harness some of the National Car Care Month momentum, and ultimately get more cars driving into your garage? We’ve divided our advice into three categories, based on how much time, and how much (if any) budget you’ve got.
If You’ve Got Time & Budget
Host an event to help your community with its car-care needs. By providing value up-front, you’ve got an opportunity to introduce yourself to prospective customers before things start to go wrong with their vehicles. Surely they’ll remember you for your good deed when they’re next in need of a good mechanic.
Should you decide to host an event, be sure you have plenty of signage to promote it. Get all hands on deck; every member of your business should be present, ideally wearing your business’ logo and a name bade, and ready to meet members of the community. Designate one person as the photographer, and ask permission before taking photos, especially if you’d like to post them on social media. Provide coffee and snacks, and if you want to make it a family-friendly event, consider hiring a face-painter, or handing out stickers or bubbles with your company logo. Above all, use the day as an excuse to introduce yourselves, and share, rather than sell, car-care information.
A few event ideas include:
- Car-Care Clinic for drivers new and old
- Free check-ups, such as wipers, lights, oil and tire tread
- Child-seat installation by local fire/police
- Cars and Coffee
If You’ve Got Minimal Time & Budget
Run weekly promotions:
- $10 coupon, toward future springtime repair or maintenance service, with every oil change.
- A total of $25 off service, spread across three services. That could be $10 toward the first service, $10 off the second, and $5 off the third. By then, you’ll have made those folks into loyal customers, right?
- Free coffee and snack at a nearby café with every service
- Free car wash
Want to have some more fun, beyond the standard deals? How about this:
- Give every customer a scratch-off ticket
- Free umbrellas to customers on rainy days (though that could get expensive if “April showers bring May flowers” holds true where you live)
- Collect customers’ emails and enter them into a raffle for two tickets to a local sports game, amusement park, or a spa visit.
- Collect business cards and pull one per week to win a free $50 gas card. Better yet, run a cross-promotion with a gas station near you, so those customers know where to go if they need auto repair.
- For every vehicle serviced, donate a set amount to a local charity. If you choose one that’s close to your community’s heart, they may help to send business your way.
If You’ve Got No Time & No Budget
Had you skipped straight here? We hear you! There are still ways to drive interest in car care, and potentially drive cars to your service center.
Hit Social Media
If you’re out of ideas, and time, bookmark a few helpful social media pages, and make a point to share other organizations’ posts once or twice a day.
- The Car Care Council has a ton of sharable material for shops, and it’s – get ready – free! A good place to begin is on its “Industry Toolbox” page. Also, bookmark its social pages on Facebook & Twitter for easy sharing, and check out its infographics, all ready to share, as long as you link back to CarCare.org. Here are a few infographics we love:
- Vehicle Warning Smells
- Car Maintenance Checklist
- Vehicle Dashboard Lights
- How to get better gas mileage
- Openbay has already lined up graphic car-care-focused images that will be posted to social media each day. Feel free to share whatever we post on Twitter, Facebook or the Openbay blog. Also, here are a few car-care-focused posts worth sharing:
Drive safely, and good luck spreading the word about car care, because safer cars make for safer roads.