The oldest form of marketing remains among the most effective for businesses like auto repair facilities, according to Jay Baer, a co-author of the book Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth.
“The best way to grow any business is for your customers to do that growing for you,” Baer said in a recent interview. “The more your customers can tell their friends about the experience they had with you, the less you’ll have to spend on marketing.”
Word-of-mouth advertising isn’t exclusive to older generations, either; Baer’s research indicates that Generation Z is a major proponent of it, too.
“The younger someone is,” the marketing expert says, “the more they want to be validated by the opinions of others.”
Fortunately for auto shop owners, there are relatively easy ways in which they can inspire word-of-mouth marketing and advertising from customers that keeps their shop on top of mind for customers new and old. Shop owners could sponsor youth sports teams for example, and ask players’ parents to subscribe to their shop’s online newsletter.
Or, they could take things a step further, and provide their customers with a memorable story to tell.
For instance, in Brisbane, Australia, Baer notes, one dealership leaves a jar of honey in repair customers’ cupholder upon vehicle delivery. The jar has an attached note, thanking customers for their business.
“The story that everyone tells in Brisbane about the dealership isn’t about the fact they got their bumper fixed there,” recalls Baer, the founder of digital marketing company Convince & Convert Consulting. “The story is ‘Those are the guys with the free honey.’ In my business, we call that little operational differentiator a ‘talk trigger,’ because it’s the thing that (inspires) customer conversations.”