Repair business marketing has its challenges, especially since margins are thin. A great customer experience and long-term planning is the key to getting more from your budget.
Repair and service businesses rely on a "catchment area.” You know that people aren't going to travel an unnecessary distance to your shop. Plus, it's an emergency service that is somewhat time-bound, especially if it's a smartphone or a computer.
Repair shops are often a local business except for large chains like BestBuy. Even then, it would be unusual to see one that is multinational. So the rules are a bit different for repair shops, even larger businesses with multiple locations, and mail-in service.
You'll have to adapt generally-accepted digital marketing strategies to suit your business. More traditional marketing — ads in local media, for example — will be dependent on where you are. Some basic things can keep you on the customer’s radar and ensure that you’re in contention when there’s a choice to be made.
Have an Online Presence
You don’t need a website with a lot of features to be online right now. A basic website through which you can offer information on all the services you offer, what sets you apart, and maybe the option to book appointments. In addition, it’s a great way to get some feedback and reviews.
In addition, add social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are great channels to tell customers about your repair and service business. The content should increase the trust that prospective customers have in your business.
Get yourself listed on Google Business so that you appear among the search results for queries about repair businesses in your area, town, or city. Do a bit of research on which keywords need to be included. For example, Apple Authorized Service Provider is an easy choice.
Investing in digital marketing needs to be done systematically. Focus on local visibility. Don’t go overboard if you don’t have a lot of time to track and test what you’re doing. Maintain a uniform brand voice and stay consistent. It doesn’t help if you choose to engage only when you’ve got to publicize special offers, discounts, and sales.
Truly Great AfterSales
Having a clear understanding of the customer would be the most important part. Repairs are a forced customer decision. So you have to ensure that when they have an issue, they immediately think of your service. You might not need a full-suite CRM to do this and it might be wise to avoid the extra costs if simple methods will work.
Local businesses also rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. So it’s very important to meet expectations. Never promise something that you cannot deliver. The digital equivalent of word-of-mouth would be ratings left on services like Google Business listings. You could consider providing incentives to current customers to leave a review.
We'll divide your marketing efforts into two: organic and paid.
The first will be focused on what you need to increase organic reach. Organic marketing refers to strategies that get you customers without you having to pay for it, like ads. You are essentially promoting your repair business on channels where prospective customers can find you 'organically'. This typically includes word-of-mouth, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO).
For example, social media can help you build a sizable community of customers and tech enthusiasts so that you are remembered.
However, the most important of these would be word-of-mouth marketing. It's simple – the more satisfied your customers, the more likely they'll recommend you to someone.
You need to track and measure how your existing customers feel about you. This is usually done with a simple survey technique called the 'NPS' (Net Promoter Score).
It's incredibly easy to implement and measure how 'loyal' your customers are. Of course, understand and react to the results in context. No reason to have a knee-jerk reaction to a few negative scores.
It is also likely to be reflected through reviews on Google, local directory listings, your social media channels, and so on. It is possible to build a highly successful repair business by just being popular among existing customers.
Let's get into the details:
Search Engine Optimization, aka mostly Google
A website by itself does not get your clients organically. It's great to have one to share with customers, but it would be lost potential if you do not use it to gain business as well. This means having to work on SEO.
It would be best to hire a consultant if you have no experience in SEO. Or if you have the time to learn and experiment, this is a good guide for beginners. Ours is a basic guide and there's a lot more you can do with a bit more investment.
Google is pretty much the only search engine you need to please at this point.
There are a few things you can do immediately. Most of these can be seen as optimizing for local search queries, or "Local SEO". For a repair business, local search queries are from people looking for services in a particular location. It would be similar to when you search for the closest train station.
Here is an expanded guide on Local SEO that you can use to design your own marketing plan.
1. List your business on Google My Business: Since SEO is pretty much the same as optimizing for Google, use any services that they have to offer. This starts with a listing on Google My Business. Make sure your address is accurate and Google can pin down the location.
It's easy to do and you don't even need a website to list your address. But, with a website, a prospective customer has the ability to take a look at your business.
2. Get reviews on Google: A survey of US consumers found that 79% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. Similar numbers have been found by other surveys as well.
Also, local SEO works better if you have reviews and a rating attached to your 'My Business' listing. Apart from the social proof it provides, you also get a chance to know more about your service quality.
3. Make sure your website is optimized for smartphones: You're more likely to search for a repair shop on a mobile device on say Google Maps (or Apple's Maps) or on a browser rather than open up a laptop.
Your website needs to be responsive. What this means is that it should work just as well on mobile devices as it does on larger displays. Google cares about mobile usability. It makes sense considering that Android and iOS devices outnumber desktop users online.
While you're at it, it would be a good idea to optimize for faster load times on average. It's a metric that can help you rank higher, and quite obviously, make users much happier. You can read more about what aids webpage load times on Moz. Here's a free tool to check your website's load time.
4. Make Sure Your Website is Easy to Navigate: It's logical that you make it easier for customers to find what they're looking for. Structure it to reflect your business. There are some things that most people would want to know. What kind of repairs do you do? How can they get the devices to you? When are you open? The usual.
Googlebot also works better when your site is structured well, aka a sitemap that connects to all the important pages on your website. Related to this is internal linking. If you have relevant pages linked to each other, it makes it easier for Google to understand the context and show the right pages in search results.
Let's take the example of an Apple Authorized Service Provider. It would be great to list all the services you offer on the homepage. Apple recommends it. In addition, have a separate page for each service. iPhone repairs can be one, along with Mac or other repairs. Any IT support or B2B services you offer needs to have its own section.
Non-authorized service businesses, be it phone or computer repairs, can follow a similar structure. Repairs, divided by device or brand. Any IT support services should be separated. And of course, any retail services - device or accessory sales - needs to be separated. All of these need to be linked on the home page.
Name the URLs appropriately to make it easier for everyone to understand just what's available on any page.
5. List yourself on online business directories: Yelp might be the obvious choice if you're in the US, but you should know what makes sense for your state or country.
6. Location-based keywords: Instead of optimizing for "best repair shops", you find ways to rank for "best repair shop in (wherever your store is located)". This works for multiple keywords — best phone repair shops, best computer repair shops, cheapest Apple repair shops, best screen or battery repair or replacement shops. Whatever you do best, there will be a keyword you can choose. Use these keywords liberally on your website. Maybe even create ad campaigns around it. Always double down on it — no point just putting it on your website if your social media post or your My Business profile doesn't have the same content.
Now, if you want to spend a little more time and money on marketing your repair business, there are quite a few things you can do. Prioritize what needs to be done and what can be done quickly. Once you've done the basics, you can move on to these steps.
Spend More Time on SEO When You Have It
There are two major focus areas when it comes to your website. One, you need to make sure your site meets SEO requirements. Of course, you need to focus much more on local SEO than content marketing - at least in the beginning. But that doesn't mean you can ignore the usual SEO factors.
- Get acquainted with Google's Search Console. GSC has all the information you need to know about how Googlebot - Google's web crawler - navigates your website and how it rates the experience. Tip: Do not index pages that you create only to run ads or offers. These pages will not meet Google's quality requirements.
- Do some content marketing. This means you have to expand on the keywords you target. Even medium-sized businesses have a team creating content regularly, but a vast majority of repair businesses ignore it. Some have valid reasons for doing so, and that is why it won't be a priority for you until all the necessities are completed. It keeps prospective customers engaged. You need to be on top of their list when it comes to their technology needs.
- It's a common mistake to target a handful of keywords with the most search volume. However, you won't rank high if you're not considered an authority on the topic. You'd be better off targeting a wider range of keywords that are not as competitive. This doesn't mean you ignore topics with a high search volume, just that you don't put all your effort into those.
- Focus on EAT. Most modern content SEO is based on EAT. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Build your expertise in areas that you're comfortable with, like personal tech, device reviews, and repair-related content.
- Update Your Website Frequently. The more often Googlebot finds new content, the higher the chances of you showing up in search results for your target audience. Considering computer or phone repair businesses don't usually put a lot of effort into content, you might be at an advantage. Of course, some keywords will see competition from a variety of sources.
- Make use of internal and external links. Internal linking is basic SEO. Follow the content pillar structure. Essentially, the most comprehensive or important pages should have more links coming in from all the other ones. This will indicate to Googlebot that within your website, that particular page is the best one to return as a search result for a keyword or topic.
External linking is a bit more difficult to achieve. You'll need other websites quoting your content and providing links. This doesn't always need to be to blogs or content pages. You could get "backlinks" from associated services. Do you have a business agreement with an associated service provider? Exchange links. You're essentially driving traffic to each other's websites. It also signals to Googlebot that you're a trusted provider of a service.
- Pay attention to the details, like meta titles and meta descriptions. Your meta title should ideally be 60 characters, and your meta description should be 170 characters.
Social Media Marketing
1. Make a plan
Everyone uses social media. Use the time a prospective customer is willing to spend on a platform to get your brand noticed.
You need a strategy to make sure this is done efficiently. You need to stay active every week. So, start with a few posts every week. And respond to anyone who engages with you. It's easy to let your Facebook page die with everything else you have to do.
2. Find the right content
You can start with anything related to personal tech. New phone releases. Game consoles. Laptops. An interesting design a technician found inside a phone. It's okay to be creative.
Plus, don't be afraid to see what the competition is doing. It'll give you an idea of what works.
Your goal must be to increase organic activity. Once you get to a point where you have daily engagement, you can begin more creative projects. Teardowns, for example. There are enough people who'd like to see what's inside a phone or a computer.
Of course, you can start promoting offers and campaigns as well. If there's something special you want to get noticed, you already have a captive audience. Find a mix that works for you. Start with a split of 80-20. 80% to inform or entertain, while 20% can be campaigns.
3. Use a social media calendar
This will help you in creating content without having to think about something new every day. What are the release dates for the most popular phones and computers? Any local events of importance? National holidays offer the opportunity to run campaigns.
Try to balance the amount of work put in and your goals. The SMART framework is a good one to help you.
4. Build a brand
Social media is also where a lot of people build their image of your business. Keep that in mind when you plan your content. You will get the odd customer leaving a bad review, but the impact of a positive impression is just as valuable.
This also means you have to be aware of what's happening around you. It's easy to come off as tone-deaf or disingenuous if you jump on a trend. Give content the importance it deserves. And always remember that humor is difficult.
Brand can also be about setting your business in a city or specific area. Use a local landmark or images that are immediately recognizable to connect your shops and locations with where you're situated.
5. Quality over quantity
As important as it is to stay active, it's worse to publish posts that provide no value. You might lose the following you've gained pretty fast. Using visual formats helps make things more fun. A Gif, meme, or video works better than text.
Use automation when you can. This will make sure that most of your time spent on building social media channels is used to create content rather than administrative tasks.
Smart Social Media Tips
1. Use videos; it's the best way to engage your audience on social media.
2. A five-second GIF sometimes works better.
3. How-to video tutorials can be appealing. "How to apply screen protection." "How to clean your charging port." "How to use Apple's Air Tags." It can be anything useful for your average customer.
4. Reuse content. It'll be impossible to keep creating content. Even the biggest companies in the world do it.
5. Long-form content works as well. For example, you can create videos at your workshop. You do complicated repairs every week. Videos of device teardowns, battery replacements, screen replacements, microsoldering, and so on are popular on YouTube.
6. Choose whatever new feature that a social media platform launches. They want users to adopt new features, and will reward you for being an early adopter. So, if a new video format is being introduced, try it out. It's possible that the platform will boost your content.
Take Reviews Seriously
- Always follow up on reviews, and do so periodically. Leave a reply to the review.
- Do not take it personally. Be fair, but never too emotional. Keep to your brand always.
- Take responsibility but don't accept liability if you didn't do anything wrong.
- It's just as important to reply to positive reviews. People like to know their feedback was heard irrespective of the nature of the feedback.
Paying for ads is probably inefficient for repair businesses. If you don't have a marketing strategy that relies on organic channels, paying for ads won't work.
In addition, Google has imposed restrictions on advertising third-party consumer technical support. This includes repair. Even if you have a legitimate case, it's going to take more effort than usual to get ads approved. Or you'll have to find a way around and aim for keywords that do not advertise third-party repair. If you're an authorized service provider, for example, you might have an advantage.
Ideally, you should consider it only when you're running a campaign or promoting a special plan. Or if you're starting out and your organic marketing setup is still being set up.
Social media advertising is a more viable channel (compared with Search Engine Marketing) if you have the budget for advertising. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter remain the most popular for the kind of reach repair service businesses will need.
Here are some things you still need to keep in mind:
- Always localize: This applies to everything. Content should be localized. Consider using a local landmark in your ads. The audience you build using the platforms should be narrowed down as much as possible. Geographically-targeted ads can be successful for broad market categories, like a repair shop or electronics retail. People need to know where to find you and associate your business with geographic locations.
- Trust the platform: It's difficult to do, but you need to be able to trust the platform to some extent. This doesn't mean you can rely on them to get results, but the automations and filters they suggest are often useful.
- Do not rely on metrics: Reach, click rates, view rates, engagement, and so on all tell only part of the story. If you're not getting returns, none of this means anything. With the wrong audience and content, none of these metrics matter.
- Choose the right goal: Most platforms need you to set predefined goals. This will then dictate how you get to manage your ads. So choose the appropriate goal if you're primarily running ads to announce sales or discounts. For example, on Facebook that would be 'Lead generation' or 'Conversions'. You'll then be given the options most suitable to meet your goals.
- Multimedia wins: Choose a simple message and a short video. That should be your starting point for social media. No long posts, no mixed messages.
LinkedIn is Different
Linkedin is perfect if you want to run B2B ads. It's not that B2C ads should not be managed on Linkedin, but being able to target every IT team of every local business in your area is easier on the platform. Then it's down to the content and the value you provide.
Take a Long-Term View of Marketing
The most important thing to remember is that marketing should be focussed on long-term results. Yes you can run campaigns to advertise discounts and special offers. The best way though would be to have a consistent strategy that's planned over months and years.
It's also much cheaper to do this. Your return on investment will be much higher with a little spent every month.
However, the most important factor that you need to monitor will always be customer satisfaction levels. Word-of-mouth marketing and online reviews can beat out a significant amount of spending.
At Fixably, we help repair businesses improve service experience through automation and improved communication. Our customers have reported greater efficiency and improved customer satisfaction. Book a demo to know more about Fixably.