- Your shop really needs to get on board with digital marketing, but
- You don’t want to do it yourself. At all.
We feel that. You’re already wearing a ton of hats. Don’t add one more to that pile if you don’t have to.
Your next step is choosing a digital marketing agency to handle all that, ahem, stuff for you. But where do you begin? Can you pick out a local SEO place and call it a day?
Maybe. If you aren’t doing anything at all for your shop, then yeah, a really good SEO place should be able to bump you up a couple spots in Google.
But we think you can do better—and not just because we want you to hire us. Yes, Dieselmatic is an expert in the commercial diesel repair sphere, but we also want to give you the tools you need to make the right kind of decision about what kind of agency you hire—whether that’s us or someone else.
So, where do you begin?
GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
Lots of shops start looking for agencies without doing anything else. If you want to get ahead of the game, though, put together some goals and at least a starting budget that you’re willing to spend.
Goals aren’t necessarily monetary in nature, although in business you need cash flow for just about everything. Maybe you want to hire three new techs in 2023, or expand your business to a different service. Maybe you want to give your staff a huge raise and sock away more money for retirement. The sky’s the limit—just know that your goals will likely inform your potential budget.
The easiest way to figure out your budget, by the way, is to ask yourself how much revenue you want it to bring in next year. If you want your shop to bring in $2 million in gross revenue in ‘23, then your marketing budget should be 3-5% of that target goal.
(According to my calculator, that is between $60,000 and $100,000.)
You can read more about setting goals and setting a budget in this post over at Fullbay. If that number looks completely insane and out of reach, don’t panic; just cut it in half. See how that feels. The point is you need to set some kind of marketing budget and determine a return on that investment. You can increase the budget as you grow.
All right, you’ve got your numbers in hand and an idea of what you want to spend. How do you determine whether an agency is the right fit for your shop?
LOOK FOR EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS
There are some basics that every good agency should possess. You obviously want to see a clean, professionally designed website and a social media presence. But that’s like, the bare minimum.
If they have case studies or other records of results from their customers, all the better. See if you can find some industry overlap between the agency’s existing clients and your commercial repair shop. The easiest similarity is probably the auto repair industry. They’re not identical by any means, but if an agency has done nice work for auto repair shops, chances are they can at least learn about diesel.
(This doesn’t mean they will. But it’s just a starting point in your search.)
Be wary of agencies that focus exclusively on the booming ecommerce industry. You’re bound to see plenty of successful examples in that niche—but that doesn’t always translate into something that works for diesel. Tracking ecommerce analytics is a completely different conversion from the offline, in-shop sales in the diesel industry.
When you narrow down your findings to a couple of agencies that you want to explore further, it’s time to actually start talking to them.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN AN AGENCY?
We cornered Dieselmatic’s Managing Director Nick Adams for some advice on this one. How, we asked, can we make sure an agency is going to do right by a diesel repair shop?
He came up with two questions every shop owner should ask their potential agencies (and yes, he gave us the general answer you’ll want to hear).
First, find out how the agency intends to market you. If they start talking about linkbuilding with other sites, forget it. You want to hear that they’ll create quality content that your users actually care about. That is what search engines are rewarding. That is also coincidentally what your potential customers want to see: evidence that your shop knows its stuff.
(As an example, head over to Dieselmatic customer Adrenaline Diesel and behold its glorious Cummins ISX: Most Common Problems post. It’s extremely specific and relevant to the diesel repair industry. Many customers likely have their own Cummins problems that they may head to Adrenaline to get sorted.)
The next thing you should ask is, “What type of marketing campaigns and platforms are best for our specific types of customers?”
There are two primary channels an agency should look at for you: High-intent customers and customer retention.
Your high-intent customers are the people who need truck repair services RIGHT NOW. You get them with Google Ads and organic SEO (achieved by building your site and pushing your site’s ranking higher).
Customer retention and brand-building are more focused around the Google Ads Display Network, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, and other areas that get photos, reviews, your logos, and so on in front of other potential customers. These are more or less standard customers—they don’t need immediate help, but they’re thinking about what shop they might go to sometime down the line.
(This stuff is time-consuming, by the way. We wrote an ebook about it if you’re interested.)
Basically, a good agency will keep your shop top of mind for customers in the research phase and customers that need you to rescue them by the side of the road right this instant.
THE #1 SIGN AN AGENCY ISN’T RIGHT FOR YOU
There are a million and one reasons why you might not go for an agency, but the biggest red flag Nick can think of comes after a successful pitch. You like what the agency does, they present their prices, and you say…
(Wait for it…)
“Wow, that’s so cheap.”
If you want high-quality work, you need to be prepared to pay for it. This isn’t a new idea, especially in the diesel industry. Constantly looking for the cheapest rates (in anything) just puts you in a race to the bottom.
Here’s a real-life example for you to take a look at. Nick shared with us a screencap of an anonymous shop that worked with Dieselmatic and then left them. They started working with Dieselmatic in 2020 and as you can see, their traffic and visibility shot upward. In July of 2021, the shop brought its marketing in-house.
That graph isn’t lying. Within a month their traffic tanked.
Quality is important. You should expect to pay for it—but you should also expect a good ROI from true professionals.
QUALITY IS THE NAME OF OUR GAME
Dieselmatic is big on ROI.
Nick and the rest of the team realized early on that Dieselmatic could fill a much-needed niche—providing high-quality digital marketing just for the commercial diesel repair industry. Yeah, you can get some results from an SEO shop, but why not entrust your operation to experts who understand a) what you do and b) the context of the industry you exist in?
Still haven’t found the right agency? Schedule a call with us. We’d love to help you out.