Our counterparts at our parent company, Fullbay, recently received a response to a marketing-centric email. (OK, the email was actually about Dieselmatic.) The writer, presumably a shop owner, was succinct:
I need more mechanics, not more marketing.
Man, we felt that.
A lot of shop owners hold on to that belief. And why not? The tech shortage continues to be a problem, and you can’t crank out more work if you don’t have technicians to do the work. And keeping your shop staffed up is just a pressing, real-world problem. Marketing, especially the digital variety, often feels abstract at best, and a waste of time at worst.
We would obviously like to change that perception.
No duh, Dieselmatic, you might be saying. You’re a marketing agency. Of course you want us to like marketing.
Well, yeah. And obviously, we hope to help you respect marketing enough to want to hire us to do it for you. But you know what? We’re upfront about that. And today, we’re going to talk about three big reasons why marketing is important (#2 will shock you!).
Before anything else, let’s distill what marketing means in the context of this blog. Marketing your shop is about getting the word out. It’s putting your shop in front of eyeballs that need to see it, whether those eyeballs belong to a fleet manager, an owner-operator, or a diesel technician on the hunt for a better job.
Yes, friends, good marketing can help you hire.
1. MARKETING HELPS YOU REACH CUSTOMERS
We’ll start out with the obvious reason to market—you want new customers.
There are over 1.3 million trucking companies in the United States and Canada. The vehicles those companies operate (over 15.5 million!) will all need repairs and maintenance. Fleet managers may rely on word of mouth from time to time, but they’re also going to be scouring the internet looking for repair facilities.
Marketing is the #1 way to get potential customers into your revenue funnel. Remember, diesel visitors aren’t always immediate, high-intent customers. Yes, a percentage of work is due to emergencies, but the fleet managers nosing around the internet for repair shops are doing their research.
As Dieselmatic’s Managing Director Nick Adams once said, “The overall purpose of marketing is to stay top of mind for your customer.”
Maybe they won’t call you today or tomorrow. But if they call you six months from now and need PMs done for their fleet of 15 vehicles, well…that’s your marketing doing its job.
2. MARKETING HELPS YOU REACH TECHS
Does the above not apply to you? Is your shop so successful that you’re turning away work until you can hire more techs?
(If so—congratulations! You’re obviously doing awesome work.)
Marketing isn’t just for customers. Marketing, as we discussed above, gets the word out. That word can reach potential techs, too. Most of your rising technicians are Gen-Zs, millennials, and maybe some Gen-Xers. They’re all used to browsing online for new jobs. They fully expect businesses to have nice, easily navigable websites that look decent on computers and cellphones.
Of course you’re going to say good marketing attracts techs, you might be saying, you’re a marketing agency!
Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the truth.
Jay Goninen and the WrenchWay team have long been proponents of using your website and social media accounts to attract technicians. Your marketing tells your shop’s story, and your potential techs—and other potential employees for that matter—want to know that story. They want to know what your business is all about and why they should consider working for you.
If you’re an owner that hasn't hunted for a job in a long time, you might not realize how much recon job-seekers will do on a place. Here’s just a few of the things your marketing can tell potential techs about your shop:
- Does your shop look successful? A slick marketing campaign isn’t everything, but it shows a willingness to invest.
- Does your shop look tidy and well set up in pictures?
- Do you have hours and services listed so people can see if their skill set applies?
- Does your shop have a culture that visitors can pick up on?
- Does your shop seem to have a lot of happy customers that comment on friendly staff and excellent service?
Now, imagine a tech spots your Help Wanted posting somewhere, but can’t find anything about your shop. Are they still going to call or email you? Or are they going to apply to the shop up the road that has a website with a hefty “About Us” section?
(Spoiler alert: They will apply to the other shop.)
3. “THE DAY YOU NEED IT, IT’S TOO LATE”
There’s a third major benefit of marketing that not a lot of us think about: its ability to help you shore up against potential problems.
We were chatting with Fullbay’s COO, Chris O’Brien, about general mistakes he’s seen shops make over the years, and marketing came up. “[Even if] you’re not trying to generate more profitable business, because you’re just saying ‘I’m busy,’ then you’re not doing yourself a good service by making sure you have the right mix of customers,” he said. “You should always be evaluating the health of your customer base.”
He went on to add, “Completely turning off your marketing awareness, your lead funnel…one, it will stunt your growth; two, the day you need it, it’s too late. Others have already optimized [their marketing] and you’re trying to get by on the scraps.”
Think of everything that’s happened since just 2020: the pandemic and subsequent fallout (including the parts shortage). Rising inflation. Insane fuel prices. Potential recession. Even if you do everything right, any one of these things can cause your customers to pull back, scale down, or even go out of business. You will need to recoup the income those customers take with them.
How do you plan to do that if no one knows you exist?
A decent marketing plan can keep your shop afloat during hard times. It keeps your operation in front of the eyes that need to see it—whether those eyes belong to customers or potential employees.
We’ll wrap this piece by suggesting that you look into marketing, even if you’re wildly successful and don’t think you need it. You never know when the work might run out, or a customer goes out of business—and the revenue you were counting on dries up. Protect your shop and yourself by making sure people know you exist.
(And yeah, we can help you do that. Get in touch with us when you’re ready—we’d love to keep you top of mind.)