Marketing is like air--without it your business cannot thrive as well as it could. Think of it as a mindset and sets of actions that you implement in a very strategic fashion. Even if you have limited capital, you need to create a budget for different kinds of initiatives to help get the word out about all the great stuff you do in your auto body shop.

Ideally you should allocate 10 percent of your gross revenues a year to fund a variety of strategic actions that all leverage each other. Since I'm sure you would not recommend that people attempt to do their own body work (and expect sterling results) you need to think the same way about your marketing plan and tools by outsourcing those tasks to professionals who can deliver superior results to you. On a limited budget that could mean doing some or all of the following:
  • Getting a professional logo designed and professional business cards (seek out a graphic designer for this)
  • Creating a colorful professionally designed and written 6 x 9 brochure (stay away from typical tri-folds and work with a professional copywriter for the messaging)
  • Creating and mailing an oversized direct mail piece (aimed at the custom car and bike crowd)
  • Attending local or regional networking venues where you can hand out your brochure and postcard
  • Partnering up with a local repair shop to host an open house benefiting a local charity (food bank, veterans home, etc.)
  • Attending local/regional car shows to hand out your literature
  • Getting a professional press release written about your shop and its old fashioned, friendly and personal approach (submitted to local papers, cable networks, radio stations)
  • Get a 3-5 page website up online, so people can find you that way. Again, work with someone to design it to match your logo/colors (brand) and a professional webmaster to code it. Make sure you own your own domain name (the name of website address.)
I'd be happy to recommend some great resources to you if you'd like!

Best of luck to you in all your endeavors!
Pattie S.