Marketing Lessons From A Tire Shop Owner
“Since the 70s we’ve spent money on Yellow page ads. YP was the place, we could spend $200,000 a year or more on Yellow Pages and they would cover everything for us. The Yellowpage book, mobile ads, mailers, PPC, we did it all through them.”
Have You Learned Any Marketing Lessons?
We learned we didn’t track enough and our knowledge does not equal the money spent.
In the process, we did some A/B testing, where we switched up our adds from a full page ad to 2 half page ads and although we didn’t track ROI like we should have, we’ve realized over time that our clients aren’t searching for us through the yellow Page book like they once were.
We ask our customers “how did you hear about us”, and rarely, if ever, do they say the Yellow Pages. So things have changed. We had to reduce our ad spend on the book significantly, or else we were just wasting our money.
We also learned that our money spent on YP mobile Ads was worth the money. One out of 2 of or clients were coming to us through the phone. Nearly 50% of our website visitors, according to our Google Analytics. So these ads made sense.
So when we switched from wholesale to strictly retail, we didn’t need ads in the entire state (not that we did then either).
We never actually audited these ads to realize they were retail-type ads in cities across the state that we had no retail presence. We thought since our wholesale business covered the state it made sense to have ads across the state. Unfortunately, these ads were popping up on retail queries, so it really wasn’t a good match for our dollars.
We did a bad job of auditing the queries that YP was selling us. Our retail stores are in Tulsa & Broken Arrow, yet we had “tire shop” ads in 10-20 different cities.
We learned, you want PPC ads honed into your city and more specifically into your hot zone, zip codes. Once we went through these PPC ads that were wasting money, our ROI improved, we were spending less and gaining more dollars.
In essence, we drilled deeper into the keywords and phrases that were applicable to our location. It took us millions of dollars to learn these lessons.
It’s not like we had an in-house marketing department, so you trust the salesmen selling you the ads, then they tell you they can sell you more ads, so you buy them too. You look back and think about how much money you’ve wasted and how you could have better tracked your ROI.
Like I said, we’ve always done everything through YP. So instead of MoneyMailer, Valpak, RSVP and other mailers, we decided to do the YP mailers.
Which were extremely expensive. I think in some months we would spend $10,000 just on mailers. We knew they weren’t gaining very much traction for us, but with out in-house tracking and iteration, we were losing money. It took us much longer than it should have to realize they were not working for us.
What Do You Do Differently Now To Market Your Tire & Auto Repair Shop?
We understand marketing dollars better. We track our ROI. If we spend money on a certain query such as “Tire Shops in Tulsa”, then we need to have an idea of the ROI on that keyword.
Instead of looking at the handles YP gave us (clicks, impressions, calls, website clicks – which were skewed by queries in cities that were miles from our location), we look more directly at specific queries and the success rate of those queries.
We also don’t do mailers, but if we did, it would contain a tracking code and it would only be the zip code our business is located in and maybe 1-2 neighboring zip codes.
The key is to first have your organic search locked down. We never spend time to make sure we were who we are trying to be organically. Now that we have a strategy to compete on the organic level, our marketing dollars are put to use much more successfully.