Did you know that as a locally owned transmission repair shop owner, you have a significant competitive advantage when it comes to marketing your shop? And, if you do it right, you can get thousands of dollars worth of free publicity.
Hardly a week goes by without something getting mentioned in the national news about automobiles. It might be a recall, supply chain issues, or the cost of used cars. When these stories pop up in the national news, the local media has a problem. They can repeat the story – boring, or they can look for a local angle. As a local automotive expert, you can help the media explain how the issue affects people in your town.
As an independent pharmacy marketing specialist, I’ve helped hundreds of local pharmacies get mentioned in the news. And I’m convinced the same opportunity exists for auto repair and transmission shops. But to make it happen, you’ll need a plan and need to do some development work. Yes, I know there are differences between medicine and automotive, but the process is the same while the labels and issues are different.
For starters, sit down with your staff and discuss the idea. The key question is, can you envision how being featured on local TV, radio, or newspaper for free will benefit and improve the profitably of your shop? If yes, then decide who will take the lead in managing the initiative. Generally speaking, the owner speaks with the media, but the program can be managed by any team member.
Next, create a spreadsheet that includes as many local media outlets as you can think of. Then search for the names of the news directors and get their email addresses. This requires internet research and old-fashioned detective work, including talking with customers, vendors, and anyone else who can provide information. I’ve found that most pharmacy owners end up with a list of about a dozen media outlets.
Then, send a short introductory email to the people on your list. It’s a good idea to send them out to just one outlet at a time, perhaps in one-week intervals. You’re looking for one good media partner as most outlets prefer working with you on an exclusive basis. In your email, describe the kind of work you do and how that provides an insider perspective. Explain that the next time there’s an automotive-related news story, you’d be happy to do an interview to supply background information and discuss how the issue will affect people in your town.
Be prepared. You’re likely to get some rejections. It typically takes a few emails before you are contacted by a reporter. But don’t be surprised because it can happen in an instant. Be alert – you’ll be listening to the news and hear a story. Don’t wait. Immediately reach out by email and phone, advising them that you can help them better understand and explain to their audience how it will affect them and the local area.
Many pharmacies find that other opportunities arise after they are featured a few times in the commercial media. Civic clubs, church groups, and senior centers are often eager for articles on automobile issues for their newsletters that you can write and they’ll publish for free. The payoff increases in new customers who come to your shop because they’ve heard about you in the news and trust you.
If you’re coming to the Powertrain Expo and feel this idea has merit, you’re in luck! I’m presenting a program called Profitability Medicine from Your Local Pharmacist. It will go into more detail on this topic and several other marketing tactics independent pharmacies use to compete against the big drug chains and attract more and more profitable customers.
Ironically, a former transmission franchise executive helped launch Bruce Kneeland’s career in the pharmacy business. While he’s not a pharmacist, Bruce received the 2022 American Pharmacists Association’s Honorary Membership Award. He’s also listed as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Pharmacy. Kneeland is an engaging speaker. You’re sure to enjoy his story-telling style at this year’s Powertrain Expo.