In 2017, while serving as the chief marketing officer for Lefler Collision & Glass Repair Centers, I learned of a digital marketing service that would allow us to place electronic fences, or “geofences,” around our competitors. When cell phones, with location services on, crossed into them, they then started to show our ads to those in need of collision repair, in real time.
It didn’t take long for geofencing to make a dramatic impact on our business.
By 2018, we had cut nearly all of our traditional advertising and marketing (such as television ads and radio spots) and heavily reallocated those dollars to geofencing.
Geofencing provided us the ability to track results and conversions, meaning customers that had gone to a competitor’s shop, started seeing our ads online, and then came into one of our locations. It was a complete game-changer for our growth in an area with nearly 50 competitors.
How does geofencing work?
Let’s use a body shop as an example.
Imagine an electronic fence placed around your yard for your dog but, instead, around the rooftop of your competitor’s body shop. This technology runs on location services, a method of tracking that cellphones use to power your GPS or to help find you the nearest restaurant. When a potential customer has his or her cell phone’s locations services on (an estimated 90% of people do), it pings the electronic fence that it has crossed, and your software starts showing them your shop’s ads on websites they are visiting for the next few days.
The ultimate goal is to get that potential customer that walked into your competitor’s shop to choose you to repair their vehicle instead.
One way to appeal to those searching for the right shop is to highlight all of your value propositions. For example, maybe you offer mobile estimates, maybe you have OEM certifications and advanced safety, or maybe you’ve obtained some great Carwise reviews over the years. Utilize these qualities and offers.
At the end of each month, each shop receives a report through its digital dashboard that has tracked how many times their ads were seen, how many people clicked on them, and how many conversions (people who went from a competitor to their shop), occurred.
Last week, a BMW-certified shop said it has seen a huge increase in work after geofencing their local BMW dealerships, which is so exciting!
How can you gain market share?
The collision repair industry is challenging because statistics show that people only get in a wreck every 7-10 years. They rarely know where to take their vehicle. Also, it’s impossible to track the return on investment for nearly every other type of marketing. Many of them, such as television and radio, can be very costly. With Geofencing, you can target customers going to your competitors, show them your ads, and see how many came to your shop instead.
In 2018, after speaking at the FenderBender Management Conference and seeing the response and excitement regarding geofencing, it became our passion. My partners, Jimmy Lefler, the previous CEO of Lefler Collision, and Ed Dietz, the previous COO of Lefler Collision, knew that, following our acquisition, this was our calling.
As a result, in early 2019, we launched our digital marketing agency, 3P Marketing Solutions.
If you have any questions about how to gain market share with geofencing, fill out the form below, and we’ll respond as soon as possible.
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Megan Williams is the co-founder of 3P Marketing Solutions and a collision repair marketing expert. The former CMO for Lefler Collision and Glass Repair Centers increased their market share to over 50 percent within their very saturated area with more than 50 competing repair shops. Williams also serves as an industry consultant.