On Wednesday, Oct. 31, several SEMA attendees gathered in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center for a seminar on how to develop an effective digital marketing strategy in collision repair.
The two-hour seminar was presented by Brent Betts, senior digital marketing consultant for AP Digital, as part of the Society for Collision Repair Specialists’ Repairer Driven Education series offered at this year’s SEMA Show.
Betts’ seminar delved deeply into topics such as challenges body shop owners face, why a shop’s website is its online foundation, the impact of online search in the collision repair industry and the most effective digital platforms that generate business.
Betts began the presentation by providing some background on AP Digital and how the certified digital marketing firm is relevant to the collision repair industry.
“We are certified in Google Ads and Google Analytics,” he said. “We are members of several auto body associations across the country and [we have] some partnerships with companies like AkzoNobel and TopShop Marketing. We are the website developer for SCRS [and] for the show website for the NORTHEAST show in New Jersey.”
The first item Betts discussed was common body shop challenges. These challenges included the frustration shop owners often experience when their shop doesn’t operate at full capacity, the difficulty of finding customers outside of their current referral sources and increased competition from consolidators.
“What I want you to realize is that these people (consolidators) are also competing against you online. In most cases, the consolidators have a regional team that does the marketing for several shops under that nameplate, and typically when we are doing Google campaigns for our clients, we will find that those are some of the people who are driving the market in terms of their activity. They’re very involved in the Google space,” he said.
Betts addressed the reality that many of the seminar’s attendees were likely skeptical about marketing and/or had had bad experiences with marketing in the past. He also acknowledged that others may recognize the value of an increased online presence but are just unsure of whom to trust.