Spring is here for most of North America (sorry, Wisconsin!), which means many bike shops are starting to get busy. I visit a lot of bike shops, their websites, and social media channels, and wanted to provide some resources to those that maybe don’t have full-time staff to help them run their marketing. Here are some key tips on getting your bike shop marketing ready for this season and beyond!
What is Bike Shop Marketing?
Here’s the first, and most basic thing, I want to get across in this article – your marketing doesn’t have to be overly hype/sales/catchy. Look at marketing as a resource and think about these things:
- How can you be HELPFUL?
- How can you get the info your customer is looking for to them faster?
- How can you answer FAQ so you aren’t answering the same question 20x a day?
- How can you inspire your ideal customer to ride more often or come visit you to try a bike?
Remember, it doesn’t have to be glossy fancy photos or overly produced videos. Simply put, be helpful to your target customer.
The Basics of Good Bike Shop and Local Marketing
A basic website should answer the following questions quickly for a customer:
- What type of bike shop are you? Gravel? Community? Electric bikes? All around general bike shop? What makes you different for that specific customer?
- Where are you located? It should be very apparent which city you are located in, and then it shouldn’t be hard to find your actual address.
- How do they contact you? Phone, email, and web address form.
- What are your hours or how do they book an appointment?
- What brands/models do you carry?
- What other services do you provide? Pricing and how to schedule should be included.
Deciding where you need to be on social is very much driven by your ideal customer and where they are. For example, a family cargo bike shop may have the best impact on Instagram and Facebook, while a high-end tech-focused road shop that sells online could get a lot of sales through YouTube. No matter where you are posting, here are some high-level thoughts:
- Make sure your bio includes what type of shop you are / your tagline, your location with exact address, and how to reach you.
- Try to post 2-3 times per week to stay relevant.
- Represent yourself well and to the right audience. Bike shops can be fun and silly but remember you are representing your company for years to come on social.
- Be relevant to your customer: inspire, show examples of new products in use, bike routes, new bike days, and behind-the-scenes of the shop.
Email is Still King
Your best marketing is your customer email list. Send an email a month that is helpful, inspiring, and something your target customer would look forward to reading. Examples:
- “That bike shop has the best list of gravel bike rides in our area”
- “I gotta read that email to preorder that new Garmin when it becomes available”
Yelp and Google Reviews
If you aren’t the only bike shop in town, the number of high-quality reviews with good keywords will make you additional customers in your sleep. Every new bike sale and service should receive an email asking how you did, and then ask for a review. For the customers you become friends with, ask them to include specific keywords that you want to show up for like electric bike, Tern Bikes, or “Best Bike Shop in San Diego”.
Ring, Ring! Your Phone
I’ve been calling on a lot of bike shops lately and a few things stood out to me:
- What is the script your staff should answer the phone with?
- Do they prioritize the customer in front of them or answering the phone?
- Is your voicemail set up with a helpful greeting?
- Can someone text your shop instead of calling?
How can you be the best resource locally for your customers?
Whatever your reason is for working in the bike shop, my guess is it is to get more people on bikes. Marketing doesn’t have to be overly engineered to be successful if you are genuine in your efforts.
What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!