Super interesting thread. I read the whole discussion with much interest. I am with George C. on this one.
Marketing does not work like it use to. Speaking with Dave Piper of Dave's Lamont St Auto Repair In San Diego, CA, he told me that in the 80's a Yellow Page ad for $5K per month would yield $20K in new customers' work. Today, nothing you spend the $5K on will produce that kind of huge return. The world has changed. Our customers are blasted from every direction with deals and empty promises. It's like trying to have a conversation in a loud nightclub.
Shops that understand the new realities have a strong presence on the web with a CMS (content management system) that integrates SEO (search engine optimization), a blog that is interesting, timely and relevant, online reviews with an excellent reputation, PPC (pay per click adds so that people typing in searches for key words see you at the top of on the first page), online appointment capabilities and a mobile friendly website (a responsive site that adjust to smaller screen sizes).
But at the core of a successful growth strategy is keeping your customers delighted with your "signature" service. They are your ambassadors by word of month and online advertising you to the world.
Check out our new website - http://www.AutoServiceIntelligence.com/