We’ve got one, your competition probably has one, even Danica wants you to have one. So what’s stopping you from getting one? A shop website, that is.
According to a recent survey by Babcox Research, 81% of the respondents indicated that they have Internet access at their work location, yet only 46% have a website and only an additional 9% want to get one.
But a lot of people out there depend on the Internet as their primary source of information about local businesses. Where will you end up in their search? Will they find you at all?
“It is no longer acceptable to hope that customers will ‘find’ your business; you have to proactively promote yourself,” says Ron Pyle, Automotive Service Association (ASA)’s president and chief staff executive. And an essential marketing tool is a website. ASA recently honored the Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites of 2009. “These ASA members have demonstrated the importance of having a web presence to effectively compete in the digital age,” continues Pyle.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of where to begin, don’t be. Check out some of the winners of ASA’s Top 10 award and see what they’ve done to promote themselves online. These shops likely hired someone to build the sites for them. A quick Google search of “repair shop websites” led me to three automotive-specific companies that offer these services Net Driven (www.getnetdriven.com), Repair Shop Websites (www.repairshopwebsites.com) and Autoshop Solutions (www.autoshopsolutions.com) and I’m sure there are many more. If you’re associated with an automotive parts group or tire company, check with them. They may offer the service as well.
Not only will your website provide your shop’s vital details such as your address, phone number, directions and hours, it gives you a chance to introduce yourself to potential customers, let them know how long you’ve been in business and how your experience can benefit them. Brag about yourself and your techs. Acknowledge all ASE and other certifications.
List services you specialize in. You’ve no doubt invested in tools and equipment that allow you to provide exceptional, expert service. Just purchased an ABS scan tool? Highlight your ability to diagnose why that ABS light is on. Tell customers you’re ready for the A/C season with your refrigerant recovery/recycle machine.
Also include your community involvement. Have you sponsored a local baseball team for the last 10 years or donated your services to the Rotary Club? Show the community you’re invested in them as well.
The ultimate goal is simple. Build a site that promotes your shop, provides pertinent information, looks good and leaves the viewer with a positive feeling about your business so that they pick up the phone and call you. In the long run, this will help you boost your marketing efforts and shop image and, ultimately, increase your business’s bottom line.
And while you’re online, go to www.TechShopMag.com, send us your Top 5 Tools, and become a Facebook fan of the magazine. You can also follow us on Twitter. We post tool giveaways, contests, news, tool show photos and more.