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Thursday, January 16, 2020
Responding to online reviews isn’t just customer communication; it’s high-visibility marketing. An easy way for people to learn how your shop treats customers is by reading the responses to the shop’s online reviews. Click here to learn how how to use your review responses to make you look great.
Monday, December 30, 2019
It’s been an eventful year in the automotive world, but the big story hasn’t changed for independent automotive repair shops. Successful shops understand their customers, understand their community, and understand how to run a profitable business. Our most popular infographics of the year reflect the reality that auto repair shop owners are trying to better understand all three. Here are our most popular infographics of 2019!
When you open a new shop, it can take years for locals to think of you when they hear the words auto repair. But there are steps you can take to increase your visibility and memorability, which will speed this process up considerably. This infographic provides five of the most effective techniques to become known more quickly.
Most people don’t know enough about cars to know the difference between a great repair job and a subpar one. Unfortunately, a large part of a customer’s perception of the quality your shop provides comes down to their confidence in your knowledge and professionalism.
When customers see (or hear) something that causes them to doubt the quality of your work, they are less likely to be satisfied with that work – even if it was exceptional. Learn how to maintain the appearance of an experienced, high-caliber shop by reading this infographic.
We surveyed 600 auto repair shop customers to learn how they choose what shop to go to and what keeps them coming back. This infographic covers the most important findings of our research. The most exciting part of this research is that customers of independent auto repair shops are happier with their shops than customers of franchises or dealerships!
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help bring new customers into your shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.
Monday, December 23, 2019
It’s that time of the year when everyone makes resolutions. Most of us make too many of them to ever accomplish them all, and they fall off our calendars one by one, until they’re all gone by the end of February.
That’s doesn’t mean it’s not worth the time to plan and execute some changes to improve your shop – and your job satisfaction – in the coming year. Here are three suggestions for things to leave behind as you move into 2020.
Customer Nearsightedness – It costs a lot of money to bring a new customer into your shop. When most shops aren’t getting enough traffic, that’s exactly where they put their focus. Those new customers are important – but make sure you put just as much focus on how to get them to come back a second, third and fourth time, establishing a habit of visiting your shop (and a new home for their vehicle) in the process. Those follow-up visits cost much less to earn than that first one.
Short-Term Budgeting – No matter where your shop is in the US, odds are that one season is worse on vehicles than the rest of them. And if you do happen to be in one of those places where the weather is always beautiful, you’ve probably got a tourist season. Either way, some months probably bring more vehicle traffic to your shop than others, and you probably already have a good idea of which months those will be in 2020.
If you’ve got any major purchases to make, try to make them during the good months. Try to move as many expenses out of the bad months as possible, and make sure to build up an extra cash buffer going into them. An annual budget helps to make those slow months less painful – and if it’s managed well, it can also help minimize your tax burden!
Negativity – Life is too short to work with a hostile technician or service writer. One of the advantages of running your own business is that you can shape the culture, improving the lives of yourself and your co-workers. If you’ve got an employee that’s angry, disagreeable or dishonest, it doesn’t matter how much they’re producing for you, they’re not worth it. They’ll send employees, recruits, and customers running faster than they can ever make money for you. Get rid of them.
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop bring in more customers, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.
Monday, December 9, 2019
If you own an auto repair business, you probably know that consumers find local businesses online. And if you’ve ever bought a website from someone who doesn’t know much about auto repair or search engine optimization, you’ve probably also learned that it’s not always easy to show up online. After all, every other auto shop in town wants to show up, too, and there’s only so much space on the first page of Google.
You’ve probably also been told by a web provider that they’ll get you results if you’ll just pay them for a few more months. Sure, it takes time to show up on Google – but how much time does it really take?
The short answer is that it takes at least three to six months. You might show up further down the rankings in the first few months, but if your domain is brand new, it really will take some time to get a first or second page search ranking – and that’s if you’re doing everything right.
To get results within a quarter or two, your website needs plenty of content about your auto repair services. It needs to be well written; Google needs to see that it’s written in paragraphs written for humans, not a bunch of spammy keywords designed to trick search engines. Your site should have some good visual content and be linked to other websites relevant to auto repair. Ideally, your web provider will help you get some legitimate links back to your site, which also helps with visibility.
If you want to get the fastest results, there are a few things your provider can’t do without your help. The most important is setting up your Google My Business account; it’s free, and if you don’t have up-to-date, accurate information about your shop here, Google will punish your website in the organic search rankings. If you need help, we wrote a blog about how to set up your Google My Business profile.
Another way to boost your search results (and, more importantly, the number of calls you get) is asking for Google reviews from satisfied customers. Businesses with a strong set of reviews are more likely to search well. They are also far more likely to get called by the people who find them online.
Perhaps the most important part of searching well is to have one website. Obviously, you’re not going to get found easily without a web presence. But if you have several websites, you’re also going to have problems. Google doesn’t like delivering bad information; if you’ve got five web addresses and it can’t figure out which one is the “official” one, it’s not likely to show any of them.
To learn more about Repair Shop Websites and how we can get you found online, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
When it comes to marketing services, everyone wants to sell you something. Get your company in front of thousands of eyes! A picture is worth a thousand words! Guaranteed results! Surely if these companies stay in business, they’ve got to work for somebody. Right?
Not necessarily. Over 90% of those postcard mailers will get thrown away before anyone looks at them. A big visual ad is useless if someone isn’t actively thinking about auto repair or maintenance when they see it. And about those guaranteed results – if a marketing company could really get 100% of all repair shops a giant return on their marketing investment, don’t you think you would have heard of them by now? They’d be the only auto repair marketing company on the planet.
In fact, many of the most effective marketing techniques don’t cost as much as you’d expect. Some of them are free! Here are the most important things to do if you need more auto repair business.
Get your name where it matters online
If you’re trying to get your business in front of customers right when they’re thinking about auto repair, these are the three most important facts to consider.
To get new customers from the internet, you don’t need a beautiful, custom website. You need a site with the content that gets you on the first page of Google. And if you want to earn all of those customers who are trying to learn more about you, you want to have a Google Review rating above 4.0. That means you need to ask your happy customers for reviews, even if it’s awkward or unpleasant.
Ask for referrals (and explain why)
So many companies build marketing campaigns asking for referrals that it’s easy for consumers to get immune to them. That’s a shame, because referrals are the lifeblood of a small business. A great referral source is the easiest way for one customer to turn into a hundred customers.
When you ask for a referral, don’t do it like big business does it – an off-hand, scripted remark that’s said as quickly as possible because it’s awkward and unsure. Do it in a way that will make it have an impact.
After a customer tells you they’re happy with your work, thank them for the feedback. Then tell them you’re a small business, and you’d really appreciate the opportunity to be a home for any family or friends who are looking for a trustworthy mechanic. Tell them referrals are one of the most important ways that you get business. Give them a couple of cards and tell them to hand them to anyone who needs work done.
The reality is that most people won’t make the effort of referring you even if you ask. But if you can double your referral rate, you can have a dramatic effect on the amount of business coming your way.
Shock your customers
Every industry works to set customer expectations. The bill at a nice restaurant comes with a dinner mint. If a restaurant puts a York peppermint patty in there instead, it might surprise you, but it wouldn’t be shocking.
When you break through customer expectations with a truly unique way of showing your appreciation, however, you can earn loyal customers for life. How can you do this? There are plenty of options – you just need to get creative.
One shop partnered with a local bakery, and every customer car is returned with a bag of freshly baked cookies. Another shop keeps a stock of new Matchbox cars on hand, and customers’ kids can pick out a vehicle each time they visit.
If you’re vacuuming the car before returning it, or offering a free car wash, you’re doing the equivalent of offering a York patty instead of a dinner mint. The cookies and Matchbox cars, however, are more than that. They’re creative ways for shops to show that they’re looking for every opportunity to improve customer lives. That’s why these inexpensive gestures can turn first-time customers into lifetime customers.
Why do lifetime customers matter so much? Most companies would go bankrupt if they had to attract a new customer for each transaction. New customers become profitable when they turn into repeat customers. If you want repeat customers, you’ve got to give them a reason to always choose your shop. For many customers, showing them that you really care about them is enough to do just that.
If you’re looking for more business for your shop, call Repair Shop Websites at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.