Local SEO continues to be one of the most potent digital marketing strategies. As more and more businesses direct their focus to online tools and resources to market their brands, proper SEO is still proving to be one of the most effective ways of putting your name out there and attracting high-quality leads. This is especially true for auto repair shops and tow truck businesses.
Car troubles are some of the things that most people rarely think about as they don’t experience them on a daily basis. This is why whenever an issue arises with their vehicle, they quickly rush online to find auto repair shops near them. Most of the time, they will go for the auto repair shops that appear at the top of the first page of the search engine results. This means that the businesses on these spots will attract more customers, and it will be easier for them to promote their brand.
This means that if you haven’t yet invested in SEO, then there is a high risk of your business missing out on business opportunities even if you are offering better quality service than your competitors.
There are many long term benefits that auto repair shops and tow truck businesses can benefit from SEO, and they include:
1. Higher Conversion Rate
What makes SEO different from other traditional forms of marketing is that instead of marketing yourself to the general public and hoping that your target audience comes across your advert, SEO enables you to promote your brand directly to your intended audience in real-time. The people visiting your site will have already established a need for your services, and thus, there will be a higher possibility of them converting. In addition, by offering quality services, you will be able to achieve a long list of repeat customers.
2. SEO Lowers Your Marketing Expenditure
It goes without saying that advertising is an expensive affair and most small businesses don’t have the budgets to match. However, with a proper SEO marketing strategy, you will be able to achieve even better results without spending much. SEO enables you to easily gain a steady stream of free traffic that have a high possibility of converting.
3. Quick Results
Compared to other fields such as law, the auto repair industry isn’t as highly competitive. This means that you stand a better chance of appearing on the first page results. If you are one of the few auto-repair and tow truck businesses that have actually invested in SEO in your area, then you will gain increased traffic and new customers within a very short amount of time.
4. Helps to Boost Your Credibility
Trust and customer perception are very important when it comes to business. Customers will only want to engage with a business that they can trust. It is important to note that customers hold search engines like Google with high regard. If your site appears on the first page of the search results, then it will signal to them that your auto repair business has Google’s stamp of approval. This is why most people rarely go past the first page.
As you can see, SEO can be very beneficial to your auto repair or tow trucking business. No effective marketing strategy is complete without SEO. If you are looking to take your business to the next level, then it is the high time that you invest in SEO if you haven’t yet.
Tow Truck Business SEO – Pull Ahead of Your Competition
When you create an online presence for your towing business, you essentially use a proactive method of marketing. In other words, you are reaching out to potential clients instead of just waiting for them to hopefully find you. Hence the reason for establishing a website, as well as getting your services listed in popular directories. You want people to open their browser and spot your trusted towing business first.
But search engine optimization is not something that can stop. And once a website reaches its full potential in terms of search engine rankings, a lot of work goes into keeping that position.
Be Competitive On Digital Platforms
Smartphones and digital media has become a way of life. And with this thought in mind, what is the first thing a panicked driver is going to reach for when they are stuck on the side of the road? Yes, the driver reaches for a phone. Or something else that can help them contact a helpful towing service. But seeing as nobody really anticipates car problems, the driver has to “search” for a towing business that is close by and in a position to help.
By having a website in place that covers local searches, your business can quickly be visible to panicked drivers. But this is not a new strategy, and trust in your competitors to use the same approach. Which is what professional SEO services are for. Because it takes more than a website to grab someone’s attention.
SEO For Towing Business Will Constantly Change
The internet is a platform that constantly shifts. Users adopt different habits, and this leads to changes in search engines like Google’s algorithms. This is also why staying abreast of the latest SEO updates is so important. When old strategies are not tweaked and checked, they can actually become a problem.
But getting to the first page is only half the battle. What might takes months to achieve can easily fall away because the competition is just this fierce. And once again, the option to use professionals comes to mind. These are people that already know the trade secrets, and they have mastered the art of executing SEO strategies. More importantly, they can help to maintain the rankings you gain.
The reality is that digital platforms are growing more and more popular. And many entrepreneurs consider a move in this direction mandatory in order to be and stay competitive in their market.
Maintenance And Proper SEO Updates Help Retain Visibility
With any type of business, you want to think about the long term. What can you do now that will positively influence your towing business down the road? Not only are digital platforms incredibly affordable, but they are very effective. People trust technology like search engines to bring them relevant information, and this is the type of knowledge your towing business can really benefit from.
Whatever you do, stay focused on the future. At some point, some things need to change if you want to stay competitive. The question is will you have the professional skills to make these changes happen?
SCHEMA MARKUP – Tells Google what your Content is about and who you are. Ranked in the top 10 factors of Google’s ranking algorithm (technical SEO)
SEO TIP #1 : Schema Markup. Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. Without getting too deep into the what and why in this post, let’s dive right into the ‘how’.
From start to finish this shouldn’t take you more than 10-12 minutes to implement, depending on skill level.
Visit this link to a free tool you can use to get your schema markup code. https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/
From there you want to select Local Business from the main category, then Automotive Business, then either Auto Body Shop or Auto Repair Shop depending on your specific business model.
Go ahead and fill out your address, business hours and social profiles for your business. After the address be sure to click the “Geo Coordinates” button on the right side, it will fill your lat/long automatically after entering your address.
Now it’s time to add it to your site. Click the blue button on the top right in over to copy the code to your clip board and head over to your WordPress dashboard. (Most of you are running your site’s off WordPress. If you have a different platform, feel free to PM me for specific instructions)
Some themes will come with a place to insert code into the header of your site. If you are not sure, simply click on Plugins > Add New from the left menu, and search ‘insert headers and footers’. Install & activate the plugin. Once activated, you will find the plugin under Settings > Insert Headers & Footers….click on that.
Last Step: In the first box labeled scripts in header, you may now paste (ctrl + v) your schema markup and click save.
Congratulations! You learned a little bit and successfully implemented an important SEO element on your site.
If you want to see a video walkthrough of these steps, go ahead and request access to our private FB group for auto shop owners.
Getting your vehicle serviced is a serious matter and choosing the right mechanic or auto repair shop for the job isn’t always as simple as taking your car into the dealership from which you purchased your vehicle. When a customer makes the decision to find a local auto repair or collision center, they WILL research your business online. Here’s why acquiring a lot of [positive] reviews is crucial to growing your car count.
1. Auto Repair Shop Reviews Help Bring in New Clients
72% of customers won’t take action until they read reviews.
15% of users don’t trust businesses without reviews.
Only 6% of consumers don’t trust customer reviews at all.
Google accounts for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide.
Local businesses have an average of 39 Google reviews.
If your mechanic shop’s reviews are up to par, it can most certainly drive new customers to your shop.
2. Reviews Help Gauge your Shop’s Quality
Successful Auto Repair Shops look at reputation management as a continuous improvement process. Customers often opt to view “newest” reviews to ensure a positive experience with their vehicle maintenance. Because of this, it is important that all of your staff are made aware of why it’s important to ensure each and every customer has a positive experience from the actual repairs to the level of customer service they receive during the repair process.
3. Mechanic Reviews Help Bring in Repeat Business & Referrals
While positive reviews can help bring in new auto repair customers, they can also help bring back returning ones as well. If they’ve had an excellent experience in the past, and if you’ve asked them to leave a review, these customers know that you care about them, as well as your work. After all, a good auto repair shop doesn’t ask people for reviews if they know they’ve done a poor job. Show your customers you take pride in your business and ask them to provide their honest feedback so you can better continue to refine your reputation on and offline.
4. Boosts Local SEO
Small auto shops don’t always think about marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). However, with individuals turning to online reviews to help form consumer decision-making, this will need to change. Asking your customers to leave an online auto shop review these days is equal to asking them to refer them to their friends and family when word-of-mouth marketing was the way to go.
With everyone using the internet and asking for “car repairs near me,” building your local SEO ranking online is crucial to your shop’s successl. The “near me” search term is what makes this more localized SEO instead of trying to rank across a wider search area. People in Dayton, Ohio, won’t necessarily be reading mechanic reviews in Auburn, CA. So, boosting your local SEO by having customers leave reviews is a great way to draw in more localized customers.
5. Auto Repair Reviews Keep You Ahead of Your Competition
Good, quality auto repair reviews will keep you ahead of your competition, almost every time. With towing companies and auto repair shops popping up all over, the competition can get fierce, especially in metropolitan areas. The better you take care of your clients and their vehicles, the more willing they will be to not only leave you a review online but also leave you a review that will set you apart from other auto repair shops. Remember, every review counts — whether it be on Google, Facebook or Yelp.
Reviews Matter — Let Us Help You Get Them
ShopHawk provides full service Web Design & Marketing for Tow Companies, Auto Repair Shops, Collision Centers and more. Part of what we do includes sending customer surveys and asking for reviews. Naturally, you will reach a few customers who have had a not-so-pleasant experience. Don’t worry! The way our platform works, only the customers who choose they would recommend your shop will be able to post a review online. If they choose they would NOT recommend you, they are only able to provide you feedback via email. This allows for your shop to get real feedback for the continuous improvement process we mentioned above, but not damage your online reputation.
One of the first questions shop owners want to know when they call our company is: How much does an auto repair shop website cost? Although this is a very difficult question to answer, I will try to do my best here to explain some general pricing guidelines.
The purchase of a website is much like the purchase of a vehicle or even a house. With so many options to choose from, price ranges can vary drastically. Just as a Toyota Camry can start around $20k with just a base model package, the cost can quickly increase to well over $30k once a buyer adds such items as power windows, CD player, all-leather interior, chrome finishes, built-in GPS, etc. Maybe you travel long distance and a hybrid vehicle is better suited to your needs. Worried about power and performance? Upgrade to a V6 for an extra few grand. You get the point, right?
Considering that the average American sells or trades in their vehicle within the first 5 years of purchase, why do so many buyers still concern themselves with these possible upgrades? The answer is because most people understand the importance of getting what they want the first time so there are no regrets down the road. This is known as buyer’s remorse, and it most definitely applies to your website as well. Because your website is going to be your business’ primary point of contact for your potential auto repair customer, it is important that you choose your needs carefully.
When a visitor lands on your auto repair website, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention and ensure they stay long enough to decide if your auto repair shop can service their current needs. Here is a list some of the most common elements added to a website, all which can affect the total cost, as well as how effective a platform it will be to attract visitors, and convert them into qualified leads.
- Responsive (Mobile Friendly)
- Modern Logo
- High Resolution Images
- Hours of Operation
- Clear Calls to Action (Phone Number / Contact Form)
- Social Media Integration
- SSL Certificate (Trust)
- Service Pages
- Map / Get Directions Link
- Appointment Scheduling
- Google Analytics
- Blog/Resource Center
- Good Hosting (Security + Fast Loading)
- Business Email Addresses
This list can go on and on depending on your auto repair shop or collision center’s immediate needs. Don’t be overwhelmed with the choices, either. Your web design agency should consult with you regarding what other successful local business sites utilize, what your shop currently has that is working or not working, and even what can be added down the line as you grow. The good thing about a properly built website is the fact that adding on new features should not be too costly or time consuming if designed properly from the beginning. Therefore, it’s so important to not rush your choice in web designer. I’ve seen plenty of shop owner’s rush into this decision just to save money upfront, or get a website up “just to have one.” This decision could cost you 10’s of thousands of dollars every year, and tarnish your brand’s integrity. Take it seriously.
How platform choice affects the cost
When a customer approaches us for either a new website or website redesign, platform choice is a key factor is final costs. While most auto repair shop owners are looking for a solution that won’t add more work to their plate, others may have a staff that will require access to the new website to update pricing, upload photos of vehicle repairs, change coupons out, etc. For this particular need, a Content Management System or CMS would be the way to go. At ShopPulse, we put the bulk of our customers on our proprietary platform, whereas the shop owner need not worry about changes themselves, or having to redesign their site 12 months from now, or pay for every little addition they think of. Essentially, we create constantly evolving websites, built by shop owners. If we are tasked by Classic Auto Collision to build a before and after gallery, we then approach you with what we did, how it affected the website, and ask if you wish to have the same feature on your business website. For the purpose of this article, however, let’s keep the topic on pricing.
How hosting affects website pricing
We’ll keep this one short, as you as the business owner shouldn’t concern yourself with servers or bandwidth or megabyte schmegabyte. All you need to know if in this day and age, your website needs to be fast and secure. Although you are the decision maker, it is the job of the web designer to educate you on different pricing levels and benefits. Don’t be alarmed, for a standard website such as your auto repair or body shop, we’re only talking a matter of a few bucks a month more here and there, but ultimately you need to know there IS a difference in hosting providers. We can certainly advise you on some providers we know to be perfect your small business website, and we also offer hosting solutions with each website we build. The most important thing is you choose the right solution for your needs. Think of it as the difference between factory and after-market parts for your customer.
The Bottom Line on Pricing
I wish I could have answered the pricing question more specifically, but hopefully you now understand how many factors are involved when a website designer prices your project. You should always be thinking long-term value over upfront savings. An efficient website should be bringing you qualified leads 24/7, and help your brand stand out from the competition. If you have any specific questions regarding pricing, or even if you are considering a few options from other agencies and want a third-party’s opinion, I’m always available to speak to business owners and give them a helping hand. Don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with me if you have any questions or concerns about how much an auto repair shop website should cost. I hope this helped… good luck!
Why Is It So Difficult to Find Good Mechanics?
There once was a famous garage owner who achieved fame as a NASCAR mechanic and engine builder. Self-educated, and a former military pilot, he was so brilliant that OEMs hired him as a technical consultant. But he eventually closed his garage, saying there were “no more good mechanics” to hire.
If you know the story, you recognize that as a popular quote attributed to Smokey Yunick. Despite Smokey’s complaint about good mechanics being hard to find, thousands of great techs have been repairing trucks and cars for decades since his lament. So, what was it that Smokey, despite his high level of intelligence, did not know?
Management is Succeeding Through Other People
As with many highly skilled people, Yunick did not understand how to get other people to ‘want to do what he wanted them to do.’ In a nutshell, that is the science of leadership, and a hallmark of good management skills. Let’s look at some common ways that shop owners create problems with techs.
Assigning Work Orders to the Wrong Skill Level
Wouldn’t it be nice if every tech you hired could do any repair on any vehicle you take in? Those days are long gone, given the complexity of today’s cars. Every tech you hire will have his or her strong areas as well as weak areas of talent. Mismatching work to skill level is a poor management practice that slows productivity. You breed frustration and lose good techs when you create work systems that mismatch human labor to tasks.
How can you tell which mechanical areas tech are good in, and identify the areas in which they have room to grow? Trial and error, with the resulting comebacks, is a lousy system for evaluating technician capabilities. The ASE eight basic CMAT exams area a better indicator of skill levels.
Have all your new hires take all eight ASE tests. Pay the test fees for them if you have to. Then use the results to match talent to repairs. Like a skilled military leader does, it is good practice to match your human resources to the tasks at hand. Make sense?
Having No Formal System Training in Place
If you can realize that your management decisions might be causing some of your technician problems, then you can take steps to eliminate the problem issues. Institute some weekly training. It could be as simple (and free) as finding articles and trade literature for your techs that shed light on their weak areas.
Many techs struggle with electrical and electronic systems. How about sending them to a local trade school at night for some classes in that?
An even greater benefit of training is that it makes your techs feel important and valuable. If you studied psychology in college, you know that all humans have an inner motivation to seek out recognition and appreciation. Recognize that as a valid need of theirs, then meet it, or lose techs. It’s your choice.
Not Providing the Information Needed to Repair Today’s Vehicles
Yes, repair information is expensive, but losing talented techs is much more harmful to your profits. If you investigate why comebacks and misdiagnoses are happening in your shop, you will find that the fault in many cases is a lack of relevant, complete and timely repair information.
People can tolerate only so many errors before they start looking for employment elsewhere. Then when you hire their replacement the problems start all over again for you. It’s better to attack the root of the problem directly. Smarter too.
Poor Soft Skills – Wasting Tech’s Talents
Face it, some of your customers would rather talk with the tech who will be working on their car than to discuss their mechanical issues with you. It’s normal. So, put aside your ego, and let your techs and your customers transact business more efficiently.
Identify those techs who are good at talking with clients, as well as those who are not. Allocate those soft skills when necessary, as situations present themselves. If you don’t do that, and insist that every piece of customer communication always flows through you, then you are creating a ‘bottleneck’ of communication. Miscommunications and trouble will follow. And you will eventually burn out from the stress.
Stop Punishing Your Techs
- The flat-rate pay system is antiquated. If you want techs to commit 40 hours a week, or more, to your business than you have to commit some money to them in return. Yet few techs have any guarantee of minimal earnings in place.
As a manager, you have the responsibility to become skilled in marketing and advertising. It takes time and effort, to learn how to attract a steady stream of new customers to your shop. Penalizing techs, making them go without earnings when business is poor, is making them suffer for your lack of marketing skills. Think about it.
- Every tech meets people socially. Do you have business cards printed for each tech, so he or she can proudly hand them out? It’s cheap advertising, and very profitable. Do you pay an enhanced commission when techs bring you new business like that? If you don’t pay your techs for that financial benefit, then they won’t give you the benefit of new business.
- Are your shop’s work hours inflexible? Some techs would rather come to work an hour or two early, and then leave early to pick their children up from school. Likewise, other techs might have a difficult time dragging themselves to work on time every day, but would be very happy to work past normal closing times, if they had the choice.
Rather than forcing everybody to work on your personal schedule, why not accommodate them as reasonably as possible? If you’ve been thinking about having extended shop hours to facilitate more customers’ busy schedules, and to compete better in the market, this might give you the opportunity to do that.
Don’t Be Like Smokey
Good management means bringing out the best in each of your techs. That’s why it is called human capital, because their talents and willingness to work for you have monetary value. Don’t waste that capital..
Check out our article on how to keep technicians happy, loyal & productive
Why is My Auto Repair Marketing Not Working?
You need to change your MINDSET about marketing. We understand the importance of ROI, and everything we do is to bring you that return, and lots of it. However, you need to keep in mind how people (yourself included) shop these days. If the only time your customer hears from you, receives an email/text, or direct mail, is when you’re trying to sell them something… you’ve already lost. And, no offense, but (pssstt….people think you’re annoying). People buy from people they trust. So, how do you build trust with your auto repair customer? Let’s jump right into it.
Consider the Buyer’s Journey. There are essentially 3 phases any customer will go through before they decide to part with their hard earned money.
The Buyer’s Journey
- Awareness – The buyer realizes they have a problem. This could be as simple as their check engine light came on or they have a dent in their rear bumper, or something more elusive, like a strange noise they haven’t heard before. Logically, their next step will quite likely be to go online, and search for information about their problem. Which brings us to the next stage in the buyer’s journey.
- Consideration – The buyer identifies a problem, and research their options to solve it. If it’s something as straight-forward as their check engine light is on, they may search for something like “auto repair shop near me.” Now in this case, of course it would be great for your shop to be found above your competition. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or Paid Ads like Google AdWords could be helpful here. Now, just because your website shows up, doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily won that customer… but more on your website later. If your customer’s problem is more indirect, they may search for something like “weird rattling noise under car.” Now, here’s where you have a killer opportunity. Imagine you had a content marketing strategy where you took 10 of your most common services and blogged about them. Before I lose you, thinking you’re too busy for that… Just trust me here, it doesn’t take that long, or you can outsource it but it’s worth the investment either way. Now back to your customer…. He/She is aware of the problem, searches online and sees your article explaining the EXACT sound they hear. In your article, you come across as knowledgeable, friendly, and you describe what they should do next to solve their issue. You help ease their mind by identifying with them, and therefore you naturally build trust. This is important for the 3rd and final stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Decision- The customer has done their research and is now considering their options. In this case, which shop to spend their money with. Now, there are still plenty of factors that come into play here, but I hope you can see why building up trust through value-added content, and nurturing potential customers without just blindly delivering spammy coupons is so crucial. Content like that, written with some personality, and providing answers to specific questions always does well on Google. Think about it, Google’s entire business model is based on being able to deliver the most relevant answer to a search. Therefore, if you can take that little extra step of getting this content out there properly, you’re going to win online, and ultimately, in your business. To learn more about the buyer’s journey, take a look at this article from Hubspot, the leader in Inbound Marketing Strategy.
So let’s go back to your website as I mentioned above. We’ve attracted a potential customer through effective content marketing and we’ve started to build trust. How do we convert them into customers, and delight them enough to give us repeat business AND tell their community about us?
There are a lot of factors, but we will covert the 7 things every successful auto repair website must have.
7 Things Every Successful Auto Repair Website Must Have
- Fast Loading – According to Duda, 40% of website users will abandon the page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Ideally, it should be under 1.5 seconds. Check out Duda’s article on 10 Incredible Stats About Pagespeed if you’re curious.
- Mobile Friendly – I don’t think you need convincing on this but just in case… MAKE IT MOBILE FRIENDLY! Phew, glad I got that off my chest.
- Make a Promise – The first thing visitors want to know when they land on your auto repair website is what you’re going to do for them. Be sure that this information is easily available (above the fold) and that it’s compelling. You don’t just want to list your company’s mission; you want to explain why your company can fulfill that mission better than everyone else and how your customer will benefit from choosing you.
- Present Your Core Services – What exactly does your auto shop do (or not do) ? Obviously, your entire site is dedicated to showing off your core services and each one will probably have its own page. However, it’s important to identify this right away so your customer knows what you can do for them. Do you do body work? Specialize in German vehicles? Make it easy for your visitors to tell.
- Build a Sales Funnel – Your automotive website isn’t just for 3rd phase (bottom-funnel) prospects that are ready to pay for your services; it’s also for prospects in the awareness and consideration stages we talked about earlier. An easy way to start building a lead list is to offer free content to answer questions your prospects have while they’re still discovering that they may have a need for your product or service. Like we talked about earlier, offering useful content (non-salesy) is an excellent approach here. Perhaps offer a pdf download discussing “Top 10 Car Care Tips Before Going on a Roadtrip” or “Best SUV Tires for the Winter.” Again, make a list of the top services you offer, and the top FAQ’s you hear from your customers, and those will be the topics we want to publish.
- Establish Your Credibility & Gain Trust – Placing customer testimonials, reviews, and any accolades you have earned on your homepage is a great way to establish trust and social proof. Visitors want reassurance that you can actually follow through on your promises, and these elements provide that. We recommend showing off verified reviews from trusted 3rd party review sites along with awards and accreditations from reputable organizations in your industry and community, and investing in your website’s authority with up to date SSL certificates and website security.
- Drive Your Visitors to Take Action – Generally your call to action (or CTA) is perhaps the most critical element of your website. This is what prompts visitors to do something, such as download a free report, schedule a service, call you directly or request more information. Whatever your CTA is, it’s important to make sure it is both useful and relevant. Pro-Tip: Avoid the “Click Here’s” and other generic CTA language. If it’s to download a PDF, say that. If it’s driving directions to your shop, put that.
Like I said, there are tons of factors that come into play to win online, but if you follow these steps, I promise you will stand out from your competition in more ways than you think. At ShopHawk, we offer creative growth solutions for businesses in the Automotive industry. If you need help achieving lasting success with your digital marketing, please feel free to contact us today and book a free strategy call. We’d love to hear about your goals, and see if we’re a good fit to help you reach those. Because we only work with shops we know we can drive massive success to, our availability is limited. Please visit the link above or email us at email@example.com.
Now go publish some content!