It’s no secret that these days, most business is done online. In an age where customers search for every product and service they need on the web first, it’s essential for auto shops to invest in a quality website to increase their visibility and outshine their competitors. In many industries, sales are driven by how easy it is to find a company through the most popular search engines like Google and Safari. This applies to all businesses, from the largest retail, finance, and healthcare companies to small local businesses that traditionally start with in-person customer contact. And auto repair shops are no exception.
In this article, we’ll explore some tools and tactics to build a sleek, user-friendly website specifically for auto repair shops.
Gather the Basics
The building blocks of any website are the domain name, a hosting service (Godaddy, WordPress, Squarespace, etc…), and a web building software where you can control how the site looks.
Fortunately, websites are much easier to make now than even a decade ago. Now, every web building tool has design templates that you can choose from, so you don’t have to build the site from scratch. There are also hundreds of other tools and services that you can eventually use to optimize your site and dive into the technical performance of each page, but to start with, those three things are the most essential.
Don’t have time or the skills to build your own? That’s ok too. Websites are a lead generating tool when done correctly, so any cost to hire a professional is quickly recouped. Some auto shop offerings will even bundle a website with their lead generation packages. Caution, though, some of these free sites are very boilerplate and ineffective. We did find an excellent website that is included in the lead generating system from Capture The Keys.
Content and Design
A good website is more than just a few pages with photos and a bit of text. There are several more factors to consider. To gauge how good your auto repair site is compared to others, ask yourself some technical questions:
Search Engine Optimization for an Auto Repair Site
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) is what every website needs to do in order to compete with the hundreds of other websites and ads that pop up in a typical search engine. For example, when most of your ideal customers need a service or repair on their car, they will probably search online for something like “auto repair shop near me” or “best auto repair shops in [insert city].” These common search terms are called keywords, and every search engine has software that finds the top websites with the most relevance to whatever the user is searching for.
These algorithms can get very complicated, and there are entire industries devoted to helping websites get to the top of the search results for specific keywords. So for an auto repair shop, once the website is made, the top priority should be to research the relevant keywords in the industry and ensure that the content on the site and the services offered to align closely with what your customers might search for. You can do this by looking up other auto repair shop websites, exploring their content and design, and take note of what you like or dislike about them. Take the top 3-4 search results in Google for a particular keyword and explore their content. These should be the leading examples that you model your site on.
However, depending on the size of your town, you may rank pretty well quickly after launching the business. Google is actually pretty good at matching local search results to the searcher. For the most part, Google knows exactly where you are searching from and will match the closest results to the searcher.
Calls To Action
An auto repair website is more than just an online information page. It can be used to conduct business, in this case scheduling a drop off appointment. Your customers need to see a clearly defined call to action, usually a button, on your page. When they click on that button, it takes them to a form that collects basic information about the customer, their vehicle, and the issues they are having with it.
Most customers agree that submitting an email through the contact us form is an unreliable method for connecting with a shop, and have been conditioned to expect that only some ever get responded to.
On the other hand, the ability to set an appointment through an online scheduling tool gives the website visitor control and creates an active role in informing the shop of their intentions to bring a car in. You can further maximize an online submission by automating your follow-up response through your online scheduling tool. This will send a notification that the customer’s appointment has been confirmed at the desired time.
Online Sales Tips
It is important to note that creating a well-functioning website, and gathering leads is only part of the sale. Auto repair customers expect to be followed up on to confirm their appointment, and to discuss any issues with dropping off a car or getting a ride to wherever they are going. Be sure to develop a sales closing script, to ensure that all your leads get followed up on and turn into customers at the shop.