Here we go again with my annual challenge to set New Year’s resolutions for your business.
If you’ve been following me here for the past several years, you know that this is the time of year when I challenge you to tackle some important issues related to the overall web presence of your business.
If you’ve done everything I’ve written about in the past, you’re truly in the top 1 percent of collision repair businesses online. You have a cutting-edge presence with your website, social media, reputation management and directory management.
For the rest of you, where do you need to focus your attention in 2018 when it comes to your online presence? Let’s revisit previous resolutions and make some new ones that will impact the long-term health, competitiveness and profitability of your business.
Recapping Past Challenges
Traditionally, we’ve looked back at resolutions I’ve challenged you to make. If you haven’t tackled these things yet, they’re keeping you from moving up to the top 10 percent. You need to start here before you do anything else:
Freshen up (do this at least annually). Frequently updated quality website content is a key factor in having your site rank well. Is the content keyword-rich with the terms the public actually uses? Sites more than three to five years old should be redesigned/updated/replaced. You need to be incorporating video in your website, too. Is your site mobile-friendly? Google says being mobile-friendly is essential. Check if it’s mobile-friendly by visiting www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
How is your site ranking? Do you check it regularly? The public uses the search terms “auto body” and “body shop.” Try it yourself, but do so incognito. This is important because search engines won’t save or refer to your previous browsing history, which can skew results. To do an incognito search for your browser, follow instructions found at this link: www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001378.htm. If you aren’t ranking on page one, you should consider hiring a true search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to work on your site. The holy grail is to rank on page one, ideally the top of page one. If you operate in a heavily populated area, it may be difficult to get to page one, so you should think seriously about pay-per-click advertising. As always, I warn you: No one can ethically promise you page one or position one. Be sure to contract with someone you can trust who will be honest with you.
Online reviews. Solicit Google reviews from satisfied customers. The quantity and quality of Google reviews is a contributor to ranking well. Businesses with higher average reviews, i.e. 4 to 5 stars, and more of them, will rank better than their competitors if all else is relatively equal on a website. My advice is to ask all your delighted customers to consider leaving reviews for you, especially on Google. This may be the single most important thing you can do to help your website rank better. It has taken years to earn your good reputation. More than ever, people are paying attention to reviews and making decisions about where to get their vehicles repaired based on these reviews. You must monitor reviews on multiple sites, and respond to them, both good and bad. Bury poor reviews with good ones. The public will respond favorably.
Is your business NAP (name, address and phone number) accurate and consistent on directories? Go here to see how directories see your business: https://www.yext.com/partner/optimaworldwide/diagnostic.html. Accurate directory listings help boost your overall potential to have your website rank and give you maximum visibility.
New Resolutions for 2018
Do value-added posts on your social media accounts. When reviewing many shop efforts with social media, we more often than not see advertising, marketing, before-and-after photos, “you have the right to choose where to have your vehicle repaired,” and anti-aftermarket parts type posts. We certainly understand where this comes from. But the public only cares when they have a vehicle to repair, and that’s only once every seven years or so. We at Optima Automotive primarily post value-added type things for our social media clients that position our clients as the authorities on all things automotive. This keeps their brands in front of their target audience and engages this audience along the way until they need the shop again. Millennials find marketing and advertising to be suspect, too, so creating a relationship with them that enhances their lives should be your goal.
Own your access. You should own the rights to your website/email domain and know how to access it. You should also have full administrative rights to all your social media accounts. If you don’t, make it a priority in 2018.
Make an Impact
If you take these steps, you’ll make a positive impact on your business’s online presence. This should bring you more cars to fix. Set goals with timelines and have an accountability partner. Assign staff to help and hire qualified experts to address search visibility and social media.
Loyal readers, my best wishes to you, your families and employees during this holiday season. May 2018 be a year of happiness, health and prosperity.