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Web Presence Management: “Raisin” the Bar

How to put a new, fresh spin on your auto body shop’s advertising.

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BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and Web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Shar Pei breed of dog. They have distinctive features, the most prominent of which are deep wrinkles all over their bodies. In a stroke of genius, Big Sky Collision Center in Billings, Mont., has been using a Shar Pei named Raisin in their marketing efforts. “Getting the wrinkles out” is the catchphrase for this shop, and they even used an iron in their TV advertising and turned Raisin the Shar Pei into a smooth-coated Golden Lab. Very unique and fun and, of course, a hit! Dogs always play well with the public.

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So, how do we raise the bar from what they’ve done to this point? How do we put a new, fresh face on it and re-energize the campaign? Take it online!

Weak SEO

Big Sky Collision Owner Matthew McDonnell wanted to build upon their 36-year reputation in the community. His 30 years of TV commercials have paid off nicely, but McDonnell had come to realize that millennials (people under 35 years of age) pay attention to other things, primarily social media. Unsure of how to best tap into this, Big Sky enlisted our help to map out an exciting new path to interact with customers online.

First of all, the Big Sky website, located at www.bigskycol.com, was crisp and clean and very professional looking. However, it was missing a few things. Some basic search engine optimization (SEO) 101s weren’t part of the website, and as such, the site was hardly ranking at all in their hometown or surrounding towns.

The site’s keyword focus wasn’t on the word phrases the public uses to find the services Big Sky provides. Rather than focusing on “auto body” and “body shop,” the focus was on “collision.” But “auto body” is searched 12 times more than “collision,” therefore content on the website needs to be updated to have more emphasis on the keywords the public actually uses.

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The title tags and header tags behind the scenes were not optimized well either, and the meta descriptions needed to be updated. There also needed to be a better “Call to Action” on the site to make it easy for visitors to take the next steps toward getting their vehicle repaired. There wasn’t much emphasis on Raisin on the website either. So, armed with our analysis, the team got to work on the SEO side of things.

No Social Media

From a social media standpoint, the shop wasn’t initially participating. McDonnell hired a marketing support person who set up a Facebook page and is starting to reach out to people to acquire new “Likes.” But Google+ hadn’t been claimed and verified, and the shop hadn’t created a Twitter account either. Big Sky contracted with us to help set these up, post 18 times per week to these accounts and monitor them 365 days a year.

Which brings us to Raisin the Shar Pei. I suggested that Big Sky Collision get 5-inch tall stuffed animal Shar Peis, put Big Sky Collision dog tags on them and put them on the dash of every car they deliver. I suggested they conduct a “Where in the world is Raisin?” campaign where they encourage customers to take their stuffed animal Raisin with them on vacation, take photos of him in front of landmarks and post them on the Big Sky Facebook wall, tagging themselves by sharing this on their own walls as well. Imagine Raisin at the Golden Gate Bridge, in front of Old Faithful, at Mt. Rushmore, in front of the White House or the Eiffel Tower, on Broadway, at Hollywood and Vine, in London by Big Ben or on the Great Wall of China…wherever Big Sky customers travel!

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Imagine the outreach, enthusiasm and branding this campaign would create. Next, Big Sky would give a monthly prize to the one they liked best, something like a $30 gas card. This, too, would be posted on Big Sky’s social media accounts and on a “Where in the world is Raisin?” page on Big Sky’s website. This would also be something the winners could share on their own social media accounts, getting the shop’s brand out in front of their target audience even more. At the end of the year, monthly winners would be in a contest that the public would vote on for the best of the year, and the winner would get some kind of grand prize. And that’s exactly what Big Sky will be doing.

The initial groundwork for this “Where in the world is Raisin?” campaign is being laid out. My plan is to report on the impact the SEO campaign had on the rankings and the impact the “Where in the world is Raisin?” campaign had on social media in a future issue of BodyShop Business. It should be lots of fun to watch!

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