We all need to stay on top of changing consumer demands and expectations.
A previous employer of mine (who, I might add, was also my father) had a rule in business: “You have to hear the grass grow, and you have to listen every day!” In other words, you need to keep up with what’s going on in the market.
With that thought in mind, here are a few facts we need to keep up with:
Fact: Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are not attending the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto in 2020.
Fact: The new market (millennials) visit and will purchase on, and from, the web.
Fact: All potential buyers and customers visit an average of three websites before making a purchase decision.
Fact: Most of these consumers use search engines to find the businesses they will end up doing business with.
With so many of your existing and future customers spending so much time on the Internet, how much thought have you given to your online presence?
For starters, how up-to-date is your website? On ours—davescornergarage.com— we refresh the content at least once a month, keeping it current, and interesting. In addition, our social media program is designed to create new contacts and activity on our site. So, how up-to-date is your social media program?
We use contests to a large degree in the broadcasting business, on Facebook, LinkedIn and we also run commercials on local radio stations.
Your website is basically your introduction to new clients, as well as a conduit through which you can stay in touch with your current group. Learning to use this powerful tool, and taking the time to keep your website up-to-date and interesting is a vital source of new business. Notice, however, that I haven’t mentioned any use of newspaper advertising. That’s because everything is going online.
Things I learned
Marketing your business online may seem like a daunting task, until you wrap your mind around some of the fundamentals. Here’s what we’ve learned, and what works for us:
Google We set a daily budget for the purchase of Google AdWords. These words bring our website to the top of the search results. Basically, you bid for position on Google’s search results. I used to bid $25 a day, which usually ran out by about noon each day. This worked well for us as we were looking for customers searching for “breakdowns” and “service repairs.” Most of this happened before lunch. Monies came from a dedicated advertising budget.
Facebook We opened a Facebook account and posted videos. Most of our content promoted the facilities and staff. You can send these off to your friends, and everyone else on your contact list. It’s not just for service clients—include your suppliers too.
You can also open a LinkedIn account and post the videos on their site. Create a timeline for these productions and stick to it.
The end goal is simple. Stay in touch with your clients. Do a mass email at least twice a month. Offer a special, such as a free oil change or tire rotation. Ask about a previous service appointment they had, and if they were satisfied. Book the next service appointment for them.
Remember these basic rules. The website has to be simple to use, and it has to be clean and fresh.