Like all businesses, auto shops thrive on attention and engagement. It used to be the case that attracting new customers was largely a matter of creating effective print and outdoor advertising campaigns or relying on word-of-mouth referrals. Since the invention and popularization of the Internet, all that has changed.
Today, the best way for auto shops to build brand recognition and attract new customers is to maintain a strong online presence. Just having a professional website isn’t enough, though, since the most successful shops take a multifaceted approach to online reputation management. Read on to find out why maintaining an online presence is so essential and what it takes to remain competitive in an ever-changing online landscape.
Modern Consumers Shop and Perform Research Online
Regardless of how auto shop owners feel about the rapid switch to online marketing as a primary means of drawing attention to their businesses, their customers are using the Internet to shop for goods and services and learn about the companies that provide them. The switch to a highly digitized world has created new opportunities when it comes to marketing for auto shops, at least for those willing to change with the times.
A company’s website, directory listings, and social media pages allow it to reach new customers in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. Smart auto shop owners know that most modern customers will form their first impressions not based on in-person customer service, or even how the building looks from the outside. They’ll decide whether an auto shop is trustworthy based primarily on the information that they find online.
Customers Trust Professional Websites
As any Internet-savvy consumer knows, professional businesses have professional-looking websites. If a shop’s website looks outdated, contains broken links, or offers inaccurate information, why should potential customers believe that the service they’ll get in the shop itself will be any better?
If the company’s website hasn’t been updated in years, it might be time for an overhaul. Auto shop owners can get the help they need with everything from coding to content creation from specialized web designers that understand the ins and outs of their industry. They should consider working with professional web designers and online marketing experts a valuable investment in their companies’ reputations and futures.
Social Media Provides an Excellent Outlet for Customer Outreach
Auto shop owners shouldn’t assume that just having a stellar website will be enough to boost their lead generation and customer conversion rates. They should explore all possible avenues for boosting brand recognition and getting local customers engaged, and that means maintaining an active presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media pages.
Interacting with current and potential customers on social media creates a valuable connection, builds brand credibility, and helps to instill a sense of trust. It also encourages current customers to spread the word about their positive experiences to others online, which can help shop owners expand their reach organically. Maintaining a strong social media presence can even improve search engine rankings if this technique is incorporated into a larger SEO strategy.
Online Reviews Can Make or Break a Business
Even if an auto shop doesn’t actively manage its online presence, information about the shop and its services is already out there. In most cases, customers can leave reviews on third-party sites without the shop owner ever claiming the business. By taking the time to claim their businesses on Google and third-party directory sites, updating information, and taking stock of current customer complaints and compliments, shop owners can take control over their online reputations.
The effects of online reviews can be helpful or hurtful, but either way, they’ll have an impact on the shop’s popularity. Around 93% of Americans report that they take online reviews into account before making decisions about what products to purchase or what service providers to trust.
If shop owners claim their businesses and pay attention to their online reputations, they’ll know if it’s time to start taking action to mitigate the impact of negative reviews. Hopefully, they’ll also have access to a wealth of positive testimonials that can be used for online marketing purposes. Either way, online reputation matters.
Help Customers Find the Shop Online
A combination of a well-designed website, an active social media presence, and positive reviews can go a long way towards increasing any business’s visibility online. It’s not just that people are more likely to respond positively to a shop that maintains an active online presence. Google and other search engines also reward business owners who pay attention to online reputation by boosting their websites in search results.
Remember, even the best-designed website won’t do an auto shop any good if no one can find it. Search engine optimization always has to go hand-in-hand with more direct forms of digital marketing if business owners want to reap the rewards of all their hard work building an online presence.
Online Presence Is a Gateway to Great Customer Service
These days, customer service provision doesn’t start when drivers enter an auto shop or call to schedule an appointment. It extends to all things shop-related, including the company’s website, directory listings, and social media pages. If the company maintains an active, responsive presence online, that sets customer service representatives up for success by creating a good first impression.
It’s important to keep in mind that every online interaction can be turned into a positive one. Even negative reviews can contribute to the development of a more effective customer service plan. If a shop owner knows what kinds of problems customers are encountering when they try to take advantage of its services, it will be that much easier to come up with effective solutions.
Start Building a Stronger Online Presence Now
It’s never too late to start building an auto shop’s brand reputation online. A strong digital presence provides the shop with a foundation for growth, allowing the brand to reach its target audience and improving the company’s reputation. Though building a strong online presence takes a good deal of work, it’s well worth the effort.