The Internet Marketing Black Hole: How to Get The Most Out of Your Online Presence.

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Marketing your auto repair shop online is more important than ever. A recent study by BIA/Kelsey shows that 97% of all consumers use online media to research products and services in their area. Another article by the New York Times states that 8 out of 9 people find the Yellow Pages to be a “nuisance”.

Stop and think about those statistics for a minute.

Those consumers who are using the Yellow Pages are using them to find the phone number of a business they have already dealt with in the past. That is all well and good, but how do you market your auto repair shop to reach out to new customers outside the usual channel of referrals and repeat business?

The answer lies with auto repair marketing via the internet. With 97% of consumers using the internet to research local businesses, including auto repair shops, it is extremely important to get your shop listed on all of the sites consumers use. While Google is the most popular site for consumers and internet marketing, there are dozens (even hundreds) of other important players: Yahoo, Bing, City Search, Local.com, Yellowpages.com, Topix, Superpages.com, and Merchant Circle just to name a few. By saturating the internet with your shop’s information you are ensuring that no matter which outlet consumers choose, they will have access to your information.

Okay, so now you are ready to do some auto repair marketing online. Now what?

There are literally hundreds of websites out there that advertise for auto repair shops. There are the Yellow Page directories online (YP.com, YelloBook.com), there are local directory sites (CitySearch, Local.com, Yelp), and there are vertical auto repair marketing sites (AutoMD, CityCarRepair.com). It is difficult for many owners to wrap their head around listing on all of these sites, yet it is equally important to be listed on all of them.

One of the biggest misconceptions that I hear is when shop owners tell me that they are satisfied with their pay-per-click or SEO campaigns on Google. Many auto repair shop owners seem to think that coming up at or near the top of a few very specific searches is all they need. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to appear first for “Auto Repair in Milwaukee”, but what about consumers that search for just “Auto Repair” or “Transmission Service” or “Brake Repair Shop Milwaukee” or what if they search on Bing or Yahoo? It is nearly impossible to come up at the top for all or even most search terms. 

This is where being listed on all of those other networks becomes a big deal. A consumer searching for “Brake Repair Shop Milwaukee” might find a link to “YP.com Brake Repair Shops” at the top of their Google search. The same shop owners who were satisfied with their SEO and PPC campaigns are now getting beat by that very system! It is vital to make sure consumers can find your business anywhere they can look.

The most important thing to remember when doing auto repair shop marketing, is that you want your listing to generate a consumer ACTION. It is not enough to have just an address and phone number of “Bob’s Auto Repair Shop”, consumers want to know more about your business. Here are some important things to consider adding to your website or online listings:

1. Phone number: Make your phone number prominent! The whole goal of your marketing effort is to get the consumer to call your shop.

2. Photos: Add some pictures of your shop. I recommend a shot of the shop from the outside as seen from the street. This will allow consumers to easily identify your facility when they bring their car in for repairs. You may also consider posting a photo of yourself (the owner), the whole team, or some of the mechanics at work.

3. Content: Make sure you have original content on your website and listings. When Google and the other search engines attempt to rank websites and listings, they look for unique information and information that matches the search query. Try to use keywords as much as possible when writing this type of content.

4. Testimonials: Show your potential customers that you have satisfied people in the past and that you did such a great job with their automobile that they will testify for your work. As you already know, referrals are a large part of the business and testimonials are a way to work those referrals into your online presence.

That’s a good start but be creative, try new ideas, and be yourself!

There are many choices in today’s world to market and advertise your auto repair shop. There is not necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, but as an auto repair shop owner it is ultimately your decision. Companies such as Google, Yahoo, and AutoRepairLocal.com offer comprehensive packages that cover a large spectrum of the internet. The marketplace has fragmented and these companies are trying to help put the pieces back together.

The internet is the largest and most powerful source of information available. Thus, auto repair marketing via the internet should be a focus of all shop owners.

Good luck in your quest to harness and use the internet to your advantage!

Matt Green is the Sales Executive at AutoRepairLocal.com. For more information on this article and other Internet matters, Matt welcomes your emails at mg@autorepairlocal.com. Feel free to visit AutoRepairLocal.com for some more information about how you and your business can be listed across the internet.

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