Make Sure You've Got These Website Essentials
SHOP STATS: Mitch's Econo Lube Location: Phoenix Operator: Mitch Clousner Average Daily Car Count: 14 Staff Size: 6 Shop Size: 2,600 square feet Ticket Average: $230
While having a website for your business is a source of information for customers, adding a personalized touch is the magic mirror into what your business is all about. The Econo Lube franchise does have a website for customers to browse, but one operator decided to put a spin on how the brand reflects on his own business.
Mitch Clousner, owner of Mitch’s Econo Lube in Phoenix, has been in business for 26 years. More than 20 years after opening, he wanted to add his own personal touch to his shop, beside the fact that the corporate website wasn’t quite Clousner’s taste.
“It’s specific to our location,” Clousner says.
But, more importantly, it was all about growing his customer base. The majority of his current customers base, a demographic of 50-plus-year-olds, doesn’t use his website; they’re the type to pick up the phone when they have questions or want to schedule a service. For millennial and Gen Zers, however, an accessible website with all of the information is right up their alley.
“My website is more to appeal to new customers rather than existing customers,” Clousner says.
Mitch’s Econo Lube’s personalized website, www.oilslinger.com, houses everything you need to know about Mitch’s Econo Lube. Clousner even designed it himself, adding an even more personalized feel.
Here’s everything you need on your website to stand out from the crowd and attract new customers to your shop.
According to Danielle Wallace, content strategy manager for BG Products, says having a website is just another way of building trust with customers. The more insight, the better. To have purpose, Wallace says every website should answer these three questions: What do you offer?, How do I get a hold of you?, and Who are the people that I am doing business with?
When new customers go to your website, Wallace says the first they are looking for is the shop’s contact information: name, phone number, email address, and physical address (better yet, including a Google Maps link so a customer can click to easily get directions). On top of this, having the hours your business is in operation is critical. Clousner says this could be the whole reason why a potential customer goes to your website.
“You shouldn’t even have a website if you can’t tell people how to call you or get to you,” Clousner says.
Another essential? Your service menu. Wallace says when it comes to the services you offer, the more information, the better. While most people may think Mitch’s Econo Lube only does quick oil changes, they’ve actually evolved into a full-maintenance shop, offering services like brake, alignment, suspension, even electrical repair. Clousner made sure to list all of his services right on the first page, and updates the site every six months whenever new services that were added.
When a potential new customer visits your site, shops should give them a reason to want to do business there. That’s why Clousner includes a section on his site with staff bios. His staff is talented, and he’s proud of it. He wants to show them off, detailing their work experience and qualification, while giving customers a glimpse into who they’ll be working with a photo of their smiling faces.
“It’s a way to introduce yourself to the world,” Clousner says.
Clousner gives customers another reason to visit and trust in their services by posting customer reviews on his site, updating the site as every new review comes in.
“The better imagery you can put out there, the more your website can be appreciated,” Clousner says. “It’s all about impressions.”
Having your own, personalized website should have its own personalized touch, right? It just gives more insight into what your shop has to offer. Wallace says Google searches love videos. Videos can give a customer the full feel of the shop’s atmosphere, with content like shop tours, showing off the shop workers, interviews with the owners, even giving the spotlight to loyal customers.
For Clousner, he wanted to give a glimpse into his personality, and posting funny shop humor and funny stories of day-to-day shop life was the way to do it. As Clousner says, he wants to let his customers know they’re human.
But he always wanted to be a helpful resource to his customers, too. He has a section on his website called “Tech Talk,” which features all of the newspaper articles he’s written in the past going into vehicle maintenance and car care tips. He also posts frequent blogs with car care and maintenance tips aside from his articles.
“It seems the smarter we get, the less people know about their cars,” Clousner says.
While Wallace says owners don’t have to go as far as writing blogs if it’s not their thing. She says testimonials will take them a long way.
The one thing his site doesn’t have that he wishes it would? An online scheduler. A lot of shop websites nowadays utilize this technology on their website so customers can easily schedule their appointments, providing a more convenient experience. While Wallace says this option isn’t absolutely necessary, it would definitely give your shop a leg up against the competition.
What’s the Perfect Balance?
So, what’s right for your website? Clousner says to take a look at your closest competition and see how they have their website laid out, taking out the best features from each and implementing them into your own site. But overall, Clousner suggests owners design their own website instead of hiring out. And that way, you save money and you won’t have to call whenever a quick update is needed. You’ll be able to update it all on your own.
“If you design it yourself, you educate yourself on how to manage yourself,” Clousner says.
Having the essentials and basics on your site will take you far, but adding in your own personalized touch and convenience for customers will make you soar.