Make More Money: Four Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Online Presence

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Lately, I’ve written a lot about competition — particularly, how to set your business apart in the midst of it. I’ve explored what makes customers loyal, ways to make things more fun for your employees and the things you might be saying to customers and not even know. But what about your fast lube’s online presence, is it serving you like it should?

An online presence is anything that can be found out — in this case, about your business — by performing an online search. According to Retailing Today, 81 percent of shoppers research online before making a purchase. Knowing what your online presence is and what it says about you is crucial to being competitive in today’s marketplace. For example, someone is new to your area and their car needs an oil change, how do you think they’ll decide where to go? Sure they may ask a friend for a recommendation but more than likely they’ll take to the Internet — or as one operator referred to it, the “www.” If they search, “oil change in [insert your city here],” will your store show up? What will they find if they search your store specifically? Ask yourself:

1. What are people saying about me?

Mama always said, “Don’t put your nose where it doesn’t belong.” Most of the time that’s good advice, but when it comes to your place of business, you should be aware of everything that is being said about you — the good and the bad.

It’s easy for your customers to go online to review your services, employees and overall experience. This can be scary to some. What happens if you find bad reviews? We’ve had operators call asking how to get rid of a bad review they found online. Here’s the deal; even if you have the ability to, don’t censor your reviews. Instead, use the opportunity to show your shop has integrity and is trustworthy. Promptly reply back to a customer who was less than satisfied, leave your comment for all to see and rectify the situation.  It’s not the end of the world. Pretty soon that comment will be covered up by raving reviews.

2. Where are they saying it?

After you find out what people are saying, make note of where they are saying it. Are you finding you’re getting the most interaction on Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Reviews, Manta to name a few or maybe your customers are interacting on social media pages you’ve set up. The sites where you’re getting the most interaction are the ones you’ll want to check often.

3. Where is my quick lube on the search page?

Over 60 percent of people use Google for their online searches. For that reason, we will use Google for our example. Many things can affect search engine optimization (SEO) and determine where your store lands on the search page. For example, because of new Google algorithms, if your site isn’t a mobile responsive site it will automatically be pushed underneath every oil change that has a responsive website when someone is searching from a mobile device. This matters because 70 percent of people only click the top three organic search results when looking for something before moving on. They simply won’t take the time to go to page two and find your website.

The good news is, if you have a responsive site and an SEO strategy in place, your website can be your best form of advertising. Let’s say 1,000 people a month search “oil change in Tampa, Florida.” We know that 70 percent of people will click the top three search results. Lucky you, your oil change in Tampa is No. 2 for those search terms, meaning, 700 people will potentially click and visit your website. Out of the 700 people that visit your website, let’s say one percent (seven people) visit your shop that month and purchase a $50.00 oil change. Now let’s do the math; that’s $350 more a month, $4,200 more a year and remember that’s just one percent of people from one search term, purchasing your most basic service. Imagine if you ranked in the top three on multiple search terms in your area and sold more than your basic oil change!

4. Is my website user friendly?

For a strategic online presence to be effective and translate into making more money, your website must be user friendly. Make sure it’s clean, updated and your contact information is easy to find. If you have an outdated website that’s hard to navigate, customers won’t hesitate clicking off your site and going somewhere else. If it isn’t mobile friendly, they may not find you at all!

Your online presence is important to setting yourself apart from the competition because it focuses your marketing efforts on your specific customers. Since they’re already looking for your services, half the work is done, not to mention, compared to other forms of advertising the costs here are minimal.

Have more questions about how to create a strategic online game plan for your store? Give us a call at 800.796.2577

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