How to Put Your Website to Work

April 13, 2023
Three industry experts discuss how to turn your shop’s website into a powerful sales generation tool.

Historically, shops relied heavily on the Yellow Pages and word-of-mouth marketing to get new clients to show them why they want to do business with your shop.  

Today, we live in the digital information age, where 5.1 billion people log onto the internet and social media daily, according to Statista. Before consumers decide to do business with a shop, they investigate its social media pages and website.  

"When I started in this industry in 2015, many shops didn't have websites. The shops with a website were always the busiest," says Tony Mercury, vice president of revenue at Autoshop Solutions.  

"There's a changing of the guard with shops, techs and customers. The younger generations need to see a better website to want to do business with a shop; the website makes them convert from potential customers to buyers. Websites can outrank others and get sales on demand for shops," says Mercury.  

Your website has to be more than just a digital billboard. It can't be a placeholder item, and building your website on social media or other platforms you don't own is dangerous.  

Your shop's website can be your digital salesperson if set up correctly. You can create a website that makes your customer service better and becomes a sales generation tool. Here's how.  

Use Visuals and Be as Informative as Possible  

You want to make sure your shop's website has all the appropriate pages set up. Some options include:  

  • A Home page that gives basic information about your shop
  • A Content page in which you publish informative content about vehicle repair and other information that builds trust with potential customers
  • An About page that tells the founding story and personal-connection-related information for your customers to read
  • A Services page where customers can see what you offer and schedule appointments
  • A Results page where clients can see pictures of your work
  • A Product page where customers can see and order parts, merchandise, and anything else you sell  

Keep in mind that humans are visual by nature. It helps to see the process and what to expect through photos and video. You want your website to be as informative and visual as possible. The excellent news is website builders today are equipped with software that you can get highly technical with.  

You want to put much effort, time and resources into your shop's website because it's an asset you own and control.  

"We tell shops that the biggest reason you want to have your website is that it's your hub of information and the one piece of marketing you own. Google and social media own their platforms—if you're using them as your website, you lose that connection if they go down and change," says Kim Walker, co-owner of Shop Marketing Pros.  

"Some common issues we see with shop's websites is they have cookie cutter content. We feel shops must have good customer-focused content. You want your website messaging to match your shop and relate to your customers. Photos are important, and make sure they are not stock photos. So many shops use stock photography, which isn't very clear to customers. Use photos that are unique to your shop," says Walker. 

Use Content to Convert Viewers Into Customers  

Before a customer decides to do business with a shop, they check out the shop online first. One way to convert customers during their research phase is through informative blog posts, videos, podcast episodes and other forms of content. 

You can embed this content on your website and have it published regularly. This content can show up when a potential customer searches Google for information. When they find informative content through Google, they're likelier to do business with your shop because you've first added value.  

"You want to make sure your website tells your shop's story to connect with your clients. Make sure the website has appropriate calls to action. Use integrations such as Mechanic Advisor and don't neglect your website or let it get old or outdated," says Mercury.  

"Not using unique content is hurting your website. It's not only important for client acquisition, but it's also important for recruitment. Techs look at a shop's website. Techs want to work for a shop that invests in their business and a website is a surefire sign one does. It also shows a shop is most likely modern," says Mercury. 

You can publish content on basic repair procedures, what customers need to know about maintenance, things to watch out for, what they should consider when choosing a shop, industry news and changes, and how to keep their vehicle running for a long time.   

Keep Your Website Updated  

One of the main issues with shop websites is they need to be updated. For your shop's website to become a sales generation tool, it must be updated with all the current information and not built with outdated software.  

Modern website builders and plugins need to be updated for security reasons and to make sure they function. If something is not working, you can't hesitate to replace it.  

Show your current and future customers the best representation of your shop, facilities, and employees. Show them exactly who they'll be doing business with through a fresh and updated visual picture of your shop and how you do business.  

"If a customer is not able to see who you are and what your shop is like before they buy, they're unlikely to buy. Your website is how they can check out your shop before they buy. They want to see the reviews, the team and digital inspections," says Jimmy Lea, product evangelist at Kukui. 

"A shop should discover or proclaim specific makes of cars they want to work on and have specialized landing pages about those vehicles. It goes a really long way for a shop to specialize. A shop's website needs to load quickly and have great content. You need a website that says, 'I'm the solution to your problem,'" says Lea.  

Use the Right Software and Integrations  

The right software can bring in thousands of dollars of sales; the wrong ones can break your website and chase away business.  

There are plenty of software and integration options, so it's best to hire a website designer, consultant, coach, or agency to walk you through the best options for your shop.  

The software should do things like: 

  • Schedule appointments
  • Send out automatic repair updates and pertinent information
  • Service appointment reminders
  • Sales funnels that take a potential customer from casual viewer to customer through pages and emails that answer questions and give information 
  • Use email automation for service and marketing purposes
  • Inform employees of things they need to know, training and updates at your shop 

"Shops said, 'Just take our Yellow Pages ad and stick it on the website.' MTV had killed the radio star like the internet did away with the Yellow Pages. Now, we are a purposeful public who is looking for instant results. Websites have become more dynamic and resourceful. Methods of SEO and Google Ads emerge as savvy business owners paying attention to trends change their methods. A website is a tool to make the phone ring. The sale is made by the person answering the phone, not the website that makes the sale," says Lea.   

Use Your Website to Build Your Shop 

A shop's website is more than sales; it's a way to communicate with your customers and employees. It's an integral part of growing and business and should not be ignored. 

Make your shop's website convenient, professional-looking, informative and frictionless for customers. It's your most underused asset for business growth and employee retention.  

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