Shop Site of the Month
Scata's Auto and Truck Repair - Windsor Locks, Conn.
Sometimes simple is best. The Scata's Auto and Truck Repair website takes that truism to heart by organizing its site with clear icons and well-written content that directs visitors to exactly what they're looking for. An easy-to-use appointment form and informational videos round out a pleasing and professional-looking redesign.
Nominate your shop's site for a Net Worth profile. E-mail your Web site address to email@example.com.
Web Wise: Facebook Wants to Make a Deal With You
Location-based marketing through social media is nothing new. Sites such as Groupon, Foursquare and Gowalla have been making inroads for some time now with companies wanting to lure more customers through their doors.
So it was of little surprise to anyone last fall when Facebook threw its hat into the ring with the launch of Facebook Deals. Facebook Deals works simply by pointing Facebook users to discounts and other offers in their vicinity through their smartphones.
Used in conjunction with the social media giant's Places function, Deals gives small businesses the chance to create their own offers for free. Yes, you read that right; Facebook Deals is - at least for now - a free feature. At press time, it was still in "testing" mode and only being offered in five markets: Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco.
Four types of deals are available for businesses: Individual, Friend, Loyalty and Charity.
• Individual deals give a reward to a customer when he or she checks in at a business.
• Friend deals reward groups of customers who check-in together.
• Loyalty deals aims to replace the loyalty cards handed out by businesses. Customers checking in multiple times at a location are rewarded.
• Charity deals allow businesses to raise money for a cause or charity every time a customer checks in.
Just do the math to consider how creating your own deal might impact your marketing plan: More than 200 million active users currently access Facebook through mobile devices, and those users are twice as active on Facebook than their nonmobile counterparts. In addition, each Facebook user has an average of 130 friends, and when someone checks in at a business, it appears in the news updates on his or her friends' pages. How's that for word-of-mouth marketing?
Now, as with any promotion, you have to have measurable goals in mind to ensure your return is profitable for the business. But Facebook has made a huge dent in the location-based offer arena by not taking a cut of the proceeds like many of its competitors. What remains to be seen is if businesses can find a balance between tempting offers and converting those discount-seeking customers into regular, loyal clients.
ASA Web Ways: Let Education Pay Your Way
Want to attend training at the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) or the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE), but money is a little tight? Would $1,000 help you get there? Let your educational aspirations pay the way! Scholarship applications are now being accepted for CARS and NACE, to be held in Orlando Oct. 5-8. ASA, in conjunction with the Automotive Management Institute, offers five scholarships to ASA members and one to automotive industry professionals that help defray the costs of attending Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) events. Visit www.AMIonline.org for applications; deadline is Aug. 15.
More than half (56 percent) the people who haven't joined Facebook cite the main reason as a "waste of time."
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