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  Management Feature

Why Your Website is the Most Important Part of Your Business Strategy

Posted 10/1/2013
By McKay Allen

Whether your website has been around awhile and you’ve undergone repeated redesigns or you’re wanting to break ground on the World Wide Web for the first time, here are some things to consider in maximizing one of your greatest marketing tools.

As we talk with leaders in the automotive industry, we’ve started to ask them a simple question: What is the most important part of your business strategy? The answers vary, but generally they mention one of three things: 1) revenue and profit margins, 2) marketing budget and 3) customer service, reputation, etc.

But I would argue – short-term and long – your website is actually the most important part of your business strategy. It is the single thing that can improve everything mentioned above.

A good website will improve your revenue and profit margin. It will make marketing easier. It will improve your reputation. Your website is literally the hub of everything you do as a business – at least, it should be.

Curb Appeal

Any good realtor will tell you curb appeal is vital. Most people don’t decide to buy a home based solely on curb appeal, but people certainly decide not to buy a home based on poor curb appeal. In other words, your website may not make customers call you, but it can certainly dissuade customers from calling you. Nothing is a bigger customer killer than a bad website.

Google says the vast majority of the adult population in the U.S. search for a local business online before making a buying decision.

Websites in the automotive service industry

Think about the purchase cycle for your customers. Generally, it goes like this: someone needs their car fixed, they ask their friends for a recommendation, they do a Google search, they visit a few websites, and then they call someone. So, here’s the startling thing about the industry: Only about 70 percent of businesses in the industry actually have a website. This is based on Contact­Point’s analysis of LogMyCalls clients that are also ASA members. (Some surveys have reported higher percentages.)

What is a ‘good’ website?

What does an effective website look like? How many visitors should your website be getting? How many phone calls should your marketing be generating? These are all good questions that every automotive business wrestles with. Is your marketing guy or your marketing firm doing enough? How can you tell if your site is working?

Google Analytics

Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website. For most businesses, it’s free. The best way to determine if your site is driving enough traffic is with Google Analytics. You should be getting hundreds of unique visitors a day. Remember, the lines should be going up and to the right. That’s the idea. Your traffic right now matters less than the rate and direction of your progress.

What are key indicators you should review for Web traffic?

  • Unique visitors week over week – Daily trends won’t tell you much. Look at your week-over-week unique traffic for a four- to six-month period. Is the line going up or going down?
  • Organic search visitors – This might be the most important metric you can track. Increasingly, studies show that potential customers are finding you via Google. That’s it. Thus, you need to know how many visitors an organic search (with no paid advertising) is bringing to your site. This is more important than ranking or any other single factor. Traffic matters. Again, look at the week-over-week view over a four- to six-month period. Are you generating less organic traffic or more organic traffic?
  • Calls – Phone call volume can be an indicator of marketing and website success. How do you tell how many calls your website is generating? Track them! Simply use call tracking to determine which online sources are producing calls.
  • Total number of calls – You should be receiving dozens of phone calls each day. Even though some shops may offer online scheduling, phone calls still reign. Calls in the automotive service industry are more important than website visits. My guess is that your website produces far more phone calls and far more customers than you give it credit for.

Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series of management articles contributed to AutoInc. by Automotive Management Institute (AMI) instructors. To learn more about AMI, its courses and instructors, visit www.AMIonline.org. AMI administers the distinguished Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) program.

Is Your Website Failing? Six Questions to Ask

1. Do you have a website? Not having a website is particularly a problem in some segments of the automotive repair industry. We know that much of the industry, for example, is referral-based. People tell their friends you did a good job on their car and so their friend visits the shop. That’s great. However, as the population ages, the Internet is going to become even more critical. You will need a website. It is going to become even more difficult to get new customers without a website.

2. Do you have an unattractive site? We’ve all seen sites that look like they haven’t been updated since the Cold War. Look at your website and honestly evaluate if it needs a redesign.

3. Is your phone number prominently displayed? There are way too many websites that don’t have their phone numbers prominently visible. Remember, in the automotive service sector, a phone call is still the preferred way customers want to interact with you. They want to talk to a real person. And the most obvious and simple place for them to get your phone number is on your website.

4. Do you track your website traffic? If you have a website, you need to care about the number of people who visit your site. The best way to track this is with Google Analytics. You can sign up for free Google Analytics in about five minutes.

5. Do you track your phone calls? We recommend putting a local or toll-free number (from a call-tracking provider) on your website. The number rings directly to your business no differently than it does right now. The only difference is that you can log in to track how many people are calling you after seeing your website. You may in some instances be able hear the phone calls themselves and determine if your employees are selling effectively on the phone. (That is pretty eye-opening, believe me).

6. Do you do SEO? One reason your website might be failing is because you aren’t doing any SEO. “SEO” stands for search engine optimization. If you want people to find you after doing a Google search, SEO is critical. – MA

McKay Allen is the inbound marketing manager at LogMyCalls. LogMyCalls is a call tracking and call recording company that works with hundreds of automotive businesses across North America. The industry uses LogMyCalls to determine which marketing campaigns, ads and keywords produce phone calls. They also use LogMyCalls to gather call recordings. For more information, visit LogMyCalls.com or call (888) 494-2334.

 

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