The Customer Perspective
The numbers vary geographically, yet it’s safe to say that at least 80% of customers search for service departments and service specials online first.
Imagine your customers’ online journey. It will start with a basic search for – usually – a specific service in a specific geographic area. Where does your service department appear in that search? Page one? Page two? Perhaps it doesn’t show up at all? New business from online customers simply won’t have an easy time finding your service center without its appearance in organic online search results.
A simple solution is to make sure that you are using effective SEO marketing to increase your visibility in organic online search results. SEO marketing can be complex for Service Directors to organize and manage themselves, which is why competitive solutions are available. Any complete SEO service marketing solution should – at the very least – encompass the following:
This short list may appear intimidating at first glance, however, there are easy, inexpensive ways to incorporate these common marketing verticals into your service department marketing.
Throw out the Bait and Hook ‘Em
The subtitle of this section offers a basic metaphor of how SEO landing pages, content marketing, and keyword optimization work. The way in which your website landing pages are set up, the content in which you place on them, and the common keywords that you include in these pages, are what ultimately get your webpages popping up in organic search results.
If you, or the company in which you hired to do it for you, are doing it correctly, a Google searcher can easily search for the service that they are needing, vehicle make, specials or coupons, and the geographical location they are in and achieve your service center as one of many results.
Appearing first or second place in organic searches is priceless. Consider how significant it is to reach a wide audience online vs. how many customers it will – or has – taken you to attract through traditional methods and drive-by traffic. SEO offer pages built with high-ranking search terms has proven to be the primary means of driving new business and attracting new customers for service departments. Dealerships that are neglecting this opportunity will lose an increasing amount of customers to competitors who are nurturing their online presence.
Google My What…?
Speaking of organic search and SEO, let’s talk about Google My Business for a moment. Google is the number one used search engine. Clearly, Google would like to keep its popularity. Google offers many tools to help you improve the searchability and ranking of your website and Google My Business is one of them. It’s completely free, but it can be a little tricky to set up and manage. However, there are companies like ours that will set up and manage it for you. This, of course, will increase your visibility in the online world.
Why catch fish if there’s no one to feed?
Let’s stay with the fishing metaphor for a moment. Suppose you’re organic search ranking is being done well and you have no complaints about your search ranking. However, you’re not getting as many ‘bites’ – as far as leads and conversions are concerned.
Many, and I mean many, service departments don’t have the proper landing pages set up to capture leads when and if potential customers do make it to the service pages. Perhaps you’re working with specials that customers must print and cut out with scissors? Or perhaps you don’t have relevant specials? Perhaps you don’t have specials at all?
Your efforts to appear organically high in search results will be in vain if you have no relevant service specials with multiple ways to convert online visitors into paying customers. Featuring specials that allow website visitors to email, text, call, share, fill out a lead form, and get directions will dramatically increase your conversion rates.
Using such tools, we’ve seen our customers easily achieve monthly conversion rates of 20%, and often, much higher. Marketing services that offer SEO, landing pages, and high-conversion tools like service specials compound to equate to high traffic and more conversions.
Think you don’t need service specials? Think again.
Service specials are often considered antiquated, and there are many reasons that’s incorrect.
Firstly, customers are always looking for a discount. Discounts on loss-leaders, bundled deals on service, seasonal and holiday offers are all tools that the service department can lean to in order to attract new customers, communicate with previous customers, and sell more premium services.
What is antiquated are service specials that require customers to print and scissor out. Nearly every demographic has a generally preferred preference in how they’d like to convert online. There is an audience that still keeps a printer, ink, copy paper, or a library nearby; however, the vast majority of people who have grown up with computers prefer to email specials to themselves. And, those who’ve grown up with cell phones will likely prefer a text message. It’s important that your dealership recognize these preferences among your customer base and cater to them accordingly.
Second, 81 percent of customers report that it is critically important to find repair and maintenance prices online prior to committing. Having up-to-date service specials is a great way to communicate price expectations without using paid advertising.
Thirdly, and this is much like the first point, customers want to know if you are offering a service they need or want for a discounted price. Online customers will attempt to seek out a deal or discount. But service departments can make their search much easier by emailing, texting, and providing those specials to customers directly.
At the beginning of last summer, a client of FixedOPS Marketing, Brookshire Hyundai, launched the first seasonal special ever: The Summer Roadtrip Checklist. They put together a marketing campaign for each dealership around this bundle and saw an increase in service customers of 19 percent!
The conversions prove, time and again, that customers do want and use service specials, especially comparatively to those who do not.
Videos! Videos! Videos!
I can hear the cumulative groan already: They take so much time! They cost so much! They don’t do anything for service! Which is all true in most cases. The Summer Roadtrip special that was mentioned above contained one of FixedOPS Marketing’s videos that the dealership used in all of their marketing efforts. What this did was educate the customer for the service department.
Video is an excellent tool for selling maintenance and repair services. If you were to guess how many of your customers know the difference between a conventional, synthetic and semi-synthetic oil change it would likely not be many. Video is very useful in showing the customers what is important – and often necessary – about any particular service.
We’ve seen our dealerships use videos to educate customers about premium services while they are waiting – glued to their phones – in the waiting room, which results in a significant decrease in declined services.
But they’re still time-consuming and expensive, right? Not necessarily. For example, here at FixedOPS Marketing, we offer all of our in-house produced videos to all of our dealerships for one low price. Dealerships are encouraged to use these videos in their marketing efforts in whatever way they’d like. Customers retain 95 percent of what they see in a video as opposed to 10 percent of something read.
Video accounts for over 80 percent of the online consumer traffic today. Clearly, dealerships that use it are far more competitive than those who do not.
Let’s look at the numbers…
Perhaps you track your current data, perhaps you don’t. It’s not uncommon to hear from Service Managers that they don’t have any preexisting data prior to hiring a company like ours, which is unfortunate.
Access to advanced reporting and clean data can really tell your dealership where your marketing is working and where it really needs help. If you look at your reporting and see that your video specials are flying out the door, then the obvious move would be to double down on those videos and up your conversion rates higher. And, vice versa if areas of your marketing that are struggling.
By neglecting to track your numbers, you’re missing out on valuable data that provides you unbiased feedback on your service website marketing.
Take it away
Service marketing may not be the Service Manager’s favorite thing to do, but the effort clearly pays off. Your answer to service marketing shouldn’t be “I don’t know” or simply “good enough” if you want to remain competitive for years to come and be that best at what you do. Simple and affordable options are available that will automate and manage your service marketing for you. Customers will assume by a simple glance at your website whether or not the service center has their act together by how organized and effective their website operates. The night and day difference will astound your service team. And, the results will shock you and your bottom-line.
Contact us at email@example.com and we’ll help you with any questions that you may have with your service marketing needs and concerns.
To change an industry, you need BIG IDEAS. Our ideas are HUGE, and our goal is nothing less than completely shattering people’s ideas of what is possible with Service Marketing, and showing them products and solutions that will exceed all expectations while driving your revenue and profit through the roof. Come take a ride with us – this is going to be a fun journey!