By Jonathan Barber
If you’re reading this, you probably have a website. But it’s important to not skip over this section, we’ll be covering best practices that can help you develop an even more effective website that converts curious prospective customers into paying customers and a basic structure for your website that we find is optimal.
Why an automotive website is important
A customer journey may start with them hearing about you by word of mouth, and then visiting your website. They may then click off your website and browse Facebook, where they will see an ad, click on the ad and then go to book an appointment on your website. Your email marketing will point back to your website. Your social media points back to your website. Google points back to your website. You can view your website as the central point of information where customers can learn more about you without calling in.
Make it mobile
It’s important to understand that much of your traffic will be on mobile in 2019. Let’s say for example your website isn’t optimized for mobile, the customer might click off and go to a competitor that’s spent time optimizing their website for mobile. Hopefully you can see just how crucial mobile optimization is on your bottom line.
Automotive Website layout
One of the most important aspects of your website is how it functions. Having a sleek looking website that’s aesthetically pleasing is nice and all but I would like to stress that function is more important than form. Customers don’t care too much about the aesthetics of a website, they just want to be able to get on quickly, view the information they need and book or setup their appointment if you have that function. If your website is already setup, do a quick click through and see how easily you can navigate the pages. Can you quickly find essential information, like customer reviews, hours, and special offers? Expect roughly 80% of your traffic to come from mobile. If you’re not mobile optimized, new customers will click right off your page and go to your competitors. We’ll go over each page that we consider important and give you a start as to what you can put on each page.
The home page is the absolute most important part of your website. A home page is often the first place that a visitor sees when visiting your website. That being said, there are things that most new customers want to see quickly, and the best way that you can showcase these items is by placing them on your home page.
Showcase reviews on your home page
90% of new customers will check and see what other people have said about you. One of the ways that people establish trust online is by seeing what other people have to say about your auto shop. Showcase your reviews on the home page to instantly build trust, and more trust means more bookings for you.
Be sure to have photos of you and your staff on the front page, this also is a trust builder. This adds a human element to your home page and a new customer on your home page gets to know you a bit before they even meet you. Add your hours and location to your home page; this information should be at a glance for new customers. Including special offers right on your home page can help entice new buyers. Add the types of cars you work on on your website as well.
“Customers don’t care too much about the aesthetics of a website, they just want to be able to get on quickly, view the information they need and book or setup their appointment if you have that function.”
The about page is the second most visited page on a shop’s website. Often the about page can be a difference maker when done right. Feature photos of yourself and the staff. Use bullet points to make important information easy to find. Most shop owners include a couple of fun facts about themselves like your hobbies, or what makes them unique.
Most shop owners I work with have quite a few services available. Usually a dropdown menu with each service so the customer can drill down is the most common way that we go about navigation. Make sure that you don’t copy a generic description of an brake line flush for example, put your own spin on it, write your own copy for each service. For each service you want to try and build trust and explain the benefits of the procedure. When you’re focused on the benefits, you highlight what the customer gets out of each service and as a result you’ll end up getting more conversions.
This is an optional page, not necessary, but helpful for SEO. A blog does a couple of things for you. When a customer sees that you’ve written articles on cars, this positions you as an authority on auto care. You can also get traffic from Google from prospective customers reading about automotive. For example, if your blog ranks highly in your area for “my diesel making a whining noise” for example, you can convert a percentage of prospective customers that visit your website.
Highlight customer testimonials on this page. Include the person’s name if available and include the actual star rating for each review.
On your contact page you can include details about your address, relist your phone number, email address if you use one, and contact form which people don’t generally use. Use a Google maps plugin to show a map of where your practice is located.
So these are the basics for a website, I hope you found them helpful. This is a short overview but there are many more things that you can do to build new customer trust like trust icons on the bottom of the website from Norton etc. Online appointment scheduling online is also another addon that we’d suggest if your shop allows for it.
If you need help setting up a website schedule a 1 on 1 strategy session.