Here at Workshop Websites we often get asked about the need to be online, and we even get lots of people saying “All my customers know where I am, so why should I have a website”.

Well, in my opinion, it’s like saying “Why do I need a phone”. Seriously, that sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? In today’s day and age, suggesting that ANY business does not need a web presence is just as ridiculous.

Let me explain…

Today, virtually everybody uses web based searching to find what they are looking for. If you think that you’ve got enough customers right now, and don’t need more, then that’s great for you, TODAY. With that attitude you’ll almost definitely lose customers over time, and if you don’t have a mechanism to attract new customers, what’s going to happen to your business in the future?

Top tip 1: Getting found is key

People are searching, often on mobile devices, and if you don’t come up straight away, then you’re never going to be found.

This is the key

If you’re not top, or near top of your chosen search term, then customers wont find you. It’s imperative that you are found for key search terms such as “car mechanic <SUBURB>” or “mechanical workshop <SUBURB>”.

What do your customers search for to find you?

Do you know? (there is a little exercise for you. I’m thinking about doing a webinar on how to do this, drop me a note if you think this will be valuable).

There are some tricks of the trade that can help you get found, but you’ve got to have the right website, the right information, and the right tools. While this is not too complicated for someone who knows what you’re doing; it’s just like a mechanic replacing oil in a car: if you know what you’re doing, it’s easy, if you’re a novice, you can get into trouble.

 Top Tip 2: You’ve gotta look good online, especially on mobile.

Once you are found all is good. Right?!?
Well, there is a little more to it than that. It’s a bit like being in a tourist destination, where there are a whole host of shops, restaurants etc. You notice a restaurant serving your favourite food across the road, so you walk over, but once you get there, you notice that the shop looks like it has not changed since the 70’s.

Old tables, looks drab, uninviting.

You guess that the food will be the same. (NOTE: the food may be the best ever, but you’ll never know. Think about that for your business).

It’s the same with a website. If someone searches for you, finds your business, goes inside (opens your website), but they see a website that looks like it was created by a kid, they’re going to just go out of your site, and go to the next business in the list (** your competitor !!).

MOBILE

This is particularly true of users that search by mobile phones. Mobile searching is becoming more and more prolific and is expected to exceed desktop search in the next 12 months.

Some interesting stats for mobile:

  • People search for a local business more often on a Mobile than on a desktop computer.
  • Mobile searches are more likely to result in a purchase than a desktop search
  • Of the estimated 30 billion annual mobile searches, about 12 billion are local searches (Search Engine Land)
  • Bloomberg states that global mobile usage will surpass 2 billion in 2015
  • 40 percent will click another mobile result if a site’s not mobile friendly (Icebreaker Consulting)

What does this mean to you?

If your site is not what’s called “mobile responsive” then you can almost forget about the mobile market (read: most of your customers). Mobile responsive means that your website is displayed properly on a mobile device. The site is smart enough to “resize” itself to fit correctly on the phone (OK, for you IT boffins out there, I know that’s technically not correct, but lets keep this simple, I’m explaining in lay-mans terms). For an example of a mobile responsive site click here

People on a phone often want to find 3 key pieces of information:

  1. The location of your workshop
  2. Your hours of operation
  3. Direction to your workshop

Check out your site, and if it’s not mobile responsive, then you need to do something about it now.

Just like you want to provide a professional presentation when someone visits your workshop, you’ve got to back that up with a professional on-line presentation. This could will  be the difference between a customer contacting you to buy something, or going to your competition.

Think about that for a second.

That’s a double whammy! Not only are you losing business, but your competition is getting stronger. The good news is, that now is the time to act to improve your online presence, it’s not too late.

Top Tip 3: It’s easy, and cheap, to get on board this information revolution

It’s not that hard!

The great point to all this, is it’s probably simpler than you think. Creating a website might seem like a daunting task, however, for the experts, it’s not that difficult. I can’t imagine how to fix a car, it seems all too complicated to me, but give me some computer code to write, and I’m fine. You think fixing a car is easy, or at the very least you feel comfortable doing it. That’s the same with website creation.

Today, you can get a site created fairly quickly. But you do need to be careful. You need to go with a reputable provider, and someone who understands your business, otherwise you might just get something that is not best suited to your needs. You also want to steer clear of the do-it-yourself products out there, you’ll end up creating something that looks like it was created by someone who does not know what they are doing, and you may be missing out on some key elements such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and mobile responsiveness. You’d feel the same about someone fixing their own car and you’ve probably seen some people come into your workshop after they’ve botched their own work?

The other amazing thing is that this is cheap advertising.

Most advertising is expensive. But you can get a website created for little money with a low monthly fee. You should be looking at this as part of your advertising budget (don’t have an advertising budget? And you wonder where customers come from? Time to start an advertising budget).

A good, targeted on-line presence could open up a whole host of opportunities for your business, at a relatively small investment. Think about this for a second. When is the last time you could create something that was specific for a target market, quick and cheap to create, and potentially brought the specific customers you want into your business. If you do this correctly, this could be a game-changer for your organisation. (We could even start talking about Google Adwords where you can get cheap, very targeted ads for your business; but that’s a topic for another time).

Now is the on-line information revolution. Are you part of it? What’s stopping you?

The point is, if you don’t become a part of this, you’ll be left behind. The amazing thing is that it’s so easy to get on board, and there are NO excuses not to.

If you”re unsure what to do next, drop me a line by clicking here. You can also find out more information about Workshop Websites, who create websites specifically for mechanical workshop businesses by clicking here. Sites are as little as $399 set-up and only $69 per month including hosting and email management.

 

James Mitchell is CEO of Workshop Software, the creators of Workshop Websites. James’ companies have been operating in software solutions for the Automotive aftermarket industry for over 30 years, and have developed Workshop Websites to help streamline workshops and grow their profits. James and his team has extensive experience in Search Engine Optimisation, digital marketing, and best on-line business practices.