Are you using the internet to your advantage?

Are you using the internet to your advantage?

The last few years have seen an explosion of all sorts of new applications and buzz words that, despite the scepticism by many mechanics, can be used to great effect for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. 

Facebook, Twitter, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and email marketing are some of the main weapons at our disposal to help make more of your online presence.

This short guide gives a brief overview of these tools and how they can be used by mechanics. What’s more – they’re all free!

Facebook – If you haven’t already set up a Facebook page for your business, do it right away. Invite your friends and customers to “like” it and keep it regularly updated with offers, promotions, what’s going on in the business and more. If you’re welcoming a new employee, have some new tools, or get a glowing review, post an update telling everyone. This way you keep your customers engaged and keep your service in the back of their mind.

Twitter – Similar to Facebook, Twitter allows you to reach out to your existing and prospective customers. The big difference however is that Twitter lets you search for prospective customers in your area and “follow” them. Searching for things such as “car broken Bristol” or “MOT Leeds” will often return a list of people or businesses involved in mechanical work. Following them doesn’t guarantee success, but some may take an interest in your service and most will at least look at who you are.

SEO – A common abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation, SEO is all about allowing people to find you on Google. When deciding how many people see your website Google loves two things. Firstly, you need relevant content on your site. If you’re a mechanic operating in Birmingham make sure your website explicitly uses the words mechanic and Birmingham at least a couple of times. Secondly, Google loves “inbound” links to your site (other websites providing links to yours).

Email marketing – This is a very cheap and effective way of keeping your current customers in the loop and pushing out any promotions you have. By making sure you have all your customers’ email addresses, you can then use a free email service such as MailChimp to quickly contact all your customers. You can also embed plug-ins into your site to make collecting email addresses easier.

Forum posting – There are numerous online forums dedicated to cars, and many will have specific local forums for members in a certain area to stay informed of events, get advice and share promotions amongst other things. You can build a reputation on these forums and reach out to prospective new customers by answering their questions completely free of charge. This helps build trust between you and this online community so the next time they need a service or repair they are likely to remember you as a knowledgeable and trustworthy brand.

Special thanks to Andrew Jervis of ClickMechanic – the online mechanic market place – for contributing this article. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @adajervis

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