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INTERNET REAL ESTATE

Valuable websites are non-negotiable

Column by VENESSA DI VITO

When thinking of a website, I no longer regard it as just a tool to gather contact information. When the Internet went public 29 years ago, many people, including myself, used it to gather emails for people and companies. In fact, many sites were created just for this—it’s part of the reason why the Internet grew as fast as it did.

The digital world is evolving, though—and customers have become more demanding. Today’s automotive websites must offer up a steady stream of value-added content, information, and entertainment. They must educate and inform existing customers while drawing in future customers with valuable, “need-to-know” facts and information about their vehicles.

I always suggest picturing your website as your virtual store. How do you want it to look? What information, resources, or other value-added content can you offer the customers that come in?

I am not suggesting a tech-centric approach when it comes to your businesses. But if you don’t have a website, or have one that offers little value, it might be time to look at some ways to make it work harder for you.

Why websites—what to do?

It helps if you can grasp the real impact that a well-designed website can have on your business.

As your biggest digital asset in the virtual world, your business website must look attractive and professional. Show them why your business is the one they need to solve their issue.

It must contain the right keywords to get your business as high as possible on Google. Once they’ve landed on the page, that’s your chance to offer up even more valuable content, and earn their future business.

One of the biggest takeaways is that every page you have on your website represents additional exposure. Value-added content can boost your rankings, while lackluster content can do the exact opposite. Besides good content, optimize your website for search results using search engine optimization. Consider hiring an expert as this is a critical field. Similarly, performance tools can indicate whether your website is at its best.

When you have a well-designed, highperformance, value-added website up and running, you will know your hard work has finally paid off! Visitors will be booking, paying, and leaving feedback about your company on a regular basis.

Sitebuilding 101

Not sure how to go about offering education, information, and value for visitors to your site? Take some inspiration from these ideas for pages you could add:

Home Page:

An overview of your company: who you are, what you do, who your partners are, and how you can help.

Services Page:

List every service you are willing to do for your customers and be sure to include a price.

Appointment Scheduling Tool:

Host an appointment calendar for customers to book services through your site. Sync it with your other systems to avoid double-booking.

Repair Status:

Poor communication has long been a leading complaint of customers in our industry. This page can interface with your management system and minimize such communication gaps, making it a truly invaluable tool if done correctly.

Testimonials:

Do you have case studies or testimonials to “wow” your customers? Whether it’s syncing your Google reviews or gathering customer feedback, this can be a powerful promotional tool.

Shop:

With Amazon leading the way in the “one-stop shop” concept, we must adopt similar strategies in our own businesses. Items can be sold even if not in your inventory, thanks to a variety of online tools.

Contact us and newsletter:

Develop a list of email contacts to keep customers and leads informed. Incentives like free tools and coupons can help capture more emails.

Some of the biggest challenges for businesses is the cost of marketing. In the past. Compared to 20 years ago, modern software makes it easier to market your business while remaining affordable for smaller businesses. Professionally designed websites usually start at around $1,000.

Don’t allow your company to fall behind the times. With a little time, money, and patience, you can have the kind of website that will help to set you up for long-term success, and plenty of profits. Ninety-eight percent of individuals use the internet on a daily basis, making it the definitive source to find anything and everything a consumer desires.

VENESSA DI VITO is the owner and founder of Auto+ Performance, a full-service automotive marketing and solutions company specializing in generating growth in sales, traffic, and customer retention for a collision repair, dealership or auto repair facility within their local communities. For almost 20 years Venessa has been helping automotive businesses across North America with business best practices and will continue to find ways to support and grow this ever evolving, yet incredibly exciting, industry.

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