FenderBender magazine (and website) are industry resources that ALL auto body shop owners should be very familiar with. As a local search marketing consultant for small businesses, I’ve had several body shop owners as clients and helped them create and grow their web presence to acquire a continuing stream of new customers. Independent shop owners are in a perpetual state of war against big car insurance companies and their designated DRP’s (direct repair program). If you ARE an independent body shop owner, there’s no need to explain why. So when I was in a client’s shop recently and found myself thumbing through the latest copy of FenderBender, I got excited and intrigued to see an article that mentioned both Google and DRP in the same title.
A wise man once told me that when it comes to spending marketing and advertising dollars…”If you can’t…or worse yet… don’t even try to measure the results of your dollars spent, you’re wasting your time.” The idea comes from a concept in the academic world called the Scientific Method, which states: a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence. So when this shop owner that wrote the FenderBender article also stated in his very first sentence that…”our estimators ask every customer how they heard about us.” …it struck home with me because I’m always preaching the same thing to my clients.
… On a recent Monday, we wrote eight estimates and all eight people had the same answer.
“Google.” “Google.” “Google.” “Google.” “The Internet … Google search.” “Google.” “Google.” “Google.”
I was astounded to learn that most people that were coming through the door were not from one of our DRPs, but from Google searches. It turns out that several of them were insured by one of our insurance partners but the way they initially heard about us was via an Internet search.
The body shop owner/writer of the article, Kevin Raines, goes on to say that getting to this point came “slowly, over many months and years”…only then, did his self taught, trial by fire efforts start seeing “my ranking started to improve.”
Eventually we landed on the first page for several key words I had been targeting. Once we reached the first page, the progress really slowed down, as the competition to break into the top three listings is fierce. That was when we decided we needed to hire an SEO company that had expertise that went well beyond the “dummy” level.
Kevin’s initial experience with local search marketing or SEO companies was that “They wanted a couple thousand dollars upfront and monthly fees that ranged from $500 to $1,500.” Finally, he had come full circle “after many months and years” of trying to Do-It-Yourself to the point of realizing how many new clients and how much money he had missed out on.
His final words of wisdom:
I have heard it said that the best time to start optimizing your website is 10 years ago. The next best time is right now.