Building Up Your Fixed Ops Online Presence to Attract Service Customers
When marketing the front end of the dealership, it’s common sense to provide vehicle-specific landing pages, articles about branding and features, and to optimize online listings. Including all of these as part of a marketing strategy beats out competitors and increases the odds of completing a sale from a phone call or website lead.
Are you approaching service with the same marketing purpose?
Service delivers much higher volume and margins, but dealerships often stick to the basics online. When you don’t take advantage of organic marketing options like search engine optimization and website content in service, you miss out on every search from their ideal service prospects.
How do you bring service into the spotlight? The easiest way to start is by cleaning up any service content you already have on your site, blog, or search listings.
Load Your Listing with Helpful Content
Google My Business
When customers search for service centers, does your dealership show up? Is service information readily available in extension links and your Google My Business listing?
If you’re the best option to answer the customer’s search and you have a Google My Business listing, this will show up to the right of the results list. Make sure your Google My Business is strong:
- Claim the business if you haven’t already (this is important for service and parts departments, which may technically show up as a second business!)
- Verify name, map pin location, phone numbers, site links, business categories, and description
- Set your hours of operation for service apart from the main hours (especially around holidays!)
- Encourage and respond to reviews
- Answer Q&A questions from prospective customers
- Display current promotions and deals
Google’s ultimate goal is to serve their users relevant content with every search, and it comes down to the value a business’s page adds to the user’s experience. In recent updates, they’ve gone as far as recommending related results, often showing competitors.
As a dealership, you have some tough competition in service: OEMs, other same-franchise dealerships, and national and independent repair shops. Filling your Google My Business listing pushes other recommended dealerships down the page.
Featured Snippets and “People Also Ask”
Another opportunity to show up in search results is writing web pages and blog articles with “Featured Snippets” and “People also ask” sections in mind.
Featured snippets quickly answer specific questions from users, giving them a sneak peek into the page’s information. This section appears above any other organic search results and the “People also ask” section, but below paid search ads. But showing up in featured snippets is free and depends only on quality content.
The “People also ask” section is an opportunity for other articles and web pages to answer similar questions. Google anticipates that its algorithm may not always interpret the user’s intended search correctly, so these additional questions help the user identify the best search and the results they want to see.
This section can be an easy way for competitors to get space at the top, so beat them out by optimizing your content for this section too:
- Answer common questions through articles and site content
- Write with keywords in mind, but keep it natural (remember, keyword-stuffing can actually hurt you when Google reviews content)
Spruce Up Your Site’s Structure
Is your service department webpage easy to find?
Appearing in search results (either paid or organic) directs service prospects to your site, where users should be directed straight to service-specific pages.
When customers find your site another way, they will reference the navigation bar or menu to find the page they need. Make sure Service is one of the options in the main bar to limit the number of pages customers have to navigate through—too many pages and they’ll leave your website entirely.
How are prospects able to schedule an appointment?
Providing a direct phone number to the Service department eliminates some of the phone-tag customers often experience when calling into a business’s general number. If customers are able to quickly reach Service to ask questions or schedule an appointment, you set the bar higher for the rest of their experience.
Similarly, an online scheduling option allows customers who know what services they need to avoid calling in altogether. If your online scheduling tool integrates with your DMS, your posted availability is up-to-date with all appointments and cancellations, which helps avoid confusion and frustration when the customer arrives.
To measure engagement, use a unique call tracking phone number and monitor clicks on a “Call Service” button or appointment leads sent from a scheduling tool. You can measure total ROs and new customers to get a sense of how well your strategy is working overall. Numbers will vary depending on the changes you make, the size of your dealership and market area, and other factors.
Creating New Content
It’s hard to create a strong content strategy to drive traffic and even harder to write and publish the content to the best channels. Any dealership who wants to prioritize fixed ops needs to make space for it in their marketing strategy, including blog posts and webpages. To help you brainstorm some ideas, here are some of our favorite topics:
- Car Care Tips for the Season
- Tips for Detailing Your Vehicle at Home
- Gift Ideas for Your Vehicle-Accessory-Obsessed Friend
- Why Servicing at a Dealership is Better than an Independent Mechanic
- The Importance of Maintenance Intervals
- Signs Your Car’s [part/system] Needs Fixed
These topics can help get you started, but the strongest strategies come from both new content and edited content to stay relevant to customers as they search online. If you don’t have the resources to update your webpages, search listings, and blog consistently, consult a marketing specialist.