Thursday, 10 April 2014 17:54

Automotive Marketing Company Garners Huge Kudos for its Website Clients

For many years, body shop owners in general weren’t enamored with the idea of hiring a company to design and develop their websites, thinking that they cost too much and would not bring enough new customers to their shops. But now most of those naysayers and doubters realize that a good, easy-to-read website that has intuitive navigation and is leveraged for searchability is a necessity, rather than a luxury. And that’s why companies such as Autoshop Solutions, an automotive website design and Internet marketing company based in Apex, NC, are flourishing.

Autoshop Solutions’ websites have been named to the highly-respected “Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites” list by AutoInc., the official publication of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), for the last seven years, including four wins in the 2013 list.

“We are honored once again to have four of our clients’ websites recognized for being some of the best in the country,” said Danny Sanchez, CEO and founder of Autoshop Solutions. “We congratulate Atlantic Motorcar Center, Kinney’s Automotive, Valley Automotive, and Mike’s KARS for inclusion on AutoInc.’s list of ‘Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites’.”

Autoshop Solutions has been building website designs for the automotive industry for more than nine years and has won numerous awards, but winning never gets old, according to their vice president of operations Margaret Klemmer.

“Website design trends and Internet marketing are constantly changing,” she said. “We’re encouraged by the fact that our websites consistently place in the ‘Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites’ across the country because we always work hard to make sure our customers get websites that truly work for them. These awards validate our ability to evolve and innovate our product for the benefit our our clients.”

Each year, AutoInc.'s judges review hundreds of websites from around the country to come up with the ‘Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites’ list. These websites are evaluated by three independent judges based on the following criteria: First impression/visual design, objective/purpose, innovation, credibility, navigation, calls to action, consumer friendliness, technical elements, and social media involvement.

Sanchez and his company have dominated the ‘Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites’ list since 2007 and have captured 20 of the 60 available spots over those years. He and his 12-member team have been designing websites and performing search engine optimization (SEO) for a wide range of automotive repair companies (both mechanical and collision), parts vendors and transmission shops, automotive glass companies, and performance shops, according to Sanchez.

“I personally started designing websites for automotive companies almost two decades ago, and then in 1999 I opened the doors here at Autoshop Solutions,” Sanchez said. “I recognized a definite need, because we saw that these companies were doing excellent work, but they didn’t know how to create a presence online. Our first few clients were mechanical repair shops, and we realized rather quickly that we could help them a lot by creating websites that are easy-to-use and optimized for search. One victory led to another, and pretty soon we were busy because repair shops need our help and we know what they need.”

Early adapters have a distinct advantage online, but those companies that are jumping in now can make quick inroads if they decide to step up and feature a top-notch site. “A simple site with three or four pages used to be enough, but no more,” Sanchez explained. “Five years ago, you could dominate your market because your competition either had a weak site or maybe even no website at all. But now almost every shop out there is trying to get those top rankings, and the competition online is intense. Those shops that dragged their feet are scrambling, but everyone is in the game now.”

Sanchez said the old days of hiring your cousin or brother-in-law to do your website are long gone for several reasons. “The sites out there now contain 10-15 pages that are full of fresh content and more bells and whistles than ever before, so hiring a friend or relative that designs template-type web sites part-time on the weekends won’t make it anymore. Consumers are much more knowledgeable and if they see an amateurish-looking site, they know what they’re looking at. For many customers, your website is the first thing they’ll see—before they visit your shop or even call, in many cases—so making a good impression with your website is much more crucial now.”

Many shops launch websites and then forget about them, which is a mistake, Sanchez said. “I call it the ‘check the box’ syndrome. Shops figure hey—we did a whole new website five to six years ago, so let’s just leave it alone. The only problem is things are changing all the time, so if you’re not adding new content and refreshing your site, you can be left behind. One thing we’ve done for many of our clients recently is softening up their approach and making the content more instructional, because we know that 60 percent of the people handling these repairs are women. Also, Google values fresh, original content more now, which means that blogs are more popular than ever.”

Gail Bixler is the business development manager for Mike’s KARS, a mechanical repair shop in Gettysburg, PA. Capturing an award for its website was obviously a thrill for the shop, but the work isn’t done quite yet, Bixler said. “We’re still in the process of refining our site, and I imagine that will never end,” she said. “We will be making revisions on an ongoing basis because we realize that we need to continually make it better. It’s not rocket science, but you need to put in the necessary time and pay attention to things like social media, SEO, and the overall look and feel of the site.”

Josh Fuller, co-owner of Fuller’s of Auburn in Auburn, MA, contracted Autoshop Solutions to design a website for his company in 2012. It wasn’t an easy task because Fuller has six businesses all under one umbrella: towing, mechanical repair, collision repair, an express oil change service, a car rental fleet, and a used car sales company. But, by building a site that is easy-to-use and incorporates SEO, Fuller is pleased by the results and delighted about the positive reviews that he’s received from his customers.

“We started our first website back in 2006, but the technology is so different now, and there is so much more competition fighting for top rankings these days,” Fuller said. “We’re constantly looking for the best solutions out there, and the people at Autoshop Solutions knew exactly what we were looking for because they know our industry inside-and-out.”

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