I’ll keep this short and sweet since we all have a lot to do right now. States are continuing to add shelter-in-place orders daily, but auto body shops are still open for business, and they will continue to stay open as you are all deemed essential businesses.
However, your customers may not be so sure of your status. Accidents are still happening. In fact, my 17-year-old son got into his first car accident on Friday.
Shops keep contacting us, asking for help in getting the word out to their customers to let them know that they are still open for business. It’s more important than ever for us to help them get the word out about any altered or unusual operations. This notification includes information such as “the doors are locked, but we are here to meet your needs” type of notices.
We’re happy and able to help any auto body shop, customer or not, to get the message out. But if you feel like doing it yourself, I just wanted to take a moment and show all auto body shops a couple of quick and easy ways to let your customers know that you are still open for business during the outbreak.
- Google My Business
When people Google your business or when they Google the phrase “body shop (town name)” they are going to find the Google maps, also known as Google My Business listing, as the very first result, except for any Google ads that might appear this may differ by specific keyword search).
If you have claimed your Google My Business (GMB) page, you will have the ability to post messages on your GMB page. We post content in there all the time for our customers and it definitely drives visits to the GMB pages and websites.
It’s important to realize that the GMB page is different from your website. When a person clicks on your shop name from the maps, the window that pops up to the right is the GMB page and then within that screen, it can contain a link to your website and it can show a preview of any content you want to post such as information about your business and operations during the virus.
How to Access Google My Business
To get to this content section of Google My Business for your shop you need to log into your Google My Business account by visiting https://www.google.com/business/ and click sign in. If you have a Gmail account this will be the @gmail.com email that you used to claim the page. If you have not claimed your page, you will need to do that first. Claiming a page that has been claimed by someone else can be a bit tricky if you have not done this before, and if you get stuck, reach out and we’ll walk you through this process.
Once you are signed in, you will see a sidebar with options. Click on “posts”.
From there, you will see a box with some options such as “Add Offer,” “Add Update,” “Add Event,” and “Add Product.” Click on “Add Update”
From there you can insert a photo or videos and you can add your text.
Once you are done, hit “publish” and this is what you will see:
And here is how it will look on your Google maps listing when someone clicks your shop:
2. Website Pop up
Every one of our customers has requested a pop up to be added to their site, and that’s a natural request. Your website is where people will go to confirm that you are open (if they haven’t looked on your GMB page). If your website was built in WordPress (as many of them are), there are several plugins you can use. To walk you through all of those would be impossible due to all of the variations among the plugins. For most of our customers, we use Hubspot Free to collect lead data. Hubspot has a free pop up tool you can use once you have it set up on your website. It is not difficult to do. If you have a custom-coded website, you may want to contact your website development company to request that they add a pop-up. Here is what we have been doing:
3. Social media posts
The third place that people will look to see if you are still open is your social media. I don’t need to walk you through how to make a social media post, but our suggestion is you just create a post and make it a sticky post or pin it so that it will always stay on top until you un-stick it.
4. Email blast
Now would be a good time to do an email blast to your whole database. Depending on what you use to manage your customers, whether it is CCC or some other management system, there is a function you can use to pull a contact list. (You have been collecting email addresses, right?) We find CCC to be the most arduous because you can only export 100 records at a time. If you are fixing 3-400 cars a month, it’s a bear to keep picking dates to keep it under 100 records. So what you have to do is pick 2/1-2/15 and see if its less than 100 records, and just keep adjusting dates until you get a time frame with less than 100 records. It can take a couple of hours just to build a list, but once you have it, you can use it for other communication needs.
So there you go, four quick ways to let your customers know that you are open for business and taking every precaution with their vehicle. Stay healthy and stay safe. If you get stuck or need help, contact us, we’re happy to help.