Marketing in 2020: Will People Find You and What Will They See?

PR Media Coach Eric Reamer
PR Media Coach Eric Reamer helps body shops and small businesses with their online presence.

The marketing game is more important in 2020 than ever before. Are people finding your business online, and if they are what are they seeing? Are you getting leads online or disappearing altogether?

These were some of the questions that were answered during a presentation at SEMA360, part of the SCRS 2020 Repairer Driven Education series, co-hosted by PR Media Coach Eric Reamer and Owner Robert Grieve at Nylund's Collision Center, a 30-year-old shop in Englewood, CO.

Owner Robert Grieve at Nylund's Collision Center has been doing his shop’s online marketing since day one.

Reamer and Grieve addressed two critically important aspects of marketing your shop---how to force Google to attract more of the right customers to your business, and how to win their business before they ever step foot on the property.

In this class, Reamer and Grieve described exactly how to jump the line in Google search results by answering the same questions your prospects are asking every day. And once they find you---how to seal the deal by appealing to what matters most to them.

Grieve specifically shared valuable information about how shops can accelerate visibility online and close more sales with people already leaning in to their offerings.

“'If you didn’t know where you’re going, it really doesn’t matter what you do to get there' is an old saying that applies in many ways to the way shops market themselves,” Reamer said.

To point collision repairers in the right direction, Reamer initially cited some stats to support his claims. One number that stood out was the fact 92% of all people use Google to perform their searches.

“Almost every computer out there comes with Bing installed, but no one uses it,” Reamer said.

One of the main components to marketing online has to do with images, and Grieve went through a series of examples to illustrate their importance.

He showed slides of shops with photos of unflattering of things, such as cluttered waiting rooms, dirty shop floors and beat-up cars in parking lots. He warned shops should never post about unrelated things online---like politics, for example---and that if you have photos of vehicles, you must not show cars’ license numbers, a mistake many make.

“Photos are more important than ever, especially in the COVID place where we are right now,” Grieve said. “More and more people are now shopping online and doing their research online. It was a preference for many years, but now it’s more like a necessity.

"We believe that images are a critical piece because images such as photography and multimedia have an immense impact on the consumer’s purchasing behavior because they provide a way for them to make a visual connection with a product before they buy it," he continued. "The goal is to connect to a consumer without them being in your shop physically. Good images will foster confidence in the customer’s eyes and it happens in milliseconds.”

Reamer strengthened the case about images by citing the fact that 90% of all visual messages, with photos, will stick in someone’s mind, while only 20% will read your website’s content. Sixty-three percent reported images are more important to them than a product description, for example. In addition, people who shop on their phones say images are the most important feature.

Body shop people need to think like their customers if they want to win on Google.

“Stop looking through our lenses and eyes and look through our existing and potential customers’ lenses,” Reamer said.

One of the best ways to connect with new and old customers is by creating relevant content that meets Google’s standards.

“Making Google happy is key,” Reamer said. “Coming up with original articles, for a blog or social media...

...and optimizing them is important. To do this right, you have to do Google-speak and play by their rules. We’re in their sand box, so they call the shots.

"Google is a god online, but with a lower ‘g’. If you do everything correctly, Google will funnel people onto your site, Yelp or social media, and connect to the 4% of all customers who are out there already thinking about you.”

The mission for any piece of new content is to get customers to share it with their friends and colleagues online.

“It’s so much more powerful when your customers tell you story for you,” Reamer said. “Your website is one of the only places online where you can control everything, so determining what people are looking for is key. Maybe they want to see your facility, talk about specific vehicles, compare prices, online reviews, etc.---you want to be able to address all of their questions through your content.”

Reamer explained shops don’t need to attract the masses, only the 1% to 4% of those people who are already within your potential market. It’s not rocket science, he said, but in the end, you have to learn about things such as meta tags, search engine optimization (SEO) and what exactly constitutes of original content.

“I would search your topic---'how to find the best body shop,' for example---online and create a better article that is better than 10 others you can find. Look at what your competition is doing and do it better. You don’t have to outrun the bear, just the guy in front of you," Reamer said.

By taking some of these ideas and using them after SEMA360, shops will hopefully be able to win when it comes to Google, because what we’ve learned is that it is truly the only game in town.

To watch this presentation and other SCRS Repairer Driven Education sessions through August 2021, enrollment information can be found online.

Ed Attanasio

Columnist
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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