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The Independent Body Shop's Guide to Marketing

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The Independent Body Shop's Guide to Marketing
Guidelines for becoming the most trusted shop in your community.

Replicate Your Efforts Online.

Williams wouldn’t say her posts have gone “viral.” But in Lefler Collision & Glass’s mid-sized community, hundreds of shares and 40,000 page views from a single Facebook post is nothing to shake a stick at.

“All I did was make a schedule for the fireworks on July 4. I put our logo on it, and 40,000 people saw that,” says Williams. “It basically had nothing to do with industry. It was just something the community needed.”

This moment reflects a truth Sanchez really wants to hit home: Your web presence isn’t a separate entity from your business—it’s a continuation of your business’s brand and marketing approach.

“Everything you do online has to be consistent with your brand, with the audience you want to bring in,” he says.

For example, if a large segment of your audience is eco-friendly, you should populate your website with green cars; if your customer database is mostly women, certain design elements could make your business less appealing; and, in Williams’ case, if your community is deeply invested in local events and activities, making a simple Facebook post could spread your company’s brand to thousands of people in seconds. Being on a local level, Williams says her operation’s web presence caters to the community much more effectively than a generic MSO website.

This approach even extends to Ward’s main marketing focus: Your web presence should win over any area insurance companies or fleets looking for trustworthy collision repair shops in the market. In particular, your website should be set up as an elevator pitch for winning local business partnerships (see sidebar: Cater Your Website to Insurance Companies).

While Google’s algorithm changes frequently, Sanchez says one constant has remained true for years: Populating your website with the right keywords will put you far ahead of the competition. So, while keywords such as “collision” and “repair” help your shop trend higher in local searches, you must be aware of your brand as well. You need to sell a consistent message about your shop’s role in the community if you wish to win over customers and remain top-of-mind in the long run.

“From the amount of collision shops we've added over the last year, competition has heated heavily,” Sanchez says. “So, now is the time to get ahead of your competition.”

 

Cater Your Website to Insurance Companies

“For DRPs, what we find is most people don’t feel they need online presence,” Danny Sanchez says.

As CEO of Autoshop Solutions, and as someone who has designed websites for collision repair shops across the country, Sanchez knows this simply isn’t true. In fact, while many walk-in customers rely on SEO searches to choose shops, insurance companies will actually visit shop websites to gauge whether they’re worthy of DRPs.

Here are a few DRP-friendly features to consider for your shop’s website:

  • Advertise that your shop welcomes DRPs on the home page.
  • Acknowledge any existing DRPs—even consider a drop-down menu that lists them out.
  • Market any DRP-friendly features, such as offices for appraisers or on-site car rentals.
  • Host professional photos that show your employees working with insurance companies.
  • Ensure your website is mobile responsive.

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