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From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell National Sales Executive

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Online Marketing for Fixed Ops? - What's that?

We as Internet Managers seem to focus so much on the sales end of the operation of the dealership website.  I don't know if it is part of our pay plans, but we should be looking at it from a 30,000 foot view for the dealership.  How can we as Internet Managers grow the dealership as a whole and not just on sales?  I know when I am going through conversion rates for our website, more than 60% of the unique visitors are there for fixed ops.  So what are we doing for those customers?  Here are some thought starters for your main dealership website.

  1. Have service specials or a link on your home page to engage the customer.  Call to action is the key.
  2. Have a coupon available for your customer online.
  3. Have a parts special or coupon.
  4. Have your online scheduling form easy to find.
  5. Make sure your process is in line to be able to handle those online appointment requests as more and more people are starting to make their appointements online.

Now to think outside the box a little.  Are you generating fixed operations sales by having more websites?  A lot of dealers have micro-sites for sales, but do you have one for fixed ops?  I took the advise of a well known person in the industry and grabbed a url with our city and oil change in it.  It comes up number one in a google search when you search our city and 'oil change.'  You can build a professional looking website using Wordpress and run with it.  The only cost you have is the cost of the url and time to build the site (took me about 3 hours after the tweaking).  If you have a body shop, try it.  If you have a strong parts department, try it.  The options are endless. 

What are you doing to help fixed operations on the internet?  Do you have some micro-sites that are helping them?  Would love to hear your ideas.

 

Stephen Brown
I've used AdWords with some success driving service business. I was working with a limited budget, and the keywords for the new make and models we sell were too expensive. I got a much better ROI out of the service keywords and it resulted in good conversions (in the form of online service appointments)
Jim Bell
That is one thing that I forgot about when I posted this. Thanks for bringing it up. Yes, we have had a great adword campaign with service terms also. I think it has been more effective than our sales keywords.
Brian Pasch
Dealers should also check out the Virtual Service Assistant from Dealer eProcess. This replacement to a boring service appointment form increases online submissions by 300%. So, if you drive them to a service page organically, via PPC, or better call to action messaging on your home page, you should also focus on conversion.
Dave Page
Jim, great post! I can't tell you how frustrated I am with the Fixed Ops side of our business. I have spent a better part of 15 years on this side of the business. If the old saying is true,"service follows sales" then we are doing a poor job!. I agree with you that the internet manager should pay attention to this side of the business online, but I also think our fixed ops directors and service managers need to get educated and stop running scared of technology. Here is the part that really bothers me; technology and computers were in the service bays years before computers were important to help sell vehicles, and the development has stopped right there. If we want to take business back into the dealership for service, then we need to catch up with sales and start getting educated on the strategy to do so. This all starts with training and engaging customers when they come to your website, your fixed ops website that is!
Jim Bell
Thanks for the comment and reading Brian. Was hoping you would throw your 2 cents in since I got the url idea from you. Thanks for the plug on the product. We will have to check it out.

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