Check out our article in the latest Dealer Service publication. There is some great information on how customers are now keeping their vehicles longer and how your Fixed Operations Department can capitalize!
Website Content & SEO Strategy to Capitalize on The ‘Service Sweet Spot’
In today’s digital era, you need to have a strong website to market your products and services. This especially goes for building automotive SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Modern franchise car dealers must compete with big names like Jiffy Lube, Firestone, Midas, PepBoys and more – especially online. The stronger your marketing strategy, the better chance you have at drawing in customers.
What many franchise dealerships do not realize is that they are asleep at the wheel when it comes to creating and implementing online strategies for fixed operations segments of their business. They tend to focus on the variable operations, which means they are missing out on reaching a whole market of customers who need auto parts, accessories, maintenance and repair services.
You can attract more traffic to your website and your dealership by implementing an SEO and content marketing strategy for your fixed operations departments. Tailor the content on your website to target the service “sweet spot” in the automotive industry, and make it harder for those big-name repair shops to compete with your unique services.
What is the “Service Sweet Spot”?
What does the average American drive? Experian Automotive’s most recent market trends data for Vehicles in Operation (VIO) “sweet spot” tells us which vehicle model year, segment, age, and market share takes up the majority of our roadways.
The VIO “sweet spot,” comprised of vehicles typically 6 to 12 model years old that have aged out of general OEM warranties, is growing, with 30.7% of vehicles falling in the category.
Why is this sweet spot so important? Over 4 million cars were added to the road in the last 12 months, which gives the U.S. just over 270 million vehicles currently on the road. Typically, models that are 5 years old and newer are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. So, any vehicle that is a 2014 model or older will be more likely to have service paid for by the vehicle’s owner. A “sweet spot” in those vehicle years is between 6 and 12 years old, are no longer eligible for manufacturer warranties but still have significant value. Vehicles that are 6 years old or older make up the majority of vehicles on the road.
When OEM parts are purchased, they carry a warranty. People who own cars that are 6 to 12 years old are no longer under warranty; meaning these auto owners will be coming for repairs and replacements to pay for new parts.
What does this information mean for your fixed operation services? You now know what kind of vehicles will be visiting your shop most frequently for check-ups and repairs – and, therefore, you know where a good portion of your income will be coming from. The preparation begins: by researching what kind of services these types of cars are going to need, you can plan your marketing accordingly.
On-site SEO is all about putting content on your website that will easily lead search engines to you. The focus should be placed on providing quality content based upon keywords that the “sweet spot” consumer looks for; in this case, 60k maintenance, shocks, timing belt replacement, tire replacements, collision center, etc.
Which Services to Advertise
You know who your “sweet spot” customers are, so what kind of services will you advertise to them? What do you provide that they will seek out most often?
Our research shows that 41% of consumers who have bought tires in your service department will purchase their next vehicle from you. The more popular the service, the more you want to market your ability to provide quality service for that particular problem; therefore, one content strategy would be to talk up your tire replacement service online.
Other popular services include changing timing belts and shocks – as they must be replaced once you hit 50,000 miles or more. The differing fluid levels must be checked and maintained; think engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and cooling system fluid.
Advertising the services provided by your collision center can also be beneficial in this situation, as most cars that need repair after an accident will also be, undoubtedly, the popular 6- to 12-year-olds.
Fixing You Content
Dealerships can build a unique site with a service menu page that gives transparent pricing, clear and detailed service and parts explanations and easy-to-use phone calls and appointment forms. With these online advantages, you can beat out those other big-name operations.