- Message Boards
- Buyer's Guide
- Ask the Experts
With over 250 million Americans and over 1.5 billion people across the world actively surfing the Internet, business owners can no longer be averse to capitalizing on the tremendous business growth opportunities afforded by the Internet. The most important of these: A website.
By now, I’d imagine that most of you have a website for your carwash, but what you may not be doing is capitalizing on your website’s ability to generate more traffic and revenue to your physical carwash site. But don’t worry; with a few simple changes to your site, you can boost your wash’s profits without having to put in any extra hours.
If you don’t already have a website for your carwash start planning one today! With millions of consumers turning to the Internet when searching about basic services like carwashing can you really afford to miss out? Plus, if they can‘t find you, you can bet they’ll find your competitors.
A few basic guidelines for website newbies:
• Keep your website clean, polished and professional;
• Have an easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate website;
• Create engaging and informative content;
• Give your clients and prospects a way to interact with you;
• Provide a general overview of your business; describe your different services, upgrade packages and loyalty programs; and, provide a detailed location map.
Now, if you really want your website to work 24/7 for you then you need to give your customers additional incentives to visit your site on a regular basis. There are three simple ways to drive more traffic to your website and physical carwash location.
Optimize your website for search engines
To make sure your website is a success and found by consumers requiring your services, you must optimize your website. You can spend thousands of dollars on a website that is interactive and distinctive, but if your customers and prospective customers cannot find you online how are they going to know about your carwash?
To optimize your website you simply need to design your webpages so that search engines will rank them highly. Since Google has 55-65 percent of the market share when it comes to web searches, focus on optimizing for Google first.
When it comes to search engine ranking, content is king. You want high quality, relevant content that is informative and educational. Determine keywords that consumers would use to find your website via a search engine such as carwash, self-serve carwash, detailing, etc. Weave these keywords into the natural flow of your website’s content.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you include the location of your wash into the content as well. Additionally, try to keep your word count to about 1,000 words per page — pages with this word count tend to rank higher in search engines. Break your content into easy to read small paragraphs and be sure to add headings to different topics as these will help increase your ranking too.
Google also places significant importance on quality inbound links to your site meaning the more relevant sites that link back to your website the higher you’ll rank. Don’t go out and solicit linking from just anyone though.
Google favors high-quality, relevant sites so it’s better to have only a handful of relevant sites linking back to your website than having 100 non-relevant sites. For instance, getting your local chamber of commerce to link back to your website would benefit you while having twenty links from miscellaneous “junk” sites would actually harm your search rankings.
While Flash and images may make your site visually appealing, try to limit the usage of graphics. If you use graphics to convey important information, search engines simply won’t see it.
When you do place graphics on your website make sure to include an <ALT> tag for each image and assign meaningful keywords to the image via this tag. A searchbot will be able to figure out what the image is about only with this tag.
So, you’ve got a great looking site, engaging content, beautiful graphics, easy-to-navigation and you’ve even optimized it for search engines so what more could you possibly want? How about more visitors? Successful websites drive new business back to the site by offering traffic-generating incentives to keep visitors coming back on a regular basis.
Incentives that you can add to your website to create regular site visitors include:
• Creating exclusive online coupons that can be redeemed at the carwash;
• A referral program where visitors can receive coupons or prizes for referring friends to your site;
• Offering information regarding charity fundraisers and youth organization sponsorship;
• Offering discounted loyalty programs or preferred customer club cards;
• Developing an online form where customers can register to receive online promotions and coupons via email;
• Creating a feedback form where customers can provide their unbiased feedback regarding your carwash site and services;
• Writing a blog on car care tips and environmental benefits of using your carwash.
These types of incentives not only help generate goodwill and trust towards your carwash but they also are some great ways to generate word of mouth marketing. Offering these additional values on your website will not only help generate more traffic to your website but also your physical carwash location.
Make your website a selling tool
Make your website an actual profit center that never closes and generates profits for you even when you’re asleep and on vacation. First, you’ll need to add a shopping cart feature to your website so you can accept credit card, debit card and Paypal payments via your website. Once you’ve added a shopping cart feature, you can start adding additional features to your website that will generate profits for you directly from the website.
Drive commercial businesses to your website and generate additional income by offering fleet wash program signup and management directly. Allow commercial businesses to conveniently manage their fleet wash programs and pay their invoices, much like online bill pay with your bank, right on your website. This not only generates more revenue for you but also creates brand loyalty for your carwash.
Additionally, with your shopping cart feature you can now sell gift cards, preferred customer club cards, charity and youth organization fundraiser cards, and wash books right on your website. Making your website a profit center not only boosts your bottom-line but your customers will certainly appreciate the ease of use by which they can sign up for your preferred customer programs, set up a fundraiser and pay their commercial invoices.
Having a website for your carwash not only helps your business grow but with the right features it can allow your business to thrive in this slow economy. Plus, unlike your physical carwash location which is only open for a limited amount of hours, your website can generate revenue for you around the clock and at your customer’s convenience.
Leslie Whittaker challenges the status quo and pioneers new concepts as a marketing, branding and customer relations consultant in Orlando, Florida. For her, marketing strategies are a beautifully blended mixture of strategy, value, behavioral science, traditional outreach, digital mediums, guerilla tactics and relationship development. Whittaker can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org