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new customers and the internet
Posted to Shop Management Forum on 3/24/2013 10 Replies

For the past several months I have been tracking where all of my new customers come from. This is something that I definitely should've done a long time ago, and really, all businesses should do this.

Our top two sources for new customers are personal recomendations (friends, coworkers) and internet searches (mainly google reviews). These were almost evenly split, at about 43-45% each. The distant third source was from people who drove by and saw our sign. In the last 3 months we didn't get a single new customer from any print advertising or radio advertising.

This has led me to several conclusions.

1. Physical appearance of the building/lot/signs are very important. Fresh paint, power washing, picking up the trash all makes a big difference.

2. The days of yellow page ads, magazine ads, are pretty much over.

3. THE INTERNET IS IMPORTANT. I wish I could say that I feel like we are doing an excellent job with our internet marketing, but the truth is that we've struggled with it. We keep trying things, but we don't understand as much as we need to, so it's kind of a patched together strategy. It's working fairly well, but it could be better.

What we've learned about internet marketing:

1. Your website is the foundation of your internet presence. Everything else that you do is to drive people to your website, and your website needs to drive them to your parking lot. Your website has to have the following:

a. A way to make appointment

b. A description of who you are (pictures, staff, etc. the personal touch)

c. A list of your services (what do you do)

d. Contact information and directions to your facility

e. Customer reviews/testimonials

People who are at your website are already leaning towards using your facility ... make it easy for them to get to your front door.

2. Claim your business on google places, yelp, etc. This will give you the ability to describe yourself, post pictures of your business, and reply to any reviews.

3. You need to be on the first page of a google search. (This is where a professional Search Engine Optimization company can help)

4. Stay away from anybody who is going to "send you more customers" and then charge you for every phone call. These people do not send you the customers that you want, they are interested in generating phone calls, not customers.

5. Stay away from a national company that is going to provide content for your website, facebook page, etc. They tend to put out one size fits all generic material that does not capture the personality of your shop.

If I had things to do over again I would've paid more attention to the whole picture and looked for a company that could deliver a whole package.

Nathan from Colorado

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