Question: What are you doing to improve your dealership’s Internet presence?
What a timely question. I’ve just started shooting my own YouTube videos of the demos we do, especially specialty-use units. Otherwise, I’m going to start putting photos up of slow-moving units and some attachments that I have — kinda like a bargain bin. I still mainly link to vendor Web sites for the in-depth specs and details, as long as they don’t publish pricing. ; ) I don’t have any plans to use e-commerce for parts. We’re too busy doing our otherwise “normal” business.
— Paul D. Lasiter
Mason’s Saw and Lawnmower Service, Inc.
El Cajon, Calif.
Our dealership has pretty much relied on our connection with Stihl to give us an Internet presence. They have done an outstanding job of setting up Web sites for the Stihl Elite dealers and providing training. Otherwise, our technology-impaired owners would be in electronic limbo.
— Bill & Marti Valliant, owners
Last year, [one of our vendor’s] Website-hosting company went missing, so we waited for them to get us some new options. We now have a new Web site that we maintain ourselves. We also participate in the Stihl dealers’ .com program that has given us a second Web site devoted to Stihl. As far as people finding us, I have not heard of any problems. I don’t think at this time I am willing to pay additional fees to any search engine company.
— Matt Borden, owner
Ed & Matt Equipment
After setting up a fancy home page on my Web site, www.hudsonmowerdoctor.com, I found out that fancy didn’t work. Rather, I loaded up the revised text-only home page with names of machines I service. Now Google sorts me right to the top of local shops whether you look for mowers, chain saws, blowers, etc.
I also indicate my Website address in my Yellow Page, Yellow Book and newspaper ads. Potential customers expect a long-term mower repair shop to have a Web site. The sign on my hauling trailer displays only my Website address and phone number.
— Flute Snyder
Hudson Mower Doctor
In order to improve our Internet presence, we use SEO [Search Engine Optimization] to get our site toward the top (without paying the “big bucks”). We run Google & Facebook ads, we have a Facebook Business page, and we are always looking for new ways. We are also looking at totally re-doing our Web site, so that we can make changes on the fly instead of waiting on our Web designer.
— Dean Davis
Dogwood Fireplace & Lawn
First, we don’t need everyone in the world visiting our site. We just need traffic from a 15-mile circle around our business. We don’t use expensive Internet ads or services that promise to send traffic to our site. We have a simple Web address (www.rentalbarn.com) that describes our business and is easy for customers to remember. Locally, we put our Web address in as many places as we can — school and sports programs, business cards, ads, handouts, etc.
We keep our costs down by authoring our own site. It may not look as professional as some, but it contains the information that customers need. We get compliments on our content, and that’s what counts. I don’t believe sites junked up with glitzy, flashy content would help drive business to our store. While I don’t update the site as much as I should, I can make updates quickly without cost. The content of our site contains personal, business and local political content. This makes our site searchable by a variety of keywords. The political content on our site is important to our business; however, I wouldn’t recommend it for most.
— Rob Leiser
Leiser’s Sales and Rental
My beautiful wife, Sherri, made a nice Web site using her Mac computer and stuck a few links on it. Glad she knows how to do it, because I don’t have a clue! Has it done any good? Not really sure, but it’s out there now. She is looking at other sites and looking into adding other stuff. Sherri says it’s the future in the way we do business. I’m going to stick with what I’ve been doing for the past 35 years, trying to fix these dang lawnmowers that folks keep breaking.
— Tony Nation
Nation’s Small Engine, Inc.
Hot Springs, Ark.