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About Garage40

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    Shop Owner
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  1. This might be something worth looking into: http://www.efi101.com/essentials-of-operating-a-shop/ Good luck with the journey!
  2. To add another option to the list for you guys/gals to research: https://myshopassist.com/ The guys who created this solution are shop owners themselves and have been known to create custom solutions for clients. They also put on an event in association with EFI University called "Essentials of Operating a Shop Seminar". Might be worth reaching out to them. I haven't used the software myself so I wouldn't have any info to share on it besides having heard about it from some other shop owners.
  3. I use Yext. What did you want to know? Yext is a service that enables you to manage all of your local directory listings from one control panel. It is very nice but it's considered by many in the local SEO world to be a quick stop gap - and you cannot manage your G+ listing with it. If you submit to the major local directory aggregators manually (or all of the most popular directories individually) you wouldn't have to pay a company like Yext monthly for their service. An alternative to Yext is Moz Local. One thing to be aware of with Yext - if you ever discontinue service with them all o
  4. I would add in: - Local SEO/directory submissions and citations. Go through and claim all of your listings in local online directories and fill them in with consistent information and photos for your business. You can do this yourself if you know what you're doing. The main goal here is to show up in Google maps results when people search for services you provide in your area. Part of this work will include soliciting online reviews from your customers - the more reviews the better. - General SEO and keyword research for your website. Once you identify the bread and butter keyword term
  5. Most shop owners shouldn't be doing it themselves, at least not literally. They should hire someone to do it for them, assuming they don't have a good in-house designer/developer. Though I wouldn't use a one-stop-shop company like Dex, who is really just looking to keep you as a long term customer for their marketing programs, knowing that if they build your site you'll likely stay with them long term and keep paying them. It always seems easier to use a solution like that but it's usually not the effective way to do it. Crazy that your site is still down. This should be a good indication
  6. The easiest DIY way to do it would be to collect email addresses and throw them into a email marketing campaign using Mailchimp or Constant Contact, sending them a monthly newsletter with useful tips about maintenance and other related topics. You could also step up to an all in one service provider for automated life cycle communication. That gets a little pricey but it works well for some shops.
  7. Yelp will not filter your reviews because you're not paying them. They filter based on a lot of factors, but one of the big ones is whether or not a reviewer has more than just a few reviews. If someone signs up and writes one review and doesn't write any more, their review will likely be filtered. If you get reviewers leaving you good reviews and they're getting filtered, contact those reviewers through Yelp and ask them to write some reviews on other businesses so that their stuff isn't filtered.
  8. Wonder how many of those would have come to you if you simply had a well optimized "free" Yelp profile. Do you have a way of differentiating the free Yelp traffic from the paid, and the conversion rate for each group?
  9. My questions for you would be: - What is that "score" you mentioned, the 55 out of 100? Is that Dex's score? If so, disregard it. - How do you verify the stats they're giving you? Is that 1700 views for an entire year? 700 calls? What is the source of that traffic and how can you verify the validity of these numbers? Does the site have Google Analytics or some other known independent stats software installed so you can look at the data yourself and do some real world analysis? - Are you actually getting 3 more calls a day than before you started with Dex? Are you (or your staff)
  10. Yes, for those who aren't aware, posting via your FB page is now a lot less effective for most of us due to FB's new changes. This means that you MUST post content on your FB page that people find interesting enough to engage with (Like, Comment, Share). If you don't, your content will be dropped to the bottom of all your followers' news feeds and nobody who likes your page will ever see it - it's the equivalent of having your website fall from the first page of the search results to the 20th page. Every status update you post should included a photo or video, and calls to action to get people
  11. You have to put a great deal of thought into who your ideal customer is and come up with creative ways to engage them. Create a few segments and engage with them differently. Nobody says you have to post the same content all the time on social media - it doesn't even always have to be car related. It has to be relevant to your demographic. Here's a great article that everyone here should read, which talks about a shop that started a campaign that targets female customers: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-case-study-victory-auto/ Once you define your ideal customer and
  12. I've found that forums are very much like Yelp - you can avoid them if you want to but the people you mention who will tear your name down will do so even if you're not there to defend yourself. That is the nature of any online community, whether it be a forum or a FB group, or any review directory, it doesn't matter. If you try to steer clear of the places where negative situations will come up, you wouldn't be posting online at all. And all you end up doing is ignoring the problem and letting it fester. It's better to address it and use it as an opportunity to win other customers over.
  13. KMS, do you do any forum marketing in markets you target? I only ask because I'm a forum owner (for an old Mitsubishi platform) and I know performance shops tend to do pretty well when they target forums. If you have any questions on the best ways to market in forums, feel free to ask. I have a pretty unique perspective on that obviously, having watched shops do it right and do it wrong over the past 15 years of managing forums. Social media marketing has cast a shadow over forums recently but there is still plenty of opportunity for using forums to generate business, grow your audience,
  14. By the way, how are you going about generating the reviews on your website? You're getting a great amount of reviews. Emails going out to your customers after service?
  15. I think you're on point for everything you've touched on. Though you never know with Google, I really feel the more reviews you have on Google+ the more it helps you with the local SEO rankings, which is HUGE. Yelp is big too, but your Yelp link listing is always going to get less exposure than your Google Maps marker. That's why I asked about where you felt you were getting the bigger benefit. But you're right, a complete marketing plan is always going to be more important than trying to focus on one specific effort. You have to focus on several efforts and prioritize them, and it a

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