This interview with Danny Sanchez of Autoshop Solutions is part of the Convirza Webinar Series. The following is the Q&A portion of the presentation.
McKay Allen: Awesome. Thank you, Danny. We really appreciate it. Good information. We do have a couple of questions. First thing, and we’ll get to as many of these as we can so make sure you write them in the “Question” bar and we’ll address them to Danny. First question is, “In the industry, what is the biggest issue you see?” Is it a website that’s maybe doesn’t look good enough? Is it a lack of focus on SEO? Is it a lack of PPC spin? Where does the industry need to improve, if you can paint it with a broad brush for a moment?
Danny Sanchez: For the most part what we see is that the industry is dropping the ball from the get-go in not understanding that the website is the anchor to everything else. There are people who are buying PPC and trying to drive traffic. The problem is they’re using an older website to do it and it’s designed to fail from the beginning.
The days of having a $20/month website and driving traffic to it are kind of over. You can have a $20/month website. There’s no problem with that. It’s just the expectation needs to be there that it’s not going to work in a competitive environment. That’s not going to happen.
Really, the failure that we’ve seen in the industry is really from an education point, that a website is not a website. There’s a difference between one that’s been built to perform and one that’s been built to be a good placeholder and get you by for awhile.
If I can describe it in a little bit different way, McKay, that maybe makes a little bit more sense, we laugh about this all the time as an industry. We have a customer come in that needs front brakes, the rotors are torn up and the calipers are barely dangling left on the car, put it up in the air, show the customer what’s needed and they say, “Well, my brother-in-law, my nephew is a mechanic. I’ll just have him fix it.”
Well, we still do the same thing when it comes to websites. “My nephew, my brother-in-law, my son, he’s a computer nerd. He’ll build me a website.” There’s a difference. The days of having somebody who doesn’t keep up with the Internet on a daily basis, doesn’t live in the space, the same thing as being a mechanic. If you’re not professional, you can’t possibly do this to the same level that’s required to be competitive, and that’s what we run across.
McKay Allen: That’s a great analogy. That’s a very good analogy. The other question that I think people are having is as you talk to people in the industry, I guess the big question is what is a good budget for something like this? If someone says, “Hey, I want to design my site,” or, “I want to do some PPC spend,” how much money should they spend on this stuff? How much should a one-location repair shop spend realistically? How much is too much? How much is not enough?
Danny Sanchez: Yeah, that’s a great question and I can definitely give you some numbers that makes some sense. A shop that’s in let’s just say a fair metro area, a reasonable sized city, they should be expecting to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 to $4,000 for a website build up front, depending on the competitive level of the people around them.
And they should be expecting to spend, with pay-per-click spend mixed in with maybe SEO, anywhere from $300 to $1,000 a month, and understand that out of that there’s a pretty good probability, based on the numbers that we’ve seen, that that will generate at least about a car a day. So when you start talking about the return on investment, that’s a small amount compared to what gets drawn in. Considering the Internet typically draws in the best spending client and that average repair order is somewhere between $300 and $500, it doesn’t take very many to pay for a $500 to $1,000 budget.
The average amongst our clients, just to give you a real number, the average is somewhere around $650 a month. So we’ve got quite a few people below that and quite a few people above that. But that should give you some good ideas.
McKay Allen: That’s great. And just to piggy back on what you said, if I can make a comment. The thing that we’re seeing too with call data is that the majority of calls coming in to automotive businesses are now from the web. They’re no longer from different local ads or traditional ad spaces. The majority of calls to businesses come from the web in one form or another. So I think you’re right. I think you have to have that anchor, as you say, before you have anything else. That’s key.
Danny Sanchez: I agree. It’s a place where all the traffic needs to be driven to and then also even for your referral customers, we keep telling shop owners that don’t miss the boat in thinking that your referral customers don’t need to see a very professional presence online too. That continues to perpetuate what they’ve already heard about you.
I refer you, McKay; to a shop that I think does a great job. I say, “McKay, don’t take your car there for a brake job. Go here, they do a fantastic job.” You’re not going to call them without going to look at their online presence first. There’s a good chance you’re going to at least see their website and you might see their Facebook profile too just to see what kind of comments have been left behind there or what kind of activity that they have. Based on those results, what you see on their website, you’re already thinking whether or not you’re going to really trust these guys. Even if I had a really strong referral, you might not call them based on what you see online.
McKay Allen: That’s right. That’s exactly right. What are you seeing in terms of mobile search increasing? Because Google says specifically mobile search, whether it’s this year, next year, is going to actually outpace desktop/laptop search. Are you seeing more and more traffic going to the mobile sites you create?
Danny Sanchez: We are. That number has been exponential, especially over what we call in the Internet, a short period of time. A month is forever on the Internet. We see numbers increasing. We’re seeing numbers increasing on a monthly basis and that number has been continuing to jump up. The way the numbers are right now, I don’t know if it’ll outpace by next year, but certainly within the next couple years I could see that definitely happen.
Right now the main thing is just to make sure you have a great mobile experience and being in position. It’s kind of like what everybody was saying three to five years ago that you can’t live without a website. Right now, you cannot have no mobile presence. To be without a mobile presence right now is a huge mistake because it’s just the same as not having a website three and five years ago.
Google is judging you by how you’re onboarding now with mobile and that will affect your SEO and other tools two years from now. It’s kind of like being a first-on. You’ve got to one of the first on to get it.
The people who are in areas that do have either vacation traffic or near highways, broken down areas, they are without a doubt benefitting more from mobile than shops who are in more areas that have less pass through traffic. So right now the benefit is more for pass throughs and breakdowns. But the numbers are not so low in numbers that don’t have that kind of traffic to not support at least getting started. But if you’re in a town where you have any kind of tourism, you’re in a town where people pass through your area, then mobile is huge.
McKay Allen: And what sort of actions are you seeing on mobile pages? My guess is it would be predominantly phone calls, based on the device that they have, obviously.
Danny Sanchez: Correct. There’s a couple ways to get traffic from mobile. There’s the organic and of course you can use pay-per-click and also paid search to drive traffic with mobile too. So you can show up high on the results for a mobile page. But the absolute conversion is just straight phone call. Most of them don’t even go to the main website. They see the mobile website, they see the place where they can just click and they’re just looking for somebody close.
Google does take into its algorithm in mobile the proximity of who they’re close to calling. So that is part of the ranking and how close you are to where they’re physically standing at the time. So the closer you are, the better chance you have of being on the top. But it’s the phone call. They’re just calling to convert and that’s why you have to be really good on the phones. That’s your opportunity to convert.
McKay Allen: Great. Let’s see here. Oh yeah, here’s another question that I think is useful. You mentioned a few trends. If someone says, “Hey, I want to get started right now,” what would be the first step? If I’m listening to this webinar, what would be the first thing that I need to do today to get better?
Danny Sanchez: Well, hopefully you’re working with somebody, a developer that can help you through that process. But the data says everything. It’s no different than running a shop or a business that the data in the business usually describes how well the business is performing. If you’re a general repair shop you’re going to look at your efficiencies, you’re going to look at your dollars per RO. You’re going to look at your dollars per day. You’re going to look at your hours per tech.
The analytics on the website are the exact same thing. The data supports everything about it. If you look at one of the metrics, for an example, of time on site, how long do people stay on the website? If it’s under a minute, it’s time to take a look at your website. If it’s under 30 seconds, you’ve got major issues. The site’s not what’s called “sticky enough”; people are not staying long enough.
If they’re not looking at at least a page and a half to two and a half pages, your site is not engaging enough. They’re not staying connected with it long enough. There’s a number of metrics that need to be gone through and see how is my actual website performing and there’s no lie in the numbers. The numbers tell the story in everything.
That would really be the first place to start is to start to understand the analytics and looking at the numbers, saying, “Where is my program not working at the moment? How much traffic am I getting? How long are people engaging? What kind of keywords am I getting activity for?” That’s what gets used to determine is it time for me to build a new website? Is it time for me to look at a different marketing plan? What do I need to change?
It’s all in the numbers. There’s no guessing. So that’s the first place to start.
McKay Allen: Great. That’s awesome. Good advice. Danny, we appreciate it very much. Thank you for joining us today. And everybody, thank you for coming today.
I encourage you to check out AutoshopSolutions.com. They do a really good job. We’ve got a lot of clients who are also clients of their and have nothing but good things to say so I encourage you to use them.
And then also definitely please track the efforts of your online marketing with call tracking so that you can determine exactly how many phone calls your website’s generating. We’ve seen a lot of great results with companies who really didn’t know and then started to track and then make improvements and you can’t make improvements unless you know the data, as Danny said.
Danny Sanchez: I couldn’t agree more.
McKay Allen: Yeah, it’s key. Danny, we appreciate it. Any last words, sir, before we conclude?
Danny Sanchez: No, I think I’m good and thank you so much for having me today. Thank you for giving us the opportunity. Glad we were here.
McKay Allen: Yeah, absolutely. Everybody, thank you for joining us. Thanks again, Danny. Have a wonderful afternoon, everybody.
Danny Sanchez: You too. Take care.