Adding a blog to your website is a great way to showcase case studies on your repairs, demonstrate your expertise, connect with your community, and get more traction from Google. Your blog can also act as the foundation for an email newsletter, social media posts, and increased search results.
Who Reads an Auto Body Shop’s Blog?
Let’s address this right up front. Most people aren’t going to seek out and read through the various blog posts on your website for fun.
There are two answers here, and the first is that yes - people will read your posts - if they provide answers to their questions. And if you think about it, most internet searches are questions of some sort. If someone enters “Ford F-150 aluminum body repair” they’re really asking the question “Who can repair my aluminum body F-150?”
If you have a blog post on your site about Ford F-150 aluminum repair, do you see how that might be better than simply having a single bullet point on your services page that shows ”aluminum repairs”?
Google and Bing sure see the difference, so one big reason for creating blog posts is to give the search engines relevant pages to present in their search results. We’ll get into more detail below, but your blog posts are primarily for people doing searches - and most people won’t simply come to your homepage and start reading your blog posts.
Blog Posts Educate Prospects About Your Services
Using the Ford F-150 example above, you could create a blog post to explain your experience working on aluminum bodies, why you need separate facilities and special tools for those repairs, how your shop is part of the Ford Certified Collision Network, and so on. You’d include pictures of Ford trucks, logos, and certifications.
Let’s say a prospect is comparing your shop to a competitor, because they need repairs on their aluminum Ford. Your competitor has a simple Services page that lists everything they do, and aluminum repair is just a bullet point. Your site has a page all about aluminum repair and your Ford certification.
Who do you think they’re most likely to choose for their repair?
Blog Posts are a Great Way to Share News About Your Shop
Now maybe you're thinking your shop doesn’t really have any news, but if you dig deeper you can probably come up with some topics.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
New Hires and Promotions
When you bring on new hires, get a good photo and write up a blurb about them. Explain what they’ll be doing in the shop along with any relevant experience they have. This also gives customers insight into the different positions in your facility. Once the post is ready, share it to your social media pages, and encourage them to do the same if they want.
Did you install a new paint booth? Surely you have tons of before and after photos showing how the installation crew made a huge mess in the process, but after that you had an amazing new booth and vestibule.
These make for great blog posts, because it shows your customers you’re investing in the latest equipment. The same goes for any other types of upgrades, whether it’s to the lobby and waiting area, outdoor signage, or new tools. Always explain how these upgrades are going to help your customers get better repairs.
Certifications and Training
If you add or renew your certifications, create a post about it. Maybe you just got your I-CAR Gold Class Certification, or a Hyundai, Audi, or Tesla cert, or you sent a team member to special training for painting or welding. This should all be posted and shared.
Each season brings its own driving hazards and you should write about them. Spring brings storms, including hail damage. Having that blog post on hand, then sharing it on social media the day after a major storm is a great way to get people to think of your shop.
Summer brings more travel in general, and more accidents. Buckled roads, rock chips, and potholes all wreak havoc on your customers' cars. If you offer standalone detailing services, summer is the perfect time to promote it.
In the Fall in many parts of the country we see lots of deer jumping in front of cars, as well as large tractors during harvest time, and school buses to look out for.
And finally, winter snow and ice is not kind to drivers. Create posts about each of these and any others you can think of, and share them at the appropriate times.
Charity or Community Events
If you participate as a company in local events you can and should create blog posts about them. For example, If some of your employees help in a community cleanup event, you’d write about the event, and link back to the event website if there is one.
Are you sponsoring a little league team? Do a writeup about the team, get some pictures of the team, and any signage that shows your logo.
If your shop gives away a car at Christmas time, that should definitely be posted on your blog. If there are organizations that you help, they are excellent to include.
Continuing Education or Other Events
If your shop hosts continuing education classes for insurance agents, be sure to get photos and an overview of the course content from the facilitator or instructor. Write this up and explain how and why these courses are important for agents and policyholders, and ultimately good for your customers.
Blogging Brings Traffic to Your Body Shop’s Website
Most people who find your website don’t come through the “front door”, i.e. your homepage. Instead, let’s think about how most people find your website - through a Google search.
They enter a phrase, such as “paintless dent repair in city” and the Google results are probably going to show any paid ads first, then a mini map (the Local 3-Pack) with a few local shops, then the “organic” (non-paid) results.
The organic results show the most detailed info for the person’s search. If you have a blog post or page on your website specifically about PDR, that’s likely the one Google is going to display, and the user will probably click the link to that result.
The more blog posts you have, the more links Google can show to people, and the more relevant those links can be - which brings traffic to your website and gets prospects to at least consider you for their repairs.
Your Blog Can Serve as the Foundation of Your Marketing
There are tons of little marketing tactics that a business can use, but without an overall strategy, tactics don’t do much. Your blog can form the foundation of your strategy and serve as a starting point to get your message out to your audience. What I’m referring to here is known as “content marketing”, which should be part of any auto body shop’s SEO plan.
Here’s one strategy you could use. Think of some common questions your customers ask, and write a blog post that includes a comprehensive, detailed answer. Once that’s done and posted to your website you can move on to some of these tactics to spread the word.
YouTube or Other Video Channels
Record yourself or have someone do it for you while you read or paraphrase the post you created. This can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, or other services in rough form, or if you have the capability, you can edit the video and fine-tune it to add graphics, cuts, and better audio.
Your finished video can be:
- Embedded into the blog post on your website
- Shared on social media
- Added to your email newsletter
Share to Social Media
Your blog post “lives” on your website, but you have to share it if you want it to be seen. If you have social media pages for your shop, share the blog post URL on your social networks, such as:
If you’ve mentioned any people or businesses in your post, consider tagging them, so they can help share.
Also, while they aren’t technically social media sites, you can also share links to your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and Yelp Business page.
An email newsletter can be a nice way to stay in touch with your customer base. For general collision repair, customers aren’t going to be eagerly awaiting your next email, but it’s a way to stay top-of-mind with them, and if you offer other services such as detailing you can use an email as a way to send offers for those services.
If you have enough to include in a newsletter, you can add a personal note, along with snippets of recent posts you’ve written, a blurb about an equipment upgrade or a new hire, and then link to the full blog post.
Another option is to simply include the full blog post in the email, but it can be beneficial to get people back to your website.
If you mention other companies, groups, or individuals in your posts, be sure to let them know. Many times they will share it with their audience or link to it from their own websites. It certainly can’t hurt to ask them to do so.
All the tactics listed above serve to funnel people back to the blog post on your website, with the intention of getting people to consider you for their repairs.
Your blog can help educate your prospects and customers about the services you provide and show them why you’re a great choice among the shops in your area. It also gives you a foundation for your content marketing plan to get the word out. Blogging is a commitment, and the amount of work that goes into it shouldn’t be underestimated.
The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. A good marketing partner can write and promote your blog posts for you, and all you have to do is check them over before they go live.
If you’d like to talk about blogging for your collision repair shop, get in touch.
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