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Performance & Hotrod Business - July '15

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July 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 77 social media programs can be saved for another day. For this article, we want to revisit your original online presence: the website you built years ago and have since tossed in the corner while you play with the sexier social media platforms. Why Have a Website? Let's start with a fact that you may not want to hear about your current website: it is not a destination for the consumer pub- lic. Nobody is browsing your website on a daily basis for compelling news articles and funny videos. There are thousands of websites dedi- cated to the hobby of hot rodding and classic cars. Your customers are most likely spending their time on those sites when they want to find out about the lat- est trends in the industry. These websites often employ a staff of professional writers, videographers, photographers and bloggers to ensure that they have the most current and entertaining information on the web. They also employ SEO experts to make sure consumers find their websites first when searching Google, Yahoo!, Bing or some other search engine. You will not be able to compete with these websites for the eyeballs of the general consumer public. When it comes to your current web- site, the most obvious question you can ask yourself is, "Why do I have a website?" For many shop owners, the unfortunate answer is often, "because I am supposed to have a website" or "everyone told me that I need one." Honestly, both of those reasons are valid, but not very good answers to help grow your business. Whether you have owned a website for many years or jumped in recently, this simple question is the first strategic action you must take. From our experience with local shops, there are three essential reasons for you to have a website: Customers & Clients. The main purpose of your business is to make money. The only way that you can make money is to have customers and clients that pay their bills. Therefore, the most important audi- ence for your website are the people you want to contract with for car builds or to sell parts. Your website must clearly show and state exactly the type of work, services and parts your shop offers. In a nutshell, there should be no confusion to anyone going to your website's home page about what you do for a living. Suppliers & Vendors. At some point, all shops need to establish relationships with manufacturers and suppliers of parts. Whether for securing parts for a special car show build or simply contracting for parts to resell, the relationship between shops and suppliers is critical. In all cases, you want the best possible deal that you can get from these part and service suppliers. Therefore, it is critical that you have a web- site that presents a professional appearance to others within the industry. Family & Friends. You work in a very cool industry, and you want to show this to your family and friends. Take a look at your current website and ask yourself, "would I be proud to show this to my fam- ily?" and "would my friends be impressed by my website?" Please note that this is not being boastful or bragging. Rather, these types of questions will let you know if your website reflects the pride you have in your shop. There are no better judges of the quality of your website than your family and friends. The reason you have a website is to capture the attention of these audiences. It is important to note that each group will search for your website at different times and for different reasons. Your current customers will want to find updates on your latest vehicle projects, and new customers will want to know about the quality and scope of your services. Suppliers will often check out your website to deter- mine if you are legitimate and professional before doing any business with you. Website as a Business Card Every once in a while, I will run across a business person that hands me an odd- shaped business card. Typically, these unique business cards are larger than a nor- mal business card or cut into an odd shape. Each and every time, the person proudly asks me what I think of their truly unique business cards. My response is always the same, "I hate them." Johnny Martin has been featured several times in the pages of Performance & Hotrod Business. His Johnny's Auto Trim website (johnnysautotrim.com) includes prominent tabs for recent Builds, Projects and Press. Referencing the seven key components of successful automotive aftermar- ket websites, HS Customs (featured in the June 2015 issue of Performance & Hotrod Business) focuses on its Vehicles first on hscustoms.com.

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