2020 was an exhausting year for many of us and it’s safe to say that we’re all sick of the useless advice for how to be successful during COVID that doesn’t produce results.
We wanted to cut through the BS and talk to real people in this industry who are actually finding ways to be successful right now. We surveyed ExoShield partners and other business owners like you (PPF installers, tinters, detailers) who managed to kill it in 2020 and are busier than ever.
Here are the top 5 things that PPF and window tint business owners say have helped them grow their businesses this year:
1. Focus on your online presence
People are spending more time online than ever. It can be easy to overlook things like social media or your website when you’re so focused on doing great work for your customers. But having a strong online presence where potential customers can get to know you and your work is one of the easiest ways to bring new clients in the door. If you’re taking this on all on your own and don’t know where to start, we suggest setting up Instagram and Facebook accounts for your business and start posting consistently (once a week is fine!). Don’t worry about the content being perfect - doing it regularly is the most important thing.
Download: Instagram 101 Guide
Not sure where to start with social media? Access our free downloadable guide to setting up and growing your instagram account!
We also have a Facebook Guide available for partners on the ExoShield Partner Portal.
Once you have your social media profiles set up, here are your next three steps:
Step 1: Customer Reviews. Online reviews are the number one way that customers choose where to spend their money. Make sure you’re asking your customers for reviews on Google or Yelp so that you can grow your reputation and credibility.
Step 2: Have a great website that works for you. Your website might be the first thing that a potential client will go to when they want to learn more about you and the products you offer. Making sure your website fits with your brand and is user friendly is one of the most important ways to differentiate yourself in 2021. Also, SEO is key! Strong SEO means more people visiting your site which equals more customers.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Pretty much anything that you do that brings more people to your website is considered SEO. There are lots of online resources to help you with your SEO (we like this one from HubSpot), but here are a two things you can do right away to help you get started:
1. Keywords: make sure that you’re including the keywords that customers are searching for on your website. For example, if you want customers to go to you for windshield protection film, make sure you are using keywords like “windshield protection film” or “windshield protector” in the header and subheaders on your website.
2. Create shareable content: The more you have other sites linking to your website, the more important Google thinks your website must be! By creating useful content on your website, you’re more likely to have people finding and sharing your link, which will lead to a higher google search ranking.
Step 3: Be social! Engaging with your community whether it’s online or in person will help grow awareness about your business. It’ll also build trust with your customers - they might even start recommending you to their friends and family. Social media is a great way to do this, but also consider being active on forums or local facebook groups.
Need help setting up your website? We have a simple guide available for download on the ExoShield Partner Portal.
2. Spend money on Facebook ads to generate demand
When business is slow, spending money may be the last thing on your mind. But remember that your success depends on bringing in new customers, and advertising is one of the best ways to do that. The trick is to spend your advertising money wisely to bring in the biggest return.
One of the most inexpensive ways to advertise is through social media. Running ads on Facebook, instagram, or LinkedIn can be a great way to take a few hundred dollars and turn it into thousands of website visits and potential customers. Where you choose to advertise depends on where your target customers are likely to be scrolling.
Here are some things you should consider before pressing 'Publish' on your next ad campaign:
Social Media Advertising Checklist:
- Get straight to the point: people have short attention spans - your ad should tell your customers exactly what you want them to know right away. If you choose to go with video, make sure your message comes across within the first 3 seconds.
- Consider your target customer: try to think carefully about who you are targeting with your ad, and make sure whatever you create appeals to them and what they're looking for.
Tip: Try running a promotion specifically for your target customers while you run the ad (e.g. 15% off windshield protection for jeep owners with a jeep-targeted ad).
- Turn interest into leads. Think carefully about what you’re trying to accomplish with the ad. Are you trying to educate the customer? Or are they potential clients who are ready to buy and should be requesting a quote? Either way, make sure that wherever you are leading them (e.g. a page on your website) answers any questions that they have, and turns them into an interested lead.
- Track your results. It’s not always fun, but keeping track of all the customers that come in specifically because of your ad is important. Understanding how successful your ad is will be a big help when you run your next one.
3. Make your customers feel comfortable
Depending on where your business is, some customers might not feel completely comfortable visiting a shop, or they may not even know that you’re open! Adapting to a “COVID-friendly” way of doing business in the short term might be helpful to make sure you’re not missing out on business.
Here are a few ideas we’ve heard from others in the industry:
Let customers know you’re open for business. Keep your Google Business Profile up to date to keep customers aware of any changes to your business hours. In areas with severe lockdowns, you can also use Google to signal to them that you’re currently open. Use this guide to make sure everything is set up properly for your business.
Offer contactless installs. Some of your customers may be thinking twice about bringing their vehicle in for services. Offering a ‘contactless installation’ service that allows people to drop off their vehicles in a safe way can go a long way to make people feel more comfortable booking with you.
Make and share a COVID policy with your customers. Having a simple policy about how you’re operating during COVID is another way to signal to customers that you’re not only open, but are also adapting to the situation. You can share this information on your website, as a footer in any emails you send, or via social media.
4. Add new services like PPF or Windshield Protection Film
Even if you’re finding it hard to get more customers in the door, you can still boost revenue from the ones that do come in!
Bundling Services. Selling multiple products as part of a bundle is one of the best ways that ExoShield partners are able to increase the efficiency of their sales process and increase their average sale value.
Diversify! Expanding into new services that you offer will also help with this. For example, if you tend to offer products that may be seasonal in your location (e.g. window tint), consider adding year-round or off-season services to your business. One of the best tips we hear from partners is that by offering all-season products like ExoShield, you’ll see more consistent revenue even during slow periods. It may also allow you to attract new types of customers which will also help you continue to grow revenue.
If you’re not already carrying a windshield protection film, now could be the perfect time to add one! Learn about all the benefits of becoming an ExoShield partner, or download our virtual brochure here.
5. Find alternative sales channels
Setting up a mutually beneficial partnership with other businesses (e.g. car dealerships) that you can sell your services through can be a great way to get others to sell on your behalf. Set them up with marketing materials so that they can promote your services directly.
For something like ExoShield, consider working directly with dealerships, fleets, or auto glass shops. You’ll be able to access a whole new customer base without having to spend more money on marketing.
Need help closing alternative sales channels? Talk to your ExoShield rep and they’ll be happy to help! We have lots of partners who have been doing this for years, and we can talk you through the process. If you’re interested in selling to fleets, we have a comprehensive guide and presentation that you can use to make the sale.
Enough from us - it’s time to get out there and crush it!
2020 may have been a hard year, but the automotive film industry is made up of some of the most resilient and badass people we know. Spending this time focusing on the tips above will not only help you kick ass in 2021, but will hopefully set your business up for long term success!
Have any other tips for staying on top during a potentially slow period? Join the conversation with other business owners on our Facebook page.
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