When I ask petrol station owners whether they have a website, those who don’t usually say the same thing: “There’s currently no need.” While this may be an easy thing to believe, the facts show that it simply isn’t true. In today’s day and age, all small businesses can benefit from having a working, updated website and social media presence, no matter the industry they are in.
If you’ve been on the fence about building a website for your petrol station, here are some of the reasons to get online today.
- Help your customers find you
We live in an online world. Much like social media, equipping your business with a website is simply one of the best ways to make sure you are engaged with your customer base. Between computers, phones, and tablets, the average Australian spends up to seven hours a day online.
With this much time spent online, failing to put your business into the webspace is inevitably a missed opportunity to directly connect with customers. A website can help you develop your brand, build customer loyalty and engagement, and sends the overall message that you are actively engaged with the modern world of business.
2. Google can find you
Be it local restaurants or a place to refuel, Australians searching for a business are most likely to turn to the internet to find a business to meet their needs. If your petrol station is going to become a search result, and therefore become an option for thousands of customers in your area, you’ll need a website. Without an online presence, major search engines such as Google may as well have no idea that you exist.
Once you are online, you have a chance to show up in Google searches. This means that customers searching for petrol and service stations will be able to find your business quickly, drastically increasing your outreach and expanding your potential customer base. The more your website is visited by potential customers, the higher it will rank in search results and the wider the reach of your business will become. If your petrol station is not online, it’s a guarantee that another in the area already is, and their visibility is giving them the upper hand.
3. Keep your customers informed
Have you struggled with keeping customers up to date and informed with changes being made at your petrol station? Trying to figure out how to reach your customers with information about changing hours, services, or new products and promotions? A website is a 24/7 way to keep current and future customers up to date with everything happening at your service station. Not only are you given the tools to provide essential information such as business policies and hours, but you are also given a completely open platform to advertise promotional material and new products. Repeat customers will know to visit your website for updates and changes that may affect them, and you will be able to effectively convey critical information.
As the situation with COVID-19 rapidly unfolded and continues to develop, petrol stations hosting a website were given a quick and effective way to communicate policy and service changes with their website. Those without may have been forced to rely on in-store signage, or other, less effective methods of communications. In today’s world, efficacy of communication with your customers is key, and a website is the best way to accomplish it.
4. A website adds credibility
Studies have shown time and time again that consumers consider businesses with a strong website to be more credible than those without an online presence. While a social media presence such as a Facebook page can go a long way in increasing your customer engagement, having an official website gives your petrol station a more professional and legitimate appearance to potential customers. Overall, a well-maintained website is an easy and effective way to add credibility to your business, as well as give a stamp of professionalism to your service station. In a market where branding and first impressions are everything, a website is the perfect way to get a leg up.
5. Social media
Most of us know that Facebook’s reach is big. What you may not realise is exactly how big that reach really is. Seventy-two per cent of Australians have a Facebook page, and one out of two Australians use the platform every single day. Around 16 million Australians are active on the platform at least once a month, and Facebook has an estimated 80 per cent of the market share of Australian social media. That said, there is no simpler, more effective way to broaden your petrol station’s reach than creating a Facebook page.
Unlike most other marketing, creating a page for your business costs no money, and is a great way to reach both current and new potential customers in your area. Facebook even enables you to collect information such as customer email addresses that can be used for monthly newsletters or promotions, meaning your petrol station can be placed repeatedly at the forefront of their mind, all at no cost to you.
6. Create a customer relationship
Social media is all about creating relationships, and this includes small businesses. Creating a Facebook page for your petrol station means that you are creating a forum that will develop direct relationships with your customers. People want to go somewhere they feel welcome, acknowledged, and recognised. A strong social media presence is a way to check all three of those boxes quickly. Not to mention, it’s an excellent way to receive and field customer feedback and complaints.
Unlike other platforms, reviews received by your Facebook page can be replied to directly by the business owner. This means not only will customers feel heard, but you are able to create a lasting positive impression that can turn an unhappy customer into a return customer. Positive reviews also have a space to shine on your page and distinguish your petrol station from others in the area.
7. Keep customers in the know
With such a broad reach, a company Facebook page is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your customers informed. At its simplest level, you can display your hours, address, and phone number, making basic information broadly available to the general public. However, you can also use a Facebook page to inform customers about special offers or promotions you may be running.
Say, for example, a new brand of coffee or line of product has recently become available at your petrol station and you think your customers may be interested. Instead of waiting for customers to come to your business to discover what you have available, the product can become the incentive to visit. The interaction encouraged by Facebook also allows an avenue for customers to let you know what they want. Whether it’s a specific brand of product, or an idea for improvement, social media gives them the chance to let you know and keeps you up to date with what your customer base is thinking.
8. Humanise your business
In today’s world, social media interaction is almost as good as face-to-face engagement. An online presence is not only a chance to participate in daily interaction with your customer base, but also a chance to allow your business to be more than just a brand name.
Social media platforms such as Facebook give small businesses an opportunity to create a coherent voice and image for their brand. Activity like sharing interesting or relevant links on your page not only engages your customers but allows you to paint a picture of what you want the public to think of when they think of your petrol station.
Direct posts to your page give you a chance to speak directly to people in your area, engage with them individually, and become a tangible part of their day to day lives. Creating an active Facebook page is a chance for your petrol station to humanise itself and be seen less as a corporate entity and more as a small business run by real, relatable people.
9. Everyone else is doing it (including your competition!)
The reality is that if you’re not on Facebook, it’s likely that your competition already is. All large corporate brands have a social media presence because they recognise its importance as a customer engagement tool. Any small business that is truly looking to optimise their reach and define their brand’s voice can benefit from creating a Facebook page of their own.
10. Need Help?
Through our ServoPro membership we are helping petrol station owners to their online presence every day, whether it is advising and helping with social media or providing free websites to ServoPro members.
If you need help establishing a strong online presence feel free to reach out for help.
Written by Dan Armes, Founder, ServoPro