A former Senior Manager of the Al & Ed’s Autosound chain in California has launched a company to help car audio dealers with digital marketing.
The new firm, called Marketing Masters, was launched by John Haynes who helped lead Al & Ed’s for almost 20 years. His new company aims to help small businesses receive proper placement on Google, Yelp and social media sites and also to create and maintain websites.
Haynes said he’s always been surprised by how many small businesses don’t have proper representation on the web. They display poor images on their site, incorrect or missing information and they don’t respond to their Google or Yelp reviews. All of this puts the business at a disadvantage compared to its competitors.
“I understand why,” said Haynes. “Owners of small businesses are often consumed with their own operation, the thing that they’re really good at, and do not have the time to dive into their marketing. Hiring an employee is often too expensive, so marketing simply goes untended.”
He explained, “Say I’m looking for window tint near me. There’s ten places I can go to get my car windows tinted. One has 100 pictures of the shop and their work on the web and their hours and a gallery. Another just has location and business hours. Which one is the customer likely to choose?” asked Haynes.
The Al & Ed’s franchise chain was quick to make the adjustment to the Internet and digital marketing, said Haynes. “We were the very first to abandon print and flip over to digital advertising. We’ve been doing it a long time and were able to post year over year double digit growth when most of the industry was sliding back.”
He’s offering his experience to 12 volt and other retailers through two initial programs. One plan updates and improves your listings on Yelp!, Google Search, Facebook and Instagram, and a second plan adds website creation and maintenance.
Haynes said, “There are companies that do this and we paid companies a lot of money to do this at Al & Ed’s.” It was worth the money for the website, but not the monthly fees, he said. “Businesses are often approached by companies to handle their SEO. What we found out is that, once the initial work is done, there are high fees for little return, and if the business terminates the agreement, they may find all of the work taken down, as it was owned by the SEO company.”
Marketing Maintenance fees start at $250/month for Yelp, Google, and social media updates. Website creation is $500 and then $50/month for maintenance.
Why is proper listing on the web so important? It’s not just to be at the top of the listings. Forty-seven percent of people looking for a business go to Yelp and 49 percent search for it on Google. “We have a listing of search words ranked as the most active. At Al & Ed’s we had 300 search words built-into the website. This is different from pay per click where you pay for customers to come to the site. SEO [Search Engine Optimization] just means your site is going to show up when people are looking for certain words.”
Clients can send Marketing Masters photos they can take with their smartphone and the company will optimize the photos in Photoshop and upload them.
“Say someone takes a picture of your dirty bathroom and uploads it to Yelp and that’s the main image people see. If you are managing Yelp!, you can reorder your images so that it’s not the main image.”
Instagram posts are only effective if you are doing something interesting. Car stereo in a custom Mustang is interesting or in a new Ferrari. Also new floating 10-inch radios are all worthy of social media posting.”
“Posting stuff that’s boring is worse than not posting anything.”
Make sure you are responding to your reviews, especially negative reviews. If someone says your donut shop has terrible donuts, then respond and say, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience at our shop. We try to make the best donuts for everybody. We invite you back to give us another try.”
The idea of responding is not for the person who wrote the review but for the following people that read it.
Photo: John Haynes, former General Manager/Operations Manager for Al & Ed’s Autosound launches Marketing Masters.