Independent gas stations and convenience stores have a pretty good business.
People need gas regularly. They also need other small convenience items. It’s very easy to swing down to the closest and trusted store and get the things you need.
Yet many of these stations could be doing even more. The location is huge. Maintaining a clean and friendly store is huge. Having the right items on the shelves is probably number one.
But a little online marketing can take things even further. Especially when you’re in a competitive situation.
Here are some tips to try…
#1. Functional Website
Many local and independent gas stations don’t have a basic website. Too many. I get it. Location is the big thing. If you have a great location near lots of people with good access and good products then you’re going to be busy.
But even if you’re in that situation and doing well there are other entrepreneurs lurking to get a piece of the action.
I also get that you can use Facebook. That’s a good thing. More on that later.
But here’s the thing… People check online for most information today. They’re looking to see what you sell. They don’t even want to waste their time to drive down the road to see if you sell 0% ethanol-free gasoline. They want to check your website.
Also, businesses with websites are more likely to have better SEO rankings, including on Google Maps. They’re also likely to receive more reviews, which leads to more business.
Imagine a new person moves to your neighborhood. They check Google Maps for the closest convenience store. They find you with a nice website, good reviews on Google, etc. You could have a customer for decades.
#2. Google My Business
Google My Business is a must for location-based small businesses. It’s easy to confirm that you’re the owner of your business. You tell Google about who you are and what you do. They help you have a presence on all their platforms including Google Maps.
Everybody is on their phone looking for information. Most local-based searches result in a map result. If you come up near the top with good standing you’re going to get more business.
#3. Instagram Nostalgia
Nostalgia is big in the world. Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers. They’re driving as much as ever. They’re getting those classic cars they’ve always wanted now that they have a little extra free cash.
Use Instagram to post photos that bring about nostalgia for your customers. Especially baby boomers. Share their classic cars. Share photos of any classic mementos you have at your station.
Instagram is the perfect place to do this. Local nostalgic pieces are great too. Things from your area that you can share that will make visitors want to stop in and see you and your town.
#4. Video Documenting
Video is as big as ever. The phone has really allowed just about anybody to record, edit and publish video. Especially on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Hire someone to record everything that goes on around your station throughout the week. Post a weekly video with the highlights that are entertaining and maybe even educational.
Let the customers get to know your workers and what they’re doing and the great customers they’re interacting with everyday.
It might seem boring, but people will find it interesting. We find other people interesting.
#5. Local News
Local newspapers are going out of business faster than ever. That doesn’t mean that people don’t still want the news. They just don’t want the physical paper that full of ads and newspaper websites are some of the worst in the world.
Hire a local reporter to publish the daily news on your website and social media. Let them do their normal job with you as the host and the brand behind all the content.
#6. Facebook Daily Announcements
Use Facebook to make announcements for what’s going on at your store. Changes in the price of fuel. New shipments of popular merchandise. Deals and discounts that you’re having. Events that you’re hosting. Free cash washes and all kinds of things.
Keep it simple with Facebook, but keep the focus on things that will be valuable to your potential customers.
These are simple strategies. They’re easy on the surface, but not necessarily easy to implement. They take resources. Hiring full-time people. But they are huge opportunities. Try one out. Hire someone for a few months and see how things go. You’ll be surprised at the results if you give it some time.