No website needed: Google’s the spark for garage diner
WHEN the Department of Environment decided to shut down their fuel pumps two years ago, the owners of Rick's Garage were faced with a difficult decision.
Either fork out $70,000 and bring the pumps up to scratch, or focus on the diner.
"We noticed there are a lot of hot rod and bike riders coming up through Palmwoods to the hinterland so we tried to think about attracting that market," co-owner Ben Jamieson said.
Rick's Garage reinvented itself as a funky, retro Australian diner with a motoring theme and focused on tapping its own niche market.
Would you trust a business without a website?
This poll ended on 16 May 2016.
Yes, so long as they're on social media.
No, but I'd prefer they were on social media.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
But Rick's Garage did not set up a website, instead relying on simple online tools and social media to reach a broader audience.
"We use Google products and Facebook, and that's the only form of marketing that we use," Mr Jamieson said.
"Those products are more effective than a website, we find."
Just six months after starting to use Google products, Mr Jamieson began to notice more visitors from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, particularly car and motorbike club members.
Google's online tools allowed customers to find Rick's Garage on Google maps or through the search engine, and take a "virtual tour" of his shop, with images and a voiceover.
"Because it's a very visually appealing business, we put a lot of energy into the signage and everything," Mr Jamieson said.
"That's enough to bring people to the business.
"People are more inclined to go for something that looks good than having to read about something these days."
Rick's Garage was one of more than 100 small businesses represented at a seminar held in Maroochydore yesterday by Google Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Google Australia head of small business marketing, Rich Flanagan, said small businesses with high digital engagement were twice as likely to be growing revenue.
"They also earn two times more revenue per employee than those that don't," Mr Flanagan said.
"They're also job creators, being four times more likely to be hiring."
The Coast was the only Queensland stop on Google's national roadshow which introduced a range of tools to help small businesses put their business on the map and build an online presence.