AML Auto Service is a family-owned car repair shop with 2 locations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Originally launched as a husband & wife business in 1960, it’s grown into a premium auto repair shop for family cars in Leaside and Woodbridge. They decided to hire MK Way in 2021 to increase their local presence, and create a more robust website experience for their clientele.
Initial conversations indicated dissatisfaction with the current HTML website. AML Auto wanted more website horsepower, a better conversion rate and lead magnets that would help their staff diagnose problems.
- More website horsepower mockup
- Better website traffic conversion
- Use lead magnets to diagnose car problems
Existing challenges within AML’s website functionality limited their ability to add modern website features (more horsepower) and limited their ability to see how their existing website traffic was converting. For example, prior to our involvement, their website, paid ads and performance analytics were all maintained within an OOTB (out-of-the-box) custom CMS (content management system) website by a large enterprise level incumbent in Canada. It was impossible to hire another digital marketer or agency to work on their existing website because the incumbent was using a custom CMS (content management system) as their own service, and provided by them. AML Auto Service was paying a semi-annual contract to be provided with the incumbent’s services.
We noticed that CTA’s were not being tracked and KPIs were cloudy. It was impossible to see how the website was converting new website visitors and how many phone calls or form submissions resulted in new business because their analytics relied on a proprietary CMS tool and not Google Analytics. Moreover, the website was built on HTML and they could never leave the existing incumbent with “their” website. They were stuck. If they left and stopped paying for the service, their website would stop working.
Lead Magnet for Website
Paid Ads Traffic
AML Auto was using the incumbent’s default business tool. It was a free listing tool that allows you to add sponsored ads to boost your business profile on their proprietary business directory. They had a small ad spend, and we found that the account manager was virtually non-existent. There was no proof of what the ads looked like and they couldn’t track their advertising ROAS to any meaningful return.
Shift to Mobile
We found that their existing website had some form of SEO (search engine optimization), due to the length of time the business had existed online. It would be important to carry over their content marketing and re-use the same URL structure and add 301 redirects where necessary to maintain the existing website traffic.
Small Business Flexibility
It became clear during our sign-off that the owners at AML Auto Service had become frustrated with their existing service provider partially due to the fact they were in a semi-annual (6-month) contract that offered limited flexibility to terminate early. They hesitated to hire MK Way despite their many challenges on the sole basis that they had this existing contract for another 6 months and wanted to use their services without forfeiting – even though it was doing nothing good for them. We had to prove our value using merit and transparency to counter this sunk-cost fallacy.
**Sidebar about MK Way
we recommend using monthly contracts if possible, and we don’t understand why another service provider would use that unless they had something to lose. We believe that value is earned monthly and it makes the difference in results for local businesses. We use flexible month-to-month commitments with our customers built on trust, transparency and mutual respect. Our customers love the fact that we do work based on performance.
When you work with us, you get a semi-dedicated project manager that kicks off with a reverse calendar. Our project management tech stack uses Monday.com to create the timeline, tasks for our team and a work breakdown structure (WBS). Our project management approach to every project helps our internal team stay organized, and keeps track of “mission critical” communication & feedback that will come in from the client.
Website Horsepower Strategy
We started with an overarching strategy with the end in mind to (1) improve the website (2) add car symptoms lead-magnet (3) migrate the website (4) improve conversions and (5) improve marketing spend & local SEO.
On-Page SEO Transfer (Website)
There was a reasonable amount of on-page SEO (search engine optimization) that was ranking fairly well for some branded and unbranded keywords. The website was getting a few hundred new visitors each month. We wanted to be careful in refreshing and designing the new website and be aware of how our suggestions could impact content ranking on Google & Bing. Our goal during this step was to move the website “apples-to-apples” (from amlautoservice.com to amlautoservice.com) and add 301 redirects to new pages or content where absolutely necessary. The clients website content was ranking reasonably well for branded keywords (i.e, aml auto repair) and some unbranded search terms (i.e, car repair leaside). When designing a new website, we believe it’s important to preserve the existing SEO. If this doesn’t happen, the client will lose all their existing on-page & off-page (backlinks) SEO and start from scratch. They’ll experience this massive b-line drop in traffic and then possibly see some recovery later on. We briefed the client and made him aware that we knew about this and what we’re going to do when moving from an HTML Website to WordPress.
We started this step by creating an offline website backup we could access at any-time for content, images and SEO. We narrowed down our search to three hosting service providers and picked EmpathyHost.com. They are a premium WordPress Web Host that was perfect enough for our client.
UI Website Design
What is UI Design? User Interface (UI) is what website visitors see when they land on your website or landing page. Then we created a High-Fidelity Homepage mockup which allowed us to create rapid designs off the cuff without any expensive web coding. This kept costs down and we presented a moodboard of homepages for our client to approve, before designing the headers, footers and innerages (service pages, about us, contact us, careers, etc).
UX Website Design
What does UX Website Design mean? User Experience (UX) is a heuristic approach that provides the best logical way for internet users to experience a landing page or website design. One of the pushbacks we received was regarding our “above the fold” CTA strategy. What does “above the fold” mean? It means the header of the website that is seen when mobile visitors or desktop users land on it without scrolling down. On a smartphone it could be seen from your 5” vertical screen; Laptops or tablets show much larger and more visible areas of the header, before scrolling is needed to see the rest of the page.
Above The Fold CTA strategy
As the experts we used an A/B test with an integrated AI heatmap tool to show our client how the new website homepage could benefit from an improved “above the fold strategy”. During our test, the existing incumbent that used a 12-month retainer that provided the OOTB solution, started to rebuild our new clients website with layouts that looked like ours to earn back the clients business. We love the competition and commended the efforts, however it continued to lack logical UX website design and we proved it. We used a heatmap tool called Zyro, to show our client the expected visitor behavior in order to choose the correct web design for our goals. What is a Heatmap tool? Heatmap tool are conversion rate optimization (CRO) apps that help you see how visitors browse websites, and show us what catches their attention, and which elements distract them. This helps us make improvements to websites, paid ads and organic content marketing. The heatmap marks that you’ll see show what elements caught the visitors attention.If you see colors form red to blue that shows the order they are seen with red being the first and blue the last. If all elements are the same color that means that no element stands out more than the rest.
We started our A.B test by comparing the existing incumbent’s “new” designs with ours by driving traffic to an A/B test site (on our dime). Our tests won the confidence of our client and we built the website based on the facts. Here are the facts:
Existing incumbent Website
The existing incumbent “new” website included a big beautiful logo that caught the attention of online visitors. This is because there was no clear hierarchy to the rest of the homepage. The UI elements (colors, fonts, sizing) are used in a way that all blend together and none of them stand out.
One more reason we get these results is there is no CTA (call-to-action). So there is no clear indication to the visitor that there is an action to be taken.
A second element that people will look at is the face. That’s because faces, especially eyes, always attract attention.
MK Way Website Version 1
What you see below is that the attention is divided almost equally between 5 elements: Logo, Big phat title, Map, and CTAs. These are the type of elements we want visitors to see to take an action. During our test we noticed it could further be improved by
- Removing the map – from a CRO perspective, it’s redundant.
- Bring more attention to the slogan by making it the main title
MK Way Website UX Design - Version 2
In this updated version, we saw the attention go to: Logo, Slogan, CTA’s of Location Woodbridge and Location Leaside. You’ll notice here that we have a more visible red color on the CTA’s. By removing the map the attention goes to the CTAs right away.
The secondary element is the slogan. We also see that the attention moved from the slogan to the “2 locations” content. In terms of branding and Conversion Optimization this is the best option. We made these recommendations in a presentation and won the client’s confidence in our new website designs.
We chose to build the AML Auto website on WordPress and Elementor page builder. This gave the customer the freedom to add 10,000+ 3rd party tools for their website, and it offered a fully transparent website platform that was cost effective to maintain by anyone with experience in WordPress. We chose Elementor Pro because it offers a visual drag & drop web design tool that can be used by beginners to advanced professionals. Local businesses depend on this type of flexibility and we believe that whatever we (as an agency) can do, you can do too; and together we can all grow.
We chose to build on WordPress and this gave us access to use Typeform – a 3rd party tool that creates simple contact forms with effective decision workflows that are drag & drop friendly.
We started by creating a mind map that showed the complete user-path an internet visitor would follow while using the lead magnet. We brainstormed all the possible steps, what-if choices, decisions, errors and results. We then factored in the UX (user experience) process to guarantee the most logical and efficient layout of steps to complete this lead-magnet in the shortest period of time. Once those steps were complete, we moved into Typeform to create a series of If-this-then-that logic sequences to take the website visitor down a path to narrow down their car problems using a “true & false” contact form.