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{Great Ideas} Improve Your Online Presence with These Five Tips

Posted in: Great Ideas, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators. The author, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s new vice president of membership, brings to NATSO a wealth of knowledge about our industry.

Join Darren here every other Thursday for his biweekly retail column.

{Great Ideas} Improve Your Online Presence with These Five Tips

An online presence is crucial for businesses today. Current and potential customers expect to find you on the web, but simply having a site isn’t enough. When customers walk into your location, you interact with them and ask how you can help. When they visit your site, show them how you can help them and position yourself as a resource. To ensure you are getting the most out of your online investments, follow these five tips:

Keep information succinct and focused: Users have short attention spans when it comes to the web, so you want to get your point across quickly. Stay positive and share your key attributes first. Let readers know what makes you and your business different and why they should drive by your competitors to do business with you.  

Include a variety of photos: Photos can make a site visually appealing and help draw in repeat and new customers. To provide a comprehensive view of your location, ensure you include images from both the inside and outside of the facility. You should also consider adding photos of the showers, amenities and dining areas.

Keep information current: All information on a site needs to be updated regularly, but this is especially true for time sensitive information, such as fuel prices. If you plan to include this type of info on your site, be sure someone up updating at pre-determined intervals.

Make it easy to return to the homepage: Business owners want their customers to visit their site, click around and read the various pages of information. However, you don’t want them to get lost in the site. Make it easy for users to return to the homepage by including a link that takes them back to your main page.

Encourage returnability: Give your customers a reason to return to your website frequently. By updating information, offering interactive tools or providing valuable tips, you can increase the number of hits to your site. For example, offer coupons or provide tips on how to improve fuel mileage. 

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here


Join the conversation!  Do you have a website? What challenges do you face in keeping it current? Is it a good tool for recruiting customers?

Or have a different retail merchandising, marketing or operations question? Post your question in the comments and Darren will answer it in the next Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators.

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.