1: Your gas station or truck stop can take advantage of Google My Business to show up high in the search rankings of Google Maps & Google search, maybe even first or second. Imagine someone looking for a gas station or truck stop in your area and you show up first.
First a bit of boring details to help you get started: if you already have a Google My Business account you’re way ahead of the game & can skip the rest of this paragraph. If you don’t already have “Google My Business” for your gas station or truck stop simply set it up here: https://www.google.com/business/. You may need to claim your business on the top right of Google when you enter the name of your gas station or truck stop & are not already managing your Google My Business Account.
After you're in Google My Business, check the location of your store in Google Maps to make sure your pinning your location in the right place. Google Maps often has trouble pinpointing the exact location of your gas station or truck stop on their map, so it’s extremely important that you get the location right. We’ve seen cases of where on Google Maps the location of a gas station or truck stop shows up 5 or 10 miles away, or just don’t show up at all. This gas station owner is unfortunately out of luck when it comes to driving free traffic to their store increasing their monthly volume. This tip won’t apply to most gas stations & truck stops, but will make a significant difference on your bottom line if this isn’t optimized.
Check out this awesome page from Gas Pos’s first customer: Whispering Pines Truck Stop & Casino. As a cool side-note their truck stop can never be down more than 12 hours or they lose their casino license. They trusted Gas Pos from day one and we’re proud to have them as our first customer.
Specifically check out how Google knows they are a “truck stop” and thus they will do well for any searches in Google Maps for a truck stop.
Check out this Google My Business Page of another customer of Gas Pos, an extremely popular small town gas station in Wallowa, Oregon
2: Set up your description in Google My Business using the “info section.” Simply enter the 750 character description of your business. I would strongly recommend entering 700-749 characters so you can increase your chances of showing up in different search terms. This will help you show up in the search engines and will give you a significant competitive advantage when competing for lucrative search traffic. When someone goes online, the main way they search is “nearest gas station” (301,000 searches nationally each month), “gas station near me” (2,740,000 searches nationally each month), “gas station” (1,000,000 searches nationally each month), “convenience store near me” (301,000 searches nationally each month) and if you’re not showing up your competitor will get the extra fill-up, not you.
Avoid the mistake of repeating gas station or truck stop a bunch of times which could get you hit with a Google penalty. Rather use any words that make clear you’re a gas station or truck stop such as lottery, fuel. Here’s a hypothetical example: “Speedy Mart is a family-run small town gas station conveniently located in Sherwood, Arkansas and offers gasoline, diesel & all types of snacks & candy.” Play with different words, give it a few days and see where you rank in Google. Keep on testing & iterating!
If you’re a truck stop you’ll want to show up for terms such as “truck stop near me” (301,000 searches nationally each month) “diesel fuel near me” (33,100 searches nationally each month), “nearest truck stop” (40,5000 searches nationally each month, “closest truck stop” (9900 searches each month), & truck stop (201,000 searches nationally each month).
If you’d like to explore further you can use Google Adword’s Keyword Planner for precise estimates of searches, but you’re targeting any phrase that indicates someone is going to a gas station, convenience store or (if you’re a truck stop) your truck stop.
3: Optimize the pricing in your convenience stores. I recently read a case study of a high-volume convenience store that raised prices of half their product prices inside the convenience store & made $900,000 extra in a year. If you feel more comfortable start testing with a product or two and see if it makes a difference. By experimenting you can either gain significant profits over the course of the years you run a gas station or truck stop making you thousands upon thousands of pure profit, and if it doesn’t work you’ll just lose sales of one or two products for a day of trying this. As long as your business has the flexibility to experiment, this could be worth a shot.
4: Start a scan data program at your store. Major corporations (e.g. Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds) are incentivizing sales of their products at convenience stores across USA. You can simply collect incentive checks and make your store a few thousand dollars extra.
5: Implement electronic invoicing so you can negotiate better discounts with your vendors. This allows you to collect the critical information you need to negotiate & force better rates that are critical to your bottom line.
6: Introduce yourself to your town. You can dig up e-mails using Hunter.io & either send them manually or use an e-mail software tool such as Mailchimp (gives you 2000 free contacts before you have to start paying). If you’re a new gas station owner opening your store for the first time, you can celebrate your grand opening by reaching out to local gas station owners. Then your customer will tell their friends about the new gas station in town and you’ll generate referrals for your business at no cost to yourself.
The best part of e-mail marketing that it always can be free since all you have to do is e-mail from your inbox without using any special software.
7: Simply ask your best customers that come into your convenience store all the time to recommend you to their friends. You likely already have an extremely high NPS (Net Promoter Score) why not spread the word in your local city or town. If you’re a truck stop you can use the same idea for truckers that frequently visit your truck stop and like your truck stop. Your truck stop is their place away from home.