Build It...and They Will Come? Really?
A website is just as important in today’s market as the physical
showroom. Some may argue that the value of the online showroom
has more influence over the shopper’s decision making than the
physical showroom. With a website being as crucial as a physica
showroom than it is quite crucial to the success of a dealership
that the online presence clearly communicates the image and reputation
the dealership desires. If a poor image is unintentionally marketed
it will actually detour shoppers from contacting the dealership
instead of encouraging contact. The dealer may never know.
Consider having the most beautiful well maintained physical showroom
but that is off a side road that is not visible by any traffic.
If no one knows how to find the store than it doesn’t matter
how nice the image is, the performance will most likely be dismal.
The shopper must be invited to visit by being encouraged that
the products and services being offered fit their wants and needs.
Terms like SEO, SEM, Google, Social Media, etc.. are being sold
to dealers as the “answer” on how to get those shoppers to
their store on that side road. Traditionally a dealership draws
traffic in through advertising, marketing, merchandising, location,
referrals, etc… All the same principals apply to the online
showroom but with a twist and that is what you will learn in this
section is what merchandising looks likes and what a balloon and
window sticker is to the online “world”. We will discuss how
popular advertising mediums such as radio and tv work with the
new media such as facebook & Google ads, online listing sites
and social media. Most important is learning what not to focus
on and what is a waste of the dealerships time and money.
This site will take you on a step by step process from crawling
to running in attracting to managing online customers. In the
end it will be revealed why the car business really hasn’t changed,
just the way we communicate has. It’s time for dealers to
stop being sold internet "snake oil" and keep their
hard earned money. Let’s begin.
DIRECT WEB ADDRESS:
To achieve traffic from customers typing in your website address directly, customers will need to know your website/domain name (WWW.MYNAME.COM). This can be done through marketing your website address during your traditional media campaigns such as TV Ads, Radio Spots, Direct Mail Post Cards, etc....
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION:
(FREE) SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization.
To achieve traffic organically, the content of the website
must be relevant and rich in relatable content to the search
terms. Since the majority of searches include the dealer’s
name, make and city in 80% of sales searches it is important
to have those three words repeated in relevant ways in all
sections of the website. P.S. That’s the secret!
Relatable includes meta tags, video, indexing, linking,
etc... This can be a complex process and should be done
during the construction of the website to get best results,
and should be an ongoing process with the goal of obtaining
results. Organic searches can also include optimization
of local community sites, Google maps, reviews, news articles
your business appears in, etc.. It is a good idea to optimize
your site to have as many other websites link to you as
possible. When other sites link to yours, your relevance
with search engines increases, and they drive more traffic
SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING:
(PAID) SEM encompasses paid advertising searches such
as pay-per-click advertising on sponsored links at the tops
and right side of Google search results. SEM also includes
Google video searches, micro-sites, banner ads and pre-roll
on videos such as on YouTube.com First page placement
can be achieved by paying to be there. This is accomplished
by using a tool such as Google’s Adwords. The goal is
to place bids on relevant search words such as the city,
dealership name, make and model that customers are searching
to find you. This can include words potentially searched
to locate your competition as well. Your "ad"
links to your website, and will appear at the very top of
the page and right hand side depending on your keyword bid
amount and relevancy of link to keyword. This is an auction
business model, and must be managed several times per week
to be effective.
Leads come from the dealerships website, inventory listing sites and third party sites that the dealership can purchase on a cost per lead basis. These leads can benefit a successful internet dept that has utilized all their opportunities on their website and inventory listing sites and want additional opportunities. Since follow through is the key to winning with third party leads a good sales process and the right people must be in place to make this invest pay off.
This is a great alternative to direct mail. Not only can the content be delivered for a few cents or less but it is also dynamic, real time and has the ability to get the recipient to take action via phone, email or text instantly. When content is valuable and relevant recipients will respond to this form of communication. The return on investment will prove to be one of the least expensive, yet most effective.
Today more adults are sending text messages than
making phone calls. Almost a 4:1 ratio. With a read rate
of 90% it sounds like the golden ticket. In addition the
cost to get that response is less than a few cents a text.
Texting is one of the most effective and least expensive
forms of advertising. The user must give permission to
contact them via text otherwise the dealership may run into
legal issues and lose the customer before contact has been
made from someone at the dealership. Permission is gained
by providing value and therefore opt-in.
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIN, YouTube, blogs, etc. These are all avenues that allow online users to socialize with each other and to be entertained and informed on only the people and things that they want to be connected with. To be successful a dealership must have a product or service that entices a shopper to want to "connect" with them. You will learn how this can be the most effective way to build a relationship or tear it down depending on how you use this permission based marketing.
ONLINE VEHICLE LISTING SITES
Websites like DriveThePrice.com, Autotrader.com and Cars.com
provide dealerships with shoppers that are in the market,
know the competition, have picked the car out on the lot,
and already been through half of the sales process. By
the time they contact the dealership through phone, email
or the most preferred method now which is just showing
up these buyers are ready to take a vehicle home. These
sites are great advertisement for a dealership and give
shoppers exactly what they want. Which is why they have
gained such a foothold in the market.
There are many changes in the perception of the effectiveness
of this form of advertising. With the rise in internet usage
and relevant content more and more shoppers are using it
to make buying decisions based on permission advertising
vs. interuptive advertising. That being said traditional
media is still very effective at getting out a message to
the masses whether it is for branding purposes or to advertise
a specific time sensitive offer or event.
Experienced Section for More Tutorials, PDF downloadable forms