Attract Car Shoppers

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 your way.


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.



THIRD PARTY SITES:
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.

EMAIL MARKETING, NEWSLETTERS:
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.

 

TEXT MESSAGING:
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.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
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.

TRADITIONAL MEDIA:
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.



 

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