Why You Need Real Automotive SEO?
The reason automotive SEO is such a crucial part of your car dealership's digital marketing strategy is because it provides a competitive advantage over the competition. While you could buy up more and more air time and ad space compared to other auto dealers, all you're doing is reaching out to the public in hopes of finding people in the market for a car. And we all know how people feel about traditional advertising, as well as how easy it is to ignore. Whats more, the overwhelming majority of car dealer websites out there still fail to execute anything remotely resembling an automotive seo strategy. Many go a step further and implement practices that directly violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines! SEO designed specifically for car dealers increases the likelihood that your dealership will be found by consumers who are in the market for a new or used car by targeting the keywords used throughout the research and buying process. You'll be best served focusing on the exact brand of vehicle you sell first, as buyers who are searching for a specific type of dealership are typically further into the buying process than someone simply looking for "car dealerships." The reason this is so important is because only one dealer can show up for the #1 spot for any specific query on Google and other search engines. That spot will receive the bulk of the traffic from consumers, and thus more sales when compared to the competition. And with over 200 ranking factors in 2018 its important to work with a company that understands more than just today's short-cuts or quick fixes.
Every auto SEO strategy has to begin with a target in mind. This doesn't necessarily mean the goal of ranking #1 for a set of keywords, either. What separates one automotive SEO company from another is often begins by simply knowing which keywords are the most valuable, and how to maximize the client's growth potential.
At Wikimotive, each client receives a custom set of target keywords based on intense (local) market research. We don't just pick any set of keywords to target; we pick the absolute best - believe me! Huge! lol. These keywords are intent-based and volume-based to ensure that our work is focused on driving targeted traffic made up of ready-to-buy customers. To quote President Trump, "They know keywords! Wikimotive knows the best keywords!"
Many companies simply use a generic keyword list for all clients, then work in a little page optimization and call it a day. Or worse, they use automated coding to create generic metadata often creating duplicate or completely irrelevant keyword optimization. When they send you a report, you see all of these wonderful rankings, but no explanation of the overall value.
The truth they're not telling you? Those keywords don't receive traffic. That's right. It's likely your hard-earned money is being spent on optimization for keywords that generate little to no search in any given month. (As a company that prides itself on high-quality SEO for car dealers, this hurts us too because it damages the reputation of our industry as a whole.)
After finalizing keyword targets, Wikimotive creates content to build authority around those target keywords. We don't just mention them on a page over and over in hopes Google will associate your site with them, though. Our content is crafted to be valuable to your potential customers; creating content specifically for search engines is just not a viable strategy. It also happens to be something Google is able to detect; its algorithm continually evolves to better catch spam and "useless" or "redundant" content. This is why we only use white-hat SEO techniques outlined in Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
SEO vs. Traditional Marketing
When we're asked to explain the difference between SEO and traditional marketing, our eyes light up. You see, there's nothing wrong with traditional marketing. It's a piece of the large marketing puzzle surrounding your dealership, as is SEO. The problem is, one makes you hunt down the customer while the other makes it easier for the customer to find you.
Want to Guess Which One SEO Does?
SEO makes it really, really easy for the customer to find you. No sales pitch necessary. Our automotive-focused SEO work allows your business to rise above the competition in order to attract more and more customers that are already in the market. Why spend more and more money trying to drive people in when you can sit back and enjoy more high-converting leads than you've ever received for a fraction of the price?
Linkbuilding for SEO
If you want to expand your dealership's SEO, linkbuilding is a great way to cover all of your bases and add more and more authority to your site. In a nutshell, linkbuilding is the art of acquiring high-quality links to your site in order to receive a better reputation in the eyes of Google and other search engines. Each one uses links as a signal of quality, reputation, and authority in order to best rank sites. It's one of the original signals that search engines were able to use in advanced ranking algorithms. While you should be wary of how many (automotive SEO companies) practice linkbuilding, Wikimotive only targets relevant, authoritative sites with content related to the auto industry. This ensures your dealership's site is not getting mixed in with spam, but that we're helping to create advanced relevancy between your site and the site that links to you. Because all links are not created equal. Google is able to tell when a link does not belong, and may disregard it altogether. This also leaves your site open to penalties that specifically target irrelevant, artificially-created links.
How Does Content Marketing Affect SEO?
Content Marketing is a term that is thrown around a lot, but its meaning is often confused with other terms used in modern digital marketing, including SEO. While the two can (and should) be used together, SEO and content marketing are truly separate services with completely different focuses.
SEO works to make a website more search-engine friendly, through optimization, content, link-building and other efforts. These are not necessarily targeted at the end user, but at search engines instead. Content Marketing, on the other hand, is all about creating content and context for a target audience in order to create a connection between the individual consumer and the products or services your business provides. This content can be video, imagery, or written content based upon the audience and budget.
One of the most successful examples of content marketing is Dollar Shave Club, a subscription-based razor business that created a funny video promoting its service. It was short, sweet, high-quality, and extremely entertaining. Within days of its release, it had gone viral, receiving millions of views. Three years after its released, the video has been viewed nearly 20 million times, and Dollar Shave Club is valued at over $615 million after receiving $75 million in a recent round of funding. And while its service is outstanding, the company's content marketing helped propel it into the mainstream, allowing the company to grow at a rate that would have otherwise been impossible.
That's amazing for Dollar Shave Club, but you're probably wondering how you can do the same for your dealership, right? Well, the viral video approach is one you can try, but success is never guaranteed and the budget necessary to create a truly memorable and marketable video means it's not a safe investment for most dealerships. However, Wikimotive's approach to content marketing, which enhances our already powerful automotive search engine optimization service, works like a charm.
Through our social media services, we promote brand-focused content to users in your dealership's local area to people who are specifically interested in buying your brand. We utilize advanced targeting on Facebook, and even re-market to your customers in order to build more interest in your inventory through quality, entertaining content. Users love the content because it's not trying to sell them anything in a direct way; it's simply showing them of what your brand's vehicles have to offer and entertaining or informing them through a variety of topics.
In many ways, this is promotion in disguise. Users get to enjoy great content related to your vehicles, but they're also doing so through your business's Facebook page. The connection we build helps facilitate increased sales and brand loyalty thanks to the reach this content receives.
The Importance of Local (and mobile) SEO
In the past few years, Google has placed more importance on local-focused results. Most of this work is on displaying quick, verified information about local businesses for the billions of searches made each year regarding local businesses. This helps users quickly retrieve information they need, and allows verified, reputable local businesses to gain more customers.
Google verifies businesses through pages from its Google My Business service, but also looks for mentions of businesses on directory and review sites, such as YellowPages, Edmunds.com, Dealerrater.com and many others. This helps the search engine serve businesses that have been established to ensure its users have the best experience possible. And if you use their guidelines and hints as a blueprint, they'll help you secure more customers through local search. It's a mutually beneficial relationship.
Wikimotive's local SEO services are all part of what we do in order to help dealers suffering from lack of rankings in map-pack results on Google or low clickthroughs on their pages based on data provided by Google My Business. We'll audit your business's presence on the web and create a plan of action to edit existing listings to bring them up to date or create new listings to increase the overall authority your business commands in the local space.
Why Choose Wikimotive?
Founded by Timothy Martell, a 21-year dealership sales, management, fixed-ops and marketing veteran, Wikimotive was built with the goal of creating a line of advanced digital marketing services that don't just promise results but one that actually delivers results -- tangible results that can be measured in dollars (not just ideas and concepts pushed by others in the auto SEO industry).
Nothing speaks louder than results, and that's how we like it. Forget the false promises, too good to be true ideas, and lets get back to reality. Digital marketing is not easy. There's a reason you won't find the same quality product or service in other companies. The ideas may be similar in theory, but only the best can execute their services in a way that actually benefits a car dealer's SEO and grow their leads and sales in the process. Don't take our word for it, just ask any of our clients!
Always exclusive. You just hired an awesome new vendor only to find out that before the ink was dry on your contract they walked right down the street to your competitor and signed them up too! Doesn’t that just grind your gears? Not at Wikimotive! We were the first automotive vendor to include exclusivity as part of every deal! We draw a radius around every dealership and refuse to work with your competitors there. But we don’t stop there. We know that different markets can’t always conform to a radius and sometimes your biggest real competitor lies just outside that radius, thats why we even let you pick specific dealerships beyond your radius to create a list guaranteed to keep your competitors out in the cold!
Also, don't forget the fact that SEO is always changing. That's not just a selling point or an excuse for poor results. Google changes the rules of the game quite often (daily, in fact). Those who take risks with their client's business will eventually get caught and punished; Wikimotive is known for approaching SEO aggressively, while still putting ethics first. We never use tactics that could be considered "black hat." When you follow Google's best practices, the results are forthcoming.
Our automotive SEO product is always being refined to provide clients with the absolute best service in the automotive industry. We don't take short cuts, though. Our product follows Google's guidelines and adapts in order to better serve our clients, not to circumvent any new algorithm updates released by search engines.
In the end, we realize that your success is our success! We love working hard to see you grow. Contact us today and let's start working on a plan for you to get ahead of, and stay ahead of, your competition online.
A word about retention
Of the dealer's who have given us that chance, only two have canceled! (In our 11 year history). In the toughest cases it can take a year to generate big ROI numbers, but our minimum benchmark is to deliver 500% ROI to our clients.
How do we know we're right? Google says so!
True SEO professionals have long theorized that content and links were the most important factors when thinking about SEO. But recently and for the first time ever, Google has confirmed what has long been suspected. On March 23, 2016 during a Q & A with Google, Google's own Andrey Lipattsev defined the most important ranking factors: "I can tell you what they (most important factors) are. Its content. And its links pointing to your site." Number 3 on that list refers to Google's machine learning algorithm, RankBrain, which is part of the larger Hummingbird algorithm. You can watch the complete Q & A below.
We realize that everyone promises the moon while few deliver on their pie in the sky promises. So, don't just take our word for it. We're so confident in our results and our client's experience such consistent performance that we're happy to put references right where all the world can see. If you would like to talk to some of our clients to find out what it's really like to work with us, I encourage you to reach out to contact us for a complete list of our raving fans
10 Tips to Increase Your Car Sales
“How can I increase my car sales?” It’s a question asked by almost every dealer principal, general manager, marketer, and salesperson out there. And, if you asked us (as so many have), you might be surprised by our answer. It’s an unpopular opinion, but we’re firm believers that there aren’t any tricks to help you increase your business. There aren’t any hidden secrets that hold the key to unlocking record sales. Potential for success comes down to an open mind and a simple willingness. A willingness to invest the resources at your disposal, to utilize the tools that are available to you, and to follow-through on strategies that are designed to deliver results. In the simplest terms, we’ve just described automotive SEO. Then again, we’ve also described marketing in general. So…how dare we serve up an article titled '10 Tips to Increase Your Car Sales?'
Simply put, these 10 tips may already play a foundational role in your marketing and operational strategies. If they do, that’s great (we’d love to hear more about your results). But if they don’t, take note because we’re here to provide you with tools. Some are digital and some practical. Some are based in marketing, while others are operational. How effective these tools are, comes down to your willingness to put them to use, but every one of them can help your dealership to tell a more compelling story.
1. Be Available
Accessibility is key to any successful business. Whether we're talking about (i) the number of days that you're open each week (ii) your hours of operation, including your willingness and ability to offer extended hours (iii) your in-house customer service or (iv) the online support you provide, it's imperative that your dealership is there to answer the needs of both existing and prospective clients. Remember: those needs will be different for each customer. The same applies to the unique demands of their budget and lifestyle. The extent to which you acknowledge those differences while prioritizing overall satisfaction is tangible. Invest in your availability, and you will reap the benefits.
2. Be Analytical in Your Pricing
How often do you audit the pricing of your local competitors? More importantly, do you perform regular audits at all? Consider this: banks perform weekly audits of competitive interest rates from nearby institutions to prevent themselves from being priced out of local business. Now consider the growing prevalence of comparison-based websites that make it easy for users to compare pricing. Regardless of how much importance you place upon comparative pricing, it's the primary focus of your potential customers. Fail to be competitive, and you'll sabotage your own potential.
3. Be Unique in the Incentives You Offer
While it's important for any business to recognize and optimize their revenue streams, it's equally important to recognize the potential ROI of low-cost perks and incentives that could help to make your dealership more enticing. More importantly, it's important to set yourself apart from the sea of keyring punch-cards for a free oil change by doing something unique. A willingness to explore all of your low-cost products and services, and to identify those that could help you to stand out without hurting your bottom-line could be exactly what you need.
4. Be Efficient
Your willingness to streamline your processes in the interest of creating the most expedient experience is a huge component of battling perception. This begins with your online presence, making sure that your website is user-centric, responsive, and designed with mobile users in mind. Incorporation of digital and app-based operational tools can help to improve both your customer experience and your team's efficiency. This means more satisfied customers and more customers being serviced.
5. Be Communicative
Communication matters in any relationship. It's no different when it comes to the relationship between your dealership and your team, the relationship that exists within your team, and your relationship with customers. But communication exists on a number of levels both internally and externally. Improving your team's familiarity with your CRM can help to refine their understanding of the expectations placed upon them. Increased support in product and sales training can be instrumental in refining their approach, and a focus on effective follow-ups through calls, emails, and texts could prove hugely impactful on your month-end numbers.
6. Be Accountable
More specifically, make accountability a cornerstone of your operation and honor it from the top down. By refining expectations and defining the manner in which those expectations are enforced, you're creating a stronger infrastructure within your operation. The use of an effective CRM tool can play an instrumental role in this process, enforcing the importance of delegation, and improving management's visibility of your dealership's 'moving pieces.'
7. Be Mindful of Data
If you're sick of hearing us mention your CRM, you're probably utilizing the wrong one, or it's not properly integrated into your overall process. Internal data (such as sales and service records, customer contact info, leads, etc.) is a critical component of both short and long-term strategies, so why wouldn't you want to have the most effective means of collecting, analyzing, and applying that data? And if you have a great tool already in place, why wouldn't you want to find every means of putting it to use?
8. Be Conscious of Demographics
Just as important as internal data sets are those that are available to you outside of your own CRM. Third-party aggregation is big business, and the right partner from that industry could help you to fortify the lead information that you already have access to, better defining the demographics that make up your both existing and targeted audience. Research your options, and gain a more thorough understanding of who you're doing business with, and who you need to be doing more business with.
9. Be Knowledgeable
As a general rule, consumers are better informed than they've ever been. Accessibility of information and the ability to perform online research on one's own time and one's own terms has increased the expectations that each prospective customer places on your team. An uninformed employee is no longer excusable, and their breadth of information should extend from the OEM to product knowledge, and include familiarity with all aspects of your dealership. Anything less is becoming progressively more unacceptable.
10. Be Willing to Rebrand
Some of the most successful and lucrative dealerships have proven the potential impact of large-scale rebranding. From a full cosmetic overhaul to the inclusion of new customer-centric amenities, there are no limits to how ‘big’ a rebranding effort can be. That said, there’s also no limit to how modest an effective effort can be. At the end of the day, rebranding can mean a lot of things, but it comes down to recognizing a shortcoming and rectifying it. If you’re unsure, start small; just be sure to be consistent, and to tell the story of whatever changes you’ve made.
Remember, you have a direct line to your consumer base through your website, CRM, and social media platforms (in addition to traditional marketing platforms). People want to know when you’ve begun to do something differently, especially when it’s something that helps to distinguish you from competitors or conveys a commitment to continual improvement.
So There You Have It
We’re pretty sure that there weren’t any real surprises here. Most of you have probably enacted each of these 10 tips in some form or fashion. But if you haven’t, remember, these are small actionable steps that you can build upon to increase your car sales. They’re just starting points, but they’re points in the right direction.
14 Tips for Attracting New Customers to Your Dealership
If we were to approach the average car buyer and ask, "how do car dealerships attract customers?" you might be surprised by the results. You’d be likely to learn that public perception aligns itself with outdated and unflattering stereotypes. You’d be blindsided by claims of deceptive holiday sales, assaulted by recounts of loud, repetitive commercials and the cliched imagery of "wacky, waving-arm inflatable tube men." But today’s most successful dealerships understand that the majority of traffic comes as a result of automotive SEO and digital marketing strategies.
So with that in mind, let’s set the record straight. Together we’ll explore (a few handfuls worth of) proven ways a dealership can attract new customers, generating more leads ripe for conversion. Some of these will be geared toward your digital marketing strategies, while others are based practically in reality. That said, let’s get down to it.
#14 Define Your Value Proposition
The need to establish "why someone should buy from you" is Marketing 101. It begins with a mission statement and extends through every operational facet of your dealership, from products, services, and pricing to marketing initiatives, practices, and internal culture. For a dealership to attract business, it should have a clear sense of self; one that is reflected consistently in all that it does. This means consistency in branding, message, intent, and an enduring commitment to excellence - all of which reassures qualified customers that their expectations will be met, if not exceeded.
#13 Invest in Training
The likelihood of customer satisfaction rests heavily on the team that you have in place. While it seems like common sense, training is almost criminally under-prioritized in most workplaces, and dealerships are no exception. Salespeople lacking in practical automotive knowledge, sales experience, or those that are uneducated on the models they’re attempting to move is more common than most dealerships are willing to admit. The same could be skilled for some service centers’ offer of factory-trained technicians, while much of the labor is handled by techs who lack such credentials. Investing in your team, through training and compensation, will strengthen your infrastructure, reinforcing your value proposition. In addition, it will improve the likelihood of customer satisfaction, positive reviews, and drive more opportunities your way.
#12 Add Value
You can always do better (every business can). A commitment to continual improvement is a trait shared by any successful business, and that means evaluating what products and/or services could help you to better differentiate yourself from your competitors. It might also mean enhancing your existing services, extending hours, or upgrading amenities and courtesies. That said, once you’ve done so, it’s equally important to take pride in your efforts and tell the story. Once again, it comes to defining your value proposition, recognizing it, and highlighting it for all to see. Which brings us to…
#11 Drive Online Traffic
This is where our list transitions from real-world steps to the digital landscape. Over 90% of all car buyers begin their search online, utilizing Google as a means of researching pricing, comparing models, valuing their trade-ins, and identifying the dealership(s) they’ll do business with. It’s imperative that every element of your online presence is optimized to help you rank higher in Search Results. Enter SEO (Search Engine Optimization) a process of refining your website, its content, your Google My Business profile, your Social Media accounts, and online reviews (among other elements) to ensure you gain favor in the eyes of Google. By ranking higher, you’ll be more visible, with a greater likelihood of attracting new leads.
#10 Establish a Call-to-Action
As we transition from website to social media platforms, dealerships should understand the importance of a clear call-to-action. To convert website traffic into a lead, that website must offer simplified means of placing inquiries, obtaining answers, scheduling test drives, etc. The same need for ease applies to social media platforms; after all, social media CTA’s generated a whopping 36 billion calls to U.S. businesses in 2019!
#9 Utilize: Facebook
It’s estimated that nearly 90% of today’s car buyers are on Facebook, making it a platform that any business would be short-sighted not to capitalize on. That said, we’re not going to spend much time talking about the convenience of posting or social sharing. Instead, let’s talk about Facebook’s targeted ad feature, which empowers dealerships to market directly to those whose online activity suggests they’re actively searching. It allows dealerships to refine the parameters of their targeting based on user data. This delivers ads directly to the user’s Facebook profile ad, making it more convenient for them to explore a vehicle via the dealer’s website. It’s worth mentioning that automotive Facebook ads have proven to be up to 2x more effective than other targeted ads, which makes it a valuable component of any automotive marketing strategy.
#8 Utilize: Twitter
With over 30 million active monthly users here in the U.S. and a projected domestic growth of .3% in 2020, it would be hard to argue the merits of Twitter. The median age for Twitter users is 40, meaning the platform is relevant across multiple generational demographics. Twitter ad engagement increased by 23% from 2018-2019, and video ads can actually reduce your ad spend on the platform by 50% while offering up to 10x the engagement. If you’re still unsure if Twitter is right for your dealership, consider the fact that the platform had generated $716 million in automotive sales seven years ago.
#7 Utilize: Instagram
In 2020, estimates put Instagram’s stateside use at around 112.5 million users. The visual platform is projected to reach 117.2 million U.S. users by 2021 and offers a pretty even split in terms of gender mix. More importantly, it provides an ideal means for a dealership to reach the ever-growing number of Gen-Z car buyers without losing contact with their Millennial and Gen-X customer base.
#6 Utilize: Snapchat
That said, Snapchat was cited as the preferred social media platform by over 50% of Gen-Z users, with a sizable skew towards female users.
#5 Utilize: YouTube
When it comes to transcending divides (be they generational, cultural, social, or economic), YouTube stands as the clear victor of social media platforms. With 1.9 billion users worldwide, 500 hours of video content uploaded every minute, and 70% of viewed content determined by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, it’s hard to remain blind to the possibilities. Whether you’re serving up targeted ads or creating high-quality content that’s configured properly, YouTube could yield great results for your dealership.
#4 Utilize: Storytelling Features
The ‘story’ feature offered by most social media platforms has become one of the most important and influential components out there. It can provide digestible, real-world/real-time glimpses of your dealership, culture, inventory, and offerings framed within a new context that makes it feel unique from your other marketing efforts. Not convinced? 2019 saw story-based sharing on Facebook grow 15x faster than newsfeed sharing, with nearly one billion users favoring the story features on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. Those kinds of numbers make it hard to ignore.
#3 Offer Platform-Specific Promotions
A multi-platform social media strategy is designed to cast a wider net in the hopes of attracting more attention, but there’s bound to be some overlap. This can prove to be a benefit or a detriment, but it comes down to how each factor into a dealership’s strategy. To be as effective as possible, a dealership should operate each platform independently from the others, offering unique content and eliminating any risk of redundancy. Platform-specific promotions are a great way of exploring the potential of each and also incentivizes more people to engage with the dealership across a variety of platforms.
#2 Provide Two-Way Engagement
The value of unique content is immeasurable, but its effectiveness is reduced if the source fails to engage with the users who react and comment on it. A dealership should always view their social media activity as an opportunity for on-going dialog. Failure to do so makes the relationship appear one-sided, reducing the likelihood of the dealership attracting new opportunities.
#1 Respond to Feedback
Engagement with online reviews, praise, and criticisms are an even more important extension of this idea. Regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, failure to acknowledge feedback reflects poorly on a dealership - not just to the person who left the feedback, but to any other users who can see that it went unanswered. While follow-up conversations can move offline, it’s important that a dealership’s initial action takes place in response to the posted feedback. This conveys a sense of transparency and an appreciation for customer relationships.
How each of these tips might fit into your dealership’s marketing strategies is bound to be subjective. That said, a trusted partner like Wikimotive can be a crucial ally in guiding you to the best possible results.
9 Easy Ways to Promote Your Car Business
When it comes to marketing, a dealership is really no different than any other kind of business. In any business, the owner will typically ask how they can promote their business. The automotive world is no different. Dealer-principals are faced with the question, "how can I promote my car business?" And then, their respective marketing teams are charged with the task. The answer to that question, of course, is a well-executed automotive SEO strategy, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, we need to understand how that digital component fits into a wider, forward-thinking marketing strategy.
Move Your Dealership Forward
To create a forward-thinking marketing strategy it’s important to recognize that a successful one operates on a number of levels. It’s executed across both the physical and digital space that your dealership occupies. It echoes through your internal culture and the environment that you offer to your customers. It should be almost tangible, felt in all forms of communication, and in everything that bears your name.
That said, when it comes to marketing, the automotive landscape has never been known for its sense of subtlety. It’s more commonly associated with loud, fast-talking voices, repetitive statements, and big attention-grabbing promotions. This is especially true at the dealer level, where it’s hard to escape the damning shadow of the ‘wacky, waving arm inflatable tube man.’
But understand this: while the challenge is universal, the solutions aren’t. There are no easy answers or one-size-fits-all solutions (and a marketer who implies otherwise isn’t worth your spend). What works for one dealership may not work for yours. But, since the challenges are universal, there are lessons to be gleaned from dealerships who have been successful in redirecting themselves. And it’s with that in mind that we share these nine simple insights as to how you can promote your car business…
#9 Increase Your Exposure
It’s a common misconception that ‘increased exposure’ means greater ad spend. It doesn’t. I mean, sure, it’s important to get your name out there, across as many platforms as possible, but it’s also important to do so with purpose. Television commercials, radio spots, and print ads are fine - as long as people are paying attention to them. The same applies to your website and social media profiles, but at some point, both traditional and digital marketing efforts become redundant unless you’re proactively grabbing hold of people’s attention. ‘Increase Your Exposure’ might be number 9 on our list, but it’s from this point on where we tell you how to make it happen. It comes down to what your dealership has to offer, and how you go about telling that story.
#8 Optimize Your Online Presence
Most of us have heard the phrase "Traditional Marketing is Dead." And while we’ve recently seen a grassroots rekindling of our love affair with traditional marketing, there’s no getting around the importance of an optimized online presence. After all, over 90% of consumers begin their search for a new vehicle online, comparing models, researching pricing, locating potential dealerships to do business with, reviewing available inventory, and valuing their trade-ins.
And 9/10 of online searches are performed through Google. When answering a query, Google ranks websites by interpreting their search signals and assessing their likelihood of meeting their user’s needs. As such, a website might as well be invisible if your search signals aren’t optimized to improve your search engine ranking position. This is where Search Engine Optimization (or SEO, a key facet of any digital marketing strategy) comes into play. Without an SEO strategy, you’ll never increase your exposure or stand out from the crowd.
#7 Embrace the Power of Social Media
If SEO is about attracting traffic to your website, social media is about delivering your message directly to the general consumer. Plus, Social Media activity counts as one of the search signals that you want to optimize as part of your SEO strategy. Simply put, it provides various platforms to…
#6 Share What Makes You Different
No-one has even been successful at standing out or setting themselves apart by doing the same things as their competitors. You need to embrace (and emphasize) what makes you different, and if that’s a department that you lack in, it’s time to get creative.
The steps you take to rebrand your dealership as a destination will do more than attract new business…it will enrich the relationships that you already have. You need to do more than emphasize a vast selection and “low-pressure sales environment.” You need to do more than just offer complimentary coffee and a dwindling selection of semi-fresh donuts. You need to create a welcoming environment (more importantly, you should create a unique experience) built around the wants and needs of the customer while anticipating (and exceeding) any expectations. Remember, you’re being judged against a long-standing stereotype. Identify the elements of your dealership that you have the freedom to reimagine and be bold in doing so. Nothing calls for "increased exposure" quite like new products, services, amenities, or a refreshed aesthetic.
#5 Think Locally
It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about traditional or digital marketing efforts; you need to recognize the community you call home as your strongest asset. The local populace will inevitably make up a large share of your business and, if treated right, can provide incremental sales opportunities. That said, you need more than just the convenience of proximity in your corner. You need to recognize the important role you have to play as a local business. You need to invest as much energy into marketing your community to the world as you invest in marketing to your dealership to that community. It’s a great reason to…
#4 Partner Locally
Your willingness to support local events and organizations through sponsorship, hosting, or online promotion strengthens your relationship with your community and emphasizes the core values of your dealership to prospective car buyers everywhere. It can also inspire great local blog content that holds serious SEO value, highlighting your dealership as an established voice within your geographic area. Whether you’re part of local stories, or simply helping to start conversations about them, you’re supporting your community and helping it to stand out among neighboring communities in your country, state, or region. And guess who else will stand out…that’s right, your dealership.
#3 Embrace Feedback
Let’s address the elephant in the room. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and you’ll inevitably attract feedback that’s "less-positive" in nature. In fact, you’re more likely to receive criticism (constructive or otherwise) than you are to receive praise. That said, these situations can provide great opportunities to correct a less-than-satisfying experience, redeem your reputation, and convey your willingness to do right by your customers in a timely fashion - all in the public eye. By embracing feedback, in whatever form it may take, you’re making it clear that your customers are a priority. Plus, there are ways to secure positive reviews in an honest and organic way.
#2 Reward Your Reviewers
Satisfactory experiences should be shared more often than they actually are, but what’s the best means of securing positive reviews without directly soliciting them? Why not create an in-house program that incentivizes customers to share their stories on your website, social media, and/or third-party review sites? The reward of a discount, complimentary service, or outside perk might be a perfect investment. Not only will it have a real-world payoff, but it may pay out immeasurably online.
#1 Rebrand Yourself as a Thought-Leader
You have insights to offer. Whether you’re a dealer-principal or a marketer, you designate a valued member of the management team or a skilled team member, or if we’re referring to your dealership as a collective entity, there’s value to be found in your willingness to share those insights. And you can do so through blogging and posting via the social media platforms that your dealership utilizes.
From products and services to industry headlines, culture, and management to local news stories, you have the opportunity to create thoughtful content that inspires support and engagement while fueling inbound traffic in both the digital and physical realms.
Make it Work for You
These are just broad-strokes, of course. They’re proven strategies, but it’s important that you think of each as a starting point. Build outwards, understand how each can be best-employed in an organic manner within your own culture. But even if you’re already employing some of these strategies, lend some serious thought to how you might employ them ‘better’ with the aim of improving the results.
Bottom line, there is always room for improvement. Assess your results, evolve the manner in which you incorporate these techniques, and you might be surprised by the results. Better yet, you could partner with a trusted partner like Wikimotive, assuring the best possible results without having to personally navigate the nuances of these strategies.