Though the majority of a sales team’s work will happen on the lot or in the office, there is another aspect of customer marketing and outreach that sometimes goes unnoticed: the dealership website. Yet, this is one of the simplest and most straightforward ways that business leaders can establish their brand, appeal to interested buyers and showcase their inventory. The key to making casual browsers stick around for the long haul? Make sure your website is as interactive, user-friendly and responsive as possible.
Studies reveal that 86% of car shoppers perform online research before heading to a dealership to check out their options in person. That said, is your website one that they’re bound to land on? If you’re unsure, read on. Today, we’re sharing five ways to drive traffic to your dealership website. This simple step can help you drive conversions and build both your brand loyalty and bottom line along the way.
1. Optimize your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
For maximum visibility, you’ll need to make sure your dealership’s website appears on the first page of Google when a web query is performed on your target location. For instance, if you’re a Ford dealer in Greensboro, North Carolina, when someone types in “New Ford in Greensboro, NC,” your website should appear at the top of their list.
Though there are myriad ways to improve your SEO efforts, it all begins with selecting the right keywords in your online content. As you’re preparing your webpages and crafting your blog posts, try to incorporate relevant keywords that are trending in your industry and have a high search volume, but aren’t overly saturated or competitive. Though important, keywords aren’t the only aspects of successful SEO marketing. You should also consider your internal/external linking strategy, page titles, meta tags and more. You can read more here on SEO beginner basics and how to create a comprehensive approach to the practice.
Then, establish a presence in an online business directory or a few business directories. One of the most popular and well-established options is Google My Business. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and as thorough as possible so people can find you easier. This will also help in your local search standing.
2. Blog often on interesting topics.
Sure, a blog post or two about what your dealership has been up to lately or any industry recognition you’ve received is interesting. Yet, to drive continual traffic to your dealership website, you’ll need to post more often on topics that people are actively searching for online.
This might mean discussing maintenance issues that are common with the manufacturers you represent. Or, you may provide buyer’s guides or step-by-step instructions on how to perform basic repairs, like changing a tire. The idea is that when people search online for these topics, your blog content will appear. It’s unlikely that too many web visitors will be looking for detailed information about your company potluck, so keep posts like those minimal.
Then, once you have a calendar of content established, be sure to post consistently. Your readers want to hear from you on a regular basis, or they may abandon their visits altogether.
3. Get social.
In today’s digital era, social media is king. There is no quicker or more effective way to reach your target audience than by interacting with them across these platforms, which can include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.
To this end, establish a presence on any social media channel that makes sense for your brand. Then, just as you’re consistent with your blogging, endeavor to be as active as possible with your account. Simply opening them is the first step, but if you’re not an active part of the ongoing conversation, your followers will quickly abandon your profile for one that’s sharing, tweeting and commenting on a more regular basis.
Every time you blog, share it on your social media channels. You may even offer discounts or promotions to your followers or host giveaways to encourage participation. If you receive any comments that require a response, be sure to follow up as quickly as possible. Though this step doesn’t take long, it can do wonders to improve your brand’s trustworthiness and reputation.
4. Begin an email marketing campaign.
Though it might sound like an antiquated form of customer outreach, email marketing is still very much alive and effective. In fact, 60% of customers state that email marketing influences their decision-making. This makes it an ideal way to connect with your target audience. It’s also cost-effective, saving you an investment in print material marketing and associated shipping costs.
Remember: Shoppers crave personalization and this is a great way to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Once you have your list of interested shoppers who opted in to receive your emails, create subject lines and body content that include their name. Then, make sure your messaging is consistent with the interests and goals they expressed.
You may use your email outreach to host giveaways, offer promotions or pass along exclusive discounts. Then, you can analyze how many people took advantage of such offers to determine the effectiveness of your campaign and ways to improve on the next go-round.
5. Make sure your website is responsive.
In addition to a user-friendly design and intuitive layout, you should also ensure your dealership’s website is responsive. In short, this means designing it so that it looks just as great on a smaller, mobile device as it does on a big-screen desktop. Studies show that customers use up to five different devices when they’re browsing the internet. You want to make sure they’re using all of those to get to your content.
There are myriad considerations that go into developing a responsive website and it can be difficult to get them all right. Not sure where to start? Google offers a mobile responsiveness tool. You simply plug in your URL and it tells you whether or not it passes the responsiveness test and how to correct it, if not.
Attracting and Retaining Your Target Online Audience
Though foot traffic is still a vital way to interact with your dealership’s customers and close valuable deals, the first step often begins online. Taking the time to fine-tune your SEO strategy, establish a social media presence, create blog content and test for mobile responsiveness isn’t wasted energy.
Rather, these steps help to lay the groundwork for a successful and profitable online marketing campaign that can ultimately improve your visibility and bring more customers through the door. To that end, it’s worth every penny and hour of the investment.