The advent of the Internet has brought with it innumerable opportunities for sales and marketing success—but of course, those opportunities must be identified and exploited through careful, integrative marketing strategy. Some businesses are adept at doing just that, but most, frankly, are not, and as such they let these opportunities pass them by.
This can be said of many car dealerships. While the tools and channels for amazing online outreach are attainable, they are not always properly implemented—and as such, some dealerships are only scratching the surface of their true potential.
It’s possible that your dealership is in this boat; it’s possible that there are ways you could be making better, more effective use of online marketing tools to grow your business and bring more foot traffic to your showroom or your lot. In this post, we’re going to identify just a few of the ways in which many dealerships forfeit these key opportunities.
They Don’t Make Their Website Accessible to Mobile Users
We have blogged before about the importance of having a responsive website for your dealership. A responsive website is one that is made to be accessed from any device—not just desktop computers, but also mobile phones and tablets. Responsive websites matter because they are prioritized in Google search results, but also because they provide a significantly easier and more value-added experience for consumers using their mobile devices—and that accounts for a huge percentage of your potential user base. In essence, dealerships that lack responsive websites are forfeiting major opportunities to engage mobile search engine users.
They Don’t Invest in Local SEO
For local business searches, Google provides what is known as a map pack—essentially, a map of the nearby area, combined with the three top local businesses that meet the search criteria. As recently as a year ago, this number was seven local businesses, so things have grown considerably more competitive—but if you can get your dealership into that map pack trio, that provides you with a significant advantage over the dealerships that don’t make the cut. This requires an investment in local search engine optimization, including consistent listings across various online citation services. If you don’t have a local SEO plan, though, then you’re all but giving up on the chance to rank well for geographically relevant search engine queries.
They Don’t Do PPC Ads
In a perfect world, you could coast to search engine visibility strictly on the basis of organic results—but today’s reality is that businesses have to do some paid advertising, as well. Pay-per-click ad programs—the most noteworthy of which is AdWords—help you increase your visibility on the search engine results page, and not engaging in a PPC strategy cedes this important online real estate to your competition. Ideally, you’ll work with an experienced marketing partner to ensure that you’re spending your PPC dollars wisely.
They Don’t Take Advantage of Email Marketing
In the era of Snapchat and other social messaging platforms, email is sometimes seen as antiquated—but in reality, it continues to be one of the most effective tools for online marketing. Make sure your dealership is keeping an up-to-date email list—made up only of people who opt into a subscription, of course—and regularly provide them with updates about deals and discounts, new products, recent company blog posts, and more. Email marketing should ultimately provide the recipient with something of value—if not a way to save money, then at least some information that can make their next car purchase go more smoothly.
They Ignore the Power of Video Marketing
Another way in which some dealerships miss key opportunities is to ignore the importance of online video. Clips posted to YouTube can be incredibly powerful, especially when you share them via social media channels or embed them in company blog posts. Video reviews of new vehicles, or hands-on auto maintenance tips, can really be of value to the consumers, which is another way in which you can earn trust while increasing traffic.
They Misuse Social Media
Finally, some dealerships err by using their social media channels strictly for self-promotion and aggressive, hard selling. There is certainly some room for advertising via social media channels, but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re not going to get very good results. Social media should engage, which means the content you share should inform, not just sell. Again, think in terms of educating the consumer, building trust, and establishing the foundation for a long-term relationship.
Making the Most of Digital Marketing
The point we’re getting at with all of this is that there are many channels to grow your dealership through the Internet, and the best way to go about it is through an integrative marketing strategy—one that pulls together some of these disparate strands. This can be done more cost-effectively than you might imagine, and with clear ROI for your dealership.
Think about some of the ways in which your dealership may be scratching the surface of its potential—and aim to go a little deeper with a more robust approach to online marketing.