by Alex Snyder, eCommerce Director, Checkered Flag Automotive
If you are new to the digital marketing world but want to increase lead volume at your dealership, you'll want to find a provider that can offer you a comprehensive solution. But if you are unsure of what to ask, heres a checklist that will help you make the right decision. Use this list to compare providers, and good luck with you search!
Search Engine Optimization
How does the provider increase your organic search rankings on search engines?
Do they change the meta-tagging for each page of your site or allow you to do it yourself?
Do they allow you to change the titles of pages?
Do they allow for custom page layouts and various font formats?
Do they allow for image tagging?
Do they allow for video uploads?
Do they allow you to put custom messages on inventory for advertising purposes?
The science of SEO is not exact, and it is fluid and changing, so you want to make sure that the company is knowledgeable and flexible enough to change with the Google's and Yahoo's as they make changes to how they index your site.
Reporting & Analytics
Choose a provider that allows you to see your progress and track your return of investment. Transparency is the key to measuring your provider's effectiveness.
Do they monitor bounce rates?
Do they monitor bounce rates on specific pages so you know whether to change things on a page or not?
Do they monitor lead conversion rates?
Do they monitor lead conversion rates per each form so you know to fix a form?
Do they measure your inventory health: prices, comments, and pictures?
Do they tell you which cars are the most viewed and which aren't being viewed at all?
Do they measure the time a customer spends on your site?
Like SEO, reporting and analytics need to be adaptable to shifting technologies and variables. There are lots of ways to measure success, but gain a competitive advantage using a provider whose metrics go further than your competition.
This will be the most viewed part of your site, so choose a provider who offers the most ways to setup, market and manipulate your inventory.
Do they display your inventory in a user-friendly way?
Do they allow you to embed specials in your inventory?
Do they have conversion points on the inventory (forms, phone numbers, chat points)?
Do they allow you to share inventory on social networks (upload to Twitter, Facebook, etc)?
Do they make it easy for a customer to find your dealership from the inventory page?
Do they allow a customer to easily reset the search parameters to start a search over again?
Inventory flexibility can make or break you, so spend a lot of time figuring out what you want from your inventory display pages.
Leads are the lifeblood for your dealership; they are real customers that have a need. Choose a provider who will best organize, distribute and support your lead generating tools.
Do they send XML leads so you can receive them easily in your CRM?
Do they provide a way to track all your leads?
Do they provide an ILM tool?
Do they provide an automated response for customers who have submitted a lead?
Can the automated response be turned off or customized?
Other Questions to Ask
Which provider has the fastest setup time?
Does the provider give you a dedicated support staff to answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
If you're switching providers, how does your new provider deal with conversion?
Are there hidden costs involved in setup, conversion, and maintenance of your new website?
What new products are on the horizon that you might benefit from in going with a new provider?
Knowledge is power. The more questions you ask a potential provider, the better off your dealership will be.