When comes to your company’s internet solution, be bold! Leave the wimpy stuff for your competitors. Let’s face it, your website is your #1 marketing tool. It says more about you than any newspaper ad, radio spot or TV commercial ever could. And it has the capability to reach a much broader audience than any other medium before.
Add to that the facts that unlike traditional marketing tools, such as the aforementioned, everything on your website is 100% trackable, can garner the highest closing ratios and can result in sales with higher profits. Why wouldn’t you do everything you could to make your website the most powerful tool in your sales arsenal? In this economy, you have to use every advantage available to win out over the competition. So, making your website work harder for you is just plain smart. Here’s a list of 10 things (in no particular order) you could start doing today to turn your website into a lean, mean, lead-generating machine!
1. Update your SEO strategy
– The internet is an ever changing behemoth. Long gone are
the days of the “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). What once worked a year ago certainly may not still be as effective today. Be more pro-active with your SEO strategy. Take the time to open up a dialogue with your Search Engine Optimization expert(s) and prepare an online marketing strategy for the next year that will update every month. Be sure to optimize for: surrounding cities in and just outside your immediate market, for every car your carry and for every service you provide. You’ll be glad you did. Added bonus – you may start seeing an increase in sales for departments other than your new car sales since your website may not have been currently optimized for those terms.
2. Start marketing to Female Consumers – It’s the 21st century and Women now make up the majority of the work force, voters and, yes, car buyers. Don’t take anything to chance. Prepare a unique marketing strategy that will entice female shoppers to stick around your website and buy from you. After all, who better to buy from than a Dealer who is more sensitive to a particular buyer’s concerns? Added bonus – on average, women have also shown to have better credit scores than their male counterparts.
3. Market to other Groups while you’re at it – Studies have shown that ever since 9/11, companies that have special programs or discounts in place for our men in uniform (police, firemen and military personnel) have shown not only an increase in sales but also a sharp boost in store loyalty. But the same can be said for any group that is popular within your community or market. This is one of those times where a little attention goes a long way. Especially with groups that are known to be a very tightly knit community such as our military. If you treat them right, they spread the word like wildfire. Added bonus - even the people who can’t take advantage of those particular programs think your business is better than the one down the street because you are taking care of our local heroes.
4. Optimize your website images - Make sure that all photos on your website have descriptions. It’s that simple. So simple in fact that it is surprising just how many people overlook this step. This gives the search engines even more relevant information about your website to help it get ranked just a smidge higher. Every little bit helps. Added bonus – optimizing the images will allow them to come up in search results for website images.
5. Optimize your videos – Video SEO is one of the most powerful things you can do right now to get more attention from those fickle search engines. A properly optimized video can get to the top of the search engines in days as opposed to weeks or months for a whole new website to show up anywhere near the first page. And your videos can carry a strong, succinct message to John Q. Public, optimized for a particular set of keywords, that maybe your main website hasn’t already been fully optimized for yet. Added bonus – properly using video SEO will also allow you to successfully market for sales incentives that have shorter lead times and programs that you are trying to enact at a moment’s notice.
6. Start a library of videos for your website
– Why not use video to reassure your prospects that they should choose you over the guy down the street? Believe it or not, your testimonials page
is one of the most popular stops for your website visitors right behind the inventory and specials pages. And let’s face it…if you don’t toot your own horn, it’s likely no one else will do it for you. Start compiling a strong library of video testimonials of happy customers and try to mix it up with a variety of customer types (the long standing repeat customer who loves the customer service, the first time car buyer who was not going to buy until he was sure he got the absolute best deal in town, the customer who had a problem at first and was upset but he liked the way it was handled and now he would never go anywhere else, etc.). You can also use video to introduce each of your departments or even to present a special message from the Owner or GM. Added bonus – optimize each and every one of them and post them on several other sites linking back to your main website so that they come up in search results when one is looking for you.
7. Use the power of video – Just in the last couple of months something both wonderful and strange happened on the World Wide Web. Google is still comfortably sitting in the #1 spot as the most popular search engine, however, Yahoo dropped from the #2 spot to #3. Why is this important, you ask? Well, it isn’t, really. What is important is who took over the #2 spot – YouTube. That’s right. What once was just a funny little website to share silly home movie clips has now grown into the amazing video phenomenon that has even come to influence the 2008 presidential election. The power of video and the impact it can have on a dealership’s internet success cannot be understated. Studies across the board show that nearly all people prefer to watch a video rather than read text. Video is the most powerful medium out there and is a perfect compliment to any robust internet solution. Imagine how much more successful your marketing message could be conveyed using an enjoyable video. It’s time for you to take full advantage of You Tube, if you haven’t already. Start uploading as many videos as you can (testimonials, message from the owner, introductions to different departments, etc.), making sure they are optimized by adding in descriptions, and link them back to your main dealership website. Having one of the mightiest websites on the planet linking to yours multiple times will improve your rankings and provide some much needed visibility. Added bonus – there’s no down side.
8. Social Media is your friend – With the advent of numerous social media websites and their amazing popularity, it is easy, and inexpensive, to keep an updated profile of your company in front of the masses while at the same time, providing some truly effective off-site link building for your dealership website. There’s no time to waste. Set up accounts on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and any others you can think of (All the cool kids are doing it. Lol) and have them link back to your main website. If you’re unsure how these things work, ask your teenager and they’ll give you the 411. It’s easy, instant, and best of all, free! The important part is to make sure that all of those pages are kept up to date with your current specials, manufacturer incentives and promotional events. Added bonus – by setting up different social media pages for individual departments in the dealership and cross promoting all of them, you can multiply this strategy’s effectiveness.
9. Get yourself some optimized landing pages - While the majority of Dealer websites focus on getting visitors to the homepage and then having them click through several times to their point of interest, this approach has proven ineffective and in direct opposition to a well thought out SEO approach for websites with many products and topics. Additionally, a single home page cannot be optimized for every topic and still be relevant to all. A different approach is needed…one that is both user-friendly AND effective on the search engines. Making separate, independently well-optimized landing pages for each of the profit centers within a dealership will allow each department to finally enjoy an individualized online presence while providing a website that is truly representative of the entire dealership – not one that is driven solely by new car sales. Added bonus – this strategy will increase the visibility to all the departments in the dealership, decrease the bounce rate on your website and provide a better shopping experience for consumers. It’s a win-win-win.
10. Then get even more optimized landing pages –Now that you have landing pages for each department in the dealership for every service you provide, it’s time to take it even further. Why not have optimized landing pages for every make and model that you carry? Remember, search engines are looking to send the searcher to the foremost authority (website) on a given subject (keyword). Most SEO strategies focus on the broad keyword terms that about 80% of consumers may use. But there is still a very important 20% of consumers who are farther down the buying cycle and use long tail keywords to narrow their search. These buyers are ready! They have already chosen the make and model and are just looking for a dealership from which to buy. Why shouldn’t it be you? Market directly to those consumers with optimized landing pages that specifically show information about a particular make and model. And complete the page with colors, trims, pricing and, of course, a link to your inventory. Added bonus – The “other guy” down the street probably isn’t doing it.
For more information on improving your website strategy contact TK CarSites at www.tkcarsites.com or call 800-899-7791