Today begins a two-part series on improving auto dealership marketing and online lead generation by both researching and actively working to improve your dealership’s online presence and reputation.
Part One of this series will suggest steps to take to determine how your dealership looks online and what potential customers are saying about you and your industry. Part Two will detail methods to turn reviewers or commenters into a solid online sales lead.
Let’s start by exploring where your dealership currently stands in search engine results and customer review sites. Gauging the temperature of what potential customers see when they search your dealership is the first step in determining if you are primed for online leads.
Leverage the Power of Search Engines
What do the search engine results tell your potential buyer when they Google your dealership or the kinds of vehicles you sell? Have you Googled yourself lately?
If you’re not ranking well in the search results you need to make SEO a priority in your monthly marketing spend. EFG has found that even the smallest efforts on behalf of our clients have a big impact in SEO. We took one client from non-existent in search results to appearing on the first page, and for some keywords, in the number one search return, just by updating content, meta information and navigation. Remember, 64% of customers used a search engine to research the cars they bought last year, before ever setting foot in a dealership. If your website isn’t easy to find, you’ll lose the business to someone whose website has the right SEO strategy in place.
Utilize New Techniques in Social Media Monitoring
Do you remember when YouTube used to be a place where people stored their personal videos? And now it’s the second largest search engine? Your online customer is creative with how they search for information and it goes beyond Google. EFG has helped clients understand the importance of video and how little effort it takes to build an online video library. Do you perform walkarounds with your sales team? Why not video them? Have you ever captured a first time car buyer’s excitement about their new car? You don’t have to purchase a light kit and professional video equipment – the iPhone you might be holding in your hand is sufficient, or a small flip camera.
Both Facebook and Twitter have released more sophisticated search capabilities in 2011 that make it easier for users to more readily track customer feedback.
Facebook recently updated its search options to include filters, allowing users to search public status updates of personal profiles. If someone’s talking about you on Facebook and they’ve got a public status update – your potential customer can find it there.
Twitter also enables users to search public tweets in the same way a search is conducted on Google. Visit search.twitter.com and type in your dealership’s name. If a user has mentioned you, their tweet will appear in the results below. Twitter Search is also a great way to locate potential sales leads. Consider searching for phrases such as “I need a new car” to find users who are actively online and Tweeting about their car search.
So why is social media monitoring important? Again, consider the customer’s perspective. If a person is pricing out Chevy cars in Phoenix and sees mulitple users complaining about your dealership, they may choose to go with another option. A bad online presence means lost leads.
Have questions about researching how your appears dealership online? We’d be glad to help.
Please feel free to contact us or join our social communities for more information. And stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where we’ll cover tactics car dealers can use to improve and better capture online leads.