Written by: Lauren Labunsky, Dealer Spike
In today’s Internet-first world, consumers are checking out businesses online before ever stepping foot in the store. It used to be that a business made its first impression with the cleanliness of the store and the staff members’ ability to help customers. While these things are still important, it is no longer the world we are living in. Today, customers form a first opinion of your business by finding you online.
Consider the online journey of a prospective customer who lives in your area and is in the market for a trailer but has never heard of your dealership before. It’s likely that his or her first step would be a search on Google for local dealerships that carry trailers.
How does your dealership website perform on search engines like Google? Have you taken steps to invest in your search engine rankings?
By providing plenty of helpful, keyword-rich content on your site, you can increase your organic (non-paid) ranking. Implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services through a web provider or third-party company is another way to improve your site’s ranking. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), or paid ads on search engines, put your dealership at the very top of the search engine above organic listings. Appearing high in search makes it much more likely that a prospect will choose your dealership, as most people click on one of the first few listings. Appearing high in search also makes your business appear more trustworthy, because it means that search engine algorithms favor it.
Now comes the time that the prospect visits your site. Whether they are on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer, it is crucial that your website functions correctly. If your dealership website doesn’t have responsive design, meaning it doesn’t adapt to any device, people won’t stick around. With so many people accessing the Internet from mobile devices, this is a necessity.
As vital as it is for your website to function well, it also needs to be well-designed. A great website should be bold and eye-catching, but also clean and simple enough for consumers to easily find what they are looking for. A website that is crowded with too much information and too many options is distracting and off-putting for consumers. Less choices and more organization create the ideal website layout.
Once the customer is on your site browsing inventory, how easy is it for them to get in touch with you? Call-to-action buttons and lead forms are so important – this is how you’ll collect information from interested customers. Are these large, clearly marked, and easy to find on any page? This is key. Not only will this help you collect more leads that convert to sales, but it also allows you to serve your customer online.
Don’t forget about “extra” steps like blogging on your site, e-newsletter marketing, and social media. These are effective marketing methods for both prospects and repeat customers. While you should use these platforms for different purposes, they all provide ways to nurture leads, encourage customer loyalty, and build relationships with people who connect with your dealership. There are many opportunities that become available to your business when you invest in your customers.
Customer experience is everything. Most customers will come into the dealership when it’s time to make a purchase, but they are doing their research first online. As a first step, it is imperative that customers can find your dealership online – that’s where search engine performance becomes so important to your overall digital marketing strategy. Once they arrive at your site, take measures to be sure that a customer’s first impression of your business is a good one.
ABOUT DEALER SPIKE
Dealer Spike is focused on helping dealerships increase leads and sales through online advertising. We help dealers drive more traffic with distinctive websites and a suite of digital marketing tools. Our team has real-world dealership experience we know what it takes to put our dealers on top. For more information, please visit www.dealerspike.com.