If you’re not appearing at the top of Google as a dealership, you may already be limiting your reach and not winning as many customers as you could. “But digital marketing involves a minefield of impossibly complex tactics”, you say? Wrong! In this post, as part of our automotive series, we’ll equip you with some quick insight as to how easy it is to improve your dealership’s digital presence and the long and short term benefits this will reap.
A common misconception in the automotive industry is that if you have good car deals and a well located dealership, that the customers will naturally flock to you. Unfortunately, in 2019 and the digital era, it requires a little more technicality than this. At Honchō, we know that how dealerships market themselves online will directly impact sales and conversions. Customers need to find you and be connected with your product and brand in the right way.
Over a third (39%) of customers researching a new car online will start their purchase journey on Google. They will go straight to a search engine rather than looking at manufacturer sites, reviews, or dealer websites. So, it is imperative to be visible in order to win customers.
Here are three quick wins that will improve your digital presence and search engine visibility:
SEO (search engine optimisation) can be a minefield for smaller dealerships, especially if resources or budget are limited. For national dealerships, SEO is often perceived as complex and expensive to implement. This isn’t the case. It’s not ridiculously expensive or rocket science to get to the top of Google.
SEO audits or attending a training course can be a good starting point. Multiple manufacturers and dealerships will be competing for the same terms and geographical locations, so it’s imperative that your site is optimised.
The search landscape for car dealerships is changing quickly. We have noticed there has been a shift in new cars SERPs (search engine results pages). Previously, +new +for +sale would still show informational sites and even included used cars for premium and luxury brands, but this has now opened up for car dealers.
If you’d like a more in-depth analysis of how local SEO can help your dealership website, take a look at our specialist article.
Whether you have customers at a national or local level, it’s always important to maximise your presence in locations with dealerships. Most used car customers will travel up to 60 miles to a dealership, and some even further, so you need to be visible in your surrounding radius. Google My Business is an easy to use and essential tool, alongside location targeting and managing local citations.
Our research shows that the customer traffic from maps and branded search is mostly those looking to buy a used car, with some intent for new and aftersales. Owning searches such as BMW Hertford, BMW dealer (within the local area) or “near me” will be most valuable to any car dealership.
Google Ads and social platforms are constantly innovating their products to support the automotive industry. Both these channels have proven to be hugely effective in securing new customers – but it’s important to get this right and feed customers the right information. At Honchō, we have developed our own SMARTFeed technology so our clients are delivering bespoke adverts with real-time, accurate pricing at scale across both search and social.
There’s always a consumer campaign that can get people talking and sharing. There’s always news of innovative technology being utilised. There’s always business growth to be shared with press, influencers and third-party websites to build links to your site.
We have specialist Digital PR and Content teams who work hard to get our clients mentioned in the right places, at the right time and in the right way for Google to understand. But even if you think there’s nothing newsworthy to share about your dealership, this isn’t always the case. The press is always looking for automotive stories; from electric and driverless cars to new models and popularity figures. At least from a local angle, expansion and development of your own dealership is relevant to the regional media.
Small steps that boost an online presence will ensure a dealership is more visible to its potential customers. The above three tips are just a taster for what you can implement internally to help improve sales by reaching more people.
At Honchō, we have partnerships with Group 1, Pentagon and Renault Retail under our belt, and we live and breathe automotive. To find out more about how we can help your dealership boost its digital presence, and ultimately sales, you can get in touch with us here.