What you can do as an auto dealer to ensure you are keeping up with the Car-dashians.
Technology is moving at a rapid pace, disrupting countless industries and pushing them into adoption. More so than ever, people are counting on tech and digital media to help them make decisions and then act. As an automotive dealer, what do you need to be aware of in order to meet customer expectations and anticipate needs? Let’s start by tackling the biggest tech changes, and then talk about what you can do to be proactive.
Go ahead and pick up your smartphone. Do a quick search on your mobile browser. What do you see? Notice that the search engine results page (the SERP) fits only a handful of results, and sometimes those results are only advertisements. Since the SERP is much smaller on mobile devices, competition is tougher than ever to be one of the top 5 or so results. So, what are you to do?
Optimize your website
Keyword use, content quality, usage data, external links, social media links, and more; all of these tie into your search ranking, determining where on the results page your website will end up. For optimal results, spend some time putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. Research topics and keywords they would look up naturally. Is location important to them? In the case of most automotive dealers, geolocation is vital, so you’ll want your target city in your keywords and strategically placed throughout your website. If you don’t already have one, create a blog and add some quality, educational content for your audience to read. Wrap it all in a nice bow by linking back to your social media pages and having your accounts link back to your website.
Make your site responsive
Did you know that mobile SERPs favor mobile-responsive websites? Many content management systems built for automotive dealers are not ready for mobile responsive sites quite yet. But, this does give you a chance to stand out by making your site more mobile-friendly. By using standard fonts (like Arial and Helvetica) and avoiding fixed position, you can begin to make your website easier to use on any device. If you want some idea of where your site stands, check out the Google Developers tool that lets you check the mobile friendliness of your site.
explore paid options
As discussed earlier, sometimes ads take up the majority of the SERP. If this is the case, managing paid campaigns is the best route to go if you want to compete for customers researching vehicles on their mobile devices. Overall, 27% of potential car buyers rely on their mobile device as their first means of research. And of that 27%, heaps of them make up target auto buying groups. If this is the case, consider running a few optimized campaigns targeting these buyers and see how your website traffic goes up over time, especially on mobile.
Recent research has shown that 84% of car buyers intend to watch an automotive video before their next vehicle purchase. Of the buyers that did watch a video prior to their purchase, 69% of them feel as if their buying decision was greatly influenced by watching said video, more so than TV, magazines, and newspapers. This interaction with a company’s brand through video tends to happen before a buyer even steps foot in the dealership. Jinkies! As a result, we recommend a few things to capitalize on video traffic:
Create some content
We know that sounds oversimplified, but it truly makes a world of difference. Grab a camera (please shy away from using your smartphone, if possible) and start recording short videos for your dealership. Include information on your specialization, inventory, service department, and financing. For professional help, consider hiring a local production company to create a few 3-minutes-or-less videos. In addition to integrating video into your website, we recommend having at least five videos up on your YouTube account and regularly updating and optimizing your channel.
Optimize your videos
Title, description, and tags; all of these elements matter when it comes to video search engine optimization (VSEO). Before you even upload your first video, consider the appropriate words and tags to use to reach your target audience. For more tips, check out our blog post on the Dos and Don’ts of VSEO.
I bet you saw this one coming. It’s no secret that social media plays a large role in purchasing decisions, especially in the automotive industry. Buyers can use social media to determine which dealership to visit by judging how engaged the dealership is with their customers, how much new and relevant content is available on their social media channels, and how well the dealership addresses issues brought up by customers on review sites like Facebook, Yelp, and more. We have a few tips to make you stand out in the social crowd:
INCLUDE INDUSTRY KEYWORDS
In tweets, Facebook posts, pins, and more, insert a few industry keywords so search engines and inquiring users can find your content. Be wary of sounding unnatural and forced and include relevant keywords regarding seasonal sales, upcoming events (such as “Truck Month”), and geotargets in your posts. Take a peek at what hashtags your OEM is using and mimic those in your social posts as well.
But please, please, please do it correctly. Use hashtags to promote engagement and create an opportunity for user-generated content. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use trending hashtags that are irrelevant to your brand. This is misleading and can lower your credibility with potential buyers. Also, never use a major event (like the passing of a celebrity) or holiday (like Veteran’s Day) to promote your content unless it’s actually relevant. Used incorrectly, trending topics and hashtags can go downhill fast.
Create QUALITY content
Engaging content can make a world of difference for your SEO and website credibility as a whole. If you’re creating new and valuable information for your readers, they’ll be sure to share it. For maximum effectiveness, post consistently on your social channels so your audience knows they can depend on you. Plus, search engines will see your brand pages as “fresh” which could increase your ranking.
Need some help?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or in need of some pointers, feel free to reach out to us. We take pride in our automotive work, specializing in mobile-friendly websites, custom digital advertising, robust search engine optimization, buzzworthy social media, and more.