Online searches for heavy equipment have exploded over the past 10 years. The increase in customers searching online for specific pieces of machinery is beneficial for equipment dealers, but also means it’s increasingly important to use digital marketing to stand out from the competition.
To stay ahead of competitors and see sales success from your digital marketing efforts, here are 7 internet marketing strategies for heavy equipment dealers to invest in:
A website is a substantial investment, and like any big investment, it’s one you only want to make once every few years. If you’re weighing whether it’s time to build a new website, start by auditing your existing site for a few essentials:
- Mobile-friendliness: Having a mobile-responsive website is non-negotiable. 56% of all industry-related searches were on mobile in 2017 and that number has increased since. With mobile-first indexing, Google has made it clear sites that are not mobile-friendly stand little to no chance at ranking. Ideally, you need a responsive design with mobile breakpoints, not a mobile site solution. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site or can’t improve mobile-friendliness of your existing site, it’s time for a new one.
- Effective inventory management: Smart inventory management on your website is important for your team, but imperative for customers browsing your site. Your website should have a non-iframe inventory feed that is integrated, easy to update, and readable by search engines. For your customers, your site should also allow for sorting, filtering, and searches for specific types or pieces of inventory. These elements make shopping your site easy.
If it turns out it’s time to invest in a new website, download our free guide for 36 questions you should ask when selecting a website provider and new design.
Understanding who your customers are and where they’re coming from will make your targeting razor sharp and get you more bang for your advertising buck. Use your sales data and OEM territory boundaries to create custom geotargeting maps. These maps will inform your digital advertising strategies and even allow you to optimize your website. Especially if you have multiple locations and sell across state lines, proper geotargeting helps better locate your customers, and lets Google know where you are and where you sell. Include geographical locations in website copy and technical elements like title tags and meta descriptions to improve your organic and Google map rankings.
3. Used Digital Advertising
Digital advertising is a powerful tool to stand out from the competition online, and used digital advertising is where you’ll see the best margins. Create multiple used campaigns in Google Ads, targeting both branded and non-branded keywords to capture as much qualified traffic as possible. Don’t be afraid to advertise for specific inventory you have in stock—just make sure you have at least 15+ units before bidding on keywords for specific pieces of heavy equipment. Advertising out-of-stock inventory can wreak havoc on your overall customer experience. Keep your website inventory and CRM up-to-date as you buy and sell used inventory, that way you’ll never advertise for used equipment you don’t actually have at your dealership.
4. Google My Business
An optimized Google My Business (GMB) profile is crucial for showing up in branded searches, as well as organic search results. Information from your GMB profile is what will show in the right-hand side of searches, known as the Knowledge Graph, as well as Google Maps. It’s one of the quickest ways for customers to find your website, get directions to your nearest location, click-to-call your business, and see customer reviews. If you haven’t done so already, claim your GMB profiles for each location. Make sure your company name, address, phone number, website, and categories are correct and completely filled out. You’ll need to verify your address, usually with a phone call or postcard from Google, to validate your claim and ensure you’re eligible to show up in search results.
5. Search Engine Optimization
In order to rank organically, your website needs to be optimized for both search engines and users. Optimize the technical aspects of your website so search engine bots can successfully crawl and comprehend your website. To optimize for your customers, think about your website from their point-of-view. Spend some time shopping on your own site—is it easy to find the inventory you’re looking for? Can you quickly contact the location nearest you? Is the website slow and cumbersome to navigate or fast and responsive, regardless of whether you’re browsing on a tablet or smartphone? Google wants to deliver the best and most relevant results for searchers, which is why customers interacting with your website will impact your rankings. Make sure you know how your website looks from their eyes.
6. Video Content
Video is more than a nice-to-have, it’s become an essential marketing tactic for equipment dealers, especially ag and farm dealers. Luckily, creating video is easier than ever. The quality of most smartphone cameras is more than adequate for video creation and video can be used across multiple marketing channels so you get the most out of your spend. Monthly or quarterly, film walk-arounds of new or used models, how-to videos for basic repairs, instructional videos for operation, and other videos starring salespeople or service techs at your locations. Use these videos in email campaigns, posts on social media, embedded on your website, and in video advertising campaigns on YouTube or Facebook to drive shoppers to your location versus the competitor.
7. Branded Digital Advertising
Paid search is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate quality leads, because it fills your sales funnel and helps bring equipment leads right to you. In addition to new and used ads, you should run branded campaigns to show on searches for your name, as well as the names of manufacturers you represent. Make sure you always pair the manufacturer name with another keyword, like [John Deere dealer] or [Hyster forklifts for sale]. Exclude just the manufacturer’s brand name because you don’t want to waste ad spend on searches meant for the national brand. If you want to make sure you’re taking up as much real estate as possible on search results for your brand name (and pushing competitors down the page and out of the way), advertise on your own brand name. If you sell heavy machinery for brands that provide co-op dollars, this is a great place to use those funds. All together (branded, used, and new), traffic from paid search should account for 20-35% of your overall site traffic. If your current digital strategy isn’t returning these results, it’s possible you’re missing branded campaigns. Audit your strategy and adjust as needed.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Sales Success
With heavy equipment searches increasing every day, the time is right to take a hard look at what your business is doing digitally. But, don’t be mistaken, developing a heavy equipment marketing strategy that drives sales success is no walk in the park. Sometimes hiring a solid marketing partner is key. If you’re ready to implement these strategies but need some assistance, Adpearance can help! Contact us to start with a free digital analysis and learn how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy can help your dealership outpace the competition.