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Digital Marketing 200: Beyond the Basics for Equipment Dealerships

Sep 6th 2019

A comprehensive digital marketing strategy for a heavy equipment dealership should start with a strong foundation. But once you have a well-designed and functional website, a digital advertising strategy that’s bringing you high-quality leads, and a search engine optimization strategy that’s keeping you visible and easily found by customers, you’re ready to level up.

Layer in reputation management, social media, and Google My Business management to outpace the competition and reach new levels of success.

Level Up Your Marketing

Reputation Management

GMB Profile

Online reviews are your first impression for potential customers. In fact, star rating is the number one factor used to judge a business, and 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Star ratings are prominent in search results and usually show up in the Knowledge Graph, as well as organic and Google Map listings. Users can filter Map results by star rating, and if they include “best” in their search query, Google will automatically filter out businesses with less than 4 stars. Depending on your star rating in search results, you could be losing potential clicks and customers, before ever getting a chance to speak with them.

To put your best foot forward and take control of online ratings, commit to responding to 100% of reviews. The good and the bad. Through professional and timely review responses, you’ll be able to counteract any negative sentiment in poor reviews, as well as reinforce the good in positive reviews. Responding to online reviews is about demonstrating the level of care that potential customers can expect when working with you, as much as it is about responding to the individual who left the review.

Once you have control of and are responding to your existing ratings, start a campaign to get more reviews. Consider an email to your customer base asking for them to share a review on Google or have your salespeople and service technicians personally ask customers to share online reviews. If asked, 77% of customers will leave a review for a business. A simple ask can help you not only increase reviews, but, more importantly, increase positive reviews. As your online ratings grow, continue asking for and responding to reviews month-over-month.

Social Media Management

Social media gives you direct access to engage with your customers, but setting up a social media strategy from scratch can feel overwhelming. There are a variety of platforms that your customers use, but what platforms does it make sense for an equipment dealership to be active on? Depending on your target audience and whether you’re looking to reach farmers, warehouse managers, or small business owners, consider a mix the following:

  • Facebook: Facebook allows you to connect with customers and engage in two-way conversation through posts, comments, reviews, and direct messages. It is a friendly option for most business types, with 68% of US adults using Facebook, and three-quarters of those users logging in on a daily basis. We’ve seen equipment dealers find success by using Facebook to engage with current employees as well as customers. Employees can be some of your best brand advocates, and Facebook engagement is an easy way for passionate team members to help the business be more active and well-known in your local community. 
  • YouTube: YouTube does not offer the same two-way conversation found on other social media platforms, but video is one of the best ways to reach heavy equipment customers. YouTube is the second largest search engine, with 2 billion active users per month, and farmers have said it is their primary social channel. If video assets are limited, you can use YouTube playlists to curate OEM and industry videos. If you are creating your own video content, YouTube is the best option to house videos and easily share or embed them in your website or email campaigns.
  • Twitter: Best for news and events, Twitter is a good way to share blogs and press releases, as well as promote or participate in industry events. You can use Twitter to capitalize on trending topics, timely updates, and engage with industry thought-leaders, but should consider the time commitment required to be successful. Twitter is best for in-the-moment engagement and requires more active management and quick turnaround times on posts.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn offers robust targeting by job function, making it a helpful tool for B2B businesses to share content, advertise, and gain audience insights. We’ve seen equipment dealers successfully use LinkedIn for recruitment, especially for more technical positions. If you’re regularly sharing company updates and industry or OEM news, LinkedIn can help you engage with current and prospective employees, as well as prospective business contacts.

Once you know what platforms make sense for your business, do a complete audit across platforms to make sure you know what profiles already exist. There may be profiles you don’t know about that were auto-created, set up by a single location, or even set up by past employees. This is a common issue for multi-location dealerships. Search for variations of your brand name across platforms to claim or deactivate any rogue accounts. As you claim and create your official profiles, make sure the login credentials are accessible and not linked to a single employee. Then, it’s time to fully set up your profiles with accurate business details, contact information, and branded imagery.

Social media is often a forum for customer service, so make sure you have a strategy for responding to comments and messages in a timely, professional manner. Create and maintain a consistent posting schedule, with daily monitoring and at least 1 post per platform, per week. Post content and imagery should be relevant to your business and customers, and never duplicated. It’s important to stand out in a crowded newsfeed, so look for ways to engage and encourage a response from fans.

Google My Business Management

GMB Post

Claiming and verifying Google My Business (GMB) profiles is essential for local businesses and should be part of your initial SEO strategy. Once you’ve fully set up a GMB profile for each location, to get the most from them you need to manage these listings on an ongoing basis. Actively managing and updating your GMB profiles helps improve your organic ranking and gives you access to your customers’ engagement with your business listings. GMB Insights let you know how customers found you and how they interacted with your listing, including the number of calls, requests for directions, and clicks per month. In addition to monitoring these metrics, regularly review your name, address, phone number, website, and categories to make sure they are still accurate and up-to-date. Update your photos and videos from time to time, and add holiday hours when relevant.

You can also use GMB to share relevant content directly with customers who are searching for you by creating posts. GMB posts are similar to social media posts but show in the Knowledge Graph of search results for your brand name. Use posts to share company updates and upcoming events or promote offers and products. GMB posts should be concise and include a clear call-to-action. Select the CTA button that’s relevant for each post and monitor engagement to learn what content resonates with your audience.

GMB Post Options

Advanced Digital Marketing for Equipment Dealers

Whether you’re starting with the basics or are ready to put these advanced tactics to work for your dealership, there’s no need to do it alone. Heavy equipment dealerships are complex, and a successful digital marketing strategy should pull together different tactics to cover and complement the different aspects of your business. Developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy requires steady oversight and hiring a marketing partner can help you take the right steps at the right time.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you take your digital marketing to the next level, Adpearance can help. Contact us for a free digital analysis to discuss the impact a comprehensive digital marketing strategy can make.

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