Automotive Digital Marketing

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The thought that is constantly on my mind lately. Does every dealership nowadays need a website? In fact, dealerships were functioning greatly without all this digital stuff: SEO, traffic, lead generation etc Nevertheless, cars were selling, customers were coming to showrooms. We should spend our time and money to study how to attract customers to the site, put our Inventory on site, showcase our vehicles and so on and so forth. Isn't it better for dealerships to focus on business? Just sell cars? I have friends who are asking themselves the same questions but still paying money for digital marketing. So let me ask, is it really reasonable and necessary to have a dealer website? What's your opinion?

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Interesting question...the answer is yes. Every dealership needs a website today. You create and manage you website, it works 24/7 for you. You advertised your vehicles online, more people know about you and come to you. That's how it works.

Well, yes, but if the point is only in the quantity, then we can use other sources of advertising. Traditional. TV ads, bigboards etc Quality is what matters. Hundred people came to your site, but no one visits you. So, again the same question, why putting your efforts to dealer website?

Yes.  This is the age of social media.  

Age of social media?Definitely.But as for me, dealer website is not some kind of social media. We can just post our news in Twitter, communicate with clients through Facebook, post pictures in Pinterest etc etc etc You got the idea.

Because, your dealer website is the digital analog of your dealership. Of course, if you have the website just because everyone has it, there is no point for your business. If  you don't update it and make interesting for the customers, your prospects will see that the website is a dead end, perhaps your dealership is not good they may think and no one wants to visit you. No sense to waste time for such kind of website.  Everyone should try to put some efforts and they'll see the result.

Constantly updating the website is challenging. And pretty much not cheap either. Hiring designers, developers etc. Find them, than explain them what do you want, after that they work some time, and only than (if you are ok with their work, and usually no one is ok after the first time changes) you can update the site. Pretty long process,right? So, all of us try, we put the effort. You can't measure the usefulness of the website after all.

Actually, you can measure. You just need to find right analytics tools. And you will know how your customers find your site, which keywords they used, what time of day they like to shop, what pages they viewed during their visit, which device they are using to view your site and much more. Personally I get all these information from my DMS partner AUTOXLOO. Besides, with their help there is no need to hire someone additionally. They have tools that can be used by anyone without technical knowledge. You can find the DMS provider that will help you either.

Sorry...thought this was a joke. Why WOULDN'T you want a website? Location and word of mouth are important, but the internet is THE WAY to connect with people now. Multiple marketing channels have always been important - dealers used to spend thousands per month on 3-10 line classified ads in the local paper for used cars and full page ads on Friday and Saturday for new cars...not to mention massive tv and radio budgets.

Ignore the web at your own peril. This question was answered in 1998.

You are absolutely right talking that the Internet is the way to connect with people. I was just wondering is it worthy to have a website when we have various social media apps that allow to manage inventory, forms, searches. All these Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc were eventually created to connect people. But, I see what you all guys mean, dealer website is what everyone should have, mostly because customers are expecting for this.

vega, I will follow your advice and try Autoxloo as DMS partner.

The question should be... Do I have an effective website? That is really what your posing here. An ineffective website will YES bring in traffic. But if your site is not effective you will not generate quality leads. Yes TV brought in customers before, newspapers did the same. But to argue that a Dealership Website doesn't generate a good amount of quality leads has a ton more to do with... do you have the proper conversion tools and is your staff trained well enough for the phone calls, emails, etc you will generate. I have gone into many Dealerships that had extremely ineffective websites... changed them over, created better conversion tools, and trained staff on how to effectively handle those leads... and hands down I would not rely on Newspapers or TV Advertising over a very good Dealer Website.

First almost every single Dealer out there has done the same old ads over and over and over when it comes to Newspapers. Being in the business for the last 20 years I have pretty much seen just about everything. Did they generate customers? Yes, did it generate better quality or more leads than my Dealer Website... no. Not being digital in this day in age... not the best advice to pass on to anyone. I would say that if your Website is not generating good quality leads... you need to look into why and fix it.

Thank you David Lytle , you made some really good points. I will look closely to my site and hope it pays off in the end.

Good question Helen. My feeling is no, with a caveat. If every other dealer didn't have a website, I think they would get along just fine advertising through 3rd party sites, business listings, and the like.

I think the noisy stuff (SEO, lead gen tools, pop-unders, etc.) are just the result of a very competitive landscape.

I actually think some dealers could do quite well removing some of the noise on their sites that their visitors have to deal with. Other lead gen sites do very well without it and I think it offers up a lot to visitors as a signal.


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