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If you can't tell, I wrote this on an extremely empty stomach. But enough about me, let's talk about you and your success!
As a provider of dealership website solutions, it almost seems that there are two different categories of clients that I work with. Those that utilize the tools and resources made available to them to which they experience great results, and then there are those that huff and puff determined that “your website doesn't work”.
It's sometimes quite funny to look at from a birds-eye view, because when the shiny new website is delivered the tone is, “Our website is awesome!” but when things are not going as expected it's, “YOUR website...”
With that in mind, I think it's time to dispel some myths regarding the role that your dealer website plays in the marketing mix. Let's look at what it can do for you and what it absolutely WON'T do for your business. There will be some key takeaways here that I'm hoping will help with the success of your digital marketing efforts moving forward.
Largest Source of Traffic
Your website has a unique ability (when done right) to attract more qualified buyers to your dealership by providing them top-of-the-funnel information. Every day, millions of people take to the web to conduct research, read reviews and find products and service that will help shape their own purchase decisions. With that in mind, imagine what would happen if your own website provided consumers with the information that they are searching for. Doing so builds credibility and trust.
Your website is the virtual extension of your dealership, and it stays open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That means that your site has the power to reach qualified consumers when you physically can't. This means that your website can deliver your business to the highest source of consumer traffic available to your business.
Here is the first big “WON'T”! You may or may not believe how many people (not just dealers) expect that there will be a big overnight occurrence where the flood gates open and leads come crowd surfing onto their site by the hundreds.
It's important in this instance to remember that your website is one single part of your marketing efforts and is a process, not an event. Like any of your marketing efforts, there are a variety of elements that need to be looked after in order to ensure success. Don't expect that the second your new site goes live that it will be an instant online piggy bank. Remember; process, not event!
Not Getting Any Leads
This one is a catch-22. For the most part (and understandably), dealers often don't see the value in fancy-named a-la carte items like SEO because all they hear are price increases. Having said that, this is where the provider really needs to demonstrate the value of such services and how they will assist the dealership in getting more leads. You see, it's pretty simple: Have your site optimized so that people can find you → increases website traffic → increases chances for leads. This is a good Segway into the next topic which is...
Does your dealership have multiple websites that are essentially duplicates of one another? If so, get rid of the duplicates. This will not help you capture more leads! In fact, it is probably causing more damage against your primary web presence. I recently wrote an article titled, “Stop With The Multiple Website Madness” in which I explain that the web can't be treated like traditional advertising. On the web, you don't need to have multiple (duplicated) websites in order to have your message delivered to the masses. One optimized website is more powerful and can reach more qualified buyers that 5 or 10 duplicates.
Without getting into too much detail, I also reference some solutions in the article that will assist dealers looking to maximize their web presence by utilizing micro-sites and other means.
Okay... I'm winding down now!
Process, Process, Process!
The last key takeaway here is the process. There NEEEEEDS to be a proper process in place. Your website can get things moving for you, but what happens when the leads start rolling in? Do you have a process for lead management, phone management, customer follow up – or what about inventory management, reputation management, social media and more?
There is a definite pattern to follow in order to become more successful, and if your sitting there wondering why your website isn't performing according to your expectations; it's time to really determine what your expectations actually are and if they're consistent with what the web will provide you. If others are being successful with the web, then why not you?
Where does your website fit into the marketing mix?