ADM serves Car Dealers, Automotive Marketing Pros and Internet Sales Managers
“Blogging is the most underutilized yet powerful marketing force that dealers have at their disposal.”
That’s what automotive thought-leader Ralph Paglia said in a recent interview. No matter if you love Ralph and his advice or think he’s ‘full of it,’ studies indicate that he is absolutely right on this matter.
According to data analyses by HubSpot, a leading Inbound Marketing company, small businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors, 102% more Twitter followers, and 126% higher lead growth than non-blogging businesses.
A successful blog is one that is updated on a regular basis and discusses topics of interest to your current and potential customers (but we’ll get more into best practices at a later time). Naturally, a blog’s ROI will vary from dealership to dealership but there are several clear benefits to blogging that should not be ignored.
1) Tell your story and demonstrate industry knowledge
Information has empowered consumers to educate themselves about what product to buy, how much to pay, and where to shop. Consumers do the majority of their purchasing research online and, moreover, consumers read blogs to find the answers to their questions.
Why not provide them with that information yourself?
Help the consumer make an educated buying decision through your writing and you will find them more inclined to do business with you because you have established yourself and your company as reputable, transparent and knowledgeable.
Additionally, consumers will be more inclined to do business with you if they can form an emotional connection with your dealership. To do this, you need to tell your story.
“Dealers have to find the compelling stories that will make people want to do business with their dealership,” says Ralph. “Every dealership has something very interesting or compelling about them that would make great fodder for a blog.”
2) Higher Google Ranking (SEO Opportunity)
I think HubSpot said it best in its Inbound Marketing University white paper How to Blog Effectively for Business:
“Search engines favor fresh over old content. Old content might no longer be accurate or relevant to the searches. Fresh content, in contrast, signals to search engines that the information is up-to-date and more relevant to searchers’ needs. As a result, blogs, a generator of fresh content, help with search engine optimization, which in turn drives site traffic and promotes a business.”
A regularly updated blog ranks highly on Google. Additionally, dealers that blog can optimize their posts for commonly-searched keywords specific to their brand, vehicles, or frequently asked questions so that their dealership is easy found during the consumer research process.
Blogging is a practice that doesn’t cost a lot of money and has the potential to result in a continuous payout in the form of increased traffic, engagement and lead-generation.
3) Crisis management and humanizing your brand
Blogging can put a face and a voice to your dealership, communicating the subtle aspects of your brand’s personality. Blogs can help consumers get a sense of how you do business and how your employees treat customers. By being less “corporate” than your website, blogs can add the personal touch of 1-1 customer service and relationship-building to your digital showroom, similar to the benefits of live chat.
Furthermore, blogs can help manage a crisis and prevent damage by online negative word-of-mouth. To survive any online reputation crisis, it is essential to embrace Coca Cola’s motto of“our consumers control our brand.” Dealers can use their blog as a forum for customers to share their issues and for you to address them in a personal and transparent manner.
4) Involve potential and current customers in your brand’s discussion
Social Media has empowered consumers to share product and brand insights with their peers, transforming them into brand advocates and authorities. If you give readers of your blog the information they seek end encourage interaction, you will be able to develop and nurture a relationship with them early on in the sales process. The opening up additional channels of communication between your dealership and its customers is always a good idea.
According to HubSpot, “Folks who comment on your blog may be sales leads, or they may just challenge or support your views. Either way, comments beget comments, and you will soon be at the center of an industry-relevant dialogue with customers and partners.” This dialogue is the core benefit of the practice of blogging and is what drives traffic to your site and highly qualified leads to your showroom.
For inspiration, Ralph has provided links to dealership blogs that he considers to be shining examples of how dealership blogging can be done right:
Do you have a blog? What do you write about? Do you find it’s effective in its ability to engage prospect and current customer?