Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
I'm in Paris tonight and on the eve of the 4th of July I wanted to wish everyone in the ADM community a have happy holiday weekend. With that in mind, I wanted to give ADM members a 4th of July gift that can prevent their digital marketing budget from imploding.
In the past month I have had the good fortune to create a digital footprint analysis REPORT for three dealer groups that are in the top 25 in the nation. All had a similar problem. They were heading down a path that would have imploded their digital marketing campaigns and cost them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The gift is the knowledge that these large dealer groups had missed. They became too busy on moving forward to remember a simple basic fact. Without their domains, their digital marketing strategy would run off the tracks. The same domains that they have used in radio, TV and print would go up in smoke.
Today's 4th of July gift is to renew your primary marketing domains for 5 or 10 years. You see, these extremely successful car dealership groups had multiple primary domains that were expiring in 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, and if I didn't alert them, they would have most likely expired.
Expired Domain Names - A Huge Headache
This happens all the time. Why? Because car dealers have a high turnover in IT related careers. The email addresses associated with domain renewals are likely pointing to an employee that doesn't work at the dealership anymore. So the first part of this holiday gift is to setup an email address for domain renewals that is copied to key executives. For example: email@example.com which would go to the dealer principal and key managers.
The second holiday gift is to show you how easy it is to find the expiration dates of all your domains. Once you have audited all your live website domains, go and renew them for at least 5 or 10 years. If you let them expire they will be snatched up by poachers than can redirect all your traffic to any site they want.
Don't Let Your Domains Get Hijacked
If you think you can fix this with your attorney, just ask how much it would cost you to have your primary domain going to a blank page or worse. These domain poachers will extort money from you and you have little recourse if they just park the domain to a blank page. Every month I hear of anyone business who is paying to get their domain back.
While the dealer's domain is under new ownership, email can be cut-off. Imagine the costs.
Am I being a bit dramatic? Yes. Is it justified? Yes
I will not disclose the names of the prominent dealers that had expiring domain names but it can happen to anyone; no matter how big or successful you are. They were extremely grateful that I told them about the problem.
So, what about you? When was the last time you checked all your active website domains. Take this gift and find out right now.
Getting Your Domain Expiration Date
There are some easy ways to get the expiration date of your domain but one free tool I like gives you ALOT more interesting information. This information can detect some other errors that dealers are unaware of like 301 re-direct that are missing. If you don't understand what that means, don't worry because there is a second gift that I will offer ADM members.
For each domain that you have in production, go to www.websitegrader.com and type in your domain name and click on "Generate Report". It will take about 90 seconds to complete the full analysis which has a wealth of information. When the report pops up on your screen take a minute to print it out.
Look on the report for Section E, to see when you domain expires as shown below:
If the domain that you test is a critical domain used for your dealership, renew it for at least 5 years. If you don't know where you purchased the domain, you can lookup the registrar information easy enough.
The report provided by Website Grader has some interesting data but some of it can be misleading because HubSpot is trying to sell you their SEO services.
Your Second July 4th Gift
Once you run your key domains, if you have received low scores for any of your domain names, I'll review your reports and create a full digital footprint report for your dealership or dealer group. We can review my findings together on a conference call. The report will provide some eye-opening data that can help improve your search visibility. Send your reports to firstname.lastname@example.org in one email and send me your contact information.
But regardless if you take the second gift, the first gift is a MUST to accept. ADM members cannot afford to allow their critical domains to expire and get hijacked. For those of you who follow this advice, if you have discovered that you owned domains that would expire in less than a year, add your comments below. It will be good to see that this is an industrywide problem that everyone needs to check.
Happy 4th ADM Members!
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing