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Dealer Insights - November-December 2015 - 4 Digital Marketing Tips

Oct 23, 2015

In a recent interview with WardsAuto, National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Chief Economist Steven Szakaly said that “car shopping has shifted to the online world.” In particular, he noted that car buyers now spend an average of 14 hours shopping online, up from just five hours a decade ago, according to a study by NADA and global consultants McKinsey & Company that was released in April 2015.

Your dealership can generate more leads, boost sales and improve profit margins by taking full advantage of the sales and marketing opportunities offered by digital technologies and the Internet. Here are four tips to keep in mind as you work on devising or enhancing your online and digital marketing strategy:

1. Add quality content to your website. The most effective dealership websites today include much more than advertisements for vehicles. They feature nonsales content and resources designed to help visitors in their search for a vehicle while also positioning the dealership as a trusted authority.

Articles, whitepapers and e-books containing tips on auto buying and maintenance are a few examples of these kinds of content. Updating your site with fresh content also can help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.

And don’t forget videos: They’re a great way to showcase new vehicle inventory and share valuable information, and they aren’t limited to just 15 or 30 seconds like a TV spot. It’s important to find the “sweet spot” for video length — not too short but not too long. Experts say that online marketing videos should generally range from 15 seconds to three minutes in length.

If you’re going to use marketing videos on your website, it’s important that they look professional. Anybody can shoot videos nowadays using a smartphone, but posting amateurish-looking videos could do more harm than good to your brand. If you don’t have professional video production capabilities, it might be wise to hire a professional videographer.

2. Leverage social media. If you’re not using social media tools already, focus on a couple of popular social media platforms — perhaps Facebook and Twitter — and actively post comments and content on them. You can create posts and tweets in advance and then schedule them for release over time.

Dealerships can post and tweet about any number of different things: new vehicle sales and promotions, hot new models on the lot, vehicle maintenance tips, car shopping tips, etc.

3. Interact frequently. This applies to all of your online channels, including your website, social media platforms, email and online review sites. For example, be sure to respond promptly to any queries you receive on your site or via email, and be quick to reply to questions and comments posted on your social media pages.

For many dealerships, it makes sense to assign this responsibility to a particular employee — preferably one who is Internet- and social media-savvy. If online interaction isn’t one person’s specific responsibility, it probably won’t happen consistently.

4. Tie all of your online marketing tools together. It’s easy to end up with a hodgepodge of different online marketing tools that are operating independently of one another. Instead, your online marketing initiatives should be integrated together with each other. For example, do you publish an e-newsletter? Then include signup forms for it on your website and social media pages, and put social sharing and social following buttons in the e-newsletter.

Dealer Insights - November/December 2015

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