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Boost online leads

TW White & Sons, one of Mazda’s most successful retail dealers in the UK, is convinced by the argument for search engine optimization in its marketing plan.

Jane Saunders, marketing manager at the Mazda/Hyundai group at Godalming, Surrey, says it’s all about deciding where to spend the marketing budget to make the best use of your website.

“We started our first pay-by-click campaign with Google in April 2005 and it generated more than 10,000 enquiries in the first year. We pay to have TW White in the top eight commercial links in searches,” Saunders says.

“I believe that leads generated from our website now equal the number from traditional methods such as following up owners.”

Saunders has doubled spending on search engine optimization for the current financial year, and says the cost equates to four full-page ads in a local newspaper.

Daniel Rowles, head of internet marketing at Academy Internet, which advises companies on the best use of their websites, says car dealers have been slow to use internet marketing.

“Those who have get to realize the benefits offered in terms of the quantity and quality of visitors to their websites,” he says. “It results in a much stronger return on investment than through traditional advertising.”

Online information means dealers are qualifying people and getting them closer to the point of conversion before they make contact.

Websites need to reflect the business, be easy to use and allow customers to achieve their goals – whether it is finding a phone number or looking at a car’s details.

Jonathan Williams, head of marketing at Trader Media Group, says dealers should have all stock on their website because anything not listed could be a lost sale.

“Photos and a good vehicle description are important and dealers almost always miss out on selling their value-added services,” he says. “Finance deals and free car washes should be listed.”

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