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Quick wins for dealer digital marketing - guest opinion

Rafferty Gifford

The internet is transforming every industry and auto traders are certainly no exception. These days car purchasers spend 59% of their journey into finding a new car online, according to Autotrader.

If your dealership wants to stand a chance of staying competitive, then expanding into the world of digital marketing is key. 

Here are three quick digital marketing wins for auto traders:

1. Google My Business for Local Searches

Car shopping involves extensive research as it’s not a purchase to be taken lightly. To make this decision easier, they will want quick access to information about various auto traders.

For auto traders with a physical location, being able to rank locally in a search engine is crucial for driving sales and conversions. Yes, online shopping is growing rapidly, but research has shown 88% of consumers will look at cars online before they visit a local dealership to make their purchase. However, how can you turn a prospect’s attention towards your dealership if you aren’t appearing under local searches?

Google My Business is a fundamental for local search engine optimisation (SEO). It provides your business with visibility in a search engine results page (SERP) for searches which are relevant to your offering and location - it literally puts you on the map. You can set up your Google My Business listing for free here - http://google.com/business.

Once you’ve claimed your listing you can add relevant information about your business to make it easier for consumers to find you, including:

Telephone number
Website URL
Address
Hours of operation

Remember - the more accurate and informative your listing is, the higher you’ll appear for relevant searches. Consistency is key for succeeding at local SEO.

You can also add reviews to your Google my Business listing and, considering that 70% of car buyers are influenced by online dealership reviews,  featuring these on your listing will mean users can read feedback about your dealership without having to trawl through your website; making them likelier to choose you.

Steven Eagell Toyota - a Toyota dealership group with many branches across the UK, have optimised their Google My Business listing for the search term ’Toyota dealership Bedfordshire’ and included 64 Google reviews. As their dealership has more reviews than any other in Bedfordshire, their listing has appeared first, which increases their chances of generating business from local SEO. 

2. Display Telephone Numbers Online

When consumers are in the first stages of buying a new car they are going to want as much information as possible to help them make an informed decision. Remember - a new car is an expensive purchase, so potential buyers are likely to prefer an open-ended discussion instead of sending an email or filling out a contact form.

Considering that 75% of consumers believe a phone call is the quickest way to receive a response, displaying your telephone numbers online could be essential for turning the 88% of consumers who research cars online into sales.

Be sure to clearly display your telephone number(s) on the homepage of your website and any landing pages that could prompt a consumer to think about calling your business - for example on pages that include cars in different locations. 

Steven Eagell Toyota have featured the contact numbers for their different branches across the country based on the specific car model a potential buyer could be searching for. This ensures a consumer will contact the correct branch for the specific car they are interested in.

Telephone numbers also need to be featured on the mobile version of your website. It is important  that with 84% of consumers using their mobile in the car buying process, you ensure that you’re catering for the mobile audience  as this will enhance their user experience (UX) making them more likely to make an enquiry.

Already got a mobile version of your website? Great. But exactly how optimised is it for encouraging website visitors to contact you? Simply listing your contact numbers isn’t enough for mobile users – the numbers have to be clickable. 

CarShop, one of the UK’s leading used car dealers, have created a mobile version of their website to improve the UX for mobile users. As they have several branches around the country, they have listed the individual telephone numbers for each location.

Although the numbers might be present, none of them are clickable meaning mobile users have to copy and paste the relevant number to make a phone call. This signficiantly slows down the user journey and increases the likelihood of mobile users abandoning their site in favour of a competitor. 

3. Mark up On-page Copy

Considering consumers are using websites to conduct the majority of their research into buying a car, ensuring your site is the first they see in the results pages is crucial.

Optimising on-page copy is essential for ensuring your site performs well in search engines and that the right information is presented to search engine spiders and pulled into the results page. You can add code called schema markup to your pages that is specifically designed for optimising your HTML. This does fall into the realm of web development so it’s best that someone who knows what they’re doing implements this.

If you are unsure on how to implement schema markup, you can look into employing an external SEO/digital marketing agency to correctly optimise your website’s on-page copy. You could also look into taking out a short-term business finance in the form of a business cash advance, from companies like Liberis, to cover the cost of hiring an agency.

Here are some tips auto traders can follow to mark up their on-page copy:

Page Headers:  Your h1 (page header) should feature the keywords that you are aiming to rank higher for to increase on-page relevancy. Ensure your website only has a singular h1 - if your page has the need for multiple titles, these can be broken into different landing pages or several h2s.

For example, Evans Halshaw have optimised their h1 on their landing page for Ford Mondeos - http://www.evanshalshaw.com/new-cars/ford/mondeo/ so they rank higher for the search term ’new Ford Mondeo’.

Meta Descriptions:  Although meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor, they should be crafted to encourage click-throughs. For example, you could mention an available special deal you’re having on a particular car which will appeal to searchers looking for that particular model. You’ll also want to ensure your content delivers where a visitor clicks through to your site. If you are advertising a deal for a specific model in your meta description then ensure the on-page content reflects that, as misleading on-page copy will result in a high bounce rate and poor user experience.

NAP: Keeping your NAP (name, address and phone number) consistent on your website (e.g. in the footer) is essential for search engines being able to pull the information for local SEO searches. You can achieve this with local business schema markup. Your dealership will then have a higher chance of ranking for location-targeted keywords.

Author: Rafferty Gifford, digital marketing specialist, Liberis

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