Traditionally, automotive marketing techniques have been rather standard. Car dealers and shops may have bought billboards, ads in the newspaper, and maybe even produced a corny, but fantastic commercial (you’re welcome).
Like that commercial, these marketing methods are outdated. Now that we live in a digital world, it’s time for your business to switch gears and go full-speed ahead with digital marketing. Here are four SEO tips that will help increase your automotive business’ online presence and overall sales.
As a car dealership or an automotive shop, your target audience is predominantly local. Knowing this, it’s imperative that your automotive business invests in local SEO. Major search engines, such as Google and Bing, have updated their search algorithms over the years to place a heavy emphasis on locality. Search engines do not only evaluate your company’s website but also other local listing platforms – including Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Facebook, and an array of others. In order for search engines to accurately pinpoint your business, your contact information (name, address, and phone number) must be consistent throughout the web.
Think about local SEO as if it were the dashboard of your car. When icons appear, it means there are issues that need to be resolved. The icons represent your website, local listing profiles, and other websites with your information. Your car is your overall digital presence. In order for your marketing efforts to be successful, you need to make sure these issues are taken care of. Don’t ignore them!
Like your cars, your customers are always on the move. People are searching more on their mobile devices than desktop. How does this impact the automotive industry? Well, Think With Google reports that 1 in 3 car shoppers who use their mobile devices as part of the car purchase process also locate or call a dealer on a mobile device. By not having your information listed accurately across the board, you’re missing out on potential sales.
Being a good salesperson is an art and a science. You need to make the customer feel welcomed, informed, and persuaded to take action. The same is true for the content on your site. Your website is not just another asset to own. It’s a marketing and sales tool. A basic website is basically like buying a lemon – it’s useless. Provide your customers with all the information they’ll need online (price, features, reviews, etc). This gives them peace of mind knowing they have all the details, as soon as they need them. It helps build trust in an industry that is typically associated with not being trustworthy (like this shifty car salesman).
Aside from the technical/product details, be sure to convey emotion and storytelling through your content. Purchasing a car is an emotional, long-lasting process. It needs to feel right.
Your content is not just confined to the text and pictures on your website. It also encompasses video. Video marketing is a huge opportunity for the automotive industry. And no, I do not mean producing more commercials like the one in the beginning (although, it just may be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen). According to Think With Google, 69% of people who use YouTube while buying a car are influenced by it – more than TV, Newspapers, or Magazines. The top 3 most popular types of these videos are test drives, feature & option overviews, and vehicle walkthroughs. The time spent watching these kinds of videos has doubled in the past year.
It all comes down to being open with your customers. You need to speak to them online as if you were trying to make a sale in-person. The more transparent you are, the more likely someone will feel comfortable enough to make such a big financial decision.
Search results are no longer just your traditional top 10 organic results. Now, they contain paid ads, local listings, social media, images, videos, news, and more. And, if the results have changed, so should the measurement.
While rankings do matter, they do not paint the entire picture. In order to keep up in the digital race, you need to analyze your competitors and the industry norms to see what kind of search marketing methods are happening and what type of content is being disseminated. If your competitors are active on social media, creating great videos, and are listed in local, they are going to appear before the organic listings. It would behoove your business to do the same.
A huge part of having an effective SEO campaign is link earning (often referred to as link building). Link earning is the process of obtaining high-quality links from other reputable websites. This not only helps your overall exposure, but links from other sites also pass link juice (fun, right?). The more high-quality links you can receive, the more reputable search engines will deem your business. This places your site higher within the rankings and makes it appear more often for your desired audience. If you own a car dealership, an extremely important link is from the corporate website. For example, if you’re a Ford dealer, you need to be listed on their “Find a Dealer” tab.
Link earning can also help with your local awareness. By acquiring links from influential organizations within your community, your local search visibility will increase. And, if you didn’t skip to the end of this blog and you read numero uno, you’d know that local is kind of a big deal.
The entire automotive industry, including your competitors, is moving towards digital marketing. Don’t get left in the dust! Use the SEO tips listed above and start competing for first place.
By: David McDowell