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Online Presence Checklist: Ensure your digital marketing makes the grade

By Chris Damico

The experience your customers have in your dealership determines how your business is perceived. Great service and a clean, welcoming environment go a long way to help you present your dealership in the best light. But what about your business’s online presence? The fact is, more than 78 percent of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases (Hubspot) — which means potential customers look online before they ever enter your outdoor power equipment dealership. Is your dealership the first one that they’ll find online? Use the following Digital Marketing Checklist to make sure that your dealership is in the best position to turn online leads into sales.

Strategy

It all begins with a plan. Figure out where your dealership is strong and where you can use help, then create action items to work on. Is your website traffic solid, but leads are down? Support your web presence with email marketing and digital advertising. Set a budget, get your customers’ email addresses organized, and get them to visit your website — or to call you directly!

Web design & development

The experience that your customers have on your website says a lot about your dealership. Is it well organized and easy to use? Is your inventory front and center? Can your customers find your hours and contact information quickly? Are there easy-to-fill-out forms, and do you respond to them? You’ll also want to make any promotions well known, and add calls to actions such as “find out more” or “get a quote” to nudge customers to take the next step.

Traffic & behavior monitoring

How can you ensure that your website performs? Watch the analytics. When you understand how customers behave on your website, you can figure out ways to optimize their experiences and drive more leads. Is your bounce rate high? Put more engaging content and calls to action to keep prospects engaged.

Email marketing

Email marketing is the best digital marketing channel in the world, period. In fact, a properly segmented email list can drive up to a 760-percent increase in revenue (Campaign Monitor). It’s also a great way to increase your website traffic through calls to action and direct links to contact forms. Here’s a tip: Request all of your in-store customers to provide their email addresses to grow your list.

Digital advertising

The digital landscape is rapidly becoming pay to play. Chances are when you do a Google search, the top results aren’t websites — they’re digital ads paid for by businesses who want to get found for your search term. To get the edge over your local competitors and capture leads before they do, invest in digital advertising. As a rule of thumb, your Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) should be about $3 for every $1 you spend.

Online directory listings

How many directory websites is your dealership listed on? YP, Yelp, Foursquare, YellowBot, Citysearch — there are several online directory resources, and you should be registered with as many as possible. Luckily, there are directory listing tools to help get your dealership’s information on dozens of business directories with minimal effort.

Reviews & reputation monitoring

Online reviews are quickly becoming an important element of search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. More often than not, businesses with the best Google reviews are put near the top of the local map-pack search result. Plus, potential customers are more likely to visit your business if you have positive Facebook or Google reviews. So what’s the best way to get positive reviews? Ask happy customers to leave feedback! It’s usually just that easy.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a big deal. Customers who want to find what you offer, search businesses near them, which means your dealership shows up — along with your competitors. SEO, regular content updates and positive reviews are all important ways to help you move to the top of your local search rank, so you snag leads before your competitors are even seen. Since 28 percent of searches for a nearby product result in a purchase (Hubspot), you can’t afford not to invest in your local SEO.

Third-party sales channels

You want to list your inventory in as many places as possible to help drive leads, including websites that aren’t yours. Ecommerce listing websites like eBay, Craigslist and even Facebook are great places to drive interest and generate leads. Some listing tools even help you automatically post your inventory to these third-party channels and sell directly through them, or take leads back to your website.

Link building

When the websites of other organizations link back to your website, it’s a huge boost to your SEO. Most of the time all you have to do is ask. Do you sponsor a local little league? Do you co-host an event? Is there a local chamber of commerce in your area? These are all great places to post a link to your dealership.

Conversion rate optimization

As important as SEO (if not more important), conversion rate optimization (CRO) is what you want to focus on to make sure the leads pour in. Even if your website traffic is through the roof, if visitors don’t turn into leads, and leads don’t turn into sales, there’s a problem. Convert visitors with clear calls to action, enticing promotions and easy-to-fill-out forms!

Industry connections

Connect with industry associations to not only build your outdoor power equipment dealership’s reputation online, but also to expand your dealership’s name in the industry as well. You can find a list of some of the biggest and best outdoor power equipment industry organizations and resources at http://outdoorpowerequipment.com/industry-links.

Improve your online presence to get the edge over your competition. Check these initiatives off your list, but don’t let them run on autopilot — you’ll need to circle back to see how your digital marketing performs, and tweak where necessary to continue to drive more leads.

Chris Damico is the marketing manager at ARI Network Services. He’s helped hundreds of dealers across the country with their digital marketing, including the content and search engine optimization (SEO) of their websites, social media presence and advertising and email marketing campaigns. He’s dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 23,500 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”

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