Your website is your single most important communication vehicle for your current and potential customers. Why? Because it’s always there, always selling, even when you’re busy with other tasks around your dealership. Google sees more than 3.5 billion searches every day (Internet Live Stats), so having your dealership and product information online isn’t just a “nice-to-have” in 2018, it’s a best practice.
People want to find what you have to offer, and your website is the best way to deliver it to them. Make sure your website is up to date for 2018 to drive more traffic, get more outdoor power leads, and make more sales.
Make your dealership easy to find
Years ago, to get your dealership found you would list your business in your local phone book. Well, that ship has sailed; and the best way to get found these days is online, making your website vitally important to getting your business found by customers.
Make sure your NAP (name, address and phone number) are easy to locate on your website so customers can find you in search, and easily see how to contact you.
Become phone and tablet friendly
With the rise of smartphones and better search algorithms from our pals at Google, mobile search has blown up. In fact, 69 percent of smartphone owners turn to mobile search first over a PC (Think with Google).
Imagine: a potential customer is out shopping for lawnmowers and doesn’t find what they’re looking for at the big box retail store down the street. They’re already out and about, so they turn to their phone to search for “lawnmower stores near me” and find your dealership nearby. Catch potential users in those moments of action by keeping your inventory up to date and optimizing the keywords that best describe what you offer and where you’re located.
That way, current and would-be customers have all your information at their fingertips, at home or on-the-go.
Put inventory front and center
Another important aspect of your website seems obvious: to highlight what your dealership sells. If a product isn’t listed on your website, shoppers are going to assume it doesn’t exist in your store. In addition, it’s critical that you provide ample details about each of your products and services so shoppers can make an educated decision to request more information, place the item in an online shopping cart, or confidently come to your store to buy.
Online shopping has become almost as common as buying in person: in 2017, 57 percent of consumers age 26-35 and 52 percent of consumers age 36-45 preferred shopping online to in-store (Marketing Profs). When you make your inventory easy to find, easy to search and easy to compare, you open yourself up to an entire demographic of customers who are ready and willing to buy right from your website.
Of course, e-commerce is just one piece of the puzzle. Consumers ages 18-25, 46-60 and 61+ all prefer to shop in-store (58 percent, 56 percent and 63 percent respectively), but keeping your inventory front and center online still makes a huge difference. Although a customer might not purchase a riding lawnmower online without seeing it first, they’ll want to know what brands you carry, what your pricing is, your warranty policy and more.
With eight out of 10 consumers examining products online before stepping foot in a store, window shopping online and buying offline has become the new norm (GE Capital Research). That makes a strong case for optimizing your online presence.
Capture more leads with less effort
You have potential customers walk in and out of your store all the time, and if you can’t make a sale on the spot they’ll walk out the door for good. Collecting leads on your website is a different story.
By creating engaging, persuasive content and making your contact information available on every page, you’ll increase the amount of phone and e-mail traffic to your dealership through your website.
Or, take it a step further with lead forms. Placing lead forms throughout your site allows you to unobtrusively capture shoppers’ names, e-mail addresses, cities and states, job titles, and what product they’re interested in with little to no effort. These forms act as an extra salesperson – they separate warmer leads from colder leads (the warmer ones will fill out the form), collect all the information for you, and let you know what the shopper is interested in from the get go.
You can also create a dedicated lead-capture page on your website. This is the page to which you point all your traffic once they’re interested in something they found. In addition to the form, it can include more persuasive selling information – such as “Why Choose Bob’s Mowers” – service information and more. Anything to set yourself apart from the dealer down the road is fair game.
Keep it updated
Search engines (Google in particular) love it when you add new and engaging content to your website. To reward you, the search algorithms will bring your website higher and higher in the search results – making it easier for shoppers to find your dealership. A good rule of thumb is to completely revamp your website every two years to remain current, and update the copy and images on your website even more often – adding new content every month.
Chris Damico serves as 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 e-mail 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!”