Are You Ready?

Analysts and dealers alike are saying this spring will be great for business. Traffic to dealership Web sites is up across the country. During the past year, reduced expenses affected many dealers’ marketing and advertising efforts, including their Web sites. Marketing and advertising your dealership has gone from mass channels such as radio and TV to a more personal and on-demand approach. Instead of repeating a broad message, today you need smaller, more people-centric messages. It’s not that marketing your dealership has died; it’s just changed. Today people have more power and more choices. So what’s the best way to reach them?

Be Accessible.
Whether it’s your Web site, your Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube or any other number of sites, there are more ways to reach more people than ever before. Can your prospects and customers engage you on multiple platforms? Some people prefer to submit a form, others prefer to call, many still use e-mail, and an increasing number would rather use Facebook or other social media sites.

Has your dealership setup a Facebook page? No other Web site is growing like Facebook. It allows family and friends to stay connected and share with each other easily. Be sure to get your staff members and their family members to become fans and get your own page URL. Remember, according to the Facebook Terms of Service, profiles are for people and pages are for businesses and groups. At some point, Facebook will terminate business profiles.

What about YouTube? Have you setup a YouTube Channel? YouTube is rapidly growing as a search engine. Videos provide a very entertaining and easy-to-use format for visitors to get information. Have your staff provide the most common questions that they get asked. Then answer those questions in short videos and upload them to your YouTube Channel. You should also upload them to your Web site. For an extra boost to your Web site’s SEO efforts, index the videos on your Web site.

Are you on Twitter? It is easily one of the most misused online tools at your disposal. The point here is to be involved, and therefore be a part of the ongoing conversation. Remember the conversation is already occurring. It’s not like it will or will not happen simply because you decide to get on Twitter. By being on and monitoring Twitter, you show prospects that you get the way people today choose to engage the businesses they deal with.

The lesson here is simple; don’t limit access to your dealership to your Web site and phone.
Be Active.
You don’t have to sit at your desk and “tweet” all day. However, do post something regularly. I would suggest at least three to five times a week. More importantly, set up alerts to notify you when your dealership is mentioned.

By posting regularly, I do not mean that you post your inventory at regular intervals. Remember, people choose to follow you or become a fan, not the other way around. Why on earth would someone follow you if your posts are a steady diet of pitches?

Instead make your posts interesting, entertaining or informative. Get a press release by your OEM? Post it and add your take. Remember the most frequently asked questions that we talked about? Those make excellent posts as well. How about posting information about local community events?

The point here is don’t just create accounts. Use them.

Be Short and Sweet.
Because of all the ways to reach people today, this is more important than ever before. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to send long e-mails or post lengthy updates on your social media sites. Use just 10 percent of your message at a time, so if you want tell prospects about a car and your description is 500 words, send it to them in 50 word increments. Brevity is king; when people see long e-mail messages they tend to put off reading them.

This is an exciting time to be in the car business. A lot of people have been waiting to buy that new car, waiting for the economy to settle down, waiting for credit to open back up. This spring should be one of the best times in a long time. Now is the time to make sure that your dealership is ready. 

Vol. 7, Issue 3