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Create an online marketing plan that delivers

By Chris Damico

Most dealers know that having a strong online presence isn’t just important in 2018, it’s necessary. But getting found online is just the first step – how do you turn your website visitors and prospects into leads that drive more sales?

It’s not too late to polish your 2018 online marketing plan to create an approach that delivers. Here are some easy-to-follow, easy-to-implement tips and tricks to create an action plan that drives more shoppers to your dealership online (and also in-store)!

Develop a strong strategy
Do you want to grow your dealership? Sell more inventory? Improve service? Let’s face it, it’s probably all of the above. Decide on your business goals, and stick to them. A great way to get rolling on your strategy is to perform a S.W.O.T. Analysis. Figure out internally what your dealership’s strengths are and what its weaknesses are. Work to maintain your successes, and create action items to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Understand local SEO
Your location, SEO best practice, regular content updates and positive reviews all help you move to the top of your local search rank. It’s easy to get started. First, claim or set up your Google My Business page. This establishes your presence as an official business on Google and allows your name, website, address, phone number, reviews and business hours to be easily accessible. Next, update your website content to make sure your landing pages contain the local keyword search terms. Use your city or town, brands and models you carry and types of service you offer in the title tags, meta and body text across your website. This shows Google what your dealership specializes in and where you can be found. Since 28 percent of searches for a nearby product result in a purchase (Hubspot), you can’t afford not to take advantage of your local SEO.

Design a user-friendly website
Don’t just design a website that looks good – design a website that allows customers to find what you sell and learn more about what sets you apart from the competition. Keep your inventory front and center and make sure your business hours, location and contact information are easy for customers to find. Consider: are your promotions and sales easy to spot? Are there easy-to-fill-out forms that turn visitors into leads, and do you respond to them?

Build links & connect with others
When other organizations’ websites link back to yours, it’s a huge boost to your SEO. If you sponsor a local sports team, event or have a chamber of commerce, get listed on their websites. Plus, connect with industry associations to not only build your business’s reputation online, but also to expand your dealership’s name as reputable in the industry.

List your business & sell on other sites
Make sure your dealership’s NAP (name, address, phone number) is listed on as many local business directory sites as possible, such as Yelp, Better Business Bureau, YP and so on so that searchers can easily find you. Tools like Yext business listing software update your information across multiple directories with the push of a button! And get your inventory out there: eCommerce listing websites like eBay and Craigslist are great places to drive interest and generate leads.

Get your dealership’s name out there

If you want to stay ahead of your competition, expecting shoppers to come to you isn’t an option. Invest in email marketing to get your name out to prospects, stay in touch with current customers and drive traffic to your website for more leads. Collect emails from lead forms and in-store customers, divide them into groups based on what they’re interested in or what they’ve bought, and send them emails based on these traits.

What’s more, get to the top of search results by paying to play Google’s game. Invest in digital advertising (Google Adwords, specifically) to show up in the top results and capture leads before your local competitors do.

Reviews & reputation monitoring
Reviews have become huge over the past year, and that’s not going to change in 2018. Online reviews help with SEO, plus potential customers are more likely to visit your business if you have positive Facebook or Google reviews. In fact, 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. So what’s the best way to get reviews? Ask customers to leave online feedback on your Google My Business, Facebook or Yelp account! It’s usually just that easy.

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 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”

Email: chris.damico@arinet.com

Phone: 414/973-4587

Website: arinet.com

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