Dealers who blog find connection with customers

House of Harley-Davidson, Laidlaw H-D see results

Blogs are everywhere these days. People blog about technology; they blog about shopping; they blog about things most people don’t even care about; and of course, they blog about powersports.

Yet, very few dealerships host a blog, and dealers who do say their non-blogging counterparts may be missing out.

Matt Laidlaw of Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson in Baldwin Park, Calif., said his dealership staff has blogged for seven or eight years.

“It keeps our customers updated, it lets our customers know we’re knowledgeable about the stuff we sell and it creates for better SEO (search engine optimization),” he said.

House of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee has hosted a blog for nearly two years.

“From a business perspective, we think it’s important that we are utilizing all our opportunities to increase our SEO, so integrating the blog into all our social media efforts helps us,” marketing manager Sarah Maio said.

Getting content for the blog can be a simple as looking into what’s being talked about at the dealership. Laidlaw’s blogs have included anything from information about new bikes to event details to services specials.

“I blog about whatever I want, basically new stuff. I blog about what’s new in the Harley industry, what’s new about products and stuff like that, and any events we’re having at the dealership,” Laidlaw explained.

House of Harley has shared Halloween costume tips, tales of an employee’s bike trip, advice on great riding roads and more.

“We think that being in Milwaukee, really in the backyard of Harley-Davidson Motor Company, that we can offer a unique glimpse into what riders here are doing,” Maio said.

While Laidlaw and a colleague take turns blogging at his dealership, House of Harley-Davidson has hired a third party vendor to draft the blog content, which dealership staff then tweaks.

Shortly before Halloween, House of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee posted a blog about motorcycle-themed costumes. The dealership uses the blog to keep in touch with its customers and draw traffic to its website.

House of Harley-Davidson reaches a worldwide customer base because the dealership is so close to the Motor Co.’s headquarters. The dealership appeals to that audience and its locals by sharing information about Milwaukee-based activities and events, as well as events that readers worldwide can participate in, including the House that Social Media Built (see sidebar). The dealership will also keep its customers updated on Harley’s 110th anniversary activities through the blog.

“It’s about the experience of being a rider and being a part of the House of Harley-Davidson, no matter what corner of the world you live in,” Maio said.

The dealership promotes each new blog through its Facebook and Twitter sites, and it also has a link to the blog placed prominently on its website. With this promotion, traffic to the blogs has been strong.

“The average time spent on the blog is around 2 minutes,” Maio reported. “Readers are not just bouncing on and off the page.”

Analytics also show that many of those readers are returning the House of Harley-Davidson site as well.

Laidlaw said traffic to his blog hasn’t reached the levels he’d like, but he says the effort is still worth it because of the credibility and SEO benefits it gives the store.

Because of the House of Harley-Davidson’s blog traffic and SEO, Maio said the biggest benefit to them is letting customers know of their presence.


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