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How to Make Your Dealership's Website Work for You

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We’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of optimizing your internet presence. A big part of that is making Google an asset to your business. 

Just as a refresher, Google processes more than 3.5 billion internet searches per day and has 92.18% of search engine market share. For many consumers looking to buy a product or service, Google is the first place they go. 

In my last column, we talked about why you need to claim your Google Business Profile. Just go to Google and type “Google My Business.” A link will pop up and you just start filling in the information, including your business’ name, its hours of operation, its location and logo, plus a description of your business.

That’s a great first step, but you can’t stop there. Now that you’re getting more traffic flowing to your website, what do potential customers see when they go there? 

Most tire dealer websites I’ve seen feature a good tire locator, which is crucial. That’s a must and just about everyone has that. The challenge is to stand out from your competitors. 

You really need to think about your website as a continually evolving, dynamic marketing tool for your business. You can’t just build it, check the box, and you’re done. It’s not a destination. It’s a journey. You are always on the way to making it better, more eye-catching and more relevant to your customers. Here are three ways you can improve your web presence:

Do the basics better. I would put this under the category of basic “blocking and tackling.” Are the photos of your dealership old and poorly shot? This is an easy fix. Hire a local photographer and have some great new digital images shot of your dealership, inside and out, and you’ll quickly upgrade the look and feel of your site. Is the “About Us” section empty or are the photos of your team 10 years old and out of focus? Each member of the team should have a great, current photo and a fun, informative bio. John Gamauf, who was president of consumer tire sales at Bridgestone Americas before he retired, would often say, “people buy tires from people.” John knew how to sell tires. You’re proud of your people, right? Your website should reflect that.  

Give your site some depth. Most tire dealership websites that I see are flat and really don’t tell the story of the business. Here’s where you can have some fun and brag a little. Do you support charities or sponsor a little league team? Does your business have a long, rich history in the community? Have you won awards for service or sales? Are you the best dealer in town for high-performance tires and custom wheels? Your website should showcase the best things about your business and tell your unique story.

Embrace video. Every good site should feature a professionally shot and edited video in the middle of your homepage. It’s the best way to tell your story. This isn’t a do-it-yourself project unless you already know how to write, shoot and edit a first-class video. The video shouldn’t be longer than two minutes. It should be short and impactful. And it should tell the story of your business: your history, your culture and your commitment to customer service.  

I’m guessing you might be asking, “When do I have time to do this?” The answer is “now.” Think of it as your New Year’s resolution, so you can hit the ground running in 2021. 

It’s okay to take it one step at a time. First, get the basics right, then customize your online story and then create that video to tell your story in the most impactful way. When you do this, future customers who land on your site, will say, “Wow, this is impressive!” 

And what a great way to start a new year! 

Dan MacDonald is a freelance writer and former public relations director for Bridgestone Americas Inc. Dan founded MacDonald Communications, which focuses on public relations and digital marketing. He can be reached at 615-681-5387 or dan@maccomm.net   website: www.maccomm.net

 

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