The used car business is just as competitive as it’s ever been. Nowadays, dealers have to square up with each other on the Internet as well as they do on the boulevard, and it ain’t very pretty watching the punches fly as they kick and scream into the modern world.
It’s not necessary for a used car dealer to be an expert on Internet marketing, but to be successful, they have to be aware of a few key elements including; the quality and appearance of their website inside and out (SEO and a responsive design for mobile devices), social media manners, and the visibility of inventory across the Internet on other classified listing sites as a new marketing modality. The more eyeballs you can attract to your inventory, the better the chance of making a sale. We’ll discuss reputation management in a later blog.
Cookie cutter templates are cheap web design solutions whereby the brand and design is sacrificed when the mobile site is reduced to a listing format that does not comply with Google Best Practices and page rank suffers. Sadly, you become less visible in search. Most of these sites can click or “go to” the full site which looks microscopic on a cell phone. Some web designers still deploy an “m-dot” site that looks nothing like the desktop version of the main website (see picture above). Its disadvantages are significant with a separate code base (development and maintenance costs), dual websites to manage (content synchronization issues), and associated SEO issues including sacrifice of the sites domain authority. Currently, most savvy companies have progressed beyond the “segmented web” strategy, leading to a simple, responsive web design that smoothly adjusts its layout to any device.
The site looks the same across all devices keeping branding and design consistent in compliance with Google “Best Practices” to allow for optimized visibility in Google search with the potential for high page rank in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
There are literally hundreds of car dealers on these kinds of cheap platforms and at under a hundred dollars a month, they’ve been sold a used Yugo. 75% of shoppers would prefer completing the buying process online but dealers feel the need to drag them into the store to hammer away. This disconnect from marketing intel is what drives dealers to buy cookie cutter sites as a necessary evil instead of a tool to represent their business in a much better light in order to make much better money.
SUGGESTION: Build an SEO optimized, truly mobile responsive website that looks nice, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of it.
What they haven’t figured out is that posting an ad narrative across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or variation of an ad for every post isn’t at all effective, yet you see it everywhere. Here are some ridiculous examples (names have been changed to protect the innocent):
The rule of thumb on social media is pretty simple; “Be social on social media”. The prevailing misperception is that you always need to be selling when you’re a B2C operation but that’s just not true. Posting interesting information, tips on easy engine maintenance, and car care practices takes the edge off of people’s negative perceptions of the local used car dealer always trying to sell and brands you in a brighter light.
SUGGESTION: Social media has yet to rise as a capable classified listing platform. Eventually Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter will enter the game but for now social media is a world where car salesmen and Internet sales managers are better off supplying shoppers exactly what they’re asking for…information and pricing, not a hustle to come on down and get…hustled.