Get the Word Out

Our newest columnist spills on prepping your website for new products

Get a fresh start on making your website work for you in 2010! It’s important to take the time to review your website and ask yourself how you can improve your website today. Winter is a perfect time to gear up and promote new vehicle products, and it’s a good time to move last year’s inventory by offering some competitive sales. February is also the start of show season and manufacturers will be showcasing new accessories, parts and apparel. Your website is the face of your dealership, and as consumers start to research all of the latest and greatest in preparation of riding season, you’re website is going to be a key tool for consumer research on new products.

In preparation of the 2010 riding season, take advantage of the manufacturer’s and product distributor’s promotional tools this year. You don’t have to recreate the wheel when announcing the hot new toys and products for 2010. Pay close attention to what the manufacturers are pushing this season, and make sure you’re website is setup to provide customers with valuable information on the new must-haves at your store.

Also, announce what’s coming soon to your dealership and be specific on when it will be available. What you put into your site is what you’ll get out of it. Take inventory on what’s worked in the past and don’t be afraid to try new things on your website to help engage your customers in wanting more. Every dealer wants to be profitable and sell more products, and it starts with having a website that’s up-to-date, helpful, informative and fun.

Have you heard of viral marketing? Online you want new product information spread from one person to the next. When announcing new product information on your website, you want to spread the word to all your customers and provide ways for your current customers to transfer the information to their friends and family. A new product announcement is newsworthy, and if you display some excitement on your website when announcing new product information, your news will travel fast.

Below are some keywords to use in your web marketing campaigns when announcing new products or services.

  • Coming to "ABC Dealer" this spring!
  • Just Arrived
  • A Must See
  • Limited Edition or Limited Availability
  • FREE is one of the most popular and responsive words in the world of internet marketing (beware of its use in e-mails, however!).
  • Stop In Today

The list of possibilities is endless! You know what your customers want. Make sure you help them by communicating to them through your website, sending out an e-newsletter, and, if you’re setup with a social networking site, posting comments.

Think about transforming an area of your site to showcase new products or to house product reviews. It can start with your homepage, and you can link customers to specific sections of the site for more details. Nothing irritates a customer more than making them work to find additional information on the product you’re heavily promoting on your website. Provide the steps in order for customers to buy product online or inquire within the dealership. Just remember that your website is a sales assistant, and the goal is to get customers engaged so they stay on your site wanting more.

Here are a few recommendations on ways you can promote new product on your website:

  • New product placement on your website. Announcing new product that is available at your dealership or online can be done using your homepage. Utilize your homepage to direct customers to the e-commerce section of the site where new product is available to view and buy online. Don’t overload your homepage with all new product details. Provide a promotional image that grabs the customer’s attention to want more.
  • Setup a manager’s picks or product review section of the site. When customers are researching new product online, they’re going to be looking for suggestions and recommendations. Offering a special is not the only way to get customers in the door to buy new product. Educating your customers on some of the new product that’s available is a very effective way to bring customers into the store or persuade them to buy that item online. You are the expert, so be the expert and help your customers out. Make their buying decisions easy by providing your own personal recommendations. You don’t have to select every new item, but I would suggest that you highlight at least 10 items on your site. Just remember, it’s not about the hard sell. Sell the customer on the benefits of owning the new product you’re recommending.
  • Offer in-store seminars on new product. An in-store seminar where your managers can discuss new safety features on the new product you have available is also a great way to get your customers interested and excited. I’ve seen dealers offer free seminars in the past on new product and new safety gear. They created an inviting and educational experience that, in return, informed the customers’ buying decisions. I recommend offering one seminar right before spring. Be sure to utilize your site to promote all of your events.

There are many different marketing tactics when promoting new product on your website. Stick to what works and utilize your website marketing tools to help spread the word that your dealership has exciting new product available for online purchase or at the dealership. Send out an e-newsletter, post comments about new product on your social sites, setup your homepage for success and make sure to educate your customers on the must-haves of the season. Gear up your website for riding season and have fun selling in 2010.

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