Why is your website so important for the success of your business? Because it is the face of your dealership in the information age. Your website is one of your dealership’s most important marketing agents, plain and simple — what you put into your site is what you’ll get out of it. You want to connect to your customers and keep them informed on what’s going on at your dealership through one of the most exciting and dynamic media available today.
vThink back to your latest disappointing web experience. You checked out a site but were ultimately disappointed because the information was poor or outdated, or both! Your first reaction was to hit the back button and move on to another site. Well, these same inclinations apply to your site, too. You have about five seconds to engage and grab your customer’s attention so they browse for more. There are many reasons why someone would leave a site, and one of the main reasons is because a website is making the customer work too hard. Your website should work hard for your customers, not the other way around. With a good website, important dealership information should be easy to find and readily available.
Always Think Like a Customer
If you were the customer, what would you want to see on your dealership’s website? Customers want to know what manufacturers you carry, what products are available online or at your store, about promotions, services, upcoming events, dealership background and history, and so much more. Your website is so important to your business because the majority of your customers are going to your website first before visiting your store. You also have new customers coming to your website every day and most likely they have something very specific in mind when visiting your site, which is why it’s important to have a website that is up-to-date. Just remember, as a dealer you sell fun! When a customer is researching a vehicle, product or service, they’re going on the web first to find what they’re looking for! Your website is a true virtual storefront and, as has been timelessly proven, first impressions are everything. When a customer comes to your website you want them to have a great experience from opening your site, to selecting your products and services.
The Online Customer Service & Sales Tool
It’s critical to know that your website is an important part of your business and that it should always be a part of your marketing plan for your dealership. Your website should be designed to reflect the professional image you want to convey. Do you want more customers coming into your store? Of course you do! A primary, and significant way to do this is through your website. Your website acts as a virtual customer service and sales representative. As a customer service representative it answers general questions about your business like your hours and directions, company history, manufacturers you carry and more. While a customer is getting some of their basic questions answered from your website, I guarantee they’ll visit some of the more popular pages throughout your site like your current inventory and pre-owned section, e-commerce section and specials.
As for your pre-owned and new inventory pages, customers are browsing these pages for a reason, and the goal is to get them to either buy online or come to the store because you have exactly what they’re looking for. It’s extremely important that you keep these sections up-to-date at all times. Your website as a whole should always be current, but there are sections of a dealer’s website that are more popular (and important) than others. Some of the top pages of a dealer’s website include:
• New Vehicles Section
• Pre-Owned/Current Inventory Section
• Specials & Promotion Pages
• About Us/Map and Hours
• e-Commerce – Product and Parts Catalogs
• Upcoming Events
Customers know what they want, and your website is one of your most effective sales tools as long as you do your part with keeping it up-to-date, fun, fresh and new.
Marketing and promotion is another key component to a successful website, and it’s even more important for your business. Make sure to have your website URL on all of your marketing material; your website address needs to be an integral part of your business name. Customers may know the name of your dealership, but you also want them to know your website address. Simple is better when it comes to a web address, and the more you announce or display the address with your other marketing agents, the more known it will become for new and existing customers.
Your website should always be a part of your marketing plan. It’s one of the most important marketing agents today, which is why it’s so important for your business. Have fun with your website and know that it will help you build your business as long as you put some good effort into it. Please also remember that your website is never complete. A nice looking website design is great, but if it lacks information and valuable content, it’s not going to matter. Make it a part of your monthly marketing to-do list to take a look at your site for changes, and add new information when it’s relevant with the goal of entertaining and informing your customers.