3 Ways to Effectively Use the Internet in the Auto Industry

Effectively utilizing the web in the automotive industry is a unique challenge. As we all know, there has been a significant paradigm shift in the way consumers both research and purchase vehicles. We now live in a world of instant news and 24 hour news cycles. Information can be sent and received globally within seconds. To keep up, dealerships must have a strong presence on the web with consistent and up-to-date information.

There are three primary ways to make this happen.

First, plaster your web site address on every single piece of marketing and advertising. Don’t allow anything to make its way into a potential customer’s home without branding your site all over it and make sure everyone knows where they need to go in order to learn more about your dealership. Very rarely will somebody call to schedule an appointment without already researching a dealership and/or the dealer’s inventory. I know I am much more likely to browse through a dealer’s web site before picking up the phone. In addition, include your social media information. People visit multiple sites throughout the web in order to find what they’re looking for. It’s important to have a strong dealership web site but it is equally important to give your prospects numerous ways to find your dealership.

Second, make sure your web page is information based and user friendly. People don’t visit your site to see pretty colors or cool car noises or a ton of cluttered numbers. They want information. The navigation bar should be short and simple. I want to see your inventory, your location and your hours. Dedicate a separate page that includes your current deals. The days of advertising ‘best deals’ in a weekly newspaper ad is over. People no longer shop for new vehicles in the Sunday paper. They shop online. And give them the ability to schedule an appointment (sales or service) right then and there.

Finally, take part in the all important Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As I said, give your customers multiple ways to find you. For example, if I am looking for a new 2010 Chevy Tahoe, I may just google the vehicle information along with the city I live in. By participating in SEO, you can be one of the first dealers listed when somebody searches for a specific vehicle. Do research on what key words are most popular and broadcast your dealer info where it fits.

Effectively using the web is not an easy task…and it takes time. But, when done correctly it can significantly increase both your traffic and revenue.

~Lee Ernst


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