What Is the Right Content for Dealer Sites?

Mobile optimization and great content are no longer luxuries, they’re must-haves

It’s fast becoming an inescapable fact: auto dealer sites are not keeping up with new technology and consumer demands.

When buying a car is second in importance only to buying a house for the average consumer, how is it that auto dealers have managed to avoid embracing the mobile revolution and new customer engagement strategies? Buyers may have legal protection from your auto dealer bond, but in order to make them feel reassured during the entire car-buying experience, you have to be ready to do more.

Let’s look at why auto dealer websites need to change, and, more importantly, how they can better engage and satisfy potential car buyers.

An Empty Site Is Like an Empty Lot

Any decent auto dealer knows that having an empty lot is not going to help you close sales. People want to test drive; they want to touch and explore the vehicle they’re considering purchasing. They want to be able to take it home right away. Anything less just isn’t going to cut it.

Well, auto dealer websites work the same way. Having a basic site without the kind of content your customers want is just as bad as having an empty lot in front of your showroom.

So what kind of content is going to fill that lot? You can start with pricing, inventory data, and special offers. One of the biggest hurdles any auto dealer faces with customers has to do with establishing trust. A great salesperson is certainly an asset, but having abundant and transparent information on your site also works wonders. Especially considering that many car buyers begin their research online, not in person.

When people can easily compare shops and understand what you’ve got to offer, they feel better about finalizing their purchases. But they need to be able to easily access that information wherever they are, which brings us to the second common problem hurting the majority of auto dealer websites today.

Mobile Optimization Is Essential, Period

The percentage of consumers who research their buying options while in-store for the auto dealer industry is 18%, compared to the mid-to-low single digits for most other major industries according to research by emarketer.com. Yet, auto dealer sites have been reluctant to embrace mobile-ready versions.

That means when customers are looking at a car in a showroom and want to check out what kind of prices your dealership can offer, they often have to navigate a clumsy site to dig for whatever pricing information is available. To be frank, this kind of experience is unacceptable.

On a psychological level, not making your pricing and inventory information easily accessible tells your customers that you’re not in tune with their needs. On a more basic level, it means you’re losing countless opportunities to steal customers away from your competitors.

If you’ve got a great deal, make it easy for them to find whether they’re at home on their computer or in your showroom on their mobile or tablet. By making your website fully responsive, you have better chances of impressing and keeping your customers.

Taking Content to the Next Level

In business, you can never stop searching for something to give you an edge. But too many auto dealers are taking it easy by relying on tried-and-true methods of advertising and customer engagement. But with today’s tech-savvy customers, the best engagement strategies change daily, and being successful means keeping up with the trends.

So, once your dealership website is mobile-ready and includes plenty of pricing information, what else can you do to stand out? You can take its content to the next level.

Tap into the secret power of blogging, videos, and infographics. Embrace any kind of shareable, informative content that your customers will love. Find out what they need and make sure you’re there to provide it.

This does two things. First, providing your customers with quality content about cars and the auto industry helps you gain their trust and loyalty. Second, including quality content on your website boosts your ranking in Google, whose famous algorithm seeks to reward exactly those sites that genuinely help customers.

Consider integrating content creation into your marketing strategy — it may not be for everyone, but it will help you gain both human and search engine appreciation.

The Key to Good Dealership Websites: Making Car Buying Easy

Overall, all of this comes down to having a laser-like focus on customer experience. True, after being in the dealership business for a while, it may be hard to see the process through a customer’s perspective, but it’s worth the effort. In the end, if you make buying a car an easy, pleasant, and trusted process, then you’ll sell more cars, period.

How is your auto dealership embracing technology and innovating customer engagement? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Eric Halsey is a historian by training and disposition who’s been interested in US small businesses since working at the House Committee on Small Business in 2006. Coming from a family with a history of working on industry policy, he has a particular interest in the Surety Bonding and Automotive Industries and Professional Certification; he loves sharing his knowledge of the industry for JW Surety Bonds.

Eric Halsey

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