Heading into the summer season, many dealers are experiencing an uptick in showroom traffic as people catch “new car fever,” and imagine their new wheels whisking them away on their next summer adventure. This same surge is happening online.
Need proof? Check out Google Insights for Search. It’s a simple tool that let’s you measure the expected search traffic for your geography and search topics.
Google Insights reports that there is a considerable spike in automotive related consumer searches during the summer months; and it’s not just sales. Google reports that searches for terms related to your valuable fixed operations are up 163 percent over the same quarter last year.
Knowledge is power, right and, as a dealer, you want in on this spike in search traffic. The question is: How do you do it? Two things: Beef up the coverage of fixed operations on your website and crank up your spend on your paid search campaigns.
If you’re like most dealers today, 80 percent or more of your profit is driven by your fixed operations department. Most dealer websites, however, dedicate less than 20 percent of their site to fixed operations. This is counterproductive, especially in light of the spike in fixed ops search traffic.
To be sure you get the most out of this summer’s surging search volume, be sure that you’re taking every single offline special, mailer, and promotion for your service department and putting them on your website. Relevant content like this will help to attract more service customers to your shop.
Once you have accomplished this simple task, crank up your paid search budget around service key terms. Try searching in your market for auto repair. You will probably see very few dealerships represented and mostly the independent repair facilities like Pep-Boys, Meineke, etc. Don’t let these independent shops out market your dealership and erode your service department profits. It’s time to increase your paid search around service and get in the game.
New and used sales
You know you’re great at selling the inventory you have on your lot, but that same inventory should be working to sell itself on the search engines and on your website.
Once you’ve gathered all of the relevant, critical content for each vehicle—proper pictures, great descriptions, incentives displayed for appropriate vehicles, and killer detailed comments—then increase your paid search footprint on Google by creating paid search campaigns for every vehicle in your inventory!
Some providers have paid search applications that will automatically advertise your used vehicles in paid listings, even when you don’t carry the same franchise for new cars. At the same time, manufacturers are currently putting out enticing new vehicle incentives to lure car-hungry customers to their brand. Be sure you’re paid search campaigns capitalize on those incentives on Google when people search in your local market.
It’s important to realize that the same increase of traffic into your dealership during the summer months is happening on your online showroom as well. Be sure you’re doing everything possible at your store to take advantage of the spike in search volume during the peak season in our business.
Mike DeCecco is the director, industry relations for Dealer.com. Since 2003 Mike has played a key role in the development and marketing of Dealer.com’s marketing platform. Prior to Dealer.com Mike managed the online business for a top 50 group in the northeast. For more information, visit www.dealer.com.