Digital RetailingBest Practices

Digital Retailing
Dealing with Digital Disruption: How to Make Digital Retail Work for your Dealership

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Over the last few years, a combination of advancing technology and changing consumer behavior driven by the pandemic have pushed digital retail to the front of the pack of potential disruptors in the auto industry. OEMs from Tesla to Ford are embracing digital retail, but many dealers are struggling with the new landscape.  To get some perspectives that might help, I recently spoke with Lindsay Ciavattone , CarGurus’ Director of Dealer Relations for digital retail. With a background working at dealerships and an eye on the next generation of digital retail tools for dealers, she’s uniquely positioned to share insights on where digital retail is now, how dealers can choose the right solution, and what you need to do to get the most out of it. Jeremy Sacco: We’ve all been hearing about digital retail for years, and adoption has been slow to catch on. What makes this the time for digital retail to disrupt the old shopping models? Lindsay Ciavattone: Digital retail is disrupting the industry today because the customer is demanding a new experience. Until now, dealers determined the process, and customers had to go along with it. Now, with the increasing level of choice and availability online, and nationwide competition, dealers need to find a way to meet these new customer needs and provide the experience they want. Dealers need to disrupt themselves to serve the customer – before they get disrupted by somebody else. JS: We know that change isn't easy for some dealers, and incorporating digital retail is a significant change. What adjustments do dealers have to make to make sure they're getting the most out of digital retail? LC: Dealers need to understand first that a digital retail tool is just that: one tool in the toolbelt. It’s only as effective as the customer input and how the dealer personnel respond. Some think it’s a magic tool, that it’ll do everything for them, and essentially sell the cars in some new way – and of course that’s not true.  It’s also important to put a consistent lead flow and communications process in place – one that’s simple and holds people accountable. Whether you have one store or 100, process is critical, so your customers and your employees have a similar experience across the board. A great process means you can: Consistently move deals forward – you're not going back to ask questions you already have answers to in your CRM. Focus on removing obstacles that prevent sellers from doing their jobs. Act quickly – customers today expect fast responses, especially for sensitive information like credit applications. Provide a holistic approach to customer communications – phone, video, texting, however the customer wants to engage.  JS: We know that 'one size fits all' never works for dealers - or for shoppers, for that matter. But sometimes it seems like digital retail is implemented in ways that force both dealers and consumers down a narrow path. How can dealers make sure they have choices when implementing digital retail? And that they're providing options to their consumers?  LC: The first step of your due diligence when evaluating a new tool is to make sure the vendor can align with your values, your goals, your corporate structure or individual style – that they can work with you to meet your individual needs. Dealers should choose a vendor who can be their partner and work closely with them, and who can be flexible on implementation – including the ability to add or remove certain features to match your goals, as well as flexibility around integration with other systems. If it’s your first venture into digital retail, it’s important to take baby steps. A staggered rollout, for example: if you have several rooftops, get your digital retail footing in one, then roll it out to more stores. That approach helps if you have employees who may not be excited about new tools – when they see other stores have had success, they’ll be more eager to get on board. JS: If you were a dealer shopping for a digital retail solution today, what would you look for?  LC: A seamless integration with the lowest level of effort. It’s easy to say that, but not easy to find in practice – I'd look for a company that would work with me in a transparent way, that was quick to troubleshoot if necessary, and that provided all the support I needed to get up and running.  The tool itself should be as frictionless as possible, allowing customers to choose which steps of the buying process they do or don’t want to do online. Some customers are comfortable going all the way to putting in a deposit or a credit app, while others are less comfortable and just want to get through finding the right car and booking an appointment, so look for that flexibility.  Finally, as I mentioned above, you want flexibility on your side as well – in which features you implement and how you integrate with your existing systems so you’re able to create that seamless process from start to finish. JS: You’ve touched on that integration piece a couple of times. Can you give a little more detail on how a digital retail tool should connect with existing systems?  LC: If you walk into any dealership and take a look at the F&I manager or any salesperson’s computer, you’ll see 27 tabs open: OEM tools, CRM tools, inventory management, accessories, parts, financing, all kinds of things. A digital retail tool that simply drops customer information into existing dealer systems is ideal – that’s one less thing to open, to learn, to get running. I’ve talked to many, many dealers who are unwilling to work with a partner that requires dealers to use a new system, and I can completely understand that from my past experience working in dealerships. Ultimately, success will come from integrating a digital retail tool that fits into the flow of what you’re already using and allows you to maintain control of the sale.
Embracing the Future Facebook Ecosystem of Today

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The title may have seemed confusing. If we’re going to take a dive into a  future  ecosystem, how can it also be available  today ? The answer is simple: adoption rate. The capabilities outlined in this article are available right now; however, many dealers are not embracing them and continue to advertise on Facebook as they always have. You have an opportunity to do today what all of your competitors will — or at least should — be doing in the future. Here’s what we’ve been so accustomed to do … Create a carousel ad. Send the consumer to the website. Retarget those who don’t engage. The second step is problematic. It’s important that we break the cycle of thinking that all traffic must go to the website. With a 3-5% opt-in rate of Apple users deciding to share their data with Facebook and its applications and losing 85% of website-based conversion data because of this and other privacy constraints, continuing to advertise on Facebook as we always have is already outdated thinking.  Facebook has products that allow advertisers to embrace a completely native ecosystem.  Here’s a question: If a consumer is choosing to be on Facebook, why would we remove them from that place of comfort and take them to a website? Here’s a second question: Isn’t our role as advertisers to meet where consumers want to engage with us and offer a seamless experience?  So here’s how we do that. A Breakdown of the On-Facebook Ecosystem Branding — Top-of-the-Funnel Let’s first caveat this part of the ecosystem. Branding lives outside of the 30-day cycle, and you don’t want to hold these ads accountable to metrics beyond reach, impressions, and frequency. While these will create clicks and drive traffic to your online properties — mostly your website — these ads are intended to keep your dealership top-of-mind as consumers who aren’t quite in-market spend their time on the Facebook platform and its network partners. Your branding ads should communicate your differentiators, value propositions, and culture. They should also communicate facets of your business that are evergreen, such as your ability to purchase consumer cars or the loyalty programs and free estimates that your fixed operations may offer. Such as with Douglas Volkswagen, who’s inviting local potential shoppers to come experience the “Douglas Difference,” which has been nurtured for nearly 70 years. Or you may want the local community to know that you’ll buy their vehicle — whether or not they bought one from your dealership. Regardless of the ad’s message, you want to make sure that the page they land on when they click the call-to-action — in these cases, “Learn More” — is directly aligned with the content of the advertisement.  AIAs and Service Ads — Middle-of-the-Funnel As you continually hold a presence with branding ads, you’ll want to capture those local shoppers who are in-market.  Side Note — We recommend that you don’t rely solely on Facebook targeting as you can add layers of depth and precision to this with a partner like IHS/Polk, who can provide an accurate number of households based on parameters you set — and this data isn’t affected by privacy updates or website data-loss as it’s based on actual sales and credit reporting data, not on online signals like pixels. The ability to create hyper-local, highly targeted audiences will make creating ad sets and ad copy easier as you’ll have a clear understanding to whom you’re delivering those ads. Automotive Inventory Ads (AIAs) are a carousel of vehicles that are relevant to the targeted audience, except these offer advertisers the capability to keep consumers on Facebook for a streamlined experience. The carousel ad gets delivered to the audience to browse the relevant vehicles that are available for purchase at your dealership. When they click a vehicle that interests them, a VDP-like page near instantaneously appears. It has all of the information that your traditional VDP contains, it has deep links to your dealership’s website and onsite VDP for dealers who need a little comfort in making this transition — and most importantly, it has different actions to actually capture a lead, including click-to-call, directions request, and chat. This method keeps consumers within the Facebook ecosystem, so we don’t lose any conversion data. Facebook collects the information on how consumers are behaving, what different attributes and facets of the VDP are most effective, and other pieces that can better inform them and us on what works. The more data that we can feed Facebook, the more accurately they can update this content and assist us as advertisers to make more strategic decisions. Here are the results when we looked at all campaigns that took consumers to the dealership website (non-AIA) compared to campaigns that kept consumers on Facebook (AIA). Significantly more content viewed, significantly lower costs, and significantly more actual leads from Facebook — people chatting, calling, and requesting directions from the on-Facebook VDPs.  I wrote that this is also applicable to service. It’s true: we currently use IHS/Polk ownership data to layer onto native Facebook targeting to create a more accurate picture of the audiences to whom our ads will be the most relevant, breaking these ads out into the big four — brakes, batteries, tires, oil changes — and general service ads. At this moment, we do not have the mechanisms in place to keep consumers on Facebook and embrace the new ecosystem; however, our Social Media Director wanted to be deliberate in getting the sales portion fine-tuned before diving into fixed operations. What I can say at this moment is that there are more sophisticated schedulers that can integrate with your dealership’s internal systems to create the same experience in service as we have in sales. Now not every customer in-market or near-market will become an immediate lead. Just like as with website visitors in the past, the consumers who click on one of your ads will be placed into a retargeting pool. This is where our strategic approach to the Facebook ecosystem has evolved the most. Retargeting Lead Generation Ads — Bottom-of-the-Funnel This is where I may lose you because you’ve done lead generation ads before on Facebook. I’m going to challenge that pushback. The approach is where we, as advertisers, went wrong in leveraging lead generation objectives on Facebook. We cast a wide net and hit people with ads who had potentially never engaged with any of our content — and we expected them to simply opt in to sharing their information. That’s unproductive. It yields spammy leads. It wastes your time and your budget. It was a shiny “instant lead retrieval” object that had foregone deliberate strategy.  The correct philosophy is to understand that consumers who have demonstrated intent and interest in our inventory and services — with our middle-of-funnel ads — are more likely to see a lead generation ad as relevant to their interests and, thus, is much more likely to be a qualified lead.  So using lead generation as your measured and deliberate retargeting campaign will work in your favor because the element of intent or interest is at play. They’ve clicked through one of your middle-of-funnel ads and browsed the VDP but didn’t contact the dealership via Messenger within the last 30 days.   That, however, isn’t the only parameter (intent/interest) that makes an effective lead generation retargeting campaign. It’s also important to still task the consumer to take an action without putting an undue burden on them. We want to pose a question that gauges the urgency of their purchase intent. So when the consumer has engaged the lead generation ad, their name and email is automatically populated — but to ensure that a click isn’t merely accidental, the consumer has to actively select an option from a dropdown menu.  When they have done that and done any necessary changes to email, name, or even add their phone number, they are opted into terms and conditions that they have to accept, and then are given a notification that they will be contacted — that information all gets routed to your CRM so that you can track it from form submission to the sale of the vehicle. Our team uses  LeadsBridge  for this capability. So you’ve ensured that the consumer has chosen to engage with the lead generation ad and has taken actual actions to share their information, which demonstrates several layers of intent.  It’s all a matter of keeping things simple and structured. When our team put this into a beta test, it generated an average of  83 qualified leads  per month at a cost of around  $8 per lead .  The On-Facebook Ecosystem Facebook has adapted in the face of privacy constraints and the eventual deprecation of the third-party cookie. It’s important that we embrace the future Facebook ecosystem of today because this is the environment in which we will all compete. By understanding how consumers want to engage with us, as well as the fact that platforms like Facebook and Google are creating ecosystems that keep consumers within their own properties, we will be better equipped to produce content that better resonates with them. If you have any further questions regarding this evolution or the different tactics presented in this article, please feel free to reach out to me, Dane Saville, at dane@reunionmarketing.com.
The Big Buzz in Digital Retailing: Dealer Ultimate Milestones

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Everyone in the car business is talking, writing, and podcasting about digital retailing. The list of related virtual events is exhaustive. The popularity momentum is depicted when planning a Google Ads campaign with keywords such as "automotive digital retailing," "digital retailing," and "modern retailing." Google's Keyword Planner shows a month-over-month increase of these keyword searches for the past 24 months. When forecasting your Google Ads budget, you can expect to pay upwards of $35 per click for an average 1.5 ad position. Automotive digital retailing is absolutely on everyone's mind. Transparency, Trust, & Time Savings As you weed through the mass content, several ideals are dominant: Transparency Building trust A streamlined sales process A seamless online to in-showroom experience First and foremost is giving consumers more control of the car buying experience. The ability to search on a dealer's website for vehicles by year, make, model, and type and to explore different configurations is a given. It's essential to accurately display vehicle pricing, factory rebates and incentives, special offers, dealer fees, financing options, a credit estimator and application, and a tool to formulate payment scenarios. Multi-channel options for requesting information, getting a guaranteed cash offer on a trade, and scheduling a test drive while enabling consumers to complete their entire car purchase online with flexible pick-up and delivery options – are all must-have components of any digital retailing strategy. It makes sense that this level of transparency builds trust with shoppers, leads to significant time savings, reduces friction, and results in a more favorable car buying experience. Why Achieving FULL Transparency Is the Ultimate Milestone for Dealers Let's think about what "transparency" really means... total visibility, crystal clear, open to observation, without concealment.  While digital retailing components play a critical role in creating a transparent online shopping environment,  full transparency is achieved when dealers openly display ALL vehicle and dealership information within the digital retailing framework , which saves shoppers even more time and builds a greater level of trust. As consumers move through the car buying journey, there are hundreds of digital interactions across social channels, video platforms, search engines, industry portals, manufacturer websites, and online review sites. Digital Air Strike's 8th Annual Automotive Digital Retailing Consumer Trends Study revealed the following about 7,500+ car buyers and service customers: 60%+ selected a dealership based on online reviews alone 54% said that community involvement influenced their decision to buy from a dealership 51% used Google to find dealership reviews Only 5% of dealerships shopped sent videos in response to customer inquiries 27% preferred to select vehicle warranty and add-ons online 93% of car buyers spent a few days or more researching which dealership to buy from When it comes to achieving transparency in automotive digital retailing, there's more to it than simply integrating a digital retailing solution into dealership vehicle details pages (VDPs).  Imagine car shoppers landing on VDPs that contain all the information they are looking for – not just vehicle photos and specs, financial tools, contact forms, and pricing. What if shoppers could watch videos introducing the service department and the General Manager, explore Google and DealerRater reviews, read about a VIP program, and learn about the dealership's community involvement. Why are shoppers forced to hunt for reviews on search engines and to browse through website pages to learn about the service department, community work, or special programs that are offered? Since most of a dealer's digital budget is spent driving traffic to VDPs, having car shoppers leave to find the information they need – is the last thing a dealer should want. Start Here Think about the process that you would go through to purchase a used vehicle. Before you get to the point of needing financial tools to build payment scenarios or obtain financing, you would spend time figuring out if a particular vehicle is the right choice by looking at vehicle photos and specifications AND by asking questions: Is the vehicle factory certified? What are the results of the inspection? What repairs or maintenance did the dealership perform? Does it need repairs?  Is the history report clean? What info is on the OEM window sticker? What kind of warranty does it have?  Is there a return policy? Is there a live video walkaround? How difficult would it be for an online car shopper to get the answers to these questions? How many phone calls would need to be made? How many forms filled out? How long would the consumer have to wait in the dealership for a salesperson to gather this information? A truly transparent website VDP contains ALL the information that shoppers need in one place - not just vehicle photos, specs, and financial tools. A high-impact VDP contains a vehicle's reconditioning records, inspection report, factory window sticker, vehicle history report, dealership reviews, video walkaround, ebrochure, and videos and documents that illustrate the dealership's reputation. Providing online shoppers with a "portfolio" of the dealership, the vehicle, and digital retailing components is the ultimate milestone in transparency and trust. Doing so saves shoppers hours of research, reduces painful price negotiations, streamlines the process, and makes the transition to the dealership seamless.  The Value Benefits Full transparency offers enormous benefits for dealers as well, such as building value in a vehicle by openly discussing the dealership's reconditioning investment or an inspection performed by a master certified technician. Value-based conversations with shoppers about vehicle quality and safety, and a lower cost-of-ownership over time helps to justify pricing and demonstrates that the dealer is truly interested in helping the shopper make a smart purchase decision.  In the end, it's a win-win situation for both the dealership and the car buyer – by focusing on selling value, the dealership retains its gross profit. At the same time, full transparency earns trust and drives customer loyalty.
Digital Retail: 4 Steps for Setting Your Dealership up for Success

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Chances are, your dealership has been leaning into digital and contactless services more than ever in order to sell more cars during the ongoing Covid crisis. Online financing, virtual walkarounds, home delivery, and more — resilient dealers have adopted many of these digital retail tactics in order to keep business going. It makes sense because the majority of buyers are used to leveraging online resources:  78% of car shoppers say online tools and resources make them a smarter shopper .  Ultimately, digital retail is about giving shoppers the transparency and control they want, when they want it. So, how do you build a successful strategy? Use these steps as a guide.  #1 Get buy-in from your entire staff The idea might start with you, but your digital retail efforts won't be successful without buy-in from your entire team. From the sales staff working the leads to the marketing team advertising your services, to the GM signing the contract, everyone at your dealership needs to be on board. A bit of self-interest is key to getting people on board, so focus on:   Educating your team . Don't assume a few nods from staff members mean they understand exactly how digital retail works and what's expected. Offer information, answer questions, and provide real-life examples of success at other dealerships. Emphasizing how it will make their jobs easier . There might be some growing pains as you get started, but a little extra effort and training upfront will make things easier in the long run. A streamlined buying process for shoppers will lead to customer loyalty and repeat buyers down the road.  Recognizing wins . Whether it's a shoutout at your next team meeting or a small financial incentive, highlighting successful digital retail efforts, such as a salesperson's first virtual appointment or home delivery, is a great way to gain buy-in and drive adoption.  #2 Map out what success looks like for your dealership Once your team is committed, map out your dealership's path to digital retail success. This includes everything from setting priorities and assessing existing processes to creating goals and establishing benchmarks. But don't stop there: make sure you provide a clear picture of what specific actions and behaviors are needed to achieve success. Once your roadmap is defined, you'll be ready to start your dealership's journey into digital retail.  #3 Start by mastering one digital retail component first Digital retail is about giving shoppers the transparency and control they want. (Image source: Automotive Ventures) Digital retail isn't an all-or-nothing proposition that means a shopper can click a buy button on your website and have a car show up in their driveway. In fact, it's best to start small, then expand your offerings as your comfort increases. According to our recent Consumer Sentiment study,  shoppers are more likely to prefer online financing  (52%) than completing the full transaction online (41%), so enabling online financing might be a good starting point. This could be as simple as providing a calculator for those who just want to know what their payments will be before going to the dealership, or it could mean letting buyers complete all of the financing paperwork online before they come into the dealership to complete the sale.   Enabling online financing is relatively easy to implement with the help of your existing lenders and third-party sites, and you can do it without giving up any of your backend profits. Additional benefits for your dealership include:  Ready-to-buy shoppers . Shoppers who go through the pre-qualification process are further down the buying cycle and more ready to buy.  Close with confidence . Your team will know more about shoppers' buying power and can close the sale quickly and with confidence. Better customer experience . It brings transparency to the process, which ultimately creates a smoother, faster, and more enjoyable experience for your shoppers.  #4 Take your digital retail efforts to the next level with external partners There are many vendors, including us at CarGurus as well as AutoFi, DealerSocket, Modal, and more, that can help you expand your digital retail offerings and take your efforts to the next level. Not only will using a vendor allow you to add digital sales components more quickly – for example, instant trade valuations or home delivery – but it will also provide a partner to help you with processes. As you try vendors out, look for one that offers things like training for sales staff or reporting and tracking tools to see how digital retail is impacting your bottom line. Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything at once. Your digital retail strategy will probably look different from another dealership's — and that's okay.   It's the connected dealer who will win the sale Doing what you've always done is no longer enough. By laying the groundwork now, you'll avoid future disruption down the road and set your dealership up for success. If you enjoyed this article, take some time to listen to the latest podcast episode on Experimarketing  with  Colin Carrasquillo
Are We There Yet? Actionable Steps For Digital Retailing Success in Automotive

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Move made in 2020 were critical, but are they complete? Digital Retailing has been a buzzword in the industry for a few years. What they mean in reality is as vast as the Grand Canyon. When the pandemic hit us in March, and many dealers found themselves unable to open their doors and consumers everywhere were resisting coming to the showroom, these words carried new weight and meaning.  Dealers did what they do best. They moved quickly and got creative. Many have seen record years as the changes they have made were able to meet their shoppers where they were comfortable and ready to buy; even with the economic challenges that many faces and still face, shoppers are buying.  Which Dealerships are Winning? Within our conversations with shoppers, their focus has been on the current special offer for financing or rebates. They are more conversational than before COVID but still directed toward a purchase. When lockdowns were at the peak, a common question was about delivery. It was not unusual to have shoppers from New York and other impacted states shopping out of state dealers and asking about shipping. Dealers who are prepared to meet and help these determined shoppers online are winning.  Questions Every Dealer Should Ask Themselves Shoppers are ready to move forward with their purchase. How prepared are you to help them? Are you there yet? Do they have the ability to get their credit application going? Can they get a decision before coming into the dealership? Are you able to get a valid trade form completed online?  What type of interaction online are your shoppers experiencing? Are they leaving a message? Are they able to communicate through their chosen channel? If the conversation turns to the next step of credit or trade, can you get it going within that conversation? Or are you risking losing a deal by interrupting that continuity and moving the interaction to the phone or in-person?  Set Yourself Up For Success Everyone has felt the frustration of 2020 and all it has brought. No one has escaped the loss of freedom of movement and limitation of choices in nearly every aspect of life. Dealers who have set up their dealership and their teams with the tools that allow consumers to take control of their journey are the ones reaping the benefits — benefits that include higher grossing deals, increased volume, and more satisfied customers.  The move to digital retailing before 2020 seemed inevitable while also being ill-defined. Now, the successful dealers understand digital retailing involves making it possible for your shopper to do business with you in whatever way they choose. Just as dealerships go through redesigns, sales processes are designed and measured to achieve both dollars and satisfaction scores, so our websites need to be scrutinized. What Does Digital Retailing Mean To You? What does it look like on your site? What are your shoppers able to do, and how is your online team a part of that? The tools and people need to work together to achieve real success. Now is the perfect time to look at steps taken in March toward digital retailing and see what progress has been made. Assess the tools and processes that were put into place. Determine what should stay, change, or be tweaked. Are you there yet? Have you put the plan together that marries what happens in-store with what can take place online? Shoppers adjusting to the freedom of buying online, whether partially or totally, will not want to go backward. Let's leverage the giant leap we made and complete the moves needed for retailing online. Actionable Steps For Digital Retailing Success: 1. Listen Listen to your customers and your staff. Poll them. Find out exactly where the kinks in your chain are and are sure the product you chose addresses those concerns. 2. Research Do your due diligence. Don't assume that all providers or services are the same because that's not the case. Please do your research, test multiple products, compare and contrast them so you understand what makes each of them unique. 3. Implement Don't skimp on this step. Make sure your customers and staff are ready and capable of using the new tools. 4. Refine Observe and tweak the process as you go. Rome wasn't built in a day, and things will come up that you didn't expect. Be agile and vigilant to make sure your staff and customers are getting what they need to succeed. 5. Repeat Customer expectations are always evolving. You should be going through these steps (or at least the first two) regularly to make sure you're as successful as possible.
Why Now is the Time to Revisit Your SEO Strategy

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Your Customers Attitudes, Behaviors, and Expectations Are Changing I’ve chosen to look at COVID 19 as a ‘great reset’. It’s been said that problems are opportunities-so then what exactly  is  the opportunity for the Tier 3 dealerships in this new normal? Kantar, a leading worldwide research firm, canvassed over 100,000 people’s opinions in over 60 markets and published a “COVID 19 Barometer” designed to help marketers understand some of the key short and long-term changes in consumer attitudes, behaviors, and expectations - and their implications. The Kantar study identified three significant changes that are predicted to remain sticky in our post-pandemic world, and to which consumer products and brands will need to adapt. In abbreviated form, they are (1) a new wave of digital shoppers will emerge, (2) An extended period of value-consciousness, (3) Localism as a mainstream movement. Using the foundation of these three core trends, particularly the acknowledgment that online shopping will continue to develop, dealerships that position themselves as most responsive to these evolving consumer needs and inquiries are most likely to survive and thrive. The world of automotive online search has changed significantly over the recent period and today involves many more paths to purchase. When was the last time you reviewed how your dealership is ranking regarding these new types of searches? Updated automotive Search Engine Optimization SEO is vital, and the time to revisit it is now. Where to Begin A significant first step is to analyze your website yourself through a service like SEOmoz or your website provider. What you should see is a report card for things like site loading time, broken links, missing headers, how well your site is optimized for mobile, and other contributing factors as to how Google ranks your site. Next, interview several potential SEO providers and ask specific questions about the actual deliverables they intend to provide. Some firms focus on keyword optimization, others on content creation, still others are broader-based. SEO consists of both on-page (things like site structure, site speed, and UX user experience) and off-page (earning links, improving the popularity of your site and content) and requires a balanced strategic approach.  Some automotive SEO providers require you to pre-select from a “menu” of services. Because the success of your SEO program depends directly on how it relates to your business goals, with this approach, it’s critical to be sure whatever package you choose matches the true needs of your dealership. Remember, SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Be sure your team can move between the various disciplines as circumstances dictate. Beyond goal alignment, it’s essential to understand the time frame required to start seeing your SEO program results and what factors influence this timeline. In general, you can expect to see results from legitimate SEO techniques within six months.  As your program progresses, your SEO team should be ready and able to show you performance metrics monthly. These should include how your defined universe of search terms and phrases are gaining (or losing) ground in overall rankings, competitive market share reports on how you are doing relative to competitors, as well as what it would cost in google or BING pay-per-click to achieve the same relative rank or position. Long Term Benefits Remember, one of the great things about SEO is that it’s an investment in your long-term position. Research shows that over 80% of clicks come from organic results. Unlike paid AdWords, organic results don’t stop when you quit paying the bill. It has also been shown repeatedly that more robust organic results work in concert with your paid campaigns and improve the effectiveness of both.   Your website, and how you attract buyers to it, are more critical than ever before. It’s time to get back to basics and re-tool for the new now. To read more on COVID-19 Barometer research click here.