Internet marketing experts tell auto dealers to “start a blog” because blogs can be tremendously beneficial to your online marketing efforts. An active blog can generate free visitors from search engines, engage potential clients in an interesting and personal way, and they can even develop a devoted, regular following. Obviously, this will all lead to more revenue.
Most of the dealers I speak with know they should be blogging—they’re just not sure what they should say in their blog posts. Here are five simple thought starters that will fill up any dealership’s blog calendar:
1. Blog about customers. Remember the guy that brought in that cool tricked-our ride last Tuesday? Do you think he would mind if you took a few pictures and wrote about his car on the dealership’s blog? What about the lady who sells real estate and just bought a brand new car from you—do you think she would appreciate a free mention? You bet. Writing about customers can keep you blogging every day for weeks, just be sure you have permission before you start writing about someone and/or posting pictures.
Bonus: Because many of the people you write about will tell their friends and family to visit your blog, writing about your customers is a great way to build links and free blog traffic.
2. Blog about local events. Blogging about football games, car shows, blood drives, pet adoption days, and anything happening in your local community is a great way to keep a dealership blog going. Not only is it a nice, neighborly thing to do, but now you have two blog posts to write: one post leading up to the event and one post for follow up.
3. Blog about car questions. How many people realize that a loose gas cap can set off a check engine light? What percentage of your customers have no idea about proper tire pressure? How many times do people call the service department asking for help setting their car’s clock? These are all great topics for quick little blog posts that will help you develop a base of regular readers.
4. Blog about your staff. Your dealership has a great staff—why not blog about them? Someone at your dealership has good news to share this week…ask them to let you share that good news on the dealership’s blog (just make sure they don’t feel like they have to share—that’s not fun or effective).
5. Blog about industry news. Auto dealers should blog about new vehicle debuts, national auto shows, charitable donations made by manufacturers, product reviews given by industry experts, etc. The key to blogging about industry news is to understand the difference between news and promotion. It’s one thing to write a blog post about the debut of the 2011 Avalon at the Chicago Auto Show, but it’s quite another to blog about the “big sales event” you’re having on Saturday.
In other words, your dealership’s blog should be conversational and interesting, not a nonstop sales pitch. While your blog is a marketing tool, it’s not necessarily a direct marketing tool. If you want to develop a real blog following, limit sales announcements as much as possible. That’s the best way to build your credibility and keep your business top of mind so when potential customers do need a vehicle, they immediately think of you.
Finally, it goes without saying that dealerships should hire a professional writer to generate blog posts. Unless your dealership is blessed with a staff member who has blogging experience and extra time to write blog posts, step up and pay for a pro. Effective blogging requires a brief, accurate, and conversational writing style as well as knowledge of search engine optimization. These skills require experience and training, which means that amateur bloggers shouldn’t be the first choice for any business.
Jason Lancaster is an auto industry veteran and internet marketing expert. As founder of Spork Marketing, he now helps dealers nationwide to increase visibility and sales. He can be reached at www.sporkmarketing.com.
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