by Hayley Hollen
As we reach the final quarter of 2021, it’s time to think about the resources dealers need to experience sales success in 2022. In the past in this space, we’ve addressed many tools that dealers can pair with their websites to improve online performance. But before we say goodbye to another year, it’s important to make sure that the websites themselves are properly equipped to drive sales leads.
Whether your dealership currently has a website or is still in the initial stages of creating one, consider the following list of “website must-haves” designed to help your dealership team connect with a higher caliber of sales leads in the coming year.
Customized content, keyword trends
While cookie-cutter copy and design will give your website a basic digital residence, they lack the personal touch to resonate with your audience. Differentiation not only helps you stand out, but it also ensures that your shoppers receive all the right information about your brand.
Custom images, a branded style, pricing, current inventory, and your dealership’s personal story all work together to create an informative and memorable customer experience. Bonus tip: Your organic search ranking can be positively influenced by increasing your number of inventory listing or vehicle detail pages.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the key to good content is in the words – namely, keywords. To choose high-powered keywords, find out what is gaining interest among your prospects and run comparisons on the popularity of different search topics. Tools like Google Trends allow you to see when a keyword’s search volume surges and how it trends over time, so that you can craft compelling copy that gets your dealership noticed.
Lead- and inventory-management strategies
Organizing and prioritizing your leads enables you to allot the appropriate attention to each potential customer. To stay on top of each lead without running yourself ragged, I highly encourage you to consider adopting lead-management software into your website. A quality management system will allow you to view the complete history of each lead, including where they are positioned along the buying journey, what they ultimately hope to achieve, and how likely they are to make a conversion.
If you already have a website, odds are you’re featuring inventory listings on your site (if not, this is your call to action!). Having to manage listings manually, however, can take a lot of valuable time away from your dealership operations – time that you may not have to spare.
To ensure your online listings stay current without infringing upon your other obligations, I recommend integrating an inventory-management system with your website. An inventory manager allows you to upload, edit and remove listings easily, and even push them to third-party platforms (more to come on this). Bonus tip: If you are a small dealership, you will find that adding an inventory-management system to your website significantly increases your productivity.
Dynamic communication outlets
You may have heard digital communication channels referenced in the past, and I’ll continue to endorse them because of their rapid gain in popularity among online shoppers. Outlets such as live chat and texting are fast, flexible and versatile. Conversations can move quickly – providing answers to pressing questions, scheduling appointments, and even collecting deposits and customer testimonials.
Knowing that your online shoppers are just a few taps away will give you peace of mind and more time to focus on your in-store prospects. Plus, adding online chat or texting to your website allows your team to serve multiple leads at once, maximizing your leads without having to hustle overtime.
The heavy lifting
Finally, here’s one more must-have to consider: Along with featuring your units on your website, are you also featuring a comprehensive parts catalog? New as well as returning customers have a need for replacement parts, which boosts your sales ability in many ways, because you can cross-sell, resell and capture new business.
Due to the high volume of online shopping, your website likely will be the first interaction that your leads have with your dealership. For this reason, it should be your main priority in gaining new business and treating your prospects to a spectacular shopping experience. If you’re busy running your dealership, you will find it extremely helpful to have website tools that take the heavy lifting off your hands and keep your online operations running smoothly.
Hayley Hollen is corporate marketing program manager at ARI (www.arinet.com), producer of a suite of SaaS, software tools and marketing services to help dealers, equipment manufacturers and distributors sell online and in-store.
This column first appeared in our Nov/Dec 2021 issue, access the full issue here.