After you get done reading this article, go to the computer and pull up Google.com. I want to you try a little experiment. Try typing in your dealership name in the search area. Do you come up? Are you even ranked first, second, third? Now try typing in a few different combinations – the makes you sell plus your town or used makes and your town (Chevrolet St. Louis, Used VW Pittsburgh). Coming up now?
From my research about 90% of you won’t appear. That isn’t necessarily your fault or your website provider’s. It is something that you need to fix. Back in the “old days” (last year) it really didn’t matter how you appeared in the search engines. In this day and age the Internet Search Engines are the New Yellow Page Ads. If you didn’t have a yellow page ad in the past chances were that you wouldn’t get the first call. Search engines are the exact same way. You have to be there for them to call your website.
Google has become the leader in the online race. You may have heard of this little company whose stock has doubled in less than a month. I get questions all the time about why is Google stock is so much. It is because advertisers, advertising companies, and consumers can connect and connect easily without all the junk that is on other sites. People are looking for easy ways on the Internet to find the information they need. Google connects you to your customer.
Some will say that they don’t use Google. You might use MSN or Yahoo or twenty other different engines out there. It doesn’t matter which one you use. You have to be there on all of them in some shape or form. You can pay a company to do it or you can research it yourself and make it happen.
Most people don’t know how valuable having a good ranking on the search engines is for their business. The ones that do know it - don’t want you to find out. When you look at all the other media that is out there and you break it down, it becomes real simple to see why the manufacturers are dumping money into online advertising. It is cheaper in relative terms and provides in many cases and return on investment.
The rules have changed for everyone. Many makes out there will now allow you to Co-op this advertising expense. It has come from the Internet being the evil step child of advertising to one of the shining stars for dealerships. If you don’t know already, find out if your brand allows co-op and be the hero of the dealership by finding a way to bring more qualified traffic and leads to your website.
As recent as last year, they said that Internet advertising was dead. It nearly was. The difference is that it evolved. It changed from epileptic banners all over to the place with deceptive offers to letting the customer search for some thing and then giving them a choice whether or not to find out more information. With the evolution of choice and the sites that directly market to the customer needs, it has made Internet advertising the home run that ad agencies and advertisers have tried to find since the direct mail piece was printed. I have preached in many articles that taking a serious look at Internet advertising should be something each dealership should do. Some have listened and many have not. Find the best solution for your dealership in your hands. Those who start on this journey are in a better position tomorrow. The Internet constantly evolves. Imagine back in the 70’s if you bought a Honda dealership. Yes, there was an upside from gas crunches and the trend toward more fuel efficiency. You didn’t sell them like they were going out of style. Imagine what that dealership would be worth today in a nice growing metro area.
The point of the story: investing in the Internet today is like buying a Honda dealership in the 70’s. Except this time you have the foresight to see what is coming up over the next few years. Building your online presence is a return that you will reap for years to come no matter how small or how large the investment. So find a way to start making it work for you today. Search engine advertising and marketing will be done in your area. Lock it up with your operation now before your competition does.
Todd Swickard, Chief Executive Officer
Todd Swickard founded Auto Supplier Marketing, LLC in February 2002. Drawing on his vast experience from Compaq, AutoTrader.com, and Dealer.com, he was able to compile a multi-media company that targets niche markets across the country. In less then 6 months a site was launched and over 200 dealers from across the country had been formed into a network. All this with very little venture capital invested.
A veteran of the dot com industry, Todd has seen it all. It has been his personal goal to create a marketing company that drives results with ROI and accountability. His methodology keeps campaigns within budget producing infinite results and return on investment. Todd’s true measure of success is in the success of our clients.