Launch your digital marketing
By Dan MacDonald
As a busy tire dealer, you have a ton of priorities that push you in many different directions. You need to optimize your inventory; keeping your dealership well-staffed, which is a big challenge; follow industry trends; take care of your customers and much more.
That’s a lot and you might be wondering, “Who has time for digital marketing?” Well, put it simply, you have to find the time.
If you don’t invest the time and resources in digital marketing, you are falling behind your competition and losing a ton of customers who might be looking for you online. Indeed, without a digital presence, you are invisible.
Consider this: Google processes over 3.5 billion internet searches per day and has 92.18% of the search engine market share. For many consumers looking to buy a product or service, Google is the first place they go.
All of this shows that if you don’t show up in Google searches, you’re missing out on a lot of potential new business. If you show up in Google searches, but your website is tired and dated, it probably won’t bring a new customer to your door. Everything fits together.
To have a winning digital strategy, you need to have a great website, a strong Google presence, and you need to effectively leverage social media channels and advertising to proactively get your message across to customers who are actively looking to buy. tires or auto service.
The digital stool has three legs. And if the three legs are not balanced, the stool will tip over. The good news is that you can do all three of these things. It will take effort and strategy, but not a lot of money to get meaningful results.
So now you think, “I’m in it, but where do I start”?
Here’s a digital marketing toolkit outlining the three key steps you need to take to make your dealership shine online and actively engage customers to take your sales to the next level:
No 1. Make your website world class. Your web presence is the last place to cut corners. In this digital age, your website is the front door for your business. This is often a customer’s first exposure to your business. This is your best chance to make a great first impression and drive them to your point of sale. Make the site something you are proud of and put your best face forward.
You really need to think of your website as a dynamic and constantly evolving marketing tool for your business. The same goes for your Facebook and Instagram pages. You can’t just build them, tick the box, and wash your hands of them.
Optimizing the digital presence of your business is not a destination. It’s a journey. You are always on the right path to improving your business website, making it more eye-catching and more relevant to your customers.
To get started, you need to have a solid tire finder so that customers can easily search your online inventory for the tire they need. It is a “must have” and you will find that almost all of your competition has it. The challenge is to stand out from your competitors. Are the photos of your dealership old and poorly taken? Hire a local photographer and take stunning new digital images of your dealership, inside and out, and you will quickly improve the look of your site and social pages.
Is your “About us” section empty? Are your team photos 10 years old and out of focus? Every member of your team should have a great current photo and a fun, informative bio. You employ great people, don’t you? Let your customers know.
Add depth to your site as well. Most of the tire dealer websites and social pages I see are flat and don’t really tell the story of their business. Here’s where you can have fun and brag a bit. Do you support charities or sponsor a small league team? Does your business have a long and rich history in the community? Did you win any service or sales awards? Are you the best high performance tire and custom wheel dealer in town? Your website and social pages should feature the best things about your business and tell your unique story.
Plus, don’t be afraid to embrace the video. Every good site should feature a professionally shot and edited video on its homepage. This is the best way to tell your story once again.
This is not a DIY project, unless you are really good at writing, filming, and editing videos, so strongly consider partnering with a third-party vendor in your town.
And keep in mind that your video should be no longer than two minutes. It should be a short, punchy tool that tells the story of your business, as well as its history, culture, and unwavering commitment to customer service.
No 2. Claim your Google business profile. So what happens when you Google “tires near me?” Â»Does your dealership appear on the first page of this search? If not, you are invisible to potential customers. It is that simple.
Very few people scroll past the first page of a Google search. To have any chance of winning that new potential customer, you need to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Do not hesitate. Claim your Google profile. It’s totally free. (That’s not a typo!) Claiming your Google business profile page doesn’t cost anything. Just go to Google and type in “Google my business”. A link will appear and you will simply begin to fill in the requested information, including your business name, hours of operation, location and logo, and a brief description of your business.
Google is by far the dominant search engine. In fact, as we saw earlier, Google processes over 3.5 billion internet searches per day. That’s 40,000 search queries per second. It’s truly mind-boggling how powerful Google is when it comes to internet search.
Google uses many data points about a user and the environment to determine what they really want to know and each “page one” result is personalized for the user to match their browsing history and the query asked. In addition, Google often changes algorithms, so having an effective presence goes well beyond inserting certain keywords in your profile. You need to proactively add content to your website and Google profile that describes what your dealership is, what you specialize in, and all of those things that you do better than anyone else.
As you continually improve your profile, you will progress in finding potential customers in your area who use Google to search for tires and services.
Smaller independent dealers–in most of the cases–do not have the marketing and advertising resources of the large national chains. But Google can be an equalizer. If you build a strong profile and actively add content, you’ll start showing up in more searches, connect with more leads, and bring more new customers to your door. They are out there looking for you on the web. Make sure you allow them to find you as easily as possible.
3. Embrace digital advertising. When it comes to advertising, it’s all too easy to put things on autopilot. You know the drill: run that weekly ad in the local newspaper or do that fall radio remote control. Why? Because that’s what you’ve always done. But does it really attract new customers to your business? Can you track how these ads are driving sales? Is there an offer in every ad that gives you the ability to track its effectiveness? It’s all about return on investment. If you’re spending money on an ad and it doesn’t generate new customers, try something new. If you don’t run ads on social platforms, you’re missing out on many opportunities to attract new customers to your dealership.
Facebook, Instagram, and Google are the cheapest ways to reach your target audience. The secret sauce is the ability of these platforms to geo-target your post and present it to people looking for tires and services within five miles of your front door. The above social platforms use very sophisticated algorithms to understand what people click on and how to get your content into their feed.
Your ad should always include an offer. The customer will click on the ad and it will take them directly to your website. Now you reach out to people who are in the tire and service market and give them an action step to connect directly to you for purchase. This is where the magic happens. If it’s out of your comfort zone, hire a digital agency in your market and give it a try.
Digital advertising is very profitable. And you can track the performance of digital ads. If you do this correctly, you will see results.
And don’t forget that you can work with your suppliers to help amplify your business’ digital presence. Ask your provider if they have any co-branded advertising programs. Work closely with your vendor’s marketing contacts to make sure they can help you get the most benefits. And make sure your business is listed in the reseller locators of your suppliers and others tools, and that this information is up to date.
As 2021 draws to a close, now is a great time to try a new marketing approach to jumpstart your business and jumpstart in 2022. Dressing up your website and social feeds and investing in digital ads is relatively inexpensive. There is no charge for claiming your Google business profile.
Don’t put it off any further. If you invest in your web presence and digital advertising now, go! You are probably already reaping the rewards.
If it’s at the bottom of your priority list, move it up. Your digital investments will translate into more money in your dealership, so get started today.
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Dan MacDonald is a freelance writer and former vice president of public relations at Bridgestone Americas Inc. Dan founded MacDonald Communications, which focuses on public relations and digital marketing. He can be reached at 615-681-5387 or [email protected], maccomm.net.
This article is part of the MTD Tire Dealer Survival Guide series. As more articles are published they can be found below:
Compensation for Technicians â How to Stay Competitive
How to get the most out of every phone call
How to build a strong leadership pipeline
How to manage inventory and cash flow
Treat electric vehicles at your dealership