3 steps to success online for car dealerships

Step 1 to successful online car sales

Step one is really what not to do, but it is probably the most important thing to be successful online.

You need to know that there isn’t a magic bullet! I know this is something that comes up quite a bit in seminars and on the automotive social sites, but there are far too many dealers not listening. Stop looking for the quick fix solution to selling cars online because there isn’t one. Once you accept that there isn’t an “instant on” product that will sell more cars online then you can start to separate the snake oil salespeople from the vendors that will become your long term partners and move on to step 2.

Step 2 is committing to your online plan

Once you have truly accepted Step 1 then you can move to step two. Step two is to make a commitment to stick to your plan. Let me tell you my definition of commitment that I got from a speaker by the name of George Zalucki. Commitment: “To do the thing that you said you would do long after the emotion that you said it in has left you”. Feel free to read that a few times and reflect on it because it is very powerful in whatever you do in life. Especially for things that take a long time to develop like customer trust. Let’s face it we all would like to have instant results, but in the car industry especially that is not going to happen. With a sales cycle that is 3 to 5 years you will need to commit to going the extra mile for at least that long before you truly start to see the fruits of your labor. But I promise you if you commit to your plan (as long as it is a good plan :-)) success will be yours. If you don’t believe me go to technorati.com look at the top blogs in the world and

Step 3 creating the plan

I am not going to get into the details of what your plan should be, but instead give you an overview of what your plan MUST have.
First of all your online marketing needs to become part of your overall strategy and included with ALL of your marketing campaigns. If you have an in house marketing department, a local marketing company, or you just do it yourself you need to make sure that have an integrated marketing plan. You already know that just about every one of your customers will go to your website at least one time while in the market to buy a car. If you spend money and time on a traditional marketing campaign designed to get people interested in buying a car from you. Then a prospective buyer goes to your site to get more information and doesn’t see anything related to your offer, you just lost the opportunity for a lead or worse yet a sale. Especially if they are undecided between a vehicle you carry and one of a competitors.

The next part of your plan needs to be a commitment to make constant updates to your vehicles. After reviewing the analytics on car dealer sites for the last 6 1/2 years one constant that I have seen is the dealers that make updates consistently to their vehicle pricing, comments, specials, etc. get a steady growth of traffic and leads.

One more thing that I would suggest you add to your online marketing plan is a way to give back to your community online. Do this by having an area on your site that offers vehicle care tips or a community blog. The message doesn’t matter as much as the consistency and commitment to continue for at least 3 to 4 years. If you do it that long and see the results that will come then there will be no reason to stop anyway.

About Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike Fitzpatrick has been in the automotive industry for over 20 years. With 10 on the retail side, working in sales and management and 10 as a digital vendor. An expert in SEO, WordPress and general online marketing. Mike has dedicated his career to helping dealers both understand and take control of their online marketing.

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