It's no secret that the core of online marketing is quality content.
Good content increases the time visitors spend on your pages, keeps them returning to your site, and engages your audience with your message. Good content gets linked to, increasing your authority in the search engines and bringing you more traffic. Good content gives you the ability to place valuable contextual links on your site, making your property more valuable to those sites you link to. Consumers are hungry for information and they seek quality content, create quality content and your customers will find you. Make no mistake; going forward your success online will be directly proportionate to your ability to create good content.
In the world of the social web (which is the world we live in if you haven't noticed) you don't have to work hard to find the best content. You simply login to your favorite community and it finds you. In the social web your job is to share the content that you like with others. Sharing is a form of respect. Sharing content shows respect for the author of the information and for those people you share it with. Did you know that if you shared something with two people, who each told it to two people, who told it to two people etc, that by the 20th
telling you would have touched over half a million people? That is how viral content works. You need to create good content and take it to where your customers are, making it easy for them to share.
Most dealers fail at this point in their online marketing strategies. It's easy to understand that you need to be where your customers are (on sites like Facebook) but once there dealers tend to bombard customers with ads, inventory and oil change coupons. Advertisements, inventory and coupons are NOT quality content. To create quality content you need to answer questions that customers have, fulfill a need of theirs and give them something valuable.
Think about these two facts:
Fact #1. According to the most recent NADA Data report, fixed operations were responsible for over 100% of dealership net profits. (That means at the end of the year sales was a loser and service made up the loss and then some.) Yet, look at your marketing efforts. It's fair to say they are focused on sales right?
Fact #2. Customers touch a service department at least 10 times for every one time they touch a sales department. Yet, most of our content efforts are focused on sales aren't they?
There are huge opportunities for dealership to increase owner loyalty and stay connected with consumers, especially through their relationship with your fixed operations business. Customers have tons of questions that can be answered through quality content about caring for, maintaining and understanding their vehicles. Your CRM system helps you maintain customer relations through transactional communications; social media helps you maintain customer relations through conversational interaction. Social media is truly relational messaging and it mirrors the way we maintain connections to people/brands in the real world.
To get started is simple. At minimum it requires a dealership blog and some creative thinking. Hold a brainstorm session with your service advisers and list as many of the customer questions they can think of that they get asked every day. The questions will vary from "How do I set my clock?" to "What is causing my check engine light to go on?" List the questions in order of how often they get asked and that becomes your editorial calendar. Write an article and post it to your dealership blog weekly, link it on your Facebook page and tweet it out. Yes, the social media formula is easy; provide quality content your customers are looking for and place it where your customers are. As your traffic and number of followers grows it will be important to begin watching site metrics to optimize the site to convert the visitors.
The social web is about people, just like the car business! It's a perfect scenario for dealers. Focus on your fixed operations and you will find a gold mine of valuable data to share with your customers. Dealers who create quality content will have the customers coming to find them, a position most stores are not in today.
Id love to hear your thoughts on this topic, both good and bad.
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