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Not too long ago, I had the pleasue of overhearing this conversation take place in one of our showrooms....
It started with a sales consultant greeting a customer as he walked through the door, “Hello sir, welcome to LaFontaine Hyundai – what brings you in today?”
The answer however, was not what I was expecting, “I just read the article you posted about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis on your blog. I had a few extra minutes, so I thought I’d swing by your dealership to learn a little more”.
“That’s fantastic sir, I’m glad to hear it! I do feel a little embarrassed though, and maybe you didn’t see it in the article, but the 2015 Genesis hasn’t arrived yet.” was the response.
“Oh I know, I checked your inventory online” and then with a knowing smile the customer said “I just thought I’d take a look at the current Genesis. Maybe you can make me a great deal on one of these?”….
When I re-launched the blog for the LaFontaine Automotive Group, FamilyDealBlog.com, back in October 2013, this is exactly how I would imagine our blog would work.
We’d post useful and relevant content on our blog, distribute it via email and social media marketing channels, let Google crawl it - and people would walk through the doors of our dealerships because of it.
You might say, “hey that sounds great in theory but so do flux capcitors. We have a blog too, but it doesn't really do anything like that that for us”.
I get it, I really do and I don’t blame you for your skepticism. At one point in time I used to be just like you.
From 2010 to 2013 we paid an outside company to run and create content for FamilyDealBlog.com and while we got some decent web traffic, it didn’t convert that traffic into prospects and customers the way it does today.
It’s been 8 months since we took direct control of our blog.
Since then our blog content pulls in 4,000 unique visits per month and not a day goes by where we don’t get at least a phone call, lead form submission or walk in customer that can be sourced directly from our blog.
One lead a day adds up pretty quickly when you think about it. And the rate we're going, I only expect that number to increase over the next year.
I just wish I would have taken control of our blog sooner than I did.
So, how powerful can your blog be?
Let me put it this way: If I had a time machine, one of the first things I would do (after I placed a few wagers using my handy Sports Almanac) would be to go back to 2010 and take control of FamilyDealBlog.com.
Why? Because after the results I’ve seen in just eight months, it kills me knowing that I wasted three and a half years underutilizing our blog.
Three and a half years of building authority with Google and establishing relevance and usefulness with our audience went by the wayside.
I’d do just about anything to have that time back.
You, however, don’t have to share my regrets. You don't have to revisit this article 3 years later and wish you would have started today.
The good news is that you can have a blog that converts too, and you can do it quicker than you think.
And while you can get started today, I will caution you and say - Bloggin' ain't easy. There are a lot of challenges associated with creating useful and relevant content.
If you are going to travel 88 miles per hour down this path, you have to be very intentional about implementing the process.
Why should I invest time and energy into a blog? If I want to share content with my audience, isn’t that what Facebook is for? I’m not a writer, how am I going to write articles for a blog?
These are all questions I’ve asked myself before.
The main reason your should invest serious resources to your blog is simple: You own the platform. It's under your direct control and you make the rules.
The reality is, the social network landscape is undergoing a major transition as we speak.
Facebook is cutting off all organic reach for those of us with business pages. Pretty soon, if we want our content to be seen by our fans and friends, we’ll all have to “pay to play”.
Twitter’s growth has leveled out and has recently taken steps to make itself look more like Facebook and less like…well…Twitter.
And as much as I love Google Plus for all of the wonderful benefits it provides for your dealership, it too is facing an uncertain future.
Think about it like this. Say you have 2,000 likes on your Facebook page, you publish a post and if you're lucky 100 people will organically see that post. A small percentage of that audeince will engage, and then the post falls down the timeline never to be heard from again.
Now let's say you just published a snazzy article on your blog giving your audience useful tips for taking a Summer Road Trip.
For the sake of easy math, say you have 10,000 people in your email database you can send a link to the article to.
If you get a 20% open rate, that means at minimum 2,000 people will see the intro of your article.
If you've crafted your email in a way that entices the audience to click the "read more" link in the email and you get a 15% click-thru rate - that's 300 visitors who just landed on your website.
That's 300 people on your website, reading your original content.
Of those 300, some are going to like your article enough to share it on their own social networks givng you the social juice you've been craving.
So without taking into consideration the other benefits of blogging (SEO, establishing expertise & credibility, etc.) which would your rather do:
Publish a post on Facebook or publish a post on your blog?
There’s no secret blog-sauce here folks.
In order to make your blog work for you, you have to become intentional about blogging and creating useful, relevant content for your defined audience.
You have to become a student dedicated to learning the in’s and out’s of a blogging platform.
You’ll need to eat, sleep and breathe your way into success. But it’s not a journey you should take alone.
Not only do you have to see the value in dedicating your valuable time, resources and money in to your blog – but your entire leadership team need to see the value as well.
If you are prepared and have the passion to succeed, you won’t need to “sell” anyone on building out the platform.
It's my goal to freely share with you what I've learned about what it takes to have a sucessful blog for your dealership.
But like a good blogger should, I don't want to write random articles and "hope" it's relevant to your needs.
I want to understand what your current pain points are when it comes to your blog and provide targeted info that you'll find useful.
Feel free to add any additional comments or thoughts about blogging in the dealership in the comments section below.