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Brian Pasch

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Car Dealer Service MicrositesAs car dealers look to increase profits and revenue, their marketing agenda lately has focused on social media and how this communication channel can grow their business.

Social media of course is important but a proven money maker for car dealers is being ignored by many dealers as part of their digital advertising strategy.

When I am called into dealership meetings to review their online marketing strategy, rarely does a dealership ask about increasing service revenue through SEO and SEM.

Dealers seem to be content with service direct mail and email campaigns which work very well in most markets. Over the past few months I have been working on an SEO strategy to increase the visibility of car dealers for common service searches in Google.

It is an eye opener to see just how I have been able to increase visibility for car dealers by targeting popular service keywords. A good way to test the service visibility for any car dealer is to type in a common service for a brand that they sell in their own town.

So a BMW dealer in Virginia Beach would test their service SEO by searching Google for:

  • BMW Oil Change Virginia Beach  (see Google Search)
  • BMW Brakes Virginia Beach
  • BMW Tires Virginia Beach

In the first case, PCG's new Fixed Operations Microsite appears on Google Page One for Checkered Flag Auto Group ahead of all business offering a BMW Oil Change. 

The service microsite is www.virginiabeachcarrepairs.com . This added visibility for car dealers over time, will increase service leads, calls and service revenue.  The site is about 45 days old and it appears in Google search for a number of OEM brands and services in their market.

If you search Google Videos or YouTube videos for the Phrase "Virginia Beach Oil Change", their service video is ranked #1. Christine at Checkered Flag does an amazing job with their service videos.

Dealers who want to gain an edge in their markets should leverage service microsites and videos to communicate an effective message.  Service videos, when they are done so well like this example, can be placed in many places to increase conversion.

Dealers Becoming Price Competitive

In this challenging economy, many dealers have decided to become more price competitive for common automotive services like oil changes, tires, brakes and coolant flushes. I wholeheartedly agree with this strategy.

If dealers have good service advisers, they can extend the dealership brand and customer service experience to owners of cars that dealers do not sell. The service channel can be a more effective sales and lead strategy than any other channel because of the number of car owners they touch each month.

Busy dealer groups service thousands of cars a week and if they were also marketing to all car owners in their market, these numbers could grow significantly. So I would like to cast a vote that Fixed Operations SEO and microsites be on dealership agendas for digital marketing spending.

Dealers should also create a budget to create videos for popular services that they offer which can light-up content pages. Google rewards first responders so before your competitors take the lead for service microsites in your area, make the move.

Kari Lewis
Could not agree more, service follows sales on every dealership website, and even if the customer does land on a dealership website service page for the most part there is little to no content or call to action. Yet we forget service can be the main revenue generator for dealership, especially when sales numbers are down. We are currently creating exactly what this article speaks to, a complete service website with SEO marketing, to bring back some of those customers lost when they search for oil change and find nothing but independent shops. Check out www.virtualserviceconsultant.com.
Phil Cannon
I like the article, but I'm a bit skeptical because I've never (even when I just moved to Nashville and didn't know any businesses) ran a google search for an oil change. You go down the street in most metropolitan areas and you'll see a half dozen places to get one done. Also, if you're putting more money into the SEO for it and you're also dropping prices to try and compete with the oil change guys... where's the revenue? I know one solution that works, I used to drive a Mini Cooper and no mechanic/oil change service would touch that car in Evansville, IN (where I was living), they had a foolproof strategy to get me to drive 3 and a half hours to the closest dealership
Brian Pasch
@Phil When a consumer comes in for an oil change, 90% of the time they also need other service. A good service advisor can take a $19.95 oil change offer and turn it into a larger RO and help the customer see that the car needed those maintenance services. If in your mind you question whether people type in "oil change" into Google, here are some stats. Using the Google exact match criteria, which is the most restrictive measurement, 368,000 people a month type in that search phrase in the USA. 33,000 people a month type in "oil change coupons" so the search traffic is in play to catch. If you don't believe you need a microsite, you can always add service pages to your eisting website and add compelling videos. 95% of car dealer website have 2 or 3 pages for service with less than 100 words of text. They are mostly simple forms with no video or call to action design. So, if dealers focused on making these pages come alive, then conversion will increase. There are many paths for consumers to take when they want to service their car and my mind says make sure you have all the bases covered.
Brian Pasch
@Kari I see we think alike and I like what I see on your website. Increasing the conversion rates of service page visits is the next frontier for fixed operations revenue generation. It's good to see that people are working at it from different angles.
Richard Valenta
I agree with Brian in that SEO is a great way to increase service revenue. The real key is to know who you are targeting and for what terms. Additionally, you have to know who your competitors are. For example, many dealers compete with local repair, tire centers and quick lube shops and lose alot of business as a result. In fact,we have a dealer we did a Ford Quick Lane site to specifically target Jiffy Lube shops that they felt were taking business from them. They believed that many people did not know they serviced all makes and models so the site focused on Quick Lane without Ford. Within a couple of months, we were right up there competing with Jiffy Lube for the term Oil Change. Not make specific! While the site only has our Standard SEO package, they are also doing well for many other terms and traffic is increasing each and every month. This on top of their Ford service site within their Power of 5 which ranks very well for many terms. They are now doing more service business and SEO has been a key to their success. You are 100% spot on Brian!

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