I was speaking with Alex Snyder today and he reminded me of a statement I made in 2009 which was:
"The most important person a car dealer can hire in 2010 will be a content writer."
With half of 2010 now past, I thought I would revisit why this statement made in October of 2009 has never been so timely. Regardless of which digital marketing strategy is your favorite at this moment, Content is Still King to develop relevance for your website.
If Content is King then Link Building is the Queen.
So the question for today is: Do you have the Royal Family as part of your automotive marketing team?
If you are a single rooftop dealership, it will be difficult to justify a full-time content writer to be on your payroll but there are options. You should inquire at local county colleges for marketing interns that often will work for free as long as they have the opportunity to work with a live digital marketing project.
Dealers can also look to hire recently “downsized” writers from local newspapers; most have been cutting staff over the past few years. There is actually a glut of well trained writers on the market so you can negotiate prices by the piece for by the hour. Some services charge $20 an article and for a small dealership, this could be an alternative to consider.
With a content writer working inside your dealership or as an outside consultant you now have the resources to be adding new pages to your website every week. It is shocking to see how many dealer website pages have little to no content. Areas of high profit like service and parts often have pages with less than 100 words. How many dealer websites have you visited where their specials page is just blank?
Dealers should try to create well written content pages with at least 400 words and make sure they are well formatted for the consumer to read. Of course you also have to consider SEO design criteria but there is a perfect balance that can achieve both goals. It is hard to find that balance so be careful who you hire.
What is the ideal content creation pace for car dealers? Dealers should be updating their blogs with 3-4 new posts a month. Their primary dealership website should be updated at least 3 times a month with new sales, promotions, testimonials, etc.
For my business, I create at least 10 new articles a week and post those articles on my blogs and sites like this one. I spend very little money on advertising because my articles generate traffic and calls for those who need help implementing my suggestions.
There are a good number of dealers who take my advice and never call. I'm actually very happy to be an assistant to their success with the hope that they will pass my name along to anyone who needs help. In the same way, your content will increase the relevance for the cars you sell in your market. These efforts will be rewarded with increased traffic to your website and higher relative ranking to your competitors that don’t have a content strategy in place.
Some of this traffic will result in sales but there are other reasons to create content. Good content will
Good content is not just about sales. Content is the fuel to power up your website for a battle with competitors on all fronts.
Once you have a content writer on your team, they need to be trained on how to write content to achieve the maximum benefit of the content. There is an art to creating content that is compelling to read as well as achieve important link building goals.
When writing content you should divide the placement of the content to distribute it to your main website and also to external sites. The reason for this balance is that your website needs to grow in size with static content pages but it also needs to grow in external links.
For example, if you are a Nissan dealer you should have a few pages written about the 2011 Nissan Leaf. If you want to see how much dealers need content writers, visit 10 Nissan dealers at random and tell me how many dealers have any pages on the Leaf with more than 300 words.
Once a Nissan dealer adds a few content pages about the Leaf on their website, they should:
Each one of these posts should have links back to the primary dealer's website and specifically the pages on the Leaf. If you see the picture, the content pages on a dealer's website NEED links from external sources to increase the relative value compared to other local Nissan dealers.
There is another art form in finding places where you can post your articles for free that add valuable links to your website. That could be a webinar in itself!
If you are just too busy or too intimated about starting a consistent content writing program for your dealership, you really cannot wait much longer. I see a Tsunami coming for car dealers who ignore proven digital marketing strategies that are content based.
If you want to be completely blown off Google Page One in your own backyard, then ignore this warning. Need more proof?
Do a Google Search on your #1 keyword phrase that sells the MOST cars for your dealership. You don't have to look at any reports since it's your dealership name. So take a minute to search your business name in Google.
If you own ALL ten organic listings on Page One...you are doing well! This would place you in the top 1% of car dealers nationwide. If you don't own all of Page One you will most likely see lead collectors, review sites and parasites leaching equity from your brand. You need immediate action.
Now do a Google search for your OEM brand and your city name; like Oxnard Toyota. If there are competitors and lead collectors on a search of your own city and OEM brand, you are allowing people to drain equity, leads and sales from your multi-million dollar investment.
So you can decide to Hire a King and a Queen or you can lease them.
(I know a few great companies!)
If you ignore this warning, you will soon be a slave to others.
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
P.S. Regardless of how well your content strategy becomes, these efforts must be partnered with Google Adwords (SEM) campaigns to capture the broad search phrases that consumers type. Your content writing needs to be focused on the search phrases that will yield sales and are feasible to acheive rankings on Google Page One. Digital Marketing is an inclusive game: SEO + SEM + Social Media + (some secrets) = winning strategy! :)