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Dara Moore

Dara Moore Digital Channel Manager

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Rethinking SEO: Why Real Marketing Is Outside SEO and Google

There’s this common thinking that marketing and engaging the customers online means tapping into Search Engine Optimization. And for many people, it’s all about working with SEO professionals who will tweak the site’s infrastructure, paying attention to title tags, Follow and No Follow Links, Meta tags and even the layout of the website and content that is rarely created for actual people to read. The understanding is that if the website is attractive for Google spiders, then traffic will easily stream into the website.

Business owners can’t be faulted for thinking this way, and for its overdependence on Google. After all, Google is still the most used search engine. And according to a press release, Google processes an average of 100 billion searches per month. If one can tap into a small percentage of the searches, just imagine what it can do for your business! But don’t get too excited, SEO may be overhyped online as the marketing of choice, because SEO is not marketing. More to the point, SEO should not serve as your primary tool when it comes to marketing your business.

Market Your Business to Customers, Not to Google

The problem with SEO and why this is not marketing is that there’s no human element involved. Marketing is all about engaging potential customers, and drawing them to try out your products and services. This is not the case with search engine optimization. In real marketing, there should be a direct interaction between customer and client. Sure, this relationship is present when one taps into SEO, but unfortunately you are the customer of Google. Remember, Google will not buy your products so why waste time and resources boosting your site’s standing in the eyes of Google? You can say that SEO is not marketing, rather appealing to a cold infrastructure called Google.

There’s no denying the fact that customers will find you through Google, and your standing on SERPs will increase your chances of being clicked first. But keep in mind that there are other ways customers can find you online. Customers will find ways to find you if they know you. Potential buyers will find you if they heard (or read) good things about you. For example, if you have established your business as a reputable provider of car parts and accessories and you back it up with premium customer support, then customers will find you only irrespective of your position in SERPs.  

A customer will find your site through Google because he is already looking for you, and he is already a ‘lower funnel customer’. This is a customer who has already made up his mind and ready to purchase due to actionable marketing tools like PPC or even the use of traditional media like newspapers.

Using SEO for Google is not marketing; marketing is engaging your customers directly and in a personal manner.

Marketing Should Have a ‘Personal Touch’

Now is the best time to understand what real marketing is. Real marketing and advertising is reaching out and showing customers what you are. The best form of marketing is one that has a human element- this can be done by writing contents not for search engine spiders but for actual readers and tweaking the site for the readers not for Google. Your website is marketing yourself, marketing your products, marketing your sales people. So make sure that the website has the elements and contents that ‘can talk to people’ and entice them to learn more about your business.

SEO has its place online, but when it comes to marketing and engaging customers don’t get lost.

Don’t fall into the Google trap- Google is not your customer, rather you are Google’s customer. Don’t build for Google, build for your customers.

Dara Moore
Please tell me you really didn't just post that and spam me Alex?
Eric Miltsch
(Comment blocked Dara.) Dara, very nice overview. This is all part of the change happening within Google (See: http://www.drivingsales.com/blogs/ericmiltsch/2013/09/26/google-announces-new-algorithm-hummingbird) Customers will still turn to search engines, but their behavior is changing. People are asking different questions and their searches will continue to evolve. Remember when people would search one word phrases, then they began using two, three - even 5 word phrases - to find more specific results? That's where we're headed & there's is still a huge opportunity to play within Google new rules, market to consumers and do exactly as you say: "market to them with a personal touch!" What's one of the best ways to connect with a consumer? Answer the questions that mean the most to them. Who hasn't heard the question, "What are the best car dealerships in Orlando Florida? or "How do I trade-in my used car at a car dealership?" Answer them effectively and you may just help someone.
Dara Moore
Eric, you didn't have to block his comment. I like poking fun at the vendors that get spammy and have no problem calling them out on it. :) Thank you. People will always still want to find that human connection element. Being able to attain that in a digital world will be more important than ever. Show you are real, that there are people behind the keyboards, the phones, the iPads we stare at all day and see your customer interactions change for the better.
Allyn Hane
I look forward to the very near future when Google will pull all of your marketing data down to the individual level as soon as a prospect walks into your door or drives into your lot. It's context marketing. Imagine that when John Smith walks into your store, immediately your low-powered blue tooth store "hub" will ping his cell phone or Google Glass and tell you: -age, sex, income, marital status, employer -current credit score, was it run today? by who? where? -what's he drive now? what is his payment? lease or buy? -what did he look at on the web in last 24 hours, 7 days -where did he stop today b4 coming to you? other dealerships? same makes? -did he apply for financing at those? -based on all of his criteria, what is he likely to want to drive when compared to his personal history and those of the millions of others who share similar habits? etc etc etc the idea is that when John Smith walks in, you can provide him with the very exact car on your lot that will fit his personal preferences so he can now be in and out in 30 minutes rather than the countless hours it may take now to get through the buying process. You can also tailor the entire experience to his personal preferences (because you will know what they are) - giving him exactly what he wants. Does he prefer to work with a woman, a man? Is he the type who will want a complete rundown of all the car history or details? Will he care mostly about the interior or under the hood? What colors does he prefer? Does he drink coffee or tea? This is personal convenience- and this is where Google is heading. So before you know it, the only thing that will separate dealers in this world of big data and technology is;;;; yep, their awesome people! You will hire the exact people who are there to provide the personal experience that your customers want.
Aaron Schinke
Great article Dara! While I don't completely agree, I do applaud you for thinking bigger and actual thinking like a real marketer. It's the same problem in the real marketing world. People thing marketing IS advertising just like people think SEO IS digital marketing. While in reality they are both pieces of the bigger puzzle. Now, why I disagree, is much like Mr. Miltsch said, If you are doing SEO right, it can in fact have a personal touch... and it should! The auto industry needs to wake up and think bigger! Be real full picture marketers!! Great work Dara! Keep it up!!

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