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The automotive industry is one of the most competitive retail industries in the United States and dealers have been competing with each other for years in their marketing efforts. Running print, radio and television in competitive markets is nothing new. Achieving the same results online is easier than what most will lead you to believe.
You can accomplish this using a variety of mediums and your own websites. The real question is how do you go about this. An aggressive SEO campaign can help if you and the vendor providing the services understand what are the right keywords to go after. This can only be accomplished with research of the search markets.
There is little value in optimizing a site for keywords that are never searched for. I am going to use my local markets as an example.
Having your site to optimize well for a term such as "Used Car Kingsland" (a medium to small sized town) has very little benefit compared to ranking for a terms such as "Used car and truck sales Jacksonville Florida" (a major metro). The search volume is nil for the first term and the second one only averages eight searches a day. However if you can rank number one for the Jacksonville term it should generate you around 200 clicks a month.
Then if your copy is compelling you should be able to generate click throughs to your used car inventory even if you are located in Kingsland, about 30 miles from Jacksonville. People searching for used car dealers in Jacksonville can be from surrounding markets and even your own. It would give you the opportunity to cut your competition off at the pass and score a lead for business today.