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The more I talk to car dealers, the more I realize that we are in the middle of a "breakout" age for marketing online. We hear from so many Internet managers, general managers, and even owners about how they are ready to take their Internet marketing to the next level.
The question is, "What is the next level?"
With so many options available for getting inventories, branding, and additional services out to the masses, it can be a daunting task to choose how to spend the Internet marketing budgets properly. Most dealers are starting to allocate more money to the Internet and less to traditional media, but the different options make putting together a proper strategy challenging.
Websites. Microsites. Online classifieds. Vertical search. SEO. PPC marketing. Banner advertising. The list goes on and on.
As a biased participant in this, it's easy for me to say that the dealer's website is by far the most important component of their Internet marketing presence and that they should spend a good portion of their budget to create and compliment this factor. As someone who has been working with the car business for over a decade, I can say that, regardless of which side I am personally involved, it just makes sense to put your website front and center, first and foremost when it comes to advertising on the Internet.
I've said it before: the primary dealer website is a "virtual dealership" that should be treated as its own distinct entity. It should not be something that is thrown up by the cheapest possible vendor. As we go forward in these tough times, putting your primary website first will be the key to success.
Read more by Richard Valenta on this blog.