Best Practices for Dealership Brand Differentiation

By Laurie Foster

Research­ing and pur­chas­ing a new vehi­cle online is about more than just price.  In fact, new-car shop­pers on Cars.com are twice as like­ly to select “group by deal­er” on inven­to­ry search results pages, and those who do are three times more like­ly to con­nect with a deal­er com­pared with used-car shop­pers.  What that tells us is that your dealership’s brand and rep­u­ta­tion – not just your inven­to­ry – mat­ters when it comes to shop­ping for a new vehi­cle online.

Here are a few tips for opti­miz­ing your dealership’s pres­ence online to sell more new cars:

  1. First, make sure you’re vis­i­ble – and the own­er of your iden­ti­ty on com­mon search engines, busi­ness direc­to­ries, social media and review sites. Own­ing your brand online means that poten­tial cus­tomers will be more like­ly to find you in their pre­lim­i­nary search­es.
  2. Do a search for your busi­ness on , which scores how well your busi­ness shows up on com­mon search engines, busi­ness direc­to­ries and review sites. Cre­ate a pres­ence where none exists, and check for cor­rect infor­ma­tion or build your pro­file fur­ther where one does.
  3. Next, mon­i­tor your pres­ence using tools such as Google Alerts (sign up at ) to be sure that every­thing show­ing up online about your store is accu­rate. Hav­ing an incor­rect phone num­ber, bro­ken URL or email address that goes nowhere could result in a lost cus­tomer, while neg­a­tive reviews can cause poten­tial cus­tomers to think twice before work­ing with you.
  4. Then, make sure you’re con­sis­tent by com­mu­ni­cat­ing and deliv­er­ing on your brand val­ue through­out all cus­tomer touch points. Con­vey the same mes­sage and use the same look and feel from in-store sig­nage and lead process to your web­site, online adver­tis­ing and email com­mu­ni­ca­tions.
  5. Final­ly, share the great things your cus­tomers are say­ing about you – and fol­low up on feed­back that may be less than pos­i­tive. By encour­ag­ing hap­py cus­tomers to write reviews of your deal­er­ship, you’re increas­ing engage­ment while build­ing your brand – and, by address­ing neg­a­tive com­ments, you’re show­ing your com­mit­ment to cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion.

Lau­rie Fos­ter, Deal­er Train­ing Man­ag­er at , can be reached at 800.298.1460 or [email protected].

 

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