According to Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO of SEOmoz.org, *there is an increase in blog readership as of late but a dramatic decrease in the amount of people blogging. This sets the stage for a powerful opportunity to attract more qualified vehicle shoppers and drive more leads to your dealership.
*According to his presentation at The Driving Sales Executive Summit 2012
Every day hundreds of thousands of automotive consumers are going online to conduct vehicle research. Manufacturer and Dealership websites are by far one of the most popular place to begin research (according to Consumer Barometer), so it's crucial that your site provides relevant information that automotive consumers are interested in. Having a blog on your site is a great way to add the content that people are searching for.
Here are 5 useful blogging tips that will help you get more leads (in no particular order):
The beauty about aspects of Google's last SEO algorithm update is it's ability to pick up on fresh content much faster. That means that depending on the relevancy of your blog posts, you could be helping your dealer site rank higher in search engines for relevant search queries.
I suggest coming up with an editorial calendar for your dealership. Pick a day of the week which content will absolutely be posted to your blog and don't sway from it. Make it a habit! You'll also want to list out a variety of topics to cover that you feel will be useful for readers. There are so many topics to write about that people are looking for online (we'll get to this is a minute) that will help drive traffic. Could be as simple as "how to turn off the 'change oil' light in the yr/mk/mdl", or "How to set up satellite radio in the yr/mk/mdl" or "How to make sure I have the right tire pressure" etc. Again, there are so many things to write about that people are going online to research. This leads me to number 2 in the list.
Tip: Create an editorial calendar for your dealership. Make sure the "experts" from each department are on board to help out with contributing content to the blog.
Use Google Keyword Tool
If you don't already have a Google adwords account, I suggest you sign up for one. This will give you access to the free keyword tool which will help you find out the amount of search volume taking place on a monthly basis for any given keyword or key phrase. You'd be surprised at how many dealers think they know what people are searching for online only to be shocked and amazed when the data says otherwise.
The keyword tool allows you to enter a list of keywords or key phrases and then shows you the local and global monthly search traffic for those terms. You can be as broad or granular as you'd like with your search terms and Google will tell you where things are at.
By having a better idea of what people are searching for online, you're empowered to create an editorial calendar for the most relevant topics based on what people are really interested in. This will increase your chances of drawing in more qualified traffic to your website and blog.
Tip: Sign up for Google Adwords so that you can get plugged in to the free keyword tool.
People purchase vehicles, products, and services from people. Duh! But seriously, it's important to show the human element of your dealership in an effort to demystify your business, let consumers know that you're not a shark tank, and give them something to feel connected to.
Make sure your blog includes a comment section as a place to interact with your potential customers. I know some dealers shy away from opening the door to potential negative comments being posted, but either way, comments encourage interaction and give you time to shine. Let's face it, someone will always have something negative to say. That's a given. How you respond and rectify their concerns/complaints or otherwise will actually increase loyalty for others who are seeing how you deal with problems.You may be surprised at the level of loyalty towards your brands and dealership that can be developed through simple comments and interaction.
Tip: Be Human and get comments on your blog.
Don't make it all about vehicle sales
I briefly touched on this earlier in this post when I said that you need to get "experts" in each department to contribute.
Take some time to identify how you can use your blog to drive site traffic towards all of your profit centres. Think about how to balance your content so that it caters to people looking for reviews, features, how-to's, hot topics, F&I, maintenance issues, and so on.
If you only write about your vehicles and direct traffic to your inventory, you're missing out on targeted opportunities to get leads and sales and increase the profitability of your dealership.
Tip: Balance your content so that it moves traffic towards each of your profit centres.
Calls to action
The nitty gritty of it is that people need to be told what to do. Think about it. How can you expect the reader to take action at the end of your blog post if you haven't told them what the action is? Guaranteed 9 times out of 10, nothing will happen without some direction. The reader won't go further. If you have a blog, go over some of your posts now and see if there are sufficient calls to action. If not, STOP WASTING YOUR TIME and start adding them.
If you're writing a post about a particular vehicle, make sure the blog post links your traffic to that vehicle listing on your site. Make it as easy as possible for them to get the information. If you've written about "10 surefire ways to get pre-approved for credit" make sure you link your traffic to your finance page or credit app. See where I'm going with this? Calls to action increase opportunities.
As a side note, I'd encourage strategically placed calls to action. What I mean by this is to not have a call to action at the top of the page before the content. The obvious outcome is that ill placed calls to action have lower CTR's because you haven't provided any value to the customer yet. Always think value. Once value is provided, the customer will feel more inclined to click.
Love blogging? What have you found works well for converting blog readers into leads?