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“If Looks Could Kill”

Virtual Location

In our series on untangling the complexity of having a great Internet marketing strategy, this month’s focus is on looks. Not “looks” in terms of how many vehicle display pages are viewed or what content is being viewed, but the visual appeal that your site gives off to the shopper.

You have probably heard the phrase “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and the same holds true for your website. Your site needs to have a “look” that effectively leads a shopper through the buying process to purchasing.

An area where dealership marketing falls short is in the graphic content and visual appeal created on the store’s website. As an industry we do not have great-looking graphics and retail content on our websites. A dealership’s website is a window into that dealership. The one-size-fits-all models will hurt you far more than help.

The ultimate goal again is to get a shopper to either decide to submit a lead, make a phone call or simply visit your physical location based on your virtual location.

These are some keys to making it happen:

  1. Promote Your Deals: It’s a mistake to have standard vehicle images or beauty shots on the homepage without a great retail message. Far too often you see home page slides transitioning through that show a truck towing a boat or a car driving through the mountains without a deal-oriented message. If you are in the retail business you should have a retail message. Don’t settle for a factory-themed sale event. Make sure you display a reason to buy from you and the appearance that you are having a sale.
  2. Promote Your Location: Show either a picture of your dealership or sizable indicators on your homepage of where you are located. If you have a magnificent-looking facility or well manicured campus you need to show it off. The public still fears going to car dealerships to buy a car so make it look like a warm and inviting place. I spend a lot of time in showrooms before meeting with clients and often overhear the receptionists answering questions over the phone about how to find a dealership. Just because you know where your store is doesn’t mean the rest of the market does.
  3. Promote Service: 60 percent of the traffic that visits a dealership is there to service a vehicle — not buy a vehicle. Dealerships often fail to have retail service coupons, specials, even the simplest offers visible on their websites. My goal in every store is to have service coupons live on a site as well as at least one service offer easily found on the home page. Give the viewer what he or she is looking for and make it easy to find.

This may sound like the three easiest ideas in the world but seven out of 10 dealerships that we visit for the first time are not doing any one of these. Promote your deals, promote your location and promote your service and you will reap more business off the same amount of traffic from your website.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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