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Friday, June 23, 2006

Recent Digital Dealer survey on automotive websites and SEO/SEM

I thought this survey was pretty interesting by Digital Dealer. 40% do not do any Search Engine Marketing. That is a lot of car dealers that are not taking advantage of search engines. Search Engine Optimization will help in terms of getting the website indexed into the Search Engine but it auto dealers should be marketing towards the local online customers. Those will be people in your region that are shopping for vehicles online. That is the target customer and your search engine ads can be shown just to a region that you choose. This can help save many on the advertising, while still specifically targeting potential buyers.

Here is a link to the article about how satisfied car dealers are with their search engine marketing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Things to Consider When Developing Your Auto Dealer Website

I ran across an interesting article today that really hits home for car dealers developing a website. Many car dealers are concerned primarily with having the best site on the internet. Unfortunately (whether they realize it or not) they're putting ego and competition before selling cars. There are countless possibilities of what features to include on a dealership website, but remember your focus should be on the customers, not one-upping the dealer down the street. Customers like and dislike certain features, and the most important thing is that your site is useful and effective at promoting your inventory. Be sure to check out the article. A small difference in web design (or even the web design company for that matter) can make a huge difference in how successful your business is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

AutoTrader.com Program Offered for Smaller Dealers to Sell Cars on the Internet

AutoTrader.com Program Offered for Smaller Dealers to Sell Cars on the Internet

When someone mentions selling cars on the internet one company comes to mind for most people: AutoTrader.com. They are the 800 pound gorilla out there, and there’s a reason for it: because it works. Most auto dealers are aware of AutoTrader.com subscription products. They offer packages where a dealer will pay a monthly charge to get priority placement of vehicles and a set of other bells and whistles that help them to sell more cars on the internet. With the subscription deal they can add, modify, and delete vehicles at will, so they always know what you’re paying and they can list their entire inventory. AutoTrader.com subscription packages are by far the best and most cost-effective way to go if you’re interested in selling cars online.

For some dealers, there is another product offered by AutoTrader.com that may fit their needs better. They also offer “Select Ads”, which in a nutshell is a pay-per-listing style of advertising that seems to be a good choice for two types of dealers. It may be a better choice for someone who is a smaller independent dealer without a lot of vehicles, and it may also be a good choice for larger dealers that want to test the waters before jumping in. In either case, it gives the dealer an opportunity to see how well AutoTrader.com really works to help sell more cars. Ads can be purchased in blocks, and even if you were to buy a block of 15 ads you would have 60 days to use them. Below are a few recommendations for dealers considering Select Ads with AutoTrader.com.

If it’s your first time using Select Ads, don’t go with the mentality that you know what is going to sell best on AutoTrader.com and only get one or two ads. I would recommend buying a block of 10 ads since they don’t have to be used all at once. Use them on different types of vehicles. Yes, oddball vehicles will do OK on AutoTrader.com, but most shoppers are actually looking for the vehicles you consider “ordinary”. I recommend listing a sample of what you have on the lot instead of just one type of vehicle. By listing 10 vehicles it will give you a better idea of what’s going to sell, therefore you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. It will give you a better idea of how the site works to sell your cars online, not just how the site works to sell one car online.
Use the Showcase Ads. AutoTrader.com offers Standard, Custom, and Showcase Ads. The standard are very basic ads, and the old adage holds true: you get what you pay for. Standard ads may sell a car or two, but will be a waste of money as far as value is concerned. If you’re serious about selling cars online, the Showcase Ads (best Select Ads offered) are the way to go. They give you more photos per vehicle, better visibility, and generate more interest for the customers. Not only will it generate more customers walking through your door, but they will be further along in the buying process than traditional customers.
Don’t expect every vehicle to fly off the lot in one day. Although AutoTrader.com is much more cost effective than traditional advertising (lower cost per lead), it is still advertising.

Work with your AutoTrader.com sales rep. They have access to all kinds of reports that will tell you which vehicles are currently doing the best in your area, nationwide, etc. This information will help you make the most of your advertising and ultimately sell more vehicles online. They are very knowledgeable and want to see you succeed. If you succeed, you see the value, you buy more ads, and they get paid more commission. Everybody is happy.

I hope this is helpful to any auto dealers considering online advertising. The phone number is listed on their website for the Select Ad department is listed as 1-888-895-3026.