Archive for May, 2002

Is your website performing the way it should?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2002

As owner of JTZ Enterprise I often get asked ‘How can I get more business out of my website?’ To answer that question the first thing you need to do is review your site. Get online and print every page then sit down with your staff to discuss changes.

It is important to keep focused on the intent of the site. A website can do more than just sell your product. It can also reduce the number of daily phone calls you get. Your Home Page should list things like your business name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address. You want to give every site viewer a chance to shut the computer off and contact you! Further more, you should list hours of operation and provide easy to follow links to other pages of your site.

These other pages should include a map and directions to your business. You also want a complete and up-to-date list of your Inventory. Every unit in stock should be listed including your ‘back row’. I once listed a 1990 Caravan on our dealership’s website not expecting to get many calls on it because in the description I mentioned the motor was blown. Later that week I sold that van to a man that lived over 50 miles away. He turned to the Internet once the transmission went bad in his van and towed mine back to his house! There is no telling what someone might look for on the Internet!

It is a must to keep your inventory updated. You want to be sure to obey all advertising laws and must delete cars from stock as they are sold. You do not want to have people asking you about the autos you sold last month. If you do not have time to do this yourself, delegate the responsibility to an employee. For those smaller dealerships that do not have the manpower and/or time, there are companies out there that will manage your Internet inventory for you. JTZ Enterprise will come to your dealership and take photos of your autos, list them on the Internet, and leave both a Window Sticker and a Buyers Guide in the window of each unit.

The next thing you want to review is how well your website sells you and your dealership. Customers can find the same kinds of cars you have in stock on other car lots. When they purchase a car, they are also purchasing you, the dealer! Your website should list all the reasons they should be buying their next car or truck from you. Dedicate an entire page to your staff. Photos of each staff member along with a brief introduction are effective. Having a Testimonials Page listing some good words from past customers is a powerful tool. Also, it is good to go into detail about the type of financing you offer, the kinds of warranties you sell, and anything else that sets you apart from your competition.

Having a website is like renting out the entire newspaper instead of just one classified ad. Instead of advertising a few cars, you can now list all your cars and trucks. You can also use the rest of the newspaper to advertise every other aspect of your business and the best part is it will be in print every day!

All websites should include a Counter to help the site owner determine how many people visit their site. The more traffic it gets, the more effective it should be. Analyzing keywords and descriptions that are programmed into the site is necessary to increase traffic. Verifying your site can be found with all the top search engines is something you want to do regularly. It is also a good idea to give your inventory the added exposure by also listing it on other car sites like www.shopautosonline.net. This gets visitors from other sites to link to your site.

It is important to remember the Internet has not re-invented the wheel! Most of the time people are not going to e-mail you a down payment. But a well thought out website will bring in more business, reduce redundant phone calls and offer more information and services to the customer.