Archive for March, 2003

How Can I Maximize My Dealership’s Exposure?

Monday, March 31st, 2003

The good news for all us ‘Car People’ is that the Internet is not going to replace us! While many have had success selling cars on Ebay and other auction sites. While they sell cars virtually site unseen to people all over the United States, for many dealers this has not happened frequently enough for a profit to warrant closing the doors and selling strictly on the Internet. Many dealers have representation of some sort on the web, from having a domain (www.YourDealership.com) advertising their dealership and Inventory to listing their autos on popular auto sites. J.D. Power & Associates recently stated that 47 percent of used car shoppers and up to 83 percent of certified used car shoppers used the Internet for research prior to visiting a dealership or purchasing a car.

Once the Yellow Pages became a widely accepted way of obtaining business phone numbers, every household had to have one. Most dealers paid to be listed and some spent extra for larger ads because of the additional exposure. The Internet is the same when you consider more than 553 million people worldwide have Internet access, according to the latest study from Nielsen-Netratings. A majority of U.S. households have Internet access whether it is dial-up, cable modem, or DSL. Many others gain access either at work, local libraries, or friends and relatives. Today, most dealers would not even consider being excluded from their local Yellow Page directory. If 47 percent to 83 percent of those in the market to buy a used car or truck are surfing the web prior to their next purchase, why wouldn’t you want them to find your dealership?

JTZ Enterprise has been designing, developing, maintaining, and hosting Automotive Dealer websites since 1997. We are proud to be the Webmaster for www.VIADA.org for the last two years. We also own and market www.ShopAutosOnline.net, a website that advertises all our clients’ complete Inventory in a searchable database. We pay for this site to have favorable listings with major search engines like Yahoo! when surfers use keywords and phrases such as “used cars in Virginia”, or “used truck in Richmond” or “car dealer in Northern Virginia”. We pay to have the traffic directed to our site for these searches and hundreds of others. All of this traffic is then filtered to our client- owned websites.

Some of our clients experience additional success by also listing their Inventory with AutoTrader.com. Admittedly, this can get expensive. A couple of months with them can add up to more than a year’s expense for even the most comprehensive dealer site JTZ Enterprise offers, but they obviously experience enough additional exposure (and sales!) to justify it.

It is also wise to be sure that your website is listed with all of the major search engines. Every dealer should go to eight or ten search engines and look for their website. If you do not find it, list it yourself, bring it up with your Webmaster, or consider paying a marketing company to get your site listed with
all the search engines. Registering your site with search engines is not enough, if your site is not properly programmed with keywords and descriptions. JTZ Enterprise goes through great lengths to tailor your “keywords” and “title statements” so that when we register each of our sites with the top 300 search engines, it increases hit count. This is one thing that other Webmasters fall short on and if you feel your site would benefit from additional exposure, contact Dan at 703-501-4210 or John at 540-846-3821.

Finally, all of these sources of website traffic will not add up to what you can generate on your own simply by getting the address out. As much as 50% of your website traffic will come from people typing in your address as opposed to clicking on your site. This means they got your address from your business card, the sign out front, the window sticker in the car, or from you listing the address in your other forms of advertising such as newspaper and radio. If you are not letting others know about www.YourDealerSite.com you are missing out on a lot of Internet traffic.