Five golden rules to build an effective online presence


Until a few years back, dealers who would invest in a simple web page and a few classified ads could gain a significant competitive advantage over their peers. Fast forward to today, simply having an online presence is not providing an edge any longer; on the contrary, not being online means being cut out from the business, given that the vast majority of automotive buyers (92%, according to Google) rely on online sources to collect information about their next car.

Yet, dealers who have grasped the value of building a complete, coherent and effective online identity can be better positioned to thrive in the highly competitive automotive distribution environment. Here’s why it matters.

There are two main aspects to your online presence: attract and engage. You can attract potential customers when your online assets are well curated from both a content and visual perspective, optimised for mobile view and SEO friendly. You can engage when you are equipped to interact with your prospects in a timely and effective manner.

Not just a website, but a digital showroom

A retailer’s website should act as the digital counterpart of the showroom. As a matter of fact, in a purchase journey which spans across over 20 touchpoints, it should be the roaring engine of a dealer’s online presence; a dynamic tool designed to capture traffic (the online equivalent of foot traffic, but with a much wider reach)  and convert it into leads. How can you make sure that your website is up for the task? By following these five golden rules:

  1. Think mobile-first
  2. Update your content as often as you can
  3. Create relevant and unique content for your audience
  4. Ensure your contact information is correct
  5. Offer conversational tools to retain your audience’s attention, especially when you are not available

Mobile searches are the new standard

Overall, over 60% of online searches come from mobile devices. This also explains why the abandonment rate of a website not optimised for mobile view is five times higher. If this is not reason enough to prioritise mobile development, you should consider that Google has predominantly been using mobile versions for indexing and ranking pages since 2020.

Mobile devices are a powerful source of knowledge, always at hand: for general searches as well as for local ones. Additionally, they are often used as a second screen while we are busy doing something else, for example watching tv or dining out.

Looking ahead, vocal searches will probably take the lead, with about 80% of them being conversational and most addressing ‘near me’ kind of queries.

Content is (always) king

When you produce content, you are not doing it for Google or search engines in general, you are doing it for your customers. Quality and relevance are mandatory features – and even generative artificial intelligence is not going to change it.

In a dealer’s website, it’s not just stock which needs to be updated at all times; informative content (e.g. blog posts, news etc.) should also be regularly refreshed, either with brand-new materials or by adding new and updated insights to previously existing assets.

Standing out from competitors is also a content matter

Getting (and retaining) the focus of users is possibly one of our biggest challenges; not only their span of attention is limited but they are also increasingly looking for personalisation. According to recent statistics, brands that can provide unique content and offers can score a 76% increase in conversion.

To be relevant at all times, it’s important to understand user intent when they perform an online search. If you are able to provide what they are looking for, you will evidently have better chances to attract traffic to your website. There are essentially three types of searches: navigational (users looking for specific pages; accounting for about 5% and often referring to specific brands); informational (users looking answers to specific queries, often ‘how to’ type of searches; accounting for the vast majority, 80%); commercial (users looking for the best and most convenient way to purchase something; accounting for 15% and also including transactional ones, specifically aimed at finalising a purchase).

Your content should therefore contain relevant answers to common informational searches as well as keywords which can help users discover you.

Make sure you cover all the bases

It may sound obvious but your customers need to know where they can find you and how to reach out to you, either physically or online. Your contact details and social media references must indeed be always complete, accurate and up to date.

Embrace technology that can make you available 24/7

Today’s customers are not tied down by business hours. Especially at the beginning of their purchase journey, in the research and discovery phases, they are more active in their free time, which doesn’t necessarily correspond to a dealership’s opening hours. Adopting conversational tools, such as chatbots and virtual assistants, can help you keep prospects engaged at all times and start qualifying potential leads for you.

While human relations are irreplaceable, 69% of users don’t mind interacting with chatbots to solve simple problems and companies leveraging chatbots for customer support can actually see a 67% increase in leads.

Artificial intelligence: a superpower to boost your digital identity

In a dealer’s innovation roadmap, designing and building a digital showroom is the first step to create a credible and effective digital identity. With the injection of AI capabilities, it is set to become your principal asset to generate and consolidate business opportunities.

At MotorK, it all started with WebSparK; over ten years later, it’s still the go-to solution for OEMs and dealers; in its new and improved version, it’s the technology ally automotive retailers can count on to bring their business online and maximise their chances of success.

If you would like to discover the full potential of WebSparK and all its latest features, please get in touch.

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