Do as I say, not as I do
Bob McCann, Director of Education, ARI
June 4, 2013
Filed under Guest Blog
Every year at this time, dealers remind customers about the importance of “seasonal service” before heading out for the first cruise of the year with family and friends. As I wrote last month, some boaters will want to do it themselves; others will want you, a pro, to do it. Either way, it’s a great way to proactively identify any potential problems that may cause a rough day on the water. That’s the “do as I say” part of this blog.
Unfortunately, what many dealers “do” is ignore their own advice when it comes to their website. The hard truth: Not “doing seasonal service” on your website can translate into lost opportunities, leads and sales.
With the speed of change on the Internet, your website, at a minimum, requires “seasonal service” along with routine maintenance. Either on your own, or with the help from your website provider, you need to take the time to tune up your website to ensure a smooth season for your sales, service, and parts departments.
As you go through the tune-up process, make sure you go beyond simply dusting off the cobwebs and looking at the obvious – your home page, new and used inventory pages and specials. The following are a couple of areas that, while often overlooked, can help you drive incremental online traffic and lead to in-store sales:
- Events Calendar. Whenever I visit a dealership, I make it a point to note the flyers posted in the front windows, bulletin boards, and the piles of leaflets left on the parts counter promoting all the fun, informative, and not-to-miss events going on in the boating community. The irony, however, is that when I click on the events calendar for that same dealer’s website, it’s out of date, or in some cases empty! Posting events – yours as well as customers – on your website is a great way to add new content for the search engines to find. That can result in improved rankings and increase the likelihood that your dealership will be returned in search results! It’s also a great way to show your support and commitment to the community. And, remember, when you display information on your website as well as in your store, you’re reaching 100 times more people in any given month. Hopefully, your web provider makes it really easy to post an event, including text, links, pictures, and best yet, videos.
- News. As I browse dealer websites, I continue to find articles that are years old or contain outdated information. Having current, informative and relevant articles on your site will encourage prospective buyers to come back. It’s also a great way to position your dealership as go-to site for enthusiasts. Plus, you’re giving our good buddies Google, Yahoo and Bing even more new content to find on your website. Done right, this area of your site can be the easiest to keep current. Industry news, association and manufacturer websites are a valuable source of ongoing, fresh content – make sure to reference the source at the bottom of any articles you decide to post (I recommend asking for permission). Don’t forget to include your own articles and pictures about the fun your customers are having with their boats.
The next time you remind a customer that the best way to get the most out of their boat is to do “seasonal service” as well as regular maintenance, make sure you’ve taken your own advice to heart when it comes to your website! Detailing your site on a regular basis will generate more traffic, more leads and help you Sell More Stuff!
Bob McCann is Director of Education at ARI, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the marine, RV, powersports and outdoor power equipment industries. Products and services include eCommerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and eCatalogs (parts, garments, and accessories).