One recurring theme, constantly reverberating throughout the trade at present, is the growth of the internet. We know that 80% of car buyers use a search engine to investigate a potential purchase. We also know that customers are 10 times more likely to look at a car advertised with at least one image and we know that an even larger percentage of buyers search on line before even setting foot in a car showroom.
Another aspect related to the growth of the net and one that perhaps isn’t so obvious, is that buyers are now hungry for detailed information. Having a single picture is nowhere near enough, buyers demand multi-picture technology, close-ups and interior shots with film technology really taking off.
Whilst it is unlikely that the majority of buyers will ever wish to buy a used car outright on line (only 4% of buyers currently do so) it stands to reason that they will still wish to take the process as far down the line as possible before having to actually visit the dealership.
In many cases, although buyers are prepared to search up to 100 miles from their physical location for cars, they usually would far prefer to buy locally which puts even more pressure on dealers to bring their technology right up to date and ensure that trained competent staff possess excellent knowledge of how best to handle enquiries via the net.
Optimising their sites for relevant keywords so they can be found by the internet search engines is also becoming vital for dealers in order that they are visited by as many potential buyers as possible. Page representation is also imperative for dealers as research shows that the vast majority of people looking at search engine results never go beyond the top 3 positions. So if a dealer’s website turns up on the second page of search engine results, for a powerful keyword combination, then they might as well be on page 100 for all the traffic this will get them.
So the battle is well and truly on and we expect plenty more businesses to pour marketing budgets into developing a web presence rather than advertising cars via the local rag. The key, of course, as with any form of advertising, is to ensure that the message (i.e. the cars or the dealers services) are strongly represented on the most relevant and up to date sites which end up bringing in the most showroom traffic.