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It’s Not Just a Box You Check and Forget

Brad Cannon | 07/01/2015

I’m talking about your website. 


In the powersports industry, we are a pretty spoiled group when it comes to web sites. There are three big players in the industry, and they all have a pretty much ‘done for you’ solution. A dealer can open a dealership, call a web provider, provide a logo, and in short order have a functioning web site up and running. 


And that’s where a lot of dealers stop.


Therein lies the rub. The landscape of business is not what it used to be. Now, any business has two locations that have to be maintained: 

1. It’s physical, brick and mortar location, and 




2. It’s digital presence.


The online world can’t be ignored or overlooked. Studies have shown that well over 90% of people research products and businesses online before making a purchase. 


So how much time and effort does the average dealer put into their web site on a monthly basis? Very little, actually.


If you are one of those dealers reading this now who thinks I’m making a big deal out of nothing, let’s take a closer look and see why the ‘set it and forget it’ strategy for a web site might be a bad idea.


Take a look at your physical location. Is everything in your location set up exactly how it was the day you opened? Of course not. Sure, your parts, service, and sales departments probably occupy the same physical space, but they don’t look the same. Things change, different products are emphasized, parts are added and discontinued, all kinds of things happen. In the same way that your physical dealership changes, so should your digital dealership. One of the goals of your web site is to get folks to revisit it when they are looking for something. If it never changes, visitors get the feeling that it’s stale, dated, and probably not worth revisiting. 


Am I advising to redesign your site every month? No. I am advising that slider banners get updated regularly, offers get changed up, and that when visitors hit the site a month or so later, it looks like something changed, just like the feeling they get in your physical dealership when visiting from time to time.


Chances are, what I’ve said so far is probably not super surprising to anyone, so let’s take a deeper look and get into territory I’ll bet you a beer you haven’t thought about.


Not editing, changing, or customizing your web site can cost (and probably is costing) you money. 

The reason I say that, is because many (most) dealers are bolting on AdWords campaigns to their web sites. This is a fantastic thing, because I can’t think of a better way to spend online advertising money. Here’s the thing you want to think about though: how much clicks cost are based in part on the quality of your site.


Now, an AdWords campaign is almost never going to direct traffic to the home page of a dealers web site, because AdWords is focused on conversions – generating leads that turn browsers into buyers, and that doesn’t happen on the home page. It happens on individual model pages, service appointment pages, and parts request pages, and that is where AdWords campaigns land people – farther down the sales funnel. 


Where do dealers spend most of their energy and time on their web site? The home page.


That’s not all bad, but what happens typically is that all of the individual product pages for all the units gets overlooked, and the only content on those pages is whatever the site provider puts there, which typically amounts to a simple spec sheet that is not too compelling. 


So what is my advice? Take the time to put some content on the individual product pages. Each page doesn’t have to be the length of a novel, but there needs to be some content there for a couple of reasons.


First, your web site is supposed to help turn browsers into buyers. If there is nothing more compelling on the page than a couple of pictures, seat height and engine specs, you are missing opportunities, and that is costing you money.


When I was working the sales floor, I always had something I would say about each model if someone came in looking. Sort of a 30 second elevator pitch about each unit that could then turn into a real presentation as the client showed interest. That’s what should be on each unit page. Take the time each year as the new models come out to do this and you’ll be ahead of the game. Sell the sizzle to get the conversion and then the sale. An online brochure won’t get it done.


The second reason is that to make the most out of your AdWords campaigns you’ll want content there. There are two main factors that play into what makes up cost-per-click charges with Google, bid amount and quality score (on a scale from 1-10).  


Bid amount is how much you are willing to bid for a click (not how much you will actually pay), and quality score is made up of over 100 criteria. Content on your landing pages helps your overall quality score in several ways. Google looks at the keyword you bid on, the ad you show, and the landing page you go to, to determine the relevance they have to each other. If they are in alignment, you get a better quality score. Content on your landing page helps Google understand what the page is about, and when they understand it, your quality score goes up and your costs go down.  Additionally, with good content on your landing pages, your bounce rates will go down (that’s when someone lands on your site and leaves without viewing any other pages), your visitors time on your site will increase, as will conversions – all of which increase quality scores, reduce click costs, and – oh, by the way – result in more dollars in the register.


The takeaway here is that you don’t have your sales staff walk around your physical dealership handing out brochures and waiting for people to buy, you expect them to sell. Your digital dealership should sell too, and it gets the conversation started with good content that causes visitors to respond.


Oh, and if you need some help pointing people to those pages to get those conversations started let us know. We have the best folks in the business ready to give you a hand.

PSM Marketing

825 Highway 74 South
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Tel: (877) 242-4472
Int: (770) 692-1750