Scott Sinclair - Motor Trade Industry Manager for Google gives us his top tips for how motor traders can make the most from their Google presence.
Scott handles Google accounts for all related motor industry service providers. That includes: car dealers, repairers, manufacturers etc.
We were fortunate enough to hear him speak at CDX16, an event created by Car Dealer Magazine for motor traders. Below we've paraphrased the highlights from his appearance.
What are your biggest tips for the motor trade?
- Firstly make sure website works on mobile
- Create relevant engaging content for your users - not necessarily unique
- Reduce text - nobody likes have to read thousands of words
- Make video that is engaging and useful
You need to ask yourself a series of questions and answer them from your desired users perspective.
Ask yourself "What info do my visitors want to discover?"
Do answer this question you can analyse data and gain insights from Adwords searches.
That will tell you what keywords are people searching and will help you drive more traffic to the site
How can you get them to stay on your site?
It doesn't matter if yours is a template based site as long as it meets your business objectives ie does it effectively promote the sale of vehicles, can users find the information they're keen to read?
Page load speed has to be super fast - we all find buffering super annoying and will move on if a page doesn't load quickly. Page load speed on mobile is more important than design.
40% of all car buying searches take place on mobile devices. This figure has increased YOY by 38% in the last 12 months. That represents break neck speed in mobile search growth
How and why should I have video on my motor trade site?
Videos of the cars you have for sale is important as long as consumers want to view them. Be smart as what you can do on your budget might be limited.
Most traders will have HD cameras on their phone. Experiment cost effectively and if it doesn't work it won't be the end of the world.
Your video doesn't have to have the highest production values as long as you've thought through what you're going to say and how you present it, i.e. if you're need a road can you still be heard?
How have consumer buying patterns changed for a motor trader?
Consumers now spend on average 1.7 - 3 months researching a vehicle purchase online. So its no longer an impulsive purchase on a Sunday afternoon after you've packed the kids into the car on a Sunday afternoon and headed down to the local dealer. Once visitors arrive at a dealership they're in the mindset to buy. The challenge is getting the footfall to your premises. People still buy in person but you need to be there at the start of the process and at the end of their online journey.
Installling analytics will help you understand your customers journey through your website. Does your site help your customers buy your cars? Keep asking yourself that question if that's your main objective.
Make sure your Google business page is up to date with accurate info such as, your address which you can pin, correct contact details, website address and opening hours.
This will help with you appear in geo-location traffic searches which is very important. Near me searches have increased by 250% in the last year.
Google will also let users know when your showroom or forecourt is likely to be busy. As a dealer you can also view that information which might provide valuable insight.
Talk us through a typical car buyers online journey
High level search terms are the start of the buyer's process ie " Best family car." They then narrow down a short list to approximately 4 vehicle makes and models.
This is where manufacturers start battling for prominence and finance becomes a key question - where can they get it at a good rate and can they afford the vehicle?
A search for a local trader is carried out next.
Contrary to popular belief reviews come last. Only after a trader has sold a vehicle do reviews become crucial, this because they act as a point of validation for a purchase. They allay potentional fears that the consumer has made an error. That's why having reviews on your site is important as you don't want your customer worrying for 3 months post purchase, you want to give them confidence.
Why is it so important that a trader advertises online?
Consumers are spending more and more of their time online where as TV, local press, radio are in decline.
Make sure that each online platform is working for you. Selling cars is your priority - if you've limited time and budget focus on the area that returns the greatest reward.
It stands to reason that someone who has searched "Buy a...insert your own particular make and model" has signalled their intentions to make a purchase and its a great opportunity for you to capitalise.
Read more: We're taking part in Bangers for BEN 2016!