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Holistic Digital – Integrating Your Dealerships Online Marketing

There is more to internet marketing than just SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click). Most dealerships understand the importance of both SEO and PPC but usually they are performed by separate companies. Then there are those that bring in yet another company to do their social and newsletter offerings, among other things. While I applaud the dealership that understands the power of having the full gambit of digital marketing, there is a lot to be said for having an integrated campaign.

Lets face it, when you have multiple agencies working on digital, or even traditional marketing for that matter, you spend more time fielding power grabs than you do selling cars. Of course, this post is more than just about having a single agency handle your digital marketing, it’s about integration. The idea is that you should have your marketing, both online and off working together, pushing the same message. It makes no sense whatsoever to have one message being pushed on TV, another through SEO, and yet another through social media.

When it comes to digital marketing you have to stop thinking in silos, that is you have to stop thinking about SEO, social, email, PPC, remarketing, and others as separate entities. Why? Because each one is part of the other, each one has the same end goal and that is to sell more cars and more service.  Why then are most dealerships using the different parts of digital marketing individually instead of together? My guess is that they don’t know any better. In that case, lets get started.

First things first, social is a force multiplier. In military terms a force multiplier is a capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment. Lets replace combat with marketing and see what we get:

A capability that, when added to and employed by a marketing force, significantly increases the marketing potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.

As an example, social marketing has the ability to amplify the effects of SEO. In a a study done by Group M it was found that people who are exposed to a brand through social channels are 2.8 times more likely to search for a brand than those who aren’t. Here’s a question, what are your future customers seeing when they Google your dealership by name? Of course, this is where reputation management comes in and is yet another reason why you need to take an holistic approach to your digital marketing, but what are you seeing?

Many people think that SEO is just that, it helps to optimize your sites pages for specific terms and nothing else. That couldn’t be further from the truth, you can get really creative with the terms your site is indexed for.  In fact you should have certain parts of your site indexed using terms that have nothing to do with buying or servicing a car. Why? Because it well help you to sell cars and service, that’s why!

As an example you could work to get a page on your site indexed for the term Denver charities (searched for over 3k times per month) where you showcase the charities your dealership supports. Just imagine what would happen if people were to run across your dealerships website when they were searching for charities in the local market, what would happen? True, they aren’t in the market but a mental file is placed in their mind that they will remember later, especially if your website/blog gave them the information that they were looking for.

That takes me to another aspect of things to think about when you are putting together your digital marketing plan and that is public relations. I’m in the process of writing a book on social good, social responsibility and how it can be used to connect with and activate your community in order to influence both word-of-mouth and customer loyalty. In other words, while you’re optimizing parts of your website for the social causes your dealerships stands for, also spend time on your social networks pushing the cause and getting others excited about it. How can you use pay-per-click to further your cause along and get others interested in working with the dealership to solve some sort of problem in the community?

At 3GEngagement this is the sort of thing we do. In order to increase the reputation of our dealership clients, which leads to more car sales and increased service customers, we build specific pages on the dealerships website and optimize it for search. From there we will build a social presence around these “social objects” and create a following of passionate people in the local community on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. We then write press releases and blog posts, all pointing back to what the dealerships does. Then, we create a newsletter that reflects what the dealership is all about, and email it to past customers and future customers. Everything is integrated, one part of digital marketing multiplying the effects of the other parts.

I’ve spent the last few paragraphs talking about optimizing your digital marketing for what the dealerships stands for, that doesn’t mean you won’t do the same for the makes you sell and the services you provide. It just means that I want you to think differently, I want you to think about how you can integrate your digital marketing to take a holistic approach to you marketing.

Think of it another way. Think of it as a way to fill the top of your sales funnel but creating awareness around the social purpose of the dealership. Not only that, it will also help those who are already in the market to make the right choice and do business with your dealership.

5 Tips To Thinking Holistically

  1. Define what success looks like and put key performance indicator in place (KPI)?
  2. Define the overall objectives, that is, the objectives that lead to your dealerships definition of success.
  3. Define the channels that you will be using, do your homework and pay particular attention to the type of people using the platforms and what they are most interest in.
  4. Keep your message narrow, don’t try to over reach and push too much out.
  5. Think long term. I know, I know, you’re a dealership and you think in terms of today but there is a lot to be said for a long term flexible strategy.

I’d like to close this post out by saying that they way most dealerships are doing things isn’t necessarily broken, but the needs of the consumer has changed. No, the fact that they need a car hasn’t, but what they need from the businesses they do business with has. That means what they are looking for, past the product you sell, is just as, if not more important.

How is your dealership integrating your marketing? Are you still stuck in the silos mentality or have you broken out? Also, what does your dealership stand for? How can you use digital to tell the community your purpose?

A lot of questions I know, but lets have a conversation about it in the comment section below.

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