A New Year’s Business Resolution
Give Your Website a Quick Check-Up for Improved Results
by: Bob McCann
As the new year approaches, one of the business resolutions dealers
should commit to is fine-tuning their website to start strong in 2009
with a quick check-up. Treating your website as another brick-and-mortar
location is crucial because it’s open 24-hours-a-day,
Over 80 percent of consumers visit your website before walking into
your dealership, so you must keep your website fresh and updated. It
should have all the information prospects need about the RVs you sell to
prevent them from going somewhere else – and this includes
manufacturers’ websites. If your site does not give visitors what
they need in seconds, they will click over to your competitors.
The check-up should be painless. Take a few moments to review the
tips below. Follow them to easily and quickly create an enhanced site
that will generate returning visitors, leads, and sales.
The best way to prove how great your dealership is, is to let your
customers brag for you. Insert a “testimonials” section as a
tab under “About Us” so prospects can read about the great
experiences buyers have had with your dealership. This will also build
loyalty and strengthen the relationship you have with current customers
as well. Include at least four strong testimonials and update them every
couple of months. Inserting a photo of the buyer and/or the
buyer’s family will make a testimonial more genuine. A prospective
buyer may already know your customer, which would generate more
credibility without spending additional dollars. Your current web
solutions provider should enable you to add or update this and all your
pages quickly and easily.
SHARE YOUR STORIES
Take the testimonials section a step further and have your customers and
employees submit stories about their personal experiences with their
RVs. It will make both parties feel like they are part of the RV
experience. Your web solutions provider should offer a tool which
enables visitors to easily click a link such as “Share Your
Stories” to upload photos and stories in minutes. Make sure this
section is not similar to a blog. The tool should give you the ability
to review and approve each story first to assure the content is
appropriate. Remember to organize stories starting with the most recent.
Add this “Share Your Stories” tab under “About
Make your site the one place to find all RV News. If prospective buyers
find current articles and press releases on your site, they will most
likely come back to keep themselves up-to-date. Post articles and press
releases in a “News” tab. Organize content starting with the
most recent information to keep returning visitors engaged. The easiest
way to get information for the “News” section is to sign up
to receive e-newsletters from several industry publications,
associations, and web solutions providers. As a matter of professional
courtesy and to avoid any copy infringement issues, always ask for
permission in writing and reference the source at the bottom of each
article. Your goal is to get the customer or prospect to mark your site
as a favorite.
Give visitors the opportunity to know what RV events are occurring in
your area. Even if you’re not participating in all local shows or
events, include them to position your dealership as a valuable resource
for RV enthusiasts. Fill in dates for the entire year and add to the
calendar as you hear of new events. Tie-in your online calendar to your
offline marketing strategy by posting signs at your dealership. Include
the information on the homepage of your website and print flyers to hand
out at the front desk. Your web solutions provider should offer you a
simple tool to insert events, photos, and descriptions in your calendar
with automatic upload to your site in real-time.
Again, your website should be a direct reflection of your
brick-and-mortar location. If you promote specials throughout your
dealership, post them on your online store. Include specials and/or
coupons on individual RV listings because that special price could be
the factor that gets a prospect into the dealership.
Also include a “Specials” tab in the main
navigation bar of your homepage, or use a banner or button ad, so
prospective buyers can go directly to specials if the most important
criterion in buying an RV is getting a deal. Again, your web solutions
provider should offer a tool that allows you to easily upload photos,
descriptions, and coupons in minutes for each RV. In fact, your provider
should even supply the specs for each RV automatically so you
don’t have to manually enter them.
Post specials in the “Parts and Service” section of your
website so both current and prospective buyers can benefit from deals.
If you get writer’s block, check out your manufacturers’ or
industry sites for language on special pricing or visit other
dealers’ sites and see how they are promoting specials.
In addition to specials for a given model of RV, offer packaged deals
to sell multiple services at a competitive price. If you are including
free, valued-added deals such as free gas, service, or dealer-installed
options, be sure to feature them on your website. Remember to keep
specials fresh and exciting. Develop an e-mail campaign to promote
specials in conjunction with major holidays or other events.
Do you post every RV on your website, keep them up-to-date, and remove
them once you sell them? There is no point in having your inventory
posted unless both new and used RVs are featured correctly. You can mark
a unit as “Sold” or “Coming Soon” if you are not
ready to post an RV at a given time. You should have complete specs with
each unit of inventory, whether new or used. Also include a variety of
high-quality pictures of the RV and any related special accessories and
features. Compelling listings will increase lead volume and ultimately
sales. Your web solutions provider should give you quick and easy access
to photos, specs, and information on your inventory so you don’t
have to manually enter the information. All you need to do is log on to
the tool and click on what goes where.
In order to keep up with your new year’s resolution, you might
want to assign someone at your dealership the responsibility for
maintaining and updating your site. Hold your website manager as
accountable as you would your sales and service managers so you get
better results, including increased exposure, leads, and ultimately
Last but not least, a quick check-up is a good start, but your
website may need a fresh look. Successful dealers freshen up their
website every 18 to 24 months to foster consumer engagement and drive
sales.When was the last time you gave your website a facelift?
Bob McCann, a 15-year sales education veteran, is the author
of the nationally-recognized e-Business sales method known as TIPS
(Traffic, Interactive website, Process, Sales.) As the director of
client education for Channel Blade, McCann has developed proven
e-business sales processes to support the company’s growing list
of clients, including more than 60 leading manufacturers and 2,000
dealer locations worldwide. Channel Blade provides award-winning
website, lead generation, lead management, and sales education solutions
to the Marine, RV, and Powersports industries. McCann and the marketing
department can be reached at (877) 242-5233, email@example.com.