The battle for the 1st page of Google can be easily won with the right strategy. Your Google My Business profile is invaluable online real estate that shouldn’t just be claimed. It needs to be optimized. Google offers many Google My Business profile features that will showcase your 5-star reviews, hours, special offers and now, all your cars for sale.
With Google live inventory can be dynamically shown within a dealership’s Google My Business profile. That means when car buyers search for a dealership, they can now explore all new and used vehicles for sale and ultimately click through to a dealership’s website. Live inventory is a great way to promote vehicles to searchers who are actively shopping for vehicles.
While selling vehicles is a primary focus, there are so many opportunities for dealerships to double down on their service revenue, even when a dealer’s profits are high. Part of increasing service business includes making it more convenient for customers.
“That’s the time to make it better,” says Erica Sietsma, Chief Operating Officer at Digital Air Strike. “You don’t want to be scrambling when the market is down. Less investment, more profit, more revenue. People will pay more for convenience.”
A lot of dealer’s service pages are often an afterthought, and that’s an ample opportunity to explain the conveniences you offer customers, special offers and loyalty incentives.
“Stop treating service as your redheaded stepchild,” said Sietsma, adding she can say that since she has red hair. “Put a little investment into your service and parts. You want consumers to search and find your website.”
Separate Google My Business profiles can also be created for sales and for service/parts that highlight unique hours, offers, reviews and more. Google’s Q&A feature can also be pre-populated with frequently asked questions/answers that promote dealerships and why consumers should do business with them.
Service for Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicle owners are the newest segment of drivers. Most consumers are not familiar with EV maintenance and perceive their servicing costs to be higher than conventional vehicles.
“There are a lot of misconceptions and unknowns in the EV space,” Lisette Gole, Google’s head of automotive retail said in a recent presentation of Google’s study of fixed ops consumer behavior and Google search trends. “This is a great opportunity to educate consumers.”
When Sietsma bought her pre-owned EV, she didn’t think about maintenance when she purchased it.
“This is a great opportunity to educate consumers, especially as the market gets larger and less niche,” she said. “Once someone goes EV, they won’t go back. It’s so nice.”
How Consumers Research Online
Over 60% of parts and service shoppers said they used an online resource to research their purchase, with search engines the most used online tool. According to Google, service center/dealer websites, general auto websites, and tire and parts retail websites are tied second in online sources used in their research.
“This can be the basis of your digital strategy,” said Gole.
When it comes to search, seasonality was consistent across most categories during the pandemic and has since increased query volume. For example, tires are most searched online from October to November, brakes from March to August, and batteries from December to January. Oil changes are significant from June to July, and suspensions are most searched from March to April.
“Dealers can use these trends in their marketing strategies, and it can help when they’re ordering parts,” Gole said. “This is national data, so it’s a good way to plan out your digital and inventory strategy.”
Service customers use video, especially on YouTube to confirm the need for professional repair, while parts customers research DIY installation on Google and other search engines. Both of these groups then take action, so it’s essential dealers have a robust YouTube strategy to capture these customers, she said.
“Videos can be a powerful tool in education and action,” Gole said. “After watching a parts or service video online, 53% of service customers scheduled an appointment, while 47% of parts customers looked for more information online.”
Great ideas on using video include adjusted sales and service models, service tips for customers, and business operations and hours. Other videos can include special offers, incentives, safety protocols, highlight parts and service departments, and customer testimonials.
“The videos don’t have to be high production,” Gole said. “Make sure they’re authentic and educational.”
There’s not a lot of competition for dealers in parts and service. It’s not that much of a time investment, and the return is insane, Sietsma said.
“It’s time to start getting creative,” she said. “Be that DIY expert. Record videos showing what happens when you don’t do regular repairs or oil changes. Send videos to your customers. The demand is higher now, and Digital Air Strike can help. Your success is our goal. More dealers partner with DAS for a reason.”
Schedule a 10-min demo with Digital Air Strike today.