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‘Tis the season for a quick check-up

Brad Smith, Product Manager, ARI
December 20, 2011
Filed under Service Providers

As the new year approaches, one of the business resolutions dealers should commit to is fine-tuning their website to start strong in 2012. Keeping your website fresh and updated will increase qualified traffic, leads and sales.

Here is an easy-to-follow checklist to make sure your website becomes (or remains) the sales-driving tool it should be:

Inventory – Mirror what’s in store. Listings should be current and feature multiple high-quality pictures, at least one video, complete descriptions, options and pricing. Use available product descriptions and photos, but also go the extra mile and shoot your own images and videos.

Specials – Post specials on parts and services, so both current customers and prospective buyers can benefit from them. All deals promoted in-store should be posted online. Consider offering packaged deals to sell multiple services at a competitive price. If you are including valued-added deals, such as free gas, service or dealer-installed options, be sure to feature them on your website. Keep specials fresh and exciting.

News – Current articles and press releases on your site will encourage visitors to come back for updates. Share your accomplishments, including industry awards, sales milestones, company expansion, recent and upcoming events, etc. Help yourself by also using relevant news available on the websites of the manufacturers you represent, including the press releases they issue and the resulting media coverage which will serve as great content for search engines to index, making it easier for prospects to find your website.

Testimonials – There is nothing more credible than third-party endorsement. Give the microphone to your customers in a “Testimonials” tab under the “About Us” section, so prospects can read about the great experiences buyers have had with your team. This will also build loyalty and strengthen the relationship you have with current customers.

Include at least five strong testimonials with a different angle – experience with a bike or service they purchased from you, experience with a staff member they were pleased with, etc. – and update them every quarter. Inserting a photo of the buyer and/or the buyer’s family will make a testimonial more genuine.

Events calendar – Position your dealership as a source of valuable information on events in your area. All local events promoted in-store should also be posted online. Fill in dates in advance as much as possible and update the calendar as you hear of new events.

Someone at your dealership should be responsible for maintaining and updating your site. This person should be held as accountable as your sales and service managers, so you can increase traffic and leads. The right website solution makes this process quick and easy by offering pre-populated features, specifications, descriptions and photos, so that person can keep up the good work in just a few clicks.

A quick, pre-new year checkup is a good start, but your website may need more than this simple checklist. Successful dealers freshen up their website every 18-24 months to foster customer engagement and drive sales. When was the last time you gave your website a makeover?

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