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Although auto manufacturers like Ford and Mercedes frequently advertise on television, local dealerships focus their marketing efforts on digital content. You can still see regional newspaper ads, but as AutoFi puts it, auto buyers shop for cars and trucks "in vastly different ways than 10 or 15 years ago." These days, 86% of car shoppers spend hours looking online before visiting showrooms. A study by Cox Automotive revealed that customers who purchased cars spent about 15 hours researching, shopping, going to dealerships and negotiating. About 9½ of these hours were online.


How Car Buyers Shop

When people begin the automotive buying process, most will be open to different vehicle options, which is nothing less than a stellar opportunity. Digital marketing is the best way to ensure that they find your dealership online and that your salespeople are ready to help. Invoca explains that 76% of new and used car shoppers do online searches before buying, visiting an average of just over four websites before making purchases. 


About 33% of this time is spent using mobile devices. Another trend is watching "test drive" videos on YouTube, which have recently experienced an increase in traffic of more than 65%. Consumers are much more involved in the car buying process than ever before: they're more educated and tech-savvy, able to understand the features they want, prices and how to negotiate. Their online computer and mobile device research is what drives countless calls to dealerships all over the world.


Shopper-Friendly Dealer Websites

Buying a used or new car is a complex process, and potential customers like to arm themselves with information before visiting dealers. Sixty-one percent of these shoppers will call a dealership after a search, and this is where website click-to-call buttons are helpful. These provide seamless links from online to real people and have been shown to increase click-through rates (CTR) and ad performance.


It is essential to invest in the highest-quality web design and vehicle photos. There can be pages for new inventory and pre-owned vehicles, specials, content from manufacturers, test drive videos, and pictures of your showroom. Your website should also have a page about your service center, an "about us" page, and an informative blog. Your audiences will want to read about detailed vehicle specifics, special deals and authoritative, consistent content.

SEO Geared for Auto Dealers

Because people are almost always on the move, they need to know where they can find a Toyota Rav4 or Kia Sportage close to where they are. Your dealership website also needs to be optimized for SEO to help these potential customers find it. In this industry, local SEO is crucial since approximately half of all mobile searches are for local results.


Effective keyword research will help you build content that achieves high rankings on search engine results pages (SERP). Search Engine Journal explains that the first organic result on a Google SERP has a 28.5% average CTR. This CTR falls quickly after the first positions, with the second and third spots having 15% and 11% CTR, respectively. The cornerstone for building high organic SEO rankings is consistent, authoritative automotive content that appeals to readers and follows the latest, best SEO practices.


How Auto Dealers Use Social Media to Their Benefit

Social media is very influential for car purchasers, and if you are not active on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms, you are missing out on potential customers every day. According to Carzato, 44% of auto buyers learn about new vehicle launches on social media or messaging services. In addition, 77% report that social media posts can make them think about buying or leasing new autos.


Another study in The Business Journals mentioned that 87% of those surveyed had researched car purchases on social media before purchasing. Two out of three responded that they had bought cars they found on social media. When researching autos and auto dealerships, buyers use these platforms as essential information sources. Now is the time to create accounts on social networks. Remember that these accounts must remain active with frequent posts about your dealership and vehicles.


If your digital marketing plan is not up to speed, you will soon learn that your competitors are taking away much of your business. Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing has all the tools your dealership needs to help potential customers find you online and stay engaged. Many will only be browsing, but others will want to set up service appointments, find trade-in deals, contact a salesperson, or even make purchases.

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