Independent dealers are facing the fact that a strong online presence and digital marketing efforts are essential if you want to grow your business in 2022 and beyond. As walk-ins and street traffic dwindle, it’s vital to start thinking about your homepage as your storefront, your Instagram grid as your sales floor, and your DMs as a lead source. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of buzzwords like ‘SEO, CRM tools, and digital marketing stack,’ you’re not alone.
Assuming your business has a website, Facebook profile, and monthly marketing newsletter (a ‘digital marketing starter pack,’ if you will), what is the next-best channel for you to focus your online efforts?
George Nenni, founder of Generations Digital and highly sought-after automotive marketing expert, makes a case for leveraging your Google My Business listings to strengthen your digital profile and ultimately win more business. How? Let’s take it step-by-step.
Google My Business (GMB) is one of the few free digital resources where you can advertise your company, your inventory and products, your testimonials, and your important resources in one easy-to-find location. Not only is it a free advertising and awareness platform, but a strong GMB profile can also greatly impact your overall search rankings, bringing more traffic to your site and, potentially, more leads.
You also have paid options through Google, including Vehicle Listing Ads (VLAs). We have recently helped many of our clients start using this valuable tool - don’t hesitate to connect with us if you would like to learn more or have us organize this paid service for you.
Yes, you read that right: you can create multiple pages for the various departments of your business to improve your ranking. It’s impossible to optimize a single listing for your business due to GMB’s fixed categories, so George Nenni suggests creating a listing for each department, including your primary sales centre, service department, body shop, parts department, and even your customer lounge and shuttle centre. Be precise when you fill out the primary information for each listing (hours, phone number, contact information), and use a unique image for each department. By leveraging this feature, you stand to greatly improve your rankings across your entire business and show up in top search results for a wider variety of keywords.
Remember, independent business owners are already feeling constraints on their time and resources. Luckily, there are several free GMB tools that make it easy to see big results from minimal effort:
Google itself recommends having a strong FAQ area, and George couldn’t agree more. Come up with a few softball questions that supplement the “why buy” of your dealership, and have your friends and family members ask one or two of these questions each week. Then you can log in as the business owner to answer the questions, which will strengthen your FAQ area. FAQ has already been a GMB feature for 6 years, but not enough people are paying attention to it - go check yours out.
There are three elements for ranking: proximity, relevance, and prominence. Proximity can’t be changed, so don’t worry too much about it. Now you’re left with relevance and prominence. Relevance is whether you’ve chosen the right categories for your business, are using keywords effectively, and generally how successfully you’ve educated Google on what it is that you do. Prominence has to do with whoever has the most reviews, stars, and check-ins. Essentially, the more you have, the higher you’ll rank, so yes - GMB reviews are incredibly important.
Reviews and ratings are your GMB aces in the pocket. This section will take care of itself so long as you continue to provide outstanding services at your dealership - after all, somebody else is doing the writing. But you can nurture this section of GMB by responding to reviews, good or bad, and reporting questionable reviews to Google. If you don’t have time to respond to every good review, George suggests responding graciously to any of your personalized reviews and all of your negative reviews at a minimum. Think about strategies for getting reviews, since volume can matter in the eyes of Google, and always keep in mind that your reviews count as searchable content.
George shares that in his experience working with thousands of dealerships and small businesses, those who are leveraging Google My Business are seeing significantly more success than their counterparts. It’s a free tool that can pack a huge impact when you take full advantage of its features, and by engaging George’s pro-tips for GMB, you can help elevate your digital presence quickly and efficiently.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the world of Google My Business, the team at FlexDealer is here to help. We manage GMB profiles for many of our dealer partners and can help you start, strengthen, or maximize your digital profile. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free audit of your current GMB profile, or take a look at our Google Everything packages to learn more about how Flex can take your business to the next level using GMB’s suite of digital tools!