Advice from a Successful Dealership Media Expert

In the fast-paced world that we all live in, the internet ecosystem seems to move even faster. As car shopping continues to move into a digital mode, how do you develop creative solutions to make sure that your dealership’s website stands out from the competition? One of the best methods is simple – create a strong, constant web presence.

In a recent interview with one of GSC’s most successful clients, Stephen Holtzman, the Director of Media and Integrated Marketing at Cornwall Nissan, we were able to obtain some methods for creating a successful dealer website. “ I just got back from vacation”, he told us, “and I looked at the analytics for Cornwall Nissan, which as you know I monitor regularly. From the day I left the downward trend began…as soon as I arrived back and started adding content the numbers stated rising. It proves that adding content as well regular site updates do make a difference. If you don’t maintain content and keep it current, Google Bots will ignore you, and the internet will ignore you.”

What are some other secrets to their success on the web? Here are five easy methods that Cornwall Nissan uses that you can implement into your 2016 web strategy:

1. Humanize Your Dealership Online

You want to create a space where both you and your customer can interact. Along with staying fresh and current, social media creates a vehicle of discussion and interaction. This involves not only keeping dealership social media accounts updated, but also by creating web content on a personal level. Having a staff page that includes headshots with social media links gives the customer a chance to meet the team before entering the dealership.

2. Take Advantage of Social Media’s Ripple Effect

Social widgets are a mainstay on countless sites. Not only does the user get a sense of community from them, but they’re a great, easy way to improve your web presence through multiple networks. Social signals like Twitter re-tweets and Facebook shares create a ripple effect. When you post information it reaches the immediate audience – who has the option to post the information again to a “second level network”, and so on. Post your content on your social networks to expand and reach your audience.

3. SEO Gives Your Dealer Website an Edge Over the Brand Site

Thanks to search engine optimization (SEO), customers are more likely to be drawn to a dealer’s page based on location and brand, rather than the OEM’s corporate site, which gives dealers the advantage of putting less of an emphasis on other ad mediums (print, radio or direct mail). As with other forms of advertising, your content needs to be up to date – a mislabeled price or product could mean the loss of a sale at the point of contact between the dealer and customer.

Hiring an expert who is dedicated to your social web-presence and your search engine optimization is a great investment for your company if budget allows. “Many dealerships don’t understand how important daily maintenance is and how current content benefits them, “ Stephen mentions, “Having someone doing this full time is the key to your success and why Cornwall Nissan is successful – not only because of my work, but because of the guidance of Mr. Gabriel, Steve Eastman our General Manager, and our staff. We are a team and we succeed by working together. Collaboration between myself, the Parts Department, the Service Department and Steve on a regular basis proves that success in what we do – it can and does work.”

4. Let Google Do Some of the Work

By searching for keywords that are relevant to your particular brand daily, you’re given a chance to post the news of that day through social media and blog posts. Additionally, implementing your daily news (i.e. finance specials) to the same networks also keeps your content fresh and accessible. That said, it’s key to implement the KISS Method – Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t fill your site with unnecessary bodies of text, or even just immediate words to fill up sentences in an effort to create more keywords, because as Stephen says, “Google is smarter than you think”.

5. Post Your Customer Reviews

Allowing the customer to have their opinion heard is very important. By keeping your Reviews page content fresh, you have the ability to show how people are reacting to your services. “Using the Review Tool in the GSC web platform allows me to easily post customer comments and testimonials coming in through the website”, was one of Stephen’s tips on making that easier. It’s very important to respond to all feedback as well. Good or bad, suggestions should all be considered to making your dealership the best it can be online.

Finally, be present with your customers and respond to everything immediately. Plug in a personalized automated response system like GSC Super Responder to send an email to let a customer who submitted an inquiry know that the request has been received. Equally important is to keep an eye on what people are saying about your dealership on social media – because inquiries can and often will come in through it.

Ultimately, a strong web presence is one of the best methods of getting your dealership’s name out there. By using these tried and true, simple steps, you can grow your customer base, creating an inexpensive and beneficial ROI. Just keep it simple – stay current, listen to your customers and you’ll see your website (and dealership) traffic grow.

To learn more about Cornwall Nissan, visit