Article

Old School Meets High Tech

May 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Tom Langas - Also by this author

Advertising and the Super Site

A funny thing happened on our way to discovering how to drive traffic to our Web site, we realized we were already doing just that.

Okay, let me go back to the beginning. A year ago, the owners and I decided it was time for a major face-lift for our Web site, as well as a change of advertising philosophy as it pertained to our site. We had, basically, a “homemade” Web site for years that did a nice job of complementing our advertising. We decided it was time to call in the professionals and let them design a “super site” so visible that our advertising would complement it, instead of the other way around.

After several weeks of study and checking out company references, we signed on with TK Carsites. The designing, and publishing, of our current Web site was truly a collaborative effort that has been greatly rewarded. I give my highest recommendation to the professionals at TK. So, as not to sound like an ad for the designers, I would also add that there were a lot of changes and frustrations along the way in order for our site to become, ultimately, the vision of our owners.

Every company out there that does Web site design has their vision of what your site should be to be successful. They are not aware of your market's nuances, quirks and hot spots. It is up to you and others in your company to stick by your guns and make these talented designers see your vision. You both will be better for it. The end result has been spectacular. Take a look at www.academycars.com.

They combine their TK5 technology with an SEO department that keeps leads flowing to us. Our lead count has more than doubled, which, needless to say, has led to more sales. It became apparent early on that we needed to explore ways to advertise to send more people to our new Web site. We did (and are still doing) blogs, YouTube, MySpace, etc., with limited success. We never did radio or TV.

In our small, quirky market, half-page ads in the local paper used to do as much as anything, but no more. We depend exclusively on our high-tech Web site to create traffic on our showroom floor. After experimenting with several high-tech methods of traffic development, an old, cheap, low-tech advertising standard rose above them all. Over half of our site traffic is generated by individual classified ads in our local newspaper. We have 'five-liners' for every vehicle in stock that run every day. The ads have no prices or phone numbers. They describe the vehicle and give the Web address where more info is available. The results speak for themselves using the language of sales and profits.

Several months ago, we also adopted a company philosophy not to participate in the recession. Business is good. That's the story from my “trench” and I'm sticking to it!

Special Finance Insider Vol. 3, Issue 3

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