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Ben Garside: Visiting dealers is always worthwhile

Time 5 years ago

I’VE RECENTLY been out to visit a number of dealers, mainly at the dealers’ request.

But I’ve also gone out on a few unannounced off-the-cuff visits to some dealers who we don’t work with.

I like to do this from time to time as I get to learn about the market and the differences between dealers – as well as finding out about the different ways they work.


It really is a varied day out, visiting dealers who have completely different stock profiles.

One dealer I saw had just 10 cars and another more than 100; one was a franchised dealer while another was a family-run business.

The key areas that were the same across them all were that they all wanted higher business levels and they all sold cars. On my days out, I like to discuss all sorts of things to do with marketing and the market we work within. We always enjoy the visits and in the main they are very positive.

One of the main reasons for me going out on this occasion was that I wanted to help dealers get more customers coming to them via their websites.


Giving marketing advice and offering guidance to dealers is a key part of our role at First Response and something that we pride ourselves on.

Dealers are all different and they all have different website providers, but in the main they all work in the same way, so my advice really does apply to all dealers.

Let’s look at one key area: search engine optimisation (SEO). At one dealership I visited, when I started asking about how they were doing getting business through search engine optimisation, they didn’t really know what I was on about.

They said they were at the top and proceeded to show me the results for a search on their dealership name. While it is great to be at the top for your name, I was trying to draw attention to other aspects.

When I said that I wanted to know where they were for search terms like ‘used cars <city>’ and ‘used cars <county>’ they were unsure, and when we looked, they weren’t ranking for ‘used cars <county>’ and they were really low for ‘used cars <city>’.

From a business point of view, they were missing a large amount of traffic and business opportunities.

When I was back at the office, I worked out what the dealer could get traffic-wise and – based on standard conversion rates – what they could get through ranking for these key terms.

I then looked at their pages and worked out what was required.

This varied across the website from page titles, header tags, body content, internal links and links into the pages from other websites… the list went on.


I rewrote a couple of the pages for the dealer, adding internal links, and I also prepared a few additional pages.

This was a day’s work for me but the dealer is now ranking well for both search terms and has increased traffic. If you’d like our assistance then get in touch – we’d love to help.

Who is Ben Garside? Ben is marketing manager for First Response Finance. Call him on 07817 518739 or email [email protected]

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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