COULD your website be a winner? Here’s your chance to find out in the Car Dealer Ewards sponsored by Motors.co.uk
THE internet can be a bit of a mystery, but if mastered could be the key to taking your business from mediocre to massive success. Once just the domain of geeks, the internet is now an integral part of our everyday lives.
Getting your virtual showroom right is now just as important – if not more so – than your real life one. If your customers can’t find their way around it easily or work out where to contact you, it could be as bad as turning your back and ignoring them.
Online customers are fickle beasts – if they don’t get what they want within a few clicks they’ll be off shopping somewhere else. You wouldn’t let a prospective client walk out the showroom that easily would you?
So, in an attempt to help you make the very most of the web, we’ve launched the Car Dealer Ewards in association with Motors.co.uk. Our aim is simple – to find the very best car dealer websites on the net!
We’ll be handing out gongs in fourdifferent categories – so first you need to pick which one suits you. They are:
- Independent Car Dealer Website of the Year
- Franchised Car Dealer Website of the Year
- Special Web Achievement Award
- Car Manufacturer Website of the Year
Once you know which category best suits you simply send an email to [email protected] with the name of the category – ‘Independent’, ‘Franchised’, ‘Special’ or ‘Manufacturer’ will be fine – in the subject bar, your website address and no more than 250 words as to why you think your website should win.
We’ll come up with a shortlist of entries which will be put forward to our expert judging panel – see details right – who will vote for their favourites.
To ensure things are fair, each judge will have a set allocation of points to award to the shortlisted websites and then the judges’ scores will be totted up to give us our winners. We’ll announce the results in our December issue, which is published in the middle of November.
However, in each issue in the run-up to the Ewards we’ll be featuring an entrant at random and we’ll be chatting to them about their site, how it came about and the thinking behind it.
Our judges will also offer some of their thoughts on the site too – so the sooner you get an entry in the higher the chance you’ll get a featured slot in the magazine.
‘We hope that by celebrating the very best car dealer websites we can help give all our readers some ideas on how to improve theirs,’ explained Car Dealer editorial director James Baggott. ‘By finding the very best independent, franchised and manufacturer sites we can show dealers what they can achieve on the internet, give them some ideas for their site and help more dealers boost their business online.
‘No matter how big or small your business is, we want to hear from you – we’ll take everything into account when we judge these, especially when considering the Special Achievement Award. I’d like to thank Motors.co.uk and our other judges for agreeing to take part and look forward to seeing the results.’
So what will you get if you win? Well, while we’re not offering massive prizes we are offering bragging rights! We’ll be visiting the lucky winners with a photographer and presenting them with an Eward and a framed certificate.
Winners will also be allowed to display the Car Dealer Eward sponsored by Motors.co.uk winner logo on their sites for the duration of the year.
The deadline for entries is OCTOBER 17 but we want as many entries as possible now – remember, the sooner you get your entry in the better the chance of being featured in one of our monthly previews. Good luck!
NOW MEET THE JUDGES…
HEADLINE SPONSOR – MOTORS.CO.UK
Motors product manager
0845 265 5502, Motors.co.uk
‘At Motors.co.uk we’ll be looking at your website from a used car buyer’s perspective. Therefore the things we think are important are ease of use of the search, quality of stock and quality of response. We’re interested in how the stock is described and presented (specification, quality of photography, number of images and videos) and in terms of response how many ways can a customer contact you and how quickly and well do you respond? Finally, we’ll be looking for a website which stands out from the crowd and will stick in the minds of its audience.’
G-Forces Sales Director
0845 055 9040, gforces.co.uk
‘Your website should reflect the experience a customer receives from your business, so the care and attention you invest in your showroom(s) should be delivered online. Ultimately your website needs to generate and support sales: it needs to be easy to find, it needs to be focussed on your customers’ requirements, and it needs to be engaging. It is about delivering a personal service and complementing your business methods.’
0161 482 7650, reallygooddomains.co.uk
‘We will be looking for websites that capture enquiries and generate business. Our developers, designers and search engine optimisation experts will be looking for eye-catching, easy-to-navigate, quality websites which are quick to load and simple to use. Clear navigation, cross browser compatibility (including mobile technology) and features like RSS feeds will be very important.’
020 8800 1118,
‘Our business is totally designed around the internet and helping dealers make that sale online, so we have a good idea of what people like to see in a website. It’s not just about your name – we’ll be looking for ease of use, contact details that are simple to find and other handy features. Sites should look smart, but not flashy – we’ll really be judging winners on the end user’s experience.’
HPI automotive director
0845 300 8928, hpi.co.uk
‘Priding ourselves on our successful online stock publishing system, we know the power the internet holds in building brand recognition and increasing sales. We will be looking for a rounded online offering to the consumer which not only delivers a valuable service, but true peace of mind. Your website will ultimately be your virtual showroom for your stock, but it should also mirror your business culture and customer experience.’
0870 443 0888, codeweavers.net
‘I won’t just be looking at your website – I’m interested in “outside” it, too. I’ll be seeing how easy it is to find, by running a Google search for it! Think about the bloke walking past a dealership one night with his wife. All he’ll remember is the garage name… and how will he find that car he’d convinced her was worth a look? By Googling the dealer name. If your search engine optimisation isn’t up to scratch, people won’tfind your site.’
0870 122 2211, cap.co.uk
‘Customers want more information so they are looking for dealers’ websites to tell them everything they need. If all the information they need for every vehicle is on the site, they will not go elsewhere and be potentially distracted. And information does not simply mean technical specifications and options because they also need to understand the entire cost of ownership, which means including finance options too.’
Car Dealer editor
‘I don’t profess to be an expert on the web, which in some weird way qualifies me to be a judge. I’m babbling, so let me explain. I’m really going to be looking at sites from a consumer’s point of view. I’ll be looking to see if they’re easy to use, and assessing them like your clients would. Plus, being the editor, I get the final say in the event of a tie!’
If you think you should be on the judging panel, call Car Dealer on 023 9252 2434