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Online marketing dos and don’ts

Lucas Deal April 4, 2013

How do you get your name out there? It’s the fundamental question of marketing, and it’s not an easy one to answer.

There are a multitude of marketing options available in 2013. Some function on a mass scale, reaching out to as many people as possible, while others are targeted and speak directly to a small niche of prospective customers.

Online marketing does both. A fledging industry not long ago, online marketing has quickly become one of the most popular ways to promote a business. It allows businesses to track and analyze success and customer trends instantaneously, while reaching customers directly and indirectly from a variety of different angles.

But deciding how to market your business online is not an easy task. Justin Seibert, president of Direct Online Marketing, recommends dealers sync their online marketing goals with their overall business goals, and build “strategies and tactics created specifically with them in mind.”

Seibert says online marketing has definite advantages when handled correctly. A poor online approach can be a waste of time and money.

“A proper online marketing strategy has been proven to increase business for dealers across the world for many years,” he says. “Plus, online marketing is completely measurable. With proper analytic Web reporting, dealers can identify exactly what is working and what is not.”

Avoiding the online world can be a risk as well.

“By not using email and retargeting effectively, dealers can leave money on the table even from loyal customers,” Seibert says.

Three online marketing strategies he recommends for dealers are monitoring review sites for online reputation management, pay per click (PPC) search engine advertising and video marketing.

Review sites for reputation management: Seibert says “if a dealership does nothing else, it should concentrate on its local and review site presence. That means making sure it shows up in local search results, and having great ratings on sites like Google+ Local and Yelp,” which he says powers Apple product maps.

Seibert says negative reviews — legitimate or otherwise — greatly hinder a dealer’s business. Strong reviews, however, can generate business from customers researching potential business partners.

PPC search engine advertising: Seibert leans toward PPC marketing over search engine optimization (SEO) marketing because “so many dealers I’ve spoken with have issues with their websites that make SEO efforts much more difficult.”

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