Researching and purchasing a new vehicle online is about more than just price.  In fact, new-car shoppers on Cars.com are twice as likely to select “group by dealer” on inventory search results pages, and those who do are three times more likely to connect with a dealer compared with used-car shoppers.  What that tells us is that your dealership’s brand and reputation – not just your inventory – matters when it comes to shopping for a new vehicle online.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your dealership’s presence online to sell more new cars:

  1. First, make sure you’re visible – and the owner of your identity on common search engines, business directories, social media and review sites. Owning your brand online means that potential customers will be more likely to find you in their preliminary searches.  Do a search for your business on getlisted.org, which scores how well your business shows up on common search engines, business directories and review sites. Create a presence where none exists, and check for correct information or build your profile further where one does.
  2. Next, monitor your presence using tools such as Google Alerts (sign up at www.google.com/alerts) to be sure that everything showing up online about your store is accurate. Having an incorrect phone number, broken URL or email address that goes nowhere could result in a lost customer, while negative reviews can cause potential customers to think twice before working with you.
  3. Then, make sure you’re consistent by communicating and delivering on your brand value throughout all customer touch points. Convey the same message and use the same look and feel from in-store signage and lead process to your website, online advertising and email communications.
  4. Finally, share the great things your customers are saying about you – and follow up on feedback that may be less than positive. By encouraging happy customers to write reviews of your dealership, you’re increasing engagement while building your brand – and, by addressing negative comments, you’re showing your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Learn more by reading our new insights piece on the role your dealership’s brand and reputation in the new-car shopping process, and be sure to check out Cars.com’s new features for helping dealers win more business at dealers.cars.com/kickit.