Nowadays when people need to find information on something, they don’t check the phonebook or ask around, often their first response is to Google it. And if someone is Googling your dealership, or dealerships in your area, there’s a significant chance they’re going to see your “Google My Business” or GMB.
Because of this, car manufacturers are starting to see the importance of having a strong GMB and are encouraging their franchises to set up a GMB. Some manufactures are taking it one step further and offering GMB setups for their dealerships.
But nice as it sounds to have your manufacturer do the heavy lifting, you might want to consider taking the reins on your GMB yourself. Why?
GMB is like your dealership’s profile page on Google, and keeping it updated is essential for healthy search engine presence. Google favors businesses in their search engine rankings that have “better profiles” according to their standards, like fresh content.
And while a manufacturer might do a great job setting up your GMB, they might not be as equipped as you are to keep it updated, and you want to update GMB regularly. Not only will keeping your GMB content fresh make you appear more favorable with Google, but customers are also attracted to good GMBs.
See, before a shopper sets foot in a dealership, they’ll research many potential dealerships in the area and rule out ones to skip. If your GMB isn’t enticing to customers, you could end up being one of the dealerships that gets skipped.
People don’t care about what particular car brands stand for, they want to know what type of experience they’ll have at your dealership. And manufactures can’t provide this unique dealership insight when they’re building out your GMB from some corporate office in another state.
Here’s what you need in order to claim and maintain your GMB, so you can attract more customers and sell more cars:
Make Sure Your GMB Is Set Up Properly
This one might seem obvious, but too many dealerships still haven’t claimed and set up their GMB. We understand why, despite how much they might want you to have one, Google doesn’t make it easy to claim your GMB profile.
So here’s a quick rundown of how to claim your GMB:
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/
- Enter your dealership’s name
- Verify your location
- Indicate your business category
- Verify your phone number and/or website
- Don’t get discouraged. Google makes it difficult to claim your GMB, but it’s worth it.
Once you have your GMB claimed, you might as well set it up yourself. Your manufacturer could set it up for you, but it will probably be faster and easier to do it yourself. Plus, this will make sure you maintain control of the listing. While Google makes it hard to set up your GMB, they make it even harder to regain control after someone else has already claimed it.
Monitor & Respond To Customer Reviews
Yelp isn’t the end-all-be-all it used to be when it comes to reviews. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people still use Yelp—but unless people are intentionally searching Yelp, your GMB profile will rank higher than any Yelp profile in a Google Search.
That means your GMB is the first thing people will see when they Google your dealership. And on your GMB, they’ll see customer reviews and your overall star rating, from 1-5.
In order to build a strong profile, with a collection of positive reviews, you need to encourage customers to leave you a review. On top of that, you should follow up with reviews.
If someone writes a negative review and gives you a low star rating, reach out to them and attempt to rectify the situation. Customers will often change their reviews based on your responses. This is great for your overall star rating, as you should always be shooting for a score of 4.2 or higher, so the more 5-star reviews you can get, the better.
This is also another benefit of maintaining your GMB account. When you give control to your manufacturer, you might lose the ability to respond to and potentially improve customer ratings.
Only Post Quality Pictures
When you have control of your GMB account, you have control over what content represents your dealership.
Customers don’t care that much about stock pictures of cars. They want to see happy customers just like them, smiling next to their new car. They want to see that you’re a welcoming and helpful dealership. And most importantly, they want to visualize themselves shopping with you.
Upload in-focus pictures that have good lighting and feature your customers. Every picture should display why your dealership is worth visiting. This doesn’t exclusively mean which cars are currently for sale on the lot.
Update Your GMB Frequently
Google’s algorithms favor fresh content. That means you can’t set up your GMB once and call it a day. This is another reason you may not want your manufacturer to maintain control of your GMB. They may not have the time or ability to keep your content updated in the same way you would.
Lead Customers To Your Best-Converting Website. That May Not Be Your Manufacturer Site.
One great advantage of setting up your own GMB is picking which website you want to direct customers to. Most manufactures will set your GMB website to be the manufacturer website, but this may not be in your best interest.
Most manufacturers websites are poorly equipped for lead conversion. That means that a shopper could look up your dealership, hop to your manufacturer’s website from your GMB, not find what they’re looking for and bounce. That means you would lose the opportunity to convert that shopper into a customer and a sale even though they were already interested in your dealership.
In some cases, your manufacturer website may collect leads and share them with any competitors in your market. Meaning a lead may’ve gotten to the website from your GMB, but now this lead is fair game to your competitors.
Stop Wasting Potential—Set Up Your Google My Business Page Today
GMB is a powerful customer-attraction tool that is becoming more important by the day. But too many dealerships are wasting the opportunity to make a good impression in people’s search results by ignoring their GMB.
Don’t be one of those dealerships, set up your GMB today.
Not having a GMB or having a lack-luster GMB isn’t the only way dealership’s lose opportunities in Google. Check out our eBook 6 Costly Mistakes Dealerships Make In Google Ads. Get your free copy here