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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Shopping for Used Cars? Here's What You Need to Know

If you're interested in saving money on the purchase of a vehicle, used cars are the way to go.
Part of this has to do with their lower cost when compared to new cars, but the other reason behind buying used is that a new vehicle's value depreciates considerably in the first year of ownership. While you likely aren't buying a car as an investment and instead consider it a necessity to get from one place to the next, the fact remains that nobody wants to lose a portion of the money they've spent on any high-priced item. When you're shopping for a used car, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Be smart about your used car loan

You might think that every car loan for your used vehicle is created equally since the amount of the loan is consistent from lender to lender; however, interest rates can make the total amount you pay over time much different. As a result, it's a good idea to compare used car loans online prior to making a purchase. This can help you calculate how much you'll be paying in the long run on any car you buy, which can help you make the right decision when choosing between lenders. Being smart about your car loan can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the price of your used vehicle.

Know what to look for during a test drive

Once you've found a vehicle that you're interested in, you'll want to give it a spin before making a purchase. During a test drive, there are a variety of things you'll want to test and inspect once you get behind the wheel. First and foremost, you want to make sure that you're comfortable in the car and can reach all of the necessary controls. If the car has Bluetooth connectivity, make sure your phone can connect to it, too. Drive the car offsite and park it in a public parking lot where you can walk around the vehicle and look for cosmetic damage, too. If you need a test drive checklist, this article from Forbes is a great starting point to help you know what you might miss.

Be ready to repair aspects of the car if it means a good deal

During your test drive, you may find some minor cosmetic issues or other problems that aren't dealbreakers—but they're annoying to deal with. If you know how to fix these issues, though, you may be able to get a better deal on your car purchase since other buyers might be unwilling to overlook these sorts of problems. Knowing where to buy the right headlight restoration kit could give you the tools you need to save money on your car by fixing the problem yourself. If you really want the best deal possible, being flexible about the condition of the car and knowing how to find kits that help you solve problems yourself can be a major money saver.

Negotiate — but not too aggressively

Everybody thinks they're a good negotiator, but when buying a used car, you may need to be a little more tactful. Car dealerships are used to people trying to bargain their way down thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and the last thing you want is to go toe to toe with a car salesman who won't have any patience for your shenanigans. By all means, be firm in your offer—especially if you already have a car loan to cover the purchase. But if the price of the car you're looking at is already a good deal, don't try to haggle the price down too much.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Car Dealers Moving Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Marketing Normals

Moving Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Marketing Normals


Car Dealers have tremendous potential right now to entertain, assist,
educate, and inform automotive consumers. Here are six ways to leverage
SEO in preparing for the new normal...


The demand for SEO from many business leaders is trending to an all-time
high, with more than 1.5 million searches in the month of April.

Automotive Marketers are searching for the most affordable and
cost-effective ways to understand shifts in consumer behavior and demand
volatility, while optimizing content for all of their digital channels.

SEO has become mission-critical and is the front and center of
digital marketing strategies spanning paid media, local, mobile, video,
email, and across verticals like Amazon and eCommerce.

Car Dealers and OEM's that can activate their search insights with
speed and accuracy are best positioned to recover and make gains, both
during and after COVID-19.



How SEO Paves the Way Forward

Even prior to COVID-19, car dealers were challenged to keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer behavior.

Now, automotive digital marketers – even as they adapt to their own
work-from-home and isolation strategies – are having to rethink their
digital marketing channels and ROI forecasts.

SEO, once considered a simple marketing channel, has grown
over the last decade into a rich, abundant source of business and
consumer intelligence.


SEO has become the most accurate representation of “voice of the
consumer” inside organizations, offering digital marketers from car
dealers of all sizes the opportunity to enhance visibility and expand
their digital footprint while generating that rich, valuable business
data the entire dealership needs.

Search marketers are in a position to really help customers recapture
or transform their dealerships into a more digital-focused marketing
operator, as:
  • People always need products and services.
  • SEO reaches consumers when they are in need and regardless of state of mind.
  • When there is scarcity, people turn to search.
  • SEO is affordable and efficient for ROI.
  • Optimized content helps protect, build, and grow brand equity.
  • SEO is the voice of consumers and provides insight into car buyer behaviors.
  • Search helps future-proof the dealership while providing immediate, midterm, and long-term wins.
With over 53% of website traffic coming from organic search, now is
the time for organizations to leverage SEO in a multitude of ways.

Many companies have halted paid search due to Coronavirus-related
business interruptions and now need to re-evaluate how their paid search
advertising strategy works in synergy with SEO.

How can automotive organizations drive more traffic to the best
content, feeding consumers’ need for media to consume while protecting
and furthering enhanced online brand equity?


SEO Now: Utilizing Insights & Taking Action

As the pandemic situation continues, opportunities will arise for car dealers and car companies to win prime search visibility and dealers who get the first-mover advantage will be quickest to recover, dominating share of voice in-market.

In fact, the conditions generated by COVID-19 present a great opportunity for proactive automotive marketers willing to double down on SEO as consumers crave interactive, engaging content.

Car dealers have unlimited potential right now to entertain, assist, educate, and inform.

Search is the pulse of the market and as recent research from BrightEdge (disclosure: the author's company) has shown, COVID-19 has impacted every industry.

Depending on how the vertical has been affected, strategies will differ.


BrightEdge data on Industry trends – mid-May update
  


1. Real-Time Data: Leverage to Understand and React to Trends and Consumer Behavior

With demand so volatile across all industries it is important, where
automotive companies can, to utilize real-time research to answer
questions and uncover opportunities as they happen.

This helps account for industry-wide trends but also empowers
marketers to ask specific questions and discover quantitative,
data-driven answers with speed, ease, and accuracy.

Automotive Marketers must take action to understand, in real-time,
how content is performing and ranking across all vertical and global
search engines.

As video consumption increases dramatically, it is important to track rankings there, as well.
This can help you unlock which models, categories, and influencers
are taking off and use that to further promote those videos and inform
future content strategy.

For automotive organizations, it is particularly important to protect the brand on Amazon.

Track how and where makes and models rank, and quickly identify
whether rogue merchandisers are taking away sales and diminishing your
brand equity.

SEO Is Your Best Representation of the Voice of Your Customer

The insights that SEO data gives marketers in terms of understanding
intent, behavioral, and buying patterns has never been so important.

At a time when consumers are making both rational and irrational
decisions based on emotion and the formation of new habits, it is
essential to make sure you have technology and systems in place to
identify and action “in the moment.”

Search data is valuable not just to the SEO team, but for
marketing, product, and PR teams who are all looking to understand new
types of customer journeys and what drives people on their journey.



2. Benchmarking Competition: Know Your Share of Voice and Work to Capture Market Share

As the shift to digital accelerates, the online landscape becomes increasingly more competitive.

With new content being published every second, organizations must
understand who is outranking them for the topics they want to own in
dynamic SERPs.

Understanding share of voice helps marketers increase SEO authority by identifying sites that canhelp the brand reach the target audience with paid ads or otherpartnership opportunities such as co-authorship or backlinking.

Competition in search results can vary widely by search topic or user device.

This is very important as working from home has consumers using both
desktop and mobile devices in different ways than they did as commuters.

Content strategies must be informed by insights on how aggressively
competitors are targeting search topics and how their content performs
in smartphone, tablet, or desktop searches.

Share of voice accurately maps key competitors to help marketers prioritize competitive content marketing work plans.

The more informed decisions marketers make based on understanding the
brand’s share of voice, the better they can maximize return on spend
and increase revenue from all digital marketing efforts.


3. Website Optimization: Enhance User Experiences and Create New Experiences

In order to get ahead and stay ahead, regardless of your vertical, is to ensure your website is primed to convert traffic.

That means ensuring every aspect of your site, including content, is optimized and easy to navigate.

Consumers are looking for an experience that informs and gives them the best experience possible.

Configure site audits for the site health issues that matter most.

Audit on-page elements such as page title and H1 tag, and off-page
factors including page loading speed, redirects, and 404 errors.

Tailor site audits to support specific business needs. It is also important to monitor and detect anomalies such as:
  • Loading issues.
  • Changes in performance.
  • Drops in conversion.
  • Decreases in traffic or revenue from content.
Detecting these issues as they happen and fixing them rapidly will
mitigate any revenue loss and keep websites clean, healthy, relevant,
and informative.

It is important to run ad-hoc audits to ensure website performance is
not affected when and if organizations are taking on large projects
such as:
  • Site migration.
  • Regulatory and accessibility projects.
  • Penalty recovery.
  • International expansion.
  • Pricing management.
  • Social media integration.


4. Content: Create & Optimize Content in Synergy to Ensure Relevance & Performance

At a time where so much content is being produced, it is vital to make sure the content you produce is of quality.

Content needs to be authored with usefulness and trustworthiness and in line with Google E-A-T guidelines.

Systematically review all of the content you have on your site.

Look closely at your optimization efforts to see how well you are meeting your current COVID-19 business objectives.

Find any gaps in your content and adjust your process to better serve your (old and new) intended audiences.

This allows marketers to align content with the buyer’s journey and measure the impact it is having on the growth of the business.

With consumers’ media needs so high due to COVID-19, it’s a great time for marketers to fill gaps in the customer journey with quality content.

Depending on the type of business and the extent to which operations have been affected, this may not even be the time to convert prospects to a sale.

However, opportunities are still there to re-optimize to convert to another action that will deepen relationships and keep the brand top of mind until sales pick up once again.
   

5. Global, Local & Mobile: Manage, Pivot & Optimize for People, Places, Content & Devices

Digital media continues to create global interconnections.

Many brands want to expand or pivot focus beyond their borders and engage with new prospective customers in foreign countries.

From store closures through to store reopenings, local search is intrinsically linked to SEO.

Now is time to look at your strategies and opening plans and ensure
your site and content is optimized for local and hyper-local search.

This is especially true for brick and mortar stores hard hit by the initial impact of COVID-19.

Trust is a big part of recovery so it will be important to analyze search volume and ranking data on key store target locations.

Evaluating the searches conducted in the areas surrounding locations
will help you build content to drive traffic to re-opened locations.

It is important to also do this at a global and local level across multiple geographies, locations, and languages.

And as consumers interact on multiple devices, from desktop to
mobile, marketers must track mobile demand, mobile searches, and mobile
rankings changes.

Focusing on key areas related to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP),
mobile site structure and page speed will help further enhance user
experience, conversion, and revenue.

6. Technology & Innovation: Scale Performance With Additional & Valuable Automated Resource

Real-time research powered by deep learning is already helping marketers get the information and insights they need, right when they need it.

Advancements in these areas are opening key opportunities for all types of digital marketers (a trend BrightEdge has seen directly withinits platform over recent months).

The ability to ask questions and find answers on demand reduces time and increases revenue performance.

Utilizing the power of a one-stop solution platform also brings instant impact, since marketers do not have to struggle with disparate and unconnected data silos and the inflexibility of narrow point solutions.

Advancements in the fields of AI and machine learning have already proven successful in being the “extra SEO person,” that additional data scientist and digital marketing Sherpa needed to help with time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks.

From an SEO perspective, intelligent automation can improve many of the auditing and optimization tasks that will help brands stay on top of Coronavirus-related shifts in demand and consumer behavior.

It is especially important to save time and maximize output in these times of resource scarcity when marketers are being asked to accomplish more (and faster) during COVID-19.

In its most simplistic form, automation gives marketing capabilities the gift of scale. Technology does the

It frees up time for human marketers to focus on more creative and impactful work.

Utilizing advanced automation is already helping many marketers simplify complex and time-consuming tasks, even while drastically improving their impact on business outcomes and helping them make smarter and better-informed decisions.

Conclusion

In this time of uncertainty, search is the best option for responding to ongoing COVID-19-related business interruptions with speed and agility.

SEO, in particular, is critical not only for discovery but as the channel that provides the greatest insight into consumer behavior in real-time.

Search insights can inform every stage of COVID-19 brand response through to post-pandemic success.

There will be business winners and losers in this new digital economy, and search insights will inform every stage of a proactive COVID-19 brand response.

Understanding the challenges of COVID-19 and resulting consumer behavior is key in the path to evolving in sustainable and even profitable ways.

SEO insights will uncover opportunities and provide key insights foroperations, customer service, product development, R&D, the C-suite, and businesses as a whole.

As a result, the relationship between SEO and business strategy is set to become even more tightly intertwined.


Edited and reposted from the original article: Paving the Path Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Normalities that appeared first on Search Engine Journal.