By Christine Smith, Director Digital Strategy & Sales, Digital to Dealer Direct

If you own a dealership or are a BDC/internet manager, you likely use Google to deliver pay per click (PPC) ads or display ads. These are effective ways to advertise your dealership – both on the sales side and for fixed ops. However, there’s another Google feature that often gets overlooked.

Google My Business (GMB) profile
Is your dealership’s business profile listed on Google? You might not even know the answer to this. Someone else may have started the process or handed it off to different employees. This scenario makes things a little more difficult.

If you’ve done some digging, and you don’t believe you are set up on GMB, it’s time to get started!

Here are four steps to follow when setting up your GMB profile:

Step 1: Find your listing. Find your listing. If your dealership isn’t listed or is listed, but some information is missing/incomplete, you may have to verify the business with Google. If you have a password for the Google account, you can log in and request a code get sent to the associated phone number. Once you receive the code, you can enter it online and begin verifying or editing the information on your listing. However, if you don’t have access to the account or don’t have access to the phone number associated with the account, you may have to take a slower route – mail. You’ll have to wait for Google to send a postcard to your dealership with a verification code.

Tip: Once you’ve gone through this process, it’s a great time to start a password sheet. Add your Google login to this sheet and start tracking all logins so you won’t have any issues in the future. It seems like an obvious tip, but many get busy and neglect to do this. However, it will save you and your employees a lot of time in the end!

Step 2: Assign someone to manage the account. If someone else in the dealership is setting up the Google account, and you’re overseeing it, you should record the login information and share it with employees – only when appropriate. If you’re not going to manage the account, the next step is to assign someone to do this. Make sure the phone numbers are up-to-date and the hours are correct and noted for holiday changes. You’ll want to upload new photos as new cars come in and the seasons change. It seems like something you set up and leave alone, but it’s not. Before you know it, the service phone number changed, or they’ve extended hours on Saturdays and your listing isn’t up-to-date. So, make sure to set a point person for your Google listing.

Step 3: Leverage the features on the GMB platform. Once you’ve completed the first two steps, you are on your way to leveraging the power of GMB. From here, you can start utilizing the features that are offered on the GMB platform. These include Google Banners and Google Message Extension. The Google Banner post allows you to feature a small incentive such as a monthly payment, 0% down, or a financing special. When users in your area search for a certain vehicle/dealership near them, your Google My Business account can appear with not only your website, phone number, hours, and directions – but also a visual incentive to attract users to click your listing and not your competitors!

The Message Extension feature is more hands-on and requires commitment from the dealership and a sales manager or BDC. This feature allows you to interact directly and instantly with users searching for your make, a used car you might have in stock, or just a dealership nearby.

You can connect this function to a cell phone in the BDC or a sales manager’s cell phone. Whatever phone you use, make sure the employee(s) can access the phone at all times and answer quickly.

Learn more about how to use Google’s new features to attract users to your showroom by attending Christine Smith’s presentation at Digital Dealer 27 Conference & Expo. Browse the 100+ sessions coming to Digital Dealer 27 here!

About the Author

Christine Smith, director of digital strategy & sales for Digital to Dealer Direct, has 11 years of experience in digital marketing, including in-house dealership experience overseeing the digital marketing for three locations and running the BDC; three years with Digital to Dealer Direct; and one year of experience in her current role. She is currently a guest presenter/lecturer for William Paterson University’s MA Professional Communication program. 

Author: Contributing Writer

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