Mastering the Web
Mastering the Web

In today’s world, mastering your Web presence is more critical than ever. As consumers and businesses grow more and more Internet dependent, if you don’t keep pace, you will quickly be left behind.

Here are some statistics that matter to you as agents:

• There is good news in the auto industry: 2013 projections show an increase of 5% in overall growth.

• Of over 170 industries measured, the automotive industry ranked second in Internet usage and growth, topped only by consumer goods.

• 70% of B2B companies will boost their spending on Web site development in 2013.

So what does this boil down to? If the industry is moving in this direction, and as an agent you are trying to sell to dealers who have to work in this increasingly Web-savvy world and you don’t speak their language, then you don’t understand your customer.

Your Web presence consists of various elements, including social media, YouTube, Webinars, electronic marketing, and of course, your Web site. You need to present a consistent message and image across all touch points, and learn to utilize each one so they work together synergistically.

But let’s start with your Web site — the hub of your Internet presence. If your design pre-dates 2009 or earlier, it’s outdated. Research shows that a visitor to your Web site will spend 3-5 seconds — yes, seconds — before they either click off, or click through. And that includes your dealers.

Today’s Web user wants fast-loading, image-rich user interfaces and they demand content that is relevant to them. That means at first glance, your Web site must be visually appealing! Clean, uncomplicated designs with up-to-date images, and easy to find information define today’s Web sites. White space is your friend.

Make Content Concise and Relevant

Keep your important information above the view line (the area that can be seen without scrolling). Eighty percent of people read the headline only on a Web site. Of those, 20 percent will read the first paragraph. What does that mean? You must avoid “information dump” and boil your message down to the most important information that will spark your target’s interest. Remember, you have 3-5 seconds to capture their attention.

And let’s talk about those images. A picture paints a thousand words. Does your Web site scream “Let’s party like it’s 1999!” Your customers want to know you’re up on the latest in your industry. That’s what you tell them. “We know how to help you. We know how to make you more profitable. We understand your business. We understand you.” Out-of-date images scream, “We’re stuck in the past.”

Web on the Go

Forty-five percent of Americans own a smartphone, and 29 percent own a tablet. Just three years ago tablet usage was at 2 percent.! Is your Web site optimized for mobile platforms? The percentage of people who access their Internet information via mobile platforms continues to grow. Optimizing your website for mobile must be standard operating procedure.

By providing your customer with information that is relevant and helpful for them, when and how they want to access it, you will gain customer loyalty. Be a resource for your dealers. Provide them with tools and information that will help them in their world. Give them a reason to come back to your Web site. Provide content across multiple touchpoints. Utilize social media, blogs, webinars, videos, etc. to talk to your target audience, but be strategic in your approach. Integration and strategy is the key.

The Web is a fast-paced environment to say the very least, but it is a permanent part of our marketing landscape. Making sure you are relevant and up-to-date will be a critical factor in the future of your business. 1999 might have been good for parties, but it’s no longer a good year for the Web.