Website Optimization Tools Enable Dealers to Measure, Tweak Marketing Endeavors

Remember those old television commercials for local automotive sales? Some fast-talking huckster would blather on about, say, the AMC Eagle—which looked like it belonged in a 1970s romp room with its wood-grain paneling—and wrap up his spiel with the promise, “just tell them Jimmy sent you, and we’ll knock another $250 off the price.”

Cringe-worthy by today’s standards, it was a crude way of letting advertisers know that clients and prospects were absorbing their so-called pitches. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in reaping stronger, more concise analytics from our marketing channels, particularly when it comes to websites.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been with us for the better part of 20 years, and businesses continue to enhance their web presence and drive their marketing engine through the use of tools that foster inbound opportunities. Primarily within the last 10 years, the office dealer community has ramped up its website effectiveness through the use of blogs, videos, white papers, FAQs and other content that positions the company as a thought leader.

In turn, dealers can measure the quantity, duration of visits and lead generation efforts through site visitor analytics. We kick off this month’s State of the Industry report on marketing endeavors with a look at the tools, tricks and resources employed by our dealer panel to ensure they are leveraging the value of their online presence to the fullest.

“The great thing about content marketing is that we can generate relevant and engaging website content that is also optimized for search,” notes Keith Bax, director of marketing for Virginia Business Systems (VBS) in Roanoke.

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Keith Bax, Virginia Business Systems

VBS and its sister dealer, Edwards Business Sytems, rank high for web searches for roughly 1,500 keywords and phrases, of which more than 100 show the companies on Google first-page results. The dealers don’t rely on pay-per-click ads, meaning its SEO results are all organic. Roughly 70% of its website traffic comes from organic searches, and the dealer employs HubSpot, Google Analytics and Google search console to track its performance variables.

“Using HubSpot’s CMS functionality means we can produce our own optimized content and rapidly spin it up on our websites without having to wait for a web developer to update the source code,” Bax noted. “We have also programmed HubSpot to email us a performance dashboard every Monday morning so we can monitor how our websites are doing.”

At Pearson-Kelly Technology of Springfield, Missouri, Marketing Coordinator Makenzie Ward monitors a Data Studio report that tracks weekly, month-to-date, quarter-to-date and year-to-date analytics through the Google Analytics search console. She also uses the SEMrush SaaS tool to generate monthly reports that help her prioritize improvements or adjustments that need to be made on the site.

Makenzie Ward, Pearson-Kelly Technology

“Both of these reports have comparison tools, which identifies how each measurable performed during the previous period so that I can watch for trends,” she said. “I also use Google Optimize to run single- and multi-variate tests on campaign landing pages, which allows me to adjust and test page elements in real-time.”

CMS Tools

HubSpot is the content management tool of choice for Access Systems of Waukee, Iowa. Its website, social media calendar and email campaigns are hosted and flowed through HubSpot, which provides a number of reporting and analytics tools, according to Maddie McGinn, marketing coordinator.

Maddie McGinn, Access Systems

“I can see how my blogs are performing, my website, how many engagements my social media posts have, plus I can look at the open rates and different analytic tools on how emails are performing,” she said. “It provides fantastic insight there.”

McGinn also works in tandem with an agency to develop its search engine marketing (SEM) focus, targeting specific audiences in markets such as IT and print. “Our goal there is to really warm up the sales process for our business development team and outside sales team, bringing our solutions top of mind when people are on websites and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. We also use Facebook ads for recruitment posts and we can track engagement through both the posts and ads.”

Gordon Flesch Company (GFC) focuses on organic growth through quality SEO, creating pillar pages for managed print and managed IT that have driven strong traffic, according to Connie Dettman, director of marketing.

“We’ve focused on the health of our site to identify things that might be impacting our SEO standing negatively, and worked piece by piece to improve everything we can,” she said. “By using tools like SEMrush and Google Analytics, we’ve quickly been able to diagnose any problems our site has and rectify them as soon as possible.”

Connie Dettman, Gordon Flesch Co.

While developing a GFC website that could spark inbound sales opportunities was the initial task for Dettman, the key to maintaining its health and vitality is to continuously optimize and update strategies. She worked with GFC’s client/partner Weidert Group to identify specific keyword opportunities and leveraged them by writing new blogs or optimizing existing ones that addressed these terms.

 Building a modern website was my first task, but it’s important to continually optimize and update our strategies to maintain a healthy website. Once we had a quality base to build from, we focused each month on specific keyword opportunities that we recognize with our partner Weidert. We then take those keywords and look for opportunities to write blog articles or optimize existing ones based on them.

“SEO is an ongoing task and it’s something our team takes great pride in,” Dettman added.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.