Invite Customers To Your Web Site

Publish Date: 
Sep 1, 2008
By Genevieve Schmitt

WE KNOW WOMEN do a lot of research before purchasing a big-ticket item — be it a motorcycle or an expensive riding jacket. They spend time on the Web comparing prices and reading reviews as part of their research phase. You can take advantage of a woman's time spent Web-surfing to ensure that she visits your Web site and dealership.

 

TRIPLE THE VISITS

 

I have discovered an effective method of e-mail marketing that has tripled the number of unique visitors to my online magazine in just 10 months. And the numbers keep growing. I started an e-newsletter campaign. Marketing via an e-newsletter is most effective when you have a Web site to link customers back to where you can promote what's going on in your store.

An e-newsletter is an inexpensive way to regularly communicate with your customers. I send one out every week to my list of e-mail addresses collected from people who've opted to receive the newsletter. It promotes recent stories I've posted to my online magazine and includes links back to them. This is how I drive traffic to my site.

A side benefit I've discovered is that people are getting excited about my Web site (which helps me build my brand) as I give them a reason to visit my site regularly. And that is the key here — toget customers to visit regularly.

Even though your business is different from mine — a brick-and-mortar business versus solely online — an e-newsletter that drives people back to your Web site where you promote the latest models, sales, and apparel may get people excited about your dealership. They will hop on their bikes, or get in their cars and drive over to your dealership to see what you have in person.

If they can order online, that's ideal, but most dealerships are not set up this way. The Web is just a place to promote what's in the store. An e-newsletter gets people visiting your site on a regular basis, which can motivate them to visit your store.

Certainly, you have new merchandise to market each week or bi-weekly. An e-newsletter is the ideal place to promote the latest models, accessories and apparel that you just put out on display. Choose three or four items to promote in each newsletter. Compose a short write-up (two or three sentences) and an image with a link to your Web site to learn more about the product.

For example, say you want to promote a certain jacket. On your Web site, you provide more details on the jacket as well as links to other jackets and coordinating merchandise. The point is to have the visitor spend time on your site getting to know your dealership.

 

GETTING PERSONAL WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

 

One of the first things I do when I visit a dealership's Web site after I've perused inventory and event pages is look for the "Who We Are" or "About Us" link. I love to find out who owns the shop. I especially love when I can "meet" each employee by viewing their photo, name and finding out which department they work in. All this personal information gets me acquainted with who's running the joint. Dealership owners do themselves a disservice when they choose to be generic in their "About Us" link by not posting names or bios of key people involved. It makes the shop impersonal, setting the tone for what I might expect when I show up in person.

To create an e-newsletter, first verify that your Web site provider offers this service. If not, there are lots of online companies that provide template-based newsletters and can manage your e-mail lists. I use www.ConstantContact.com, one of the more popular e-mail marketing companies. I created a custom-looking newsletter with my logo, fonts and colors using one of its templates. Each week, all I do is change the images, text and date. The newsletter itself helps me build my e-mail list with the "forward to a friend" link. Those "friends" have the option to subscribe if they wish. Each week I get new subscribers. Constant Contact allows me to track the percentage of my mailing list that actually opened the e-mail and which links were clicked on the most. This and other data helps in figuring out what types of products, sales, etc. generate the most interest.

If you do a cost comparison between sending out postcards regularly via snail mail and sending out e-mails in an an e-mail campaign, you will find that e-mail costs less because there are no printing and postage expenses involved.

Genevieve Schmitt is the founder of Women Riders Now, a marketing and communications company. Contact her at GSchmitt@womenridersnow.com or via editors@dealernews.com.