CLEVELAND (Sept. 21, 2010) — Ten years ago it may have been acceptable for tire dealers not to have a website, but now it's absolutely critical to have one, along with a search engine strategy and social networking presence.
That's the message Rod McGregor, president of Crowl, Montgomery, Clark delivered to a full room of attendees this morning at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) at Cleveland's I-X Center.
Mr. McGregor, whose North Canton, Ohio-based public relations firm specializes in tire industry-specific websites, especially for small tire dealerships, held up a Yellow Pages book and said he's amazed at how many tire dealers listed there are not online. Then he presented some pertinent statistics on how media is losing its effectiveness. Among them are:
- Less than 50 percent of households receive newspapers;
- Consumers spend two hours a week reading newspapers; one hour for magazines; and
- Consumers are spending an average of 14 hours on the Web, the same as for watching TV.
Tire dealers need to keep in mind that Google and other search engines reach active buyers, meaning those who are ready to purchase tires today in dealers' local trading areas, Mr. McGregor said.
As a result all dealers, he said, must have local websites, employ search engine optimization (SEO), use Google's pay per click program and Google Maps, and have a trackable phone number via their websites.
He stressed that dealers should use these digital tactics before participating in popular social media networks.
For a complete version of this story, check out the Sept. 27 print issue of Tire Business.