Do you run a construction equipment dealership? If so, it is vital for you to understand where the market is heading in 2022 and beyond. Fortunately, the fusionZONE team is here to provide you with an overview of some key industry trends. Let’s dive in!

Overall Equipment Market Growth

The worldwide construction equipment market shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Analysts at Mordor Intelligence valued the industry at $161 billion in 2020. They expect it to reach $228 billion by 2026.

The increasing focus on infrastructure throughout the globe is the primary driver of this growth. However, the development of advanced automation in the manufacturing and construction processes will aid with the upward push.

Industrial Sector to Lead Growth

Analysts generally segment the construction equipment market into three categories. They are:

  1. Commercial
  2. Industrial
  3. Residential

Most observers expect the commercial and residential segments to enjoy slow but steady growth in the coming years. The industrial sector, on the other hand, is set to explode.

Experts believe foreign direct investments in international manufacturing plants and rising global industrialization will drive the progressive growth in the industrial sector.

Cranes Likely to be the Largest Segment

Analysts at Mordor Intelligence expect cranes to be the largest segment in the construction equipment market in 2022 and beyond. The demand will come from commercial and residential building developments across North America and massive infrastructure projects in Europe and Africa.

Observers believe the motor grader, loader and backhoe, and telescopic handler segments will also perform well in the medium-term.

Shift to Low-Emissions Equipment

Analysts expect just about every industry in the world to shift toward low-emissions vehicles and equipment in the coming years. The construction equipment market will follow this trend.

By 2030, most construction equipment manufacturers will have reduced or eliminated their traditional hydraulic and mechanical models. They will instead focus on producing electric and hybrid alternatives.

Smarter Heavy Equipment

The construction equipment market isn’t just becoming greener. It is also getting smarter. Manufacturers in the industry already produce vehicles that offer tons of high-tech features like:

  • Augmented reality screens
  • 3D grading control systems
  • Telematics, and
  • Remote control systems

Market analysts do not expect the high-tech movement to stop any time soon. Indeed, many think the growing demand for advanced construction equipment will incentivize manufacturers to produce even smarter tools in the coming years.

How an Experienced Equipment Marketing Company Can Help You Take Advantage of Industry Trends

Do you want to take advantage of these market trends? If so, all you need to do is hire a knowledgeable equipment marketing company to assist you with the following projects:

Build a High-Converting Equipment Dealer Website

The market is set to grow quickly in the next few years. If you want your business to expand along with it, you need to make it as easy as possible for interested customers to buy or rent your equipment.

Your marketing company can help you achieve this goal by building you a high-converting equipment dealer website with a real-time connection to your inventory.

When your new website is complete, customers will be able to buy or rent your equipment online with just a few clicks. They won’t need to call your office to check inventory or pricing.

Once clients experience the ease and convenience of doing business with your dealership, they’ll never go anywhere else!

Optimize Your New Website for Search

The demand for cranes and electric construction equipment is set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Many of the companies who need these tools will search for them online.

If you want your company to grow, it is vital that the people who conduct these searches find your new equipment dealer website. We can make this happen by optimizing your site for search using the following techniques:

  • Selecting keywords and posting relevant content
  • Ensuring the website works well on mobile devices
  • Adding title tags and meta descriptions to each page
  • Ensuring the site loads quickly and is easy to use

When done well, search engine optimization can drive thousands of new visitors to your website each month.

Create and Manage a Google Ads Campaign

If you want to ensure you take full advantage of the upcoming growth in the industry, your equipment marketing company can also help you create and manage a Google Ads campaign.

Your marketing team can target your PPC ads at trending segments, such as low-emissions vehicles and high-tech equipment. They can then pivot your campaigns in the future if market forces change.

A well-managed Google Ads campaign can generate results in as little as 48 hours.

fusionZONE: Your Trusted Equipment Marketing Company

Are you ready to expand your business with the help of an equipment marketing company? If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out to fusionZONE. We’ve been helping dealerships like yours drive sales and generate leads online for years!

Contact us to speak with one of our representatives. We look forward to hearing from you!

commercial transportation business

Do you want to take your commercial transportation business to the next level? If so, you will need to advertise!

But what are the best ways to promote a truck or tractor dealership? The experienced marketers at fusionZONE are here to provide you with all the info you need to know!

The Best Ways to Market Your Commercial Transportation Business

At fusionZONE, we recommend using the following techniques to promote your dealership:

Add Your Logo to Your Vehicles

Whether you sell heavy equipment or trucks, your products spend quite a lot of time on the road. You can turn that mileage into marketing exposure by adding your dealership branding to your vehicles.

It is best to put the logo on or near the vehicle’s rear bumper. This placement will ensure it is visible to other motorists without obstructing or annoying the operator.

Some of your buyers might be willing to put a larger, more noticeable branding on their vehicle in exchange for a discount on their purchase. Suggest this idea during the negotiation process to see if they are interested.

Build an Optimized Website

When people search online for a truck or tractor dealer in your city, will they find your business? If not, you need to create an SEO-friendly website for your equipment dealership as soon as possible.

Generally speaking, your website should contain the following elements:

  • Content focused around keywords like “truck dealer,” “tractor dealer” or “heavy equipment for sale”
  • Easy-to-use menus and navigation tools
  • A responsive design that works well on mobile devices
  • Product listings with a real-time connection to your dealership’s inventory
  • A callback widget, like FastRing, that can connect you to buyers while they are still on your website
  • A deal builder, like FastLane Leads, that allows shoppers to find financing and value their trade-in online, and
  • A page detailing all your company’s latest deals and promotions

With these elements in place, your website will attract hundreds, or even thousands, of visitors every month. Many of them will become clients.

Launch a Google Ads Campaign

PPC (pay-per-click) marketing via Google Ads is one of the most effective ways a truck or tractor dealer can sell heavy equipment online.

This popular advertising method offers the following benefits:

  • Rapid Results: Google Ads campaigns can begin generating leads and driving sales for your company in as little as two days.
  • Detailed Data: Google Ads provides you with tons of data you can use to guide your marketing strategies.
  • Easy Targeting: Google Ads makes it easy to ensure your PPC ads only show for users who are likely to purchase your equipment.

According to Google, businesses generate an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they invest in PPC advertising. Campaigns created and managed by marketing experts can make even more!

Put simply, if you want to sell heavy equipment online, you can’t go wrong with PPC marketing.

Promote Your Business on Social Media

About 40 percent of consumers say they often use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to discover new brands, services, and products. If you are not using these apps to market your commercial transportation business, you are likely missing out on a lot of sales.

You can promote your dealership on social media using these tactics:

  • Post videos showcasing the key features of your products.
  • Share content created by your followers or your employees.
  • Go live to answer common questions shoppers have about your dealership and its tractors and/or trucks.
  • Host competitions and giveaways for your followers.
  • Share articles that discuss the latest news from the commercial transportation industry.

When marketing your business on social media, remember to be friendly, courteous, and upbeat. If you can execute this strategy correctly, you’ll soon begin to see an uptick in web traffic.

Need Help Promoting Your Commercial Transportation Business? Contact the Experts at fusionZONE Today!

Are you a tractor or truck dealer who needs help marketing their business? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at fusionZONE! Our experienced marketers will be more than happy to build you a new website, create your Google Ads campaigns, and manage your social media accounts. Our graphics department can even help you design a logo to put on your vehicles!

Contact us to speak with a member of our team. We look forward to working with you!

5 Reasons To Build and Maintain Your Email List

5 Reasons to Build and Maintain Your Email List

Has your business built an email list but since put it on the back burner?

While other digital marketing channels may get most of the attention these days, email should remain a key component of your online marketing strategy.

Here’s why email marketing for car dealerships and other automotive businesses should not be overlooked:

1. You Own Your Email List

In the age of increased scrutiny around data privacy, reaching your audience through targeted social media campaigns has become more challenging.

Businesses cannot simply expect to reach and engage their entire audience through a single channel. Between Big Tech algorithms and outages to the often politicized nature of social media, many things can stand between your messaging and your customer base.

When you build and maintain an email list, you enjoy the advantages of developing first-party data: you’re no longer reliant on third-party sources for customer lists.

2. Email is Direct

When a visitor or customer fills out a form to receive emails and is added to one of your CRM lists, they’re signaling interest in your products, services or content. In other words, you already have an idea of what they like because they chose to sign up and stay connected with your business.

It takes more effort to gain an email subscriber than a “like” on a social media post, but the email sign-up is often more valuable because it is more targeted.

3. Email is Personal

Automotive email marketing campaigns are primed for personalized messaging simply because email feels more personal.

Once someone is added to one of your email customer lists, you can reach that potential customer directly through their email inbox, which is far more personal than catching their attention while they’re infinite-scrolling on social media.

Your customers like to feel appreciated and receive exclusive offers, and email is the perfect avenue for this.

For instance, car dealerships can utilize new and used car specials or parts and service coupons to entice visitors to join an email list, open the emails, engage with the content and convert into customers.

4. Customer Retention and Remarketing

Gaining a new customer is costlier than retaining a current one, and that’s why email marketing for car dealerships is so powerful.

There are plenty of customer engagement strategies out there, but email helps you retain and remarket to customers long after they purchase that new car.

Customer retention and remarketing are especially crucial for car dealers and auto service centers since repeat business is quite common and attainable.

After all, every car on the road will require maintenance or replacement. So if your customer isn’t returning to you, they’re certainly spending their vehicle budget elsewhere.

5. Email Accounts Are Here to Stay

The popularity or usage of a social media platform might come and go, but the same can’t be said for an email account. That’s right; no matter the demographic, nearly everyone uses email, and most people check their email multiple times per day.

So while you’re wondering how to divvy up your ad spend across multiple social media platforms, remember that email remains popular and shouldn’t be neglected.

If you’d like some tips to grow your automotive email marketing lists, don’t hesitate to reach out to the fine folks at fusionZONE. We’re experts in all things digital marketing for dealers, and we’d love to help you reach an ever-growing audience.

Your equipment dealership has lots of moving parts. In an average week, you and your team must manage stock levels, generate spec sheets, track invoices, schedule maintenance, and much more. The long list of tasks to complete can quickly become overwhelming. At least, it can if you don’t have Karmak Fusion.

What Is Karmak Fusion?

Karmak Fusion is an end-to-end Microsoft Windows dealer management system (or DMS). It offers all the data, alerts, and tools you need to run your business efficiently and profitably. Here are just a few of the modules and integrations included in the Karmak DMS:

Fusion Parts

Fusion Parts provides equipment dealerships like yours with all the tools needed to maximize profits, control stock, and make real-time, data-driven inventory decisions. Once you load your inventory into its backend (Unity API), it allows you to:

  • Accurately identify fast- and slow-moving parts
  • Substitute parts to prevent lost sales
  • Increase traffic and move stock with promotional pricing
  • Transfer units between warehouses without errors
  • Speed up customer service for backordered inventory, and
  • Expedite the stock receiving process with barcode receiving

Fusion Parts even comes with Karmak’s Deliver-It application. This tool can help you monitor the efficiency of your delivery team. It also gives you the ability to capture delivery signatures and pictures.

Fusion Sales

Karmak Fusion doesn’t just let you manage your dealership’s inventory in a smooth and efficient way, it can also help you make more deals and increase your revenue.  Karmak’s Fusion Sales program gives you the ability to:

  • Send quotes to clients on OEM forms
  • Deliver and invoice units in installments
  • Analyze the profit on each line item in a deal
  • Easily manage the client’s after sales service
  • View real-time inventory costs, and
  • Review snapshots of unit ownership changes

The Fusion Sales system even allows you to view detailed salesperson commission records for each line item in a deal. With the Karmak software, there’s no need for any manual calculations.

Fusion Service

Your commitment to your clients doesn’t end when the deal closes. You also need to help them maintain and repair their equipment. This Karmak Fusion module helps you do just that.  With Fusion Service, you can:

  • Track the proficiency and productivity of your technicians
  • Monitor your service team’s calendar
  • Notify customers about necessary preventative maintenance
  • Manage deferred unit repairs, and
  • Check client credit before opening a repair order

The capabilities offered by this module of the Karmak DMS can help you keep your customers happy and generate additional revenue for your dealership.

Fusion Accounting

The Fusion Accounting module makes keeping track of your equipment dealership’s finances a breeze by giving you the ability to:

  • Track your organization’s fixed assets and post depreciation
  • Monitor purchase orders and automatically pay vendors
  • Outsource collections to a third-party company
  • Manage multi-location clients from a single parent account, and
  • Reconcile your inventory with your accounts

With Fusion Accounting, all transactions are carried out in real-time, meaning you always have access to the most up-to-date information about your dealership’s finances. No need to wait for a quarterly report from your CPA.

fusionZONE + Karmak

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Karmak Fusion is its ability to integrate with fusionZONE.  When you load your data into the Unity API backend, the skilled developers at fusionZONE can build a high-converting website with a real-time connection to your inventory in as little as a few weeks.

Once your new website is complete, your customers will have the ability to search for and purchase equipment online, without needing to call your office to check inventory levels. That is a surefire way to boost sales!  The seamless integration makes the process simple. It involves no time-consuming data entry. All you need to do is contact the fusionZONE team and let them work their magic!

While talking to a representative, don’t forget to ask about other fusionZONE digital marketing services, like:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Google Ads management
  • Reputation management
  • Video advertising, and
  • Social media marketing

With Karmak and fusionZONE behind you, there’s no limit to what your dealership can achieve!  Once you have the Karmak DMS up and running, get in touch with the fusionZONE team by calling (424) 232-0728 or filling in this contact form. Before long, you’ll have a new website your customers are sure to love!

What is Karmak?

If you work in the automotive or commercial transportation industries, you have likely heard of Karmak. However, you might not know what the company does or how it can help take your automotive/equipment dealership to the next level. We’re here to provide you with all the information you need to know.

Karmak: An Overview

Karmak is a business management solutions provider for the commercial transportation and automotive equipment industries. It helps businesses manage inventory, boost sales, and improve their accounting practices.

They were founded on December 31, 1981. Since then, the company has grown tremendously. Here are a few of the highlights of its 40 years in business:

  • 1982: Karmak signs an OEM agreement with Digital Equipment Corporation.
  • 1987: Inc names Karmak one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the United States.
  • 1997: Karmak acquires Rinfo, Inc. and its INFO5 dealer management system.
  • 2001: Karmak introduces Director Series, its first Windows-based parts and service management system.
  • 2003: Karmak launches ProfitMaster Sales.
  • 2007: Karmak introduces ProfitMaster Service.
  • 2011: Karmak launches Fusion, its flagship Windows-based solution for the heavy-duty industry.
  • 2012: Karmak introduces Deliver-It, a mobile app that provides a real-time view of the delivery process.
  • 2016: Karmak acquires ADAM Systems, a DMS for the automotive and powersports industries.
  • 2019: Karmak launches Unity, an API framework that helps clients leverage third-party programs.

Karmak now has over 250 employees. It provides first-in-class business management solutions and DMS services to more than 600 commercial transportation companies and equipment dealers across North America.

Karmak holds a wide range of strategic partnerships with companies like Mack, Daimler, Wabash National, Thermo King, Peterbilt, and fusionZONE.

How to Use Karmak to Take Your Company to the Next Level

Karmak can help to optimize and grow equipment dealerships like yours in a variety of different ways. For example, its Fusion Parts solution provides you with the tools you need to maintain tighter control over your inventory and make data-driven purchasing decisions.

Fusion Parts also comes with the Deliver-It application. This feature gives you the ability to monitor the efficiency of your company’s delivery drivers and their routes. It can even help you to reduce your liability by capturing delivery signatures and images.

The Fusion Sales solution helps to close more deals and increase revenue. It allows you to easily generate spec sheets with unlimited characteristics and track sales rates that are tied to individual units.

A Fusion Accounting suite gives you the ability to track vendors, compile invoice summaries, and reconcile your inventory with your books. All transactions are done in real-time, so your accounting team will always have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information.

The programs are easy to use and you should have little trouble fitting them into your existing workflow. Take advantage of their  knowledge center, support team, and e-learning hub to provide you with advice and guidance. It can even provide an on-site trainer to assist you with the onboarding process.

How fusionZONE Can Help Karmak Customers Drive More Sales

what is karmak

As a Karmak customer, you won’t just have access to its extensive suite of business management solutions. You will also be able to team up with the experienced developers at fusionZONE to build a high-converting website for your dealership.  Your Karmak DMS integrates seamlessly into fusionZONE’s websites. Your dealership will have a custom-built website with a real-time connection to your inventory!

This integration will give your dealership’s customers the ability to look for parts directly on your website, without needing to call to check inventory.

fusionZONE’s list of services doesn’t stop at web development. Our digital marketing team can also help you drive sales and generate leads for your equipment dealership by assisting you with:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • Google Ads management
  • Video advertising, and
  • Reputation management

In short, we can help your equipment dealership thrive online.  Please do not hesitate to give us a call at (424) 232-0728 or complete the contact form. Our friendly team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Schedule An Appointment

2022 Automotive Industry Outlook

The auto industry has experienced unprecedented uncertainty during the global pandemic and subsequent microchip shortage and supply chain issues. Unfortunately, it appears these supply challenges will continue well into 2022 and potentially beyond.

In this week’s edition of the fusionZONE blog, we’re focusing on the outlook for the automotive industry in 2022, including what carmakers and the auto sales industry may be facing over the coming months and year.

We’ll also cover some ways that dealerships can combat supply chain issues and outperform their competition in 2022!

A Look Back

If you look back to early 2021, things were looking up once again. The U.S. economy was surging, picking up steam as we looked to move past the pandemic.

Between low interest rates and stimulus checks, car shoppers were back and ready to buy. As a result, not only did new car and truck sales soar in early 2021, but pre-owned vehicles were becoming harder to find as more drivers jumped back into the market looking to buy.

Some automakers were anticipating a record sales year in 2021, and the industry as a whole forecasted to move 18 million-plus vehicles.

But that was before the microchip shortage and other automotive supply chain issues hit.

Now, the semiconductor shortage is expected to last into 2022. That means carmakers may have to wait another year or even longer to see a new sales record.

Ongoing Supply Chain Challenges

With the supply of new cars remaining constrained into 2022, the used car market will also continue to feel the effects.

Thanks to fewer options and record-high prices, used car buyers and dealerships will likely continue struggling to find ideal vehicles with favorable pricing.

In short, new and used car dealerships will need to continue thinking creatively to overcome inventory issues.

Innovation Helps

The car dealership inventory shortage has indeed forced dealers to think outside the box, and this type of thinking will continue to serve businesses well.

As we mentioned in our “Setting Yourself Up for Success in Q4” blog post, creating a plan to minimize the effects of inventory issues should be a top priority as we look to a new year.

It’s also critical to find better ways to understand your customer base. So dealers will want to consider the key takeaways from post-pandemic shopping patterns.

Want more insights into the car dealership environment for 2022? Then be sure to stay tuned to the fusionZONE blog for automotive industry updates!

This is a developing story. Tune back in for updates!

Top 5 Automotive Website Design Tips

Top 5 Tips for Automotive Website Design

Could your automotive website use a major upgrade? Maybe the site design needs updating to a more modern and user-friendly layout, or it’s simply not helping your dealership reach its full potential.

Either way, there are plenty of automotive web design best practices to utilize when revamping your site to boost its appeal and performance.

Today, we’re covering the top tips for automotive websites, along with the common website design mistakes you should work to avoid.

Consider these automotive web design tips to enhance the user experience (UX) and attract more leads, conversions and sales!

1. Ensure Your Site Is Easy to Navigate

Your website’s navigation is one of the most critical factors regarding how visitors interact with your site and business online. If you’re looking to improve your automotive website’s UX, you could certainly start by taking a close look at its navigation.

Is your site’s menu easy and intuitive to navigate? Is it optimized for all shoppers? In other words, can visitors find what they’re looking for within the navigation menu, regardless of where they are in the purchase process?

Some visitors may know exactly what new car model they’re after and want to get to that model’s inventory quickly. Still, other shoppers may be in the initial stage of their search and seek a more broad view of your inventory, where they can narrow down their options gradually.

Regardless of how you organize links within the navigation, you’ll want to keep all potential customers in mind. Don’t forget to display your dealership’s finance application, service scheduler, specials and other popular pages prominently within the menu!

Keep the following automotive website navigation best practices in mind as you look to improve your site’s user experience:

  • Minimize menu clutter
  • Utilize dropdowns to formulate a navigation funnel
  • Make navigation titles clear and concise
  • Include a search bar
  • Ensure menu items are easy to read on mobile devices

2. Optimize the Space Above the Fold

Navigation is the main way visitors interact with your website; that’s why it’s always front and center. Likewise, you should ensure that your automotive dealership or service center’s top vehicles, pages and services are also quick to locate online.

The important calls to action or CTAs on your site should always be above the fold on any given page. This is another automotive web design best practice because it helps ensure that visitors won’t have to dig to find what they’re after.

In short, are you prominently displaying links like your new inventory, used car specials, credit application and contact information? If not, you might want to get started: it’s one simple way to improve automotive website UX.

3. Make It Mobile-Friendly

Car shoppers are increasingly starting their searches on mobile devices, which is why it’s more crucial than ever that your site is mobile-friendly. This doesn’t mean your website simply has to look good on an iPhone: it also needs to operate as seamlessly on a mobile screen as a desktop.

Mobile navigation is a major factor when designing a car dealership or service center website that converts mobile visitors into customers. If your site’s menu is too difficult to navigate on a mobile device, shoppers will likely become frustrated and bounce, leaving for another site and business.

With a responsive website and NAV 2.0 from fusionZONE, you can help ensure your automotive site is ready for mobile shoppers.

Our mobile-first approach to automotive web design and navigation means that you can spend less time optimizing your site and more time fielding online leads and converting them into sales. Contact our team to learn more!

4. Utilize Custom Images and Content

Looking beyond the overall website design, the way you use graphics and content on your site also matters.

Stock images and generic content not only look bad, but they also negatively affect consumer confidence. Plus, duplicate content and content not optimized for search engines can hold your website back in organic search.

Utilizing unique vehicle images over stock model graphics is always the way to go. The same goes for custom content tailored around your dealership.

Custom graphics and unique content can help:

  • Improve the look and feel of your website
  • Enhance your search engine optimization or SEO efforts
  • Differentiate your website and dealership from the competition
  • Build consumer confidence in your business
  • Help convert more visitors into customers

How do you ensure that your automotive website’s menu, links and content are easy to read and navigate? Let’s take a look.

5. Keep It Simple and Clean

Last on our list of automotive web design best practices is a clean and simple layout. From the navigation and calls to action above the fold to the graphics, content and lead forms throughout the rest of a page, you’ll want to provide an intuitive shopping experience at every turn.

You can create a clean and simple website design by utilizing white space, breaking up content into smaller, more digestible portions and using high-quality graphics to separate content sections and calls to action.

Often, less is more in the world of automotive web design. After all, the main goal of your website should be to cater to visitors and customers with detailed information about your business, products and services.

If your site is confusing to navigate or not mobile-friendly, you could lose more online shoppers than you’ll gain.

Don’t miss our blog post, 7 Tips to Improve Your Automotive Website’s User Experience, for even more ways to turn site visitors into customers.

Want even more automotive web design tips and common website design mistakes to avoid? Then reach out to the fusionZONE team.

We’ve been designing high-performance automotive websites for dealers and service centers for many years, and we will gladly assist with your site’s needs!

Tips to Improve Your Automotive Website’s User Experience

User experience is one of the most vital components to consider when designing a website. After all, the user is the reason why your website exists.

If you’re trying to attract potential customers to your business online, you’ll want to consider our top tips for improving your website’s user experience.

In this installment of the fusionZONE blog, we cover automotive web design best practices, but these seven tips can apply to websites in any industry.

Let’s get started with one of the most critical components of providing a pleasant user experience.

1. Keep It Simple

Developing a clean, simple and intuitive website design helps visitors reach their goals.

If your site’s design is overloaded with text, graphics, calls to action, menu items and pop-ups, you risk losing your audience even before they fully interact with your dealership online.

It’s not uncommon for website visitors to encounter too many options — and too much going on — when they arrive at a dealership’s homepage or landing page. When faced with a confusing or complex website layout, visitors tend to bounce from the site and start shopping elsewhere, somewhere they feel more comfortable and in control.

2. Keep It Consistent

Have you ever visited a website that feels like different designers and developers built its various pages? This phenomenon can lead to a less-than-stellar visitor experience, one where the site may even lose credibility through its inconsistency.

But consistent design goes far beyond merely a site’s design elements, such as its use of colors, fonts and graphics. Many elements go into a consistent website design, from the internal linking structure and website navigation bar design to page layouts and lead form designs.

It’s imperative to maintain a consistent user flow throughout your automotive website. So no matter if a visitor is shopping the latest new car models on your lot or scheduling an appointment at your service center, they’ll encounter similar and familiar steps along the way to reaching their goal.

Creating a consistent design across your site helps visitors feel at home, which means more time on site, more interaction with your business and a better chance of converting site visits into leads and sales.

3. Use Design Elements to Separate Page Sections

Do you have a lot of quality content and information about your business on your site? That’s great, but you’ll want to make sure that visitors can digest the info easily.

One way to accomplish this is to utilize design elements to separate content into smaller sections. On your dealership homepage, you could start with a few calls to action with links to popular products and services, such as your new inventory, used inventory and schedule service page.

Below the fold, you can create another design element and section that highlights the latest car models available at your dealership, followed by separate sections detailing the reasons to buy and service at your business.

Maybe you even want to highlight each of your dealership’s departments, covering a mix of online and on-site services you offer.

Using design elements and white space to break down content into bite-sized sections is especially important on pages with extensive text and graphics.

4. Practice Responsive Design

Is your website mobile-friendly?

The best way to test this out is to visit your website on a mobile device, pretend that you are a first-time visitor, and navigate through the site with different objectives in mind. If you find that it’s more difficult or less intuitive than you initially thought, then it’s time to implement responsive design.

Responsive website designs render well on all devices and browsers. So whether a user is viewing your site on a smartphone, tablet or PC monitor the size of a television screen, the website navigation and content will display consistently.

Since smaller screens have far less visual real estate than a desktop computer’s display monitor, the user experience and site functionality can diminish if you don’t utilize responsive design.

For instance, many common website navigation mistakes on mobile devices can be attributed to simply not considering smaller screen sizes when developing the website.

5. Consider Page Speed

Page speed certainly matters to the user experience, and it matters in Google’s search rankings, too. Plugins, pop-ups and third-party apps can slow your page load speed to a crawl, so you’ll want to use these elements as sparingly as possible.

Many factors are at play when optimizing your site’s page speed for a pleasant user experience, but much of it boils down to our first point: keep it simple.

6. Utilize Intuitive Navigation

Your website’s menu is the chief way visitors navigate your site, so the type of website navigation you employ plays a big factor in the overall user experience.

What are some website navigation best practices? Or how do you know if there is good navigation on a website?

Well, going back to responsive design, you’ll first want to ensure that visitors across all devices and browsers can easily move through your site via the website navigation menu.

Current site navigation trends certainly favor a simpler approach to menu design, one that is free from clutter or unnecessary or duplicate links, and one that is highly responsive for mobile visitors.

7. Audit Your Menu & Content Regularly

The task of developing an excellent user experience is never done. That’s why performing routine audits of your site design is so important.

Having outdated content or graphics is never a good look to visitors, nor is having broken links on pages or in the navigation. Updating content, graphics, links and other elements is crucial, and so is auditing your website navigation menu.

Using the example of a test run, you can visit your website on various devices, browse the navigation menu and look for any areas of confusion or redundancy.

See how long it takes you to reach certain pages or goals on your website by simply using the navigation bar. If you struggle at all, assume that visitors and customers less familiar with your site and services will have a tougher time with the navigation.

If you’re looking for ways to improve website navigation or would like a second opinion on your dealer site’s navigation bar, reach out to fusionZONE. We specialize in developing high-performance websites for car dealerships, auto repair shops and dealers in the powersports and commercial vehicle industries.

The fusionZONE team has developed NAV 2.0, the future of website navigation. Contact us for a tour and test drive of our latest responsive, mobile-friendly navigation!

9 Customer Appreciation Events for Car Dealers

Retaining customers and attracting new ones can seem like a full-time job for many car dealerships. After all, there are plenty of places for local consumers to buy and service vehicles.

So how can you create loyal customers and bring in new business?

One proven way is to hold customer appreciation events. These events not only make consumers feel special but also showcase your dealership, products and services.

Customer appreciation events can help boost CSI scores, which should matter to every dealership, since the customer experience still reigns supreme.

Take a look at these nine ideas for creating car dealership events that current and potential customers will love!

1. Throw a Customer Appreciation Party

Everyone loves to feel appreciated, so extend that feeling to your valued customers with a customer appreciation party. Roll out the red carpet (figuratively or literally) and give customers the VIP treatment just for supporting your business.

You could create a VIP Event with invitations sent out to those on your customer list. Or, consider opening it up to all, with a focus on showing how you value everyone who shops, buys and services at your dealership.

How do you throw a great party at your dealership? There are many creative ways to make your customers feel appreciated, from providing premium drinks and hors d’oeuvres to party games where contestants can win prizes.

2. Help Customers Learn Something New

Consider holding workshops or events at your dealership where your team will teach attendees something new if you’re searching for new ways to show customer appreciation. For instance, a car care or detailing clinic your staff puts on could show customers how to keep their vehicles looking pristine between visits to your service center.

You could demonstrate the proper way to wash and wax a car and cover simple, affordable ways to maintain a clean vehicle interior. If your dealership offers detailing services, this could be a great way of increasing awareness of your services and attracting more business, too.

3. Host a Barbecue or Picnic

Who doesn’t love a good picnic or barbecue? Especially if it involves free food and drink! Picnics or food events create a fun and casual environment for your customers, where you can build relationships, make new friends and even increase customer loyalty.

Plus, by hosting a barbecue for customers who have previously purchased a car from your dealership, you’re not only showing your appreciation but also highlighting current vehicles on your lot.

4. Hold a Customer Appreciation Day Sale

If your dealership isn’t into parties and picnics, you can always show appreciation to your valued customers by simply offering a day where they can save big on their next vehicle or service visit.

As any car dealer knows, there are all sorts of customers, each with different views on dealership perks. Offering special discounts could mean the difference between repeat business and consumers looking elsewhere, especially for your most money-conscious customers.

5. Offer Test Drive Incentives

Whether you’re aiming to reward current customers or attract new business, a great way to do it is to offer a test drive promotion. Test drive incentives show car shoppers you appreciate them taking the time to visit your dealership to view new inventory and pre-owned inventory, alike.

Many automakers routinely offer test drive promotions, where potential car buyers can receive a gift card or prepaid card just for taking a test drive. If handing out free rewards makes your customers feel special and leads to more sales, it’s a win-win!

Of course, you don’t have to offer prepaid cards or gift cards. You could always create a game or sweepstakes where test drivers get a chance to win dealership discounts, merchandise or other prizes.

6. Host and Sponsor Local Events

Every car dealer knows that hosting or sponsoring events is a great way to increase awareness of their business within the community. Still, hosting local events can also be a way to show your appreciation to loyal customers.

Need some ideas? No matter what brands of vehicles you sell, there are likely local car clubs or car shows that would appreciate you sponsoring or supporting their events. You can even offer to host car shows and clubs on your dealership lot.

What if you want to branch outside of car-centric events? Well, there are numerous ways to show appreciation to customers and the greater community, from canned food donation drives to fundraising events for local schools and sports teams.

7. Offer Free Gallons of Gas

Your customers love a good deal, especially when it’s something different than what they can find elsewhere. Think outside the box and offer perks that you know every car buyer will use, like free gas! Instead of offering the usual cash discounts on certain cars, consider creating a free gas promotion.

Depending on current gas prices, you could offer a certain amount of free gallons of gas per vehicle purchase. This shows your customers you’re addressing their concerns about car ownership costs even after the dealership transaction.

8. Hold an After-Hours Sale

Another way to create an automotive customer appreciation or VIP event is to extend your usual business hours and offer exclusive sales and deals to visitors.

Holding a sales event on a weeknight or after hours on the weekend could help attract your customers who can’t visit during regular business hours. Not only are you providing them with special offers, but you’re showing you value their time while offering a fun and convenient shopping experience.

9. Offer Pick-Up and Drop-Off Promotions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many car dealerships added complimentary perks like vehicle pick-up and drop-off services to support a safe shopping experience. The truth is, many motorists greatly appreciate these services, regardless of any public health situations.

If you’d like to show your customers that you value their time and continued business, think about providing limited drop-off and pick-up services for test drives, vehicle purchase delivery and maintenance and repair visits.

Want More Ideas? We’ve Got Them!

If you want even more ideas on customer appreciation events for car dealers, don’t hesitate to reach out to the fusionZONE team. Our DNA is pure dealer, so we understand what it takes to keep your current customers happy and attract new ones!