When they opened their doors in 1984, Dodge City could not have known the form media would take 30 years later — no one could have. But they adapted to the times, got a website and continue to work hard to guard their online reputation.
The auto industry is a tough one for many reasons, but one of the main difficulties is distinguishing yourself online. In a community of any size, there are often many car and auto dealerships. Companies need to find a way to differentiate themselves.
Dodge City struggled with their SEO and being found on the first page of Google. And we all know how useful being on the second page of Google is — it’s been said that the best place to hide a dead body is in the second page of Google results. I might argue that the first page of Bing is even safer, but regardless, not being found on the first page of search results is obviously problematic. When new customers are searching out auto dealerships, they’ll likely not click past the first page of results.
One way to increase your ranking on Google is to get reviews on their platform. Dodge City knew that they had happy customers, but not enough of them were reporting that good service online. In fact, none of them left reviews on Google. The reviews they were getting were scattered on various review sites rather than factoring into SEO on Google’s platform. They asked us for help, so we designed a little card that they started giving to their customers.
Within 10 days, Dodge City had received seven reviews, all overwhelmingly positive. Their struggle in getting reviews isn’t that their customers didn’t have good things to say, but rather that they didn’t have a platform to say it on.
The Digital Shadow
While many people talk about a digital footprint, we also talk about a digital shadow. A digital footprint is what you are saying about your business, but a digital shadow is what your customers are saying about you, the latter often more trusted and longer lasting. About 88% of people have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision (Zendesk), emphasizing the importance of reviews with establishing customer trust. While this is increasingly important for a business’s reputation, Dodge City experienced another bonus: they moved to the first page in Google search results.
Why it Matters
Dealing with positive or negative reviews is a much better challenge than not dealing with any reviews at all. If your client is already getting reviews, give them advice on how to harness positive reviews and deal with the negative ones. If your business clients have a hard time getting reviews online, have them try the leave behind card strategy. It worked for Dodge City, and these results translate to more customers and ultimately, more money.