White's Toyota & Honda of Lima (formerly Allan Nott) has an interesting location in that they are located approximately 60 miles from the Marysville Auto Plant. It's one of the reasons why Honda is the No. 1 selling brand two years running in the group's Allen County market.
Lima is a big town sitting in the middle of Cincinnati, Toledo, Boardman, and Columbus, Ohio, on the I-75. In between are a bunch of smaller towns. “We’re kind of smack in the middle, so we get a lot of traffic from all over the place,” she says.
Kuhlman’s other job is to ensure leads are flowing from all those markets, which means managing the third-party lead sites in which the group invests. It also means working closely with her DealerFire Website Account Manager to ensure her websites — three in all, including a group site that generated more than 29,000 sessions four months in a row heading into February — are doing their part.
“We were on Engine5 when I started, and I picked it up pretty easily,” she says. “Engine6 is even easier, allowing me to update things on the website. Our account manager typically handles the bigger items.”
Makenzie Kuhlman offers the following advice to dealers considering DealerSocket’s DealerFire websites: Sign up for the provider’s content marketing. “It’s not a sales pitch when they say, ‘Hey, we need to make sure we get a lot of blogs [and content] posted because it’s going to help,’” she says. “It’s very helpful.
“I would also definitely suggest going with the Engine6 sites,” she adds. “Visually, they’re one of the best sites in the automobile industry.”
As marketing manager for White’s Honda and Toyota stores in Lima, Ohio — housed in separate facilities 20-feet apart and overseen by the same general manager — Kuhlman wears many hats. She’s responsible for keeping the locations visible in a community they have served since 1957, which means attending local charity events. She also travels to recruitment events at the nearby University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH), where the dealership sources most of its technicians.
“We’re the No. 1 employer for UNOH,” she says. “Most of them are driving trucks because of the outdoor activities available here — American-made trucks. So it’s a bit of a struggle when it comes to Tacomas and Ridgelines, but we do have one advantage.”
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A look at the organic traffic DealerFire’s custom landing pages and blogs generate tells the story. In January, for instance, blog traffic for the Honda and Toyota stores increased 72.30% and 17.12% on a year-over-year basis, respectively. As for the group site, blog views were up 53.7% since August 2019, fueling a 60% rise in organic search.
Kuhlman notes that content development is often on cruise control, with her account manager sharing what her assigned content writer has in mind during their monthly calls. The only time Kuhlman will ask for specific content is when there’s a dealership special or a seasonal topic she wants covered, whether it’s the two-store operation’s annual Fall Fest or summertime SUV Month.
The result is a viable and sustainable online presence for the 300-unit-per-month operation. “Based on our Google Analytics reports, it’s insane how many referrals come from those DealerFire blogs.”
The two locations have been on DealerFire since 2015, even when the company’s websites had yet to be certified by Honda and Toyota. That changed last year when DealerFire websites earned accreditation under the Toyota Dealer Digital Solutions program. Honda certification is expected any day now.
“Honda and Toyota compliance is getting stricter almost every day that passes, which is why we use the group site. It allows us to be more creative and make it our own,” Kuhlman says, noting that DealerSocket is usually on top of any potential compliance issues before they become penalties.
INCREASE IN BLOG TRAFFIC
INCREASE IN ORGANIC CONVERSIONS
INCREASE IN LMA TRAFFIC
INCREASE IN TRAFFIC FROM CONTENT TO INVENTORY