Are your online customers worth three seconds?


Embrace digital and change the game

One thousand one… one thousand two… one thousand three. That’s three seconds and that’s how long most people take to decide whether to stay on a website or move onto another. Compare that to the average 30 seconds it takes people to form opinions about others when they meet face to face or walk into a business.

A great website isn’t one that simply looks fantastic and functions nicely. It’s one that ranks well, drives user engagement and delivers data for future sales and marketing use.

While that three seconds may vary from industry to industry, it’s something dealers need to think about when evaluating their online presence. “Most people will leave a website within three seconds if they realize it’s not what they’re looking for or it takes too long to load,” says Mike Giamprini. “Most people also visit websites from a mobile device and if the website looks distorted, they’ll leave and go to a competitor.”

Mike Giamprini

Mike Giamprini

Giamprini is general manager of one of the association’s newest programs, WEDA Digital, which provides digital sanity to equipment dealers in North America with a comprehensive, integrated suite of dealer-focused digital marketing solutions. “Our packages will help dealers navigate the complexity of modern digital marketing, streamline purchase decisions and turn insights into equipment sales,” says Giamprini.

“There’s a big opportunity in how dealers are spending their marketing dollars. In a survey, dealers were asked to rank their marketing priorities and the top answer was attracting more contacts and leads. When it comes to ROI for marketing activities, digital is king,” he adds.

“Legacy media, such as newspapers and radio ads, still have an important place in their marketing spend, although they come at a large price tag and are harder to measure,” says Giamprini. “However, the newer technologies claimed the top three spots for ROI. Most importantly, digital marketing provides data insights that can help them make smarter decisions.”

The survey referenced by Giamprini, Marketing Expenditures Survey, was conducted by Farm Equipment magazine in 2018. 

Digital presence

Two years ago, during the association’s annual conference, representatives from the major manufacturers all agreed that a dealership’s “digital presence” would be vital to dealers in the future. All the dealers we spoke with at the conference had websites and most believed their digital presence was established. That might have been true in the past, notes Giamprini, but things have changed.

WEDA Digital Logo“Digital presence means you occupy space online and 10 years ago it meant you had a website – today it’s much more,” says Giamprini. “It’s about how businesses appear online. This includes having accurate and consistent local listings, managing online reviews, being active on social media, and creating consistent content.”

The browsing habits of Internet users supports what Giamprini says about listings, reviews, social media, and content. According to a report from Kleiner Perkins for a company that measures digital activity, “Customers spent up to 41 hours each week with digital media in 2018, up 118 percent since 2008. These digitally connected customers are more informed, more in control and have higher expectations.”

Most importantly, recent studies have shown how crucial digital maturity is to businesses. For example, a 2018 study found that digitally mature businesses have a stronger competitive advantage in comparison to those that don’t. Another study by Business Development Bank of Canada shows that digitally advanced businesses are “62 percent more likely to have high sales growth, more likely to have high profit growth (52 percent) and are three times more likely to have innovated. Businesses with weak digital maturity often struggle to grow sales and often see sales fall.”

Emphasis on content

The emphasis on content can’t be overstated. With consumer browsing increasing by the minute, the number of Internet users now equals more than half of the world’s population, according to the Kleiner Perkins’ report. That’s a lot of opportunity but it’s unknown to many dealers without understanding what is measured in the digital world and this is where WEDA Digital comes in.

“A Snapshot Report is a scorecard on how a particular business is performing online,” explains Giamprini. “We look at a dealership’s online presence holistically and report on the key areas making up a dealership’s online presence, including Listings, Reviews, Social, and its Website. It’s an excellent way for dealers to benchmark how they’re performing online and identify their areas of opportunities.”

According to Giamprini, WEDA Digital can help dealers in three areas, which could be categorized as the building blocks to 1) boosting online performance, 2) engaging their audience, and 3) converting new customers.

“A business can no longer exist without having an online presence and having a presence online has different layers. The foundation layer is about being found and when your dealership is found the information needs to be accurate and consistent. This is when listings play an important role,” says Giamprini. “The next layer is about engaging with prospects and customers through reviews or social media. Then the next layer is about converting prospects into customers – and that is when ads come into place and you can convert people who are researching online into a customer.”

The Customer Journey graphic shows common questions and answers WEDA Digital provides for dealers.

“WEDA Digital provides digital sanity to equipment dealers in North America with the most comprehensive, integrated suite of dealer-focused digital marketing solutions,” says Giamprini. “Our packages will help dealers navigate the complexity of modern digital marketing, streamline purchase decisions and turn insights into equipment sales.”

Customer Journey

The role of social media

Like it or not, social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and LinkedIn, are more important than many seasoned business owners would care to admit. Fact is, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have more than 5 billion monthly users and they consistently rank first, second and third in overall use.

“Social media helps to position dealers as thought leaders in their areas. Social media platforms are essential for the online dialog that happens between dealers and their customers,” says Giamprini. “You can build a strong community using social media and stay top-of-mind with your potential customers. This way producers can be loyal to brands they like and advocate for them.”

Adds Carolynn Sinclair, marketing communications director for WEDA, “Social media can be a highly effective way to boost visibility and reach new prospects. But the benefits of social networking come to those who interact not just with the platforms but with other participants. Customers are mobile and connected; they make purchases on their own schedule and in their own way. They research items online, even when shopping at a physical location, and they value interaction and engagement. They trust their social networks – more than they trust marketing messages. It’s essential to have a two-way conversation online. WEDA Digital offers everything from post management to content creation.” 

“WEDA Digital gives time back to the dealers by actively posting twice per week for them,” confirms Giamprini. “The posts are created in collaboration with the dealer and are scheduled once they’ve been approved. We strive to represent dealers and their brands as authentically as possible by understanding and showcasing their dealerships.”

Search Engine Optimization

Perhaps no three words are more critical to businesses with websites than Search Engine Optimization. Known as SEO, it’s a big deal, says Giamprini.

“For any business, it is crucial to be found, may that be online or offline. Being found on search results often means that potential customers will contact your dealership. On search engines, such as Google for example, being found can be done through paid ads or organically (unpaid results). So, Search Engine Optimization is the art and science of taking the steps necessary for your website to rank higher in the organic results,” he explains.

WEDA’s Sinclair agrees that “being found” is key to dealerships. “What people find (or don’t) often immediately shapes their perception of the company or brand they’re researching and it weighs heavily on their decision-making. Consumers measure whether a website looks trustworthy and has the details they’re seeking. They also consider whether the site is easy to use and is an indication of what doing business with a company will be like. In other words, websites speak volumes about a company’s brand, for better or worse.”

“Increasing the volume and accuracy of your business listings, getting more reviews and creating consistent content, such as blogs, will also help improve your dealership’s online visibility and ranking,” adds Giamprini. “Because consumers often pay attention only to the top results, not being there can hurt your business. Therefore, as part of the WEDA Digital services we offer solutions to help boost a dealership’s rankings.”

“Dealers should view their digital properties as investments, rather than expenses,” adds Sinclair. “This requires a bit of a shift, since the traditional approach to marketing leans more towards spending most of your budget on paid media and campaigns. Businesses should invest money into developing digital assets that can actually drive business.

“For example, by investing in content and improved SEO on your website, you develop blog posts, videos, whitepapers and other valuable pieces of content that can attract new visitors and engage potential customers beyond a single Google AdWords or Facebook campaign. Just like your business staked its place in the ag industry, you have the same opportunity to do so in agri-digital. It takes humility to understand you aren’t there yet,

determination to change the way you think and the focused investment to make it happen. But those with the courage and determination to change the current landscape will reap the rewards.”

Getting started

Since it’s likely that every member of WEDA has a website, step one of reaching new prospects and staying in touch with current customers has been taken. But as noted previously, having a website was good enough 10 years ago, but today you need more and WEDA Digital is ready to open a whole new digital world to dealers.

For information, visit or call 833-390-9332.



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