5 Blogging Myths and 5 Tips

Jeff Kershner and I were having a great conversation the other day about why dealers don’t have a blog on their dealership’s website and for the dealers who do, how can they make the blog posts even more effective. We came up with a number of ideas and good shortcuts I wanted to share with the community.

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Myth #1: Blogs won’t help my site performance.

Properly constructed blogs can help you incredibly with a number of factors on your site.

Tip #1: The trick is to blog well and blog often. Best practices suggest that 2 properly written blog posts be posted each week and be a minimum of 250-300 words with a good sized quality picture. (don’t forget the alt-text for the picture). We have seen the following metrics increase dramatically when blogs are employed; time on site, page views and an increase in conversions. It really works, but it takes time for it to develop. There is a saying I have heard, “most people stop blogging right before the real magic happens”.

Myth #2: I can just take information from the OEM and publish it to save time.

Don’t cut and paste information on your blog from other sites. You do not want duplicate content from another site anywhere on your site, period. It must be original.

Tip #2: Content for your blog is literally everywhere. Use the OEM site for motivation. Wouldn’t someone want to know that the 2015 make/model has 10 airbags? Or, that there is an an optional panoramic roof to enjoy the skies? You can simply pick 5 features about a car and write a great blog titled, The Top 5 Features of the 2015 (make/model). Then, list them 1-5. You’ll have 250-300 words in no time. Ok, you say I’m not a writer. Fair enough. I have to give Jeff credit for this amazing idea, Invest in a dictation program for your computer. Grab an OEM brochure and read it into the microphone. This content generally is not online and you can write 10 blogs in less than 20 minutes.

Myth #3: You can have a blog on a stand alone website.

Yearly study performed by xAd and Telmetrics – The mobile path to purchase continues to evolve with more and more consumers owning and relying on mobile devices. With this increase in mobile adoption, we see people turning to mobile as a necessary part of their everyday lives and purchase decisions. I was personally a bit surprised with some of the high percentages for auto.

A substantial amount of mobile activity is happening at the start of the purchase funnel (even for auto) when consumers are just beginning to evaluate options. Understanding how consumers’ engage with mobile to make a purchase decision is now more important than ever for marketers.

Here are a few main finding from the study…

  • Mobile now accounts for 51% of time spent online for key categories
  • As consumers get more comfortable with mobile, satisfaction has increased
  • Consumers are using mobile to shop and explore even when there is a computer nearby
  • 35% of consumers used mobile exclusively to make a vehicle purchase decision
Auto purchases rely on PC but Mobile plays a large role.

Auto purchases rely on PC but Mobile plays a large role.

Your Mind Is Misleading You: How To Keep It Simple

You gotta be familiar with the concept of Occam’s Razor…

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…it’s something I quote often here at String whenever we’re faced with a problem whose solution isn’t immediately obvious.

Occam’s Razor is attributed to William of Ockham, a 14th-century philosopher of sorts who is best known for his thoughts on probability. In its modern form, his “razor” theory states that the simplest explanation to a problem is usually the right one. In other words, if you don’t know all the facts, and you’re trying to figure something out, stick with the simplest explanation.

Occam’s Razor typically holds true because the more variables you involve in a decision-making process, the more opportunities you have for things to go wrong. In other words, all else being equal, the probability of two things happening is higher than the probability of three things happening.

Is it more likely that a driver got into an accident because he was texting, or because he was texting and a deer ran across the road and he swerved to avoid it? Even though the deer makes for a more interesting story, throwing another element into the mix makes that story less probable.

You’re Wrong

This way of thinking about the world is called a “heuristic.” Heuristics help our minds make sense of the world around us by simplifying our surroundings through mental “rules.” Heuristics are so ingrained in us as humans that we might not even know we’re applying them. They can be very helpful, but they can also mislead us in making decisions if we’re not aware we’re using them.

Another heuristic at odds with Occam’s Razor is something that we all fall prey to periodically: It’s called the “availability bias.”

Think of it this way: If you don’t know the answer to a question, but need to come up with an explanation, you might think of the most immediate examples that come to mind as reference points. For example, if I asked you what percentage of car salespeople were female, you would probably be able to venture a decent guess based on your own observations within your own dealership or market.

Let’s look at another somewhat morbid example that you probably don’t have as much experience with.  Are you more likely to be killed by a shark attack, or by falling airplane parts?

In fact, you are 30 times more likely to be killed by falling airplane parts than by a shark (1 in 10 million vs. 1 in 300 million). Why might this seem untrue? Part of the explanation involves the availability heuristic, meaning that it’s easier for most people to recall shark attacks (think news stories) than it is to think of incidents involving falling plane parts (generally not reported as much).

Don’t Be Fooled

Why is all of this significant?

Dealership Average Internet Closing Percentage

Latest HOT Discussion in the Forums

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What’s your average closing ratio for Internet Leads?

I’ve been working in the Internet Department within a few different Dealerships for a bit over 4 years now.

With all the research I have done and training (Driving Sales, Grant Cardone, Joe Verde, etc), I’ve found that the national average closing percentage to be around 12-14%.

I’ve recently seen some Dealers closing in the high teens to low 20′s on their Internet Leads consistently.

I’d like to hear from the DealerRefresh community on the closing percentage that you think your store should close at and if high teens to low 20′s is attainable consistently.

What’s your average closing ratio for Internet Leads?  Click here and comment over in the forums

HTTPS Everywhere: What it Means for Your Dealership!?

Google uses over 200 factors to determine website relevancy, and now HTTPS has been thrown into the mix, with a rule that Google is calling “HTTPS Everywhere.”

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From keyword relevance and backlinks to social shares and web page loading time, Google uses its ranking signals to determine which websites rise up and which fall in the search results. Some signals carry more weight than others, and Google has hinted that HTTPS may become stronger than it is now…

HTTPS Will Soon be Everywhere - are you going to be ready?

AutoTrader’s Social Media Survey is a Total Sham

They say that if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. In the case of AutoTrader’s recent “study” about car shopping habits, it’s not just a matter of torturing the data. It’s about coercing the study to produce a result that puts into a negative light the biggest threat to their core business model.

Team AutoTrader

In a recent post on Automotive News, the advertising giant determined that a mere “1 percent of car buyers use social sites to shop for a vehicle.” Seriously? You needed to pay for a study to determine that Americans are not complete morons? I’m actually pretty shocked that as many as 1% of people would go to social media sites with the intention of shopping for a car there. It’s more likely that a handful of the 1900 people surveyed either misread the question or filled out a false response in order to be obtuse. Nobody goes to social media sites to shop for a vehicle.

Leave the Screen Open: How to Deliver Screen-Friendly Experiences

I found myself squinting at the letter “N”.

Responsive vs. Adaptive Design - do you know the difference?

That’s all I could see after I pinched and zoomed in on one guitar after another on the musicians’ gear website that appeared on my smartphone. I zoomed out a little so I could read a little more of the text, but I had to keep scrolling right and left and up and down to get the gist of the message. Do you know what I did? I exited the site… probably never to return. And I really loved one of the Gibsons, too!

Multi-screen shoppers

I’m sure you’ve experienced the joy of viewing a full website on a cell phone, or even a tablet. At last check, 31% of website traffic on the Cobalt networks is now coming from tablets and mobile devices. And that percentage is NOT trending downward. So it’s vitally important to have a clear multi-screen strategy in place for your dealership.

Let’s begin with your shoppers. An understanding of why consumers shop the way they do is central to delivering a good experience, no matter how they encounter you. As consumers ourselves, we know the operative word is convenience, and in this case that means they must be able to access your site (i.e., inventory, hours & directions page, why buy messaging, etc.) no matter what device they have at their disposal at any given time. And, when I say ‘access,’ I mean they must not only be able to get to it; they also have to be able to actually gather information and navigate successfully.

91% of those surveyed in the 2014 Salesforce Mobile Behavior Report said being able to access information however they choose was important to their shopping experience. The other 9% are apparently rife with spare time.

Speaking of spare time, today’s shoppers don’t have much,