Can You Personalize Content for Conversion?

As a ( *cough* using the term loosely) runner, I’ve visited my fair share of running websites. One in particular always has this pop up asking me if I want to download their marathon training plan. My choices are: Yes, I want to PR! Or, No, I like running slow. Uh, thanks website of the year. Excuse me while I go run an extra few miles this week.

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According to a recent study by Wayin, the belts on marketing budgets are about loosen up a few notches to make room for personalization on websites. And, much to my annoyance – pop ups are a leading form of popular personalization.  With 53 percent of marketers stating they use pop ups – which was tied with inline content, and that personalized content providing a consumer engagement increase in over 70 percent, it’s no wonder personalization budgets are on the rise.

191997Before you run out and get yourself a fancy pop-up take a deep breath and think about it. Our industry isn’t one size fits all – at all. And, those pesky pop ups that hope to make me question if I need to download a white paper to run a faster half are quickly dismissed because I’m on a mission for CONTENT. That’s what brought me to the site in the first place.

I appreciate personalization as much as the next person. In fact, I rather like that I can drop off my dry cleaning and the folks there know my name. Don’t you like it when you get to your favorite restaurant and don’t have to order your drink because your favorite server is working and he knows exactly what you like…Oh, I’m talking about me there. But, anyway…

Earlier this year, Aaron Wirtz wrote about Personalization at the Dealership and touched on ways you can kick things up a notch within your daily dealership operations to drive home personalization.

Personalizing content on your website is as easy as getting to know your visitors. According to the study, marketers are most likely to segment out visitors and users based on:

  • viewed content
  • location
  • time on site
  • navigation behavior

And, don’t forget one of the most important pieces – device.

The best thing to do after you’ve researched your visitors is to decide what type of personalization is best for your audience. If you have a lot of mobile traffic (which I’m sure you do) is a pop up going to fit your only personalization effort? No, not likely. Knowing the location of your traffic can help you greatly with personalization – start brainstorming.

Show us how you’re personalizing on your website. Do you have unique content that grabs shoppers’ attention and converts them? Reaches their heart and turns them into lifelong customers?


A Dark Cloud Over the Dealership Industry

The dark cloud over the dealership industry has got to be one of the most fascinating studies in business psychology ever.

About 4 weeks ago, I’m havin’ a beer at a house party at my place, and my neighbor is talking about his new ride:

neighbor: “It drives me nuts, why can’t car dealers just post their lowest price? They force me to negotiate”
me: “you shopped on the internet and you visited the dealer with the lowest price… right?”

neighbor: “yea…”
me: “did you buy it, or, did you ask for a lower price?”

neighbor: “well… I offered a lower price to close the deal that day”
me: “I see, it was YOU wanted to negotiate a lower price, so, it was you that forced the dealer into negotiations…”

neighbor: [silence], then [mumbling], then [back peddling],
me: “still holding on to the idea that dealers are bad? Think about this. Would you be happier if Verizon’s store managers competed against each other and you could get a discount on your phone AND your cell bill?”

neighbor: “yea, that would be cool”
me: “this is how car dealers work, they FIGHT EACH OTHER for your business!”

neighbor: [silence]
me: “think about it. If you bought a Tesla, do you think they’ll ever cut your a deal?”

neighbor: “nope”
me: “Game. Set. Match.”

The anti-car dealer fever is generations old, yet NO ONE has updated how the Internet has blown up the old model. The tide has turned, car shoppers have enormous power.

Everyone! Buyers are selfish. Let go of the Urban Legend!

Be apart of this conversation over in the dealer forums.

Seven “MUST ASK” Questions Regarding Your Dealership’s Data

Data Management on the Mechanism of Metal Gears.

When I speak with dealers, CFOs, CEOs and legal counsel for major dealer groups, these are the questions that arise most frequently:

  1. Do you have the visibility of where your data is going?
  2. Are you indemnified from your third-party solution providers?
  3. Do you have any form of cyber-liability protection from your providers?
  4. Are your vendors being charged to have access to your data? If so, do you know how much?
  5. Can you activate and de-activate your data feeds?
  6. Do you have granular control of your data?
  7. Do you have an audit trail of the exact data being sent?

When thinking about your data strategy, it is critically important for dealerships to know the answers to these questions and set strategic plans for the management of their dealership’s data accordingly.

It is a widespread industry belief that ownership of DMS data belongs to dealerships; therefore, dealers need to have the ability to move that data to their providers. They also need to be able to do so in a secure and protected manner.

The importance of maintaining data regulation can be clearly illustrated in a recent conversation I had with an automotive dealer…

How Loyal Are Your Leads?

When a customer lead switches to another vehicle make, which one is it?


By the time your dealership receives a lead (online form fill) on a used vehicle, that customer has probably already been to multiple sites in his/her digital car-shopping journey.

Where that customer started his/her search and where that customer ends up tells an important story that can help your dealership with cross-selling opportunities, as well as with more precise off-brand used vehicle inventory decisions.

We (CarStory Data Team) get to see millions of unique used vehicle listings across more than 350 used vehicle marketplaces, as well as lead submission data through. With this data we are able to ask and answer questions such as:

Tesla Dead Last in Dealer Experience

Long Live the Dealership?



Despite his marketing and public relations NASA-level genius status, Elon Musk can’t compete with dealerships. According to a customer study by Pied Piper Customer Management Company Tesla just can’t covert shoppers into buyers the same way us dealers can. The inability to offer a test drive was noted a big blocker, as well as their sales people not being able to ask for the sale.

From the article:

“Dealerships that sell proactively — think of them as doing everything they can to be helpful to a car-shopper — not only end up selling a lot more vehicles, they also end up with happy shoppers and customers. On the other hand, customers don’t usually mind the ‘museum curator’ dealerships, with courteous salespeople who answer questions but do nothing to proactively sell. The difference is that the ‘museum curator’ dealerships end up much less successful; selling fewer vehicles … “

Tesla is a HOT TOPIC here and we talk about it often.

Please join our discussion in the forums and share what you think about this and everything else about Tesla.

TrueCar offers TrueCash – OEM & Infinity Program Incentives

TrueCar now offers TrueCash

“TrueCash gives you exclusive savings from leading carmakers based on your memberships with USAA, American Express, Consumer Reports, GEICO, plus many more. will only be available through TrueCar and our partners. Combined with other deals out there, it delivers savings like never before.”

truecar offers truecash

They are trying to get the OEM’s to participate by offering consumers a TrueCar incentive. Fiat is the first onboard, offering a TrueCar incentive of $1,000.

Read more about TrueCash here –

Anyone watching this?

Will more OEM’s follow?

Join the discussion in the forums

Why OEM Marketing Mandates are a Great Thing for Dealers (at least those who do it right)

Stop the presses! The cow just jumped over the moon. Pigs are flying. Hell froze over. Who kidnapped me and replaced me with an OEM shill?

Mad Men Smoking

The answer isn’t that I’ve gone insane. It’s that I looked deeper into the subject and realized it can be easily turned around from being a negative thing for franchise dealers to being something that helps savvy dealers tilt the playing field in their direction.

There have been plenty of posts on these forums, throughout LinkedIn, and on the general automotive blogosphere that call out the obtuse OEM mandates to use accepted vendors (often deemed acceptable because of relationships and deal-making rather than quality) for things like websites, PPC, chat, social media, and most other marketing components. Not all OEMs are doing it, but the trends point to this being the case universally at some point in the future. Most dealers complain and rightfully so. Heck, I’ve complained about it myself.

Something has been brewing in me lately. It started as a subtle seed and was emphasized when I started looking at the numbers. What I found so interesting was this: you can tell the difference between the dealers who are succeeding and the ones who are not based upon the amount of effort they put into enhancing their OEM-mandated marketing elements. While most dealers begrudgingly accept the OEM mandated products and services and leave it at that, others are taking what they’re given and making them better.

Employee mobile email, CRM notifications. How’s yours set up?


How do you have your CRM notifications set up that goes to the sales rep?

This issue came up at one of my stores a few weeks ago. Currently we have all the sales reps set up with their own CRM email address. When an email is sent or received it gets passed through the CRM so all the communications with the customer is logged and saved in the CRM system. All of our sales reps have a CRM email address and everyone else in the company has a cooperate email address. If an email, read receipt or lead comes into the CRM system there’s a notification that is sent to the sales reps mobile phone via text message and email. We have roughly 45 – 50 reps in the system that will get these notifications on their mobile device. To send the notification via email to the rep, we are sending the notification to their personal email address that is already set up on their mobile phone so they can be alerted on their mobile device.

I found a couple pretty major flaws in this. What would happen if that email account was to get hacked into? The hacker would have access to all the customer info that was sent to the sales rep. That was one issue. So I started asking the question, what happens when a sales rep decides to leave after 3 or 4 years. All the notifications are sitting in their personal email account. With a little digging on their part, they can go through their email inbox and pull all the customer data that was sent to them.

My question to you the Refresh members is.. are you sending notifications via email to the reps?
Does each rep have his / her own cooperate email address that the dealership manages set up on his / her mobile device or are you sending the notification to a personal email address?
How difficult is it to manage / setup the cooperate email accounts on all the diff mobile devices?

After realizing this flaw, I’ve looked at diff cooperate email providers and the simplest and easiest to roll out that works with just about all the devices is Google Biz Apps. Can you guys recommend any others that’s been user friendly and easy to set up that works pretty much across all the devices?

Another question you may want to ask yourself is, with your current CRM provider, if the rep is getting the CRM notifications sent to their personal email so they can be alerted via their mobile phone, does the rep have to login to see the customer info or is the customer info in plain text in the body of the email or is it just a link and all they have to do is click the link and the webpage opens with the customer info without logging in.

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