Content Parity: Moving Toward the One Web Concept

Consumers have shifted their device preference, but not their content preference. Although the percentage of keyword searches and site visits coming from mobile devices has skyrocketed. The content requirements of consumers and search engines have not changed. Both want the same content available from any device, accessible through the navigation appropriate for that device.

Content Parity for digital marketing success

Just as the type of car one drives has little impact on the destination, the type of device one uses has little impact on their content needs. Some shoppers may prefer a desktop device over a mobile device for consuming some types of content. That does not mean any content should be stripped away based on device. The mobile nature of the internet allows shoppers to share content both by sending links (e.g. a shopper on a desktop device sending a link to a VDP to her partner on a mobile phone) and by physically showing someone else the content on their device (e.g. a shopper showing his partner the VDP on a tablet in the living room or a coffee shop). Therefore, there must be content parity across device platforms. Site content must be for a single web, not a mobile web or a desktop web. As they relate to vehicle shopping, neither web experience exists in isolation of the other.

Search engines see it the same way. SEO advantages are accumulated for those sites providing a great deal of relevant content on any device. That content which contributes mightily toward an SEO objective, be it the head term or a long-tail term, contributes both for mobile SEO as well as traditional. Unique content remains a driving force when striving to index higher for specific searches. Long tail searches are easier to earn since indexing pressure is usually small and just from 3rd party lead generating sites, but content continues to be the easiest way to also index 2nd or 3rd position for a head search.[3] While you can’t take the first spot for someone else’s business name search, 2nd or 3rd is still not a bad place to be.

It deserves mentioning that content doesn’t have to have an SEO purpose, content itself is SEO. The difference between content written purely for SEO and content written for information purposes (product, services, specs, etc.) is how engaging it will be to the end user. I’m not advocating for any content form, but for how many devices can handle our content and therefore what is the possible customer reach. For example, for a Dodge dealer outside the Seattle metro area receiving 49% mobile traffic as of July 2015, if their content is not accessible via mobile devices their reach for that content and the resulting SEO contribution is only 51% of their customers.

It stands to reason, the UI for the person generating content is critical. Those creating content must be able to do so for both devices simultaneously and automatically with no additional effort. Regardless of whether the content is being generated by in-house staff or an outside vendor, the need to have a UI supportive of fast, cheap, and easy content generation to all devices is paramount to a dealer’s efficiency. The vast majority of adaptive platforms and even many responsive platforms lack this essential feature.

Content should be accessible from the main menu bar, not just sub-menus, and that goes for both devices. The mega menu concept provides superior navigation and superior SEO from all devices by making far more content accessible from the main menu bar.

For years, I’ve been an advocate for more automotive product content on dealer’s site. Shoppers should not need to navigate back to the OEM or 3rd party site if they need more product knowledge. Whether you create this content or not the argument of whether or not your site should be able to offer all the information your client expects is over.[4] The argument for 4Q 2015 and development for 2016 will be content parity.

Can 100% of your customers find and use all the content you created across all devices?

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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.03.53 PM

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?

customer_lead_switch_makes

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?

2015-pied-piper-prospect-satisfaction-index_100517436_l

YES!

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 – https://www.truecar.com/true-cash/

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.