It’s been a bit over 10 years since I’ve been on ground level (day to day operations) at the dealership.
Since then, was on the “corporate” level for one of the more larger groups in the US, director of marketing for a smaller group in my hometown, helped build and get AutoHook off the ground and consulted with many dealers and industry vendors, all while continuing to build-out and manage DealerRefresh.
Why go back back to the dealer?
I don’t have a definitive answer. It was timing more than anything; an opportunity presenting itself at the right moment. In addition, I’ve felt like I was losing some of my edge, in-touch of being at the dealership. And maybe I’ve been missing it, just a little. No matter how long you’ve been in the industry, when you step away from the day to day, after time it’s only natural you forget.
The day to day operations (and no one that spoke my language) at the dealership is what inspired me to start DealerRefresh, over 11 years ago, and it’s what has driven the passion and commitment to build out the Dealer Forums and continue on. So here I am, back at the dealership I was working with when I first start DealerRefresh. Makes for an interesting story doesn’t it?
Back then, I was handed a blank page and was asked to build upon as I saw fit. I had free rein in choosing a Website Provider, Inventory Management and Marketing Solutions, Vehicle Listing Portals, CRM / Desking and so-forth. This time around it’s a bit different. However, many of my decisions made back then stick today.
I’ll do my best at staying as transparent as possible while at keeping the “diary” updated with much of my day to day operations, obstacles, projects, ideas, solutions (and I’m sure a few rants) while staying clear of sensitive information. Keeping a fair balance with outside services and vendors.
Stepping into the position wasn’t the smoothest transition, as I’ve had to quickly pick up pieces of the fallen puzzle. An amazing dealership with wonderful personnel but quite typical one when it comes to being overly organized with their vendors, technology and marketing. A few pieces here handed to me here and there, several pieces found under a rug and the bottom of my chair. Many pieces I’m still looking for. Some pieces are in the hands of others, I can only guess they’re not even yet aware. You get the picture.
That’s my analogy so I don’t upset the wrong people. It’s all good though. I’m really looking forward in helping to bring about some change while getting my hands dirty again in the operations.
That’s it for now. Follow me over on the dealer forums as I re-navigate my way through hope to post a few times a week. I’m sure I’ll skip all over the place, from one project to the next.
Follow me over on the dealer forums and let’s have some fun!
Every day, your dealership website is visited by hundreds of people. Most people arrive there as a result of searching your dealership on Google. But many arrive as the result of other factors…
Maybe it was a Facebook ad, a tweet, or a link from some other social network. Maybe it was from an email you sent, or from the manufacturer’s website.
But what about the people that didn’t reach your site? Why did some arrive while others didn’t?
Who was turned off by the lack of stars in your Google reviews? How many Yelpers didn’t like what they saw?
How many people ended up on a competitor’s website because of an ad? How many landed on another dealer’s website with the same name as yours?
Is there a way to even know how many people ARE NOT reaching your site?
NO! THERE ISN’T!
You have no idea how much potential business could be leaking due to cracks in your online presence.
This is why you need to be performing assessments on a regular basis, to help identify where your dealership might be experiencing leaks in its online presence, and then address the issues.
AutoConversion Online Assessments
Much like mystery shops that put your people and your process to the test, AutoConversion Online Assessments put your online presence to the test. With these assessments we research your dealership online the way a potential customer would who is considering doing business with you. As a result you get an honest and objective analysis and consultation about your presence.
In these assessments we research your dealership on the five most popular networks that offer dealers a local listing – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and YouTube. We also investigate your dealership ratings and reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Cars.com, DealerRater.com, and Edmunds.com.
Proprietary Scoring System
We then run our analyses through our proprietary scoring system so you can see how your dealership measures up against other dealers against the same criteria. Scores are not based on the quantity of reviews but rather the quality and consistency of your ratings and reviews together, on each individual site. This way, dealers with hundreds of reviews on sites such as DealerRater.com but lacking in reviews everywhere else aren’t skewing the playing field.
Our scoring system also takes into account things like the way each dealership utilizes Facebook Ads, brands the dealership, produces quality professional videos, and more.
No Dealership is Flawless
Whether you believe your dealership is the best thing since sliced bread or at the bottom of the barrel, AutoConversion Online Assessments are designed to find the strengths and weakness of your online presence and offer guidance for addressing the issues.
There’s no such thing as perfection. Even top performing dealerships and dealer groups have room for improvement, often in areas where they might not realize. This is what we look for in our online assessments.
Request your complimentary online assessment today or text ANALYZE to 555888 and sign up from your phone. Be sure to enter the referral code ‘dealerrefresh’ when you sign up and you will receive a free gift of your choice.
Every so often, it’s a great idea to say Thank You.
Wether it’s saying thanks to a friend or family member, you don’t always need a reason to say and express your gratitude. Today, I would like to thank our DealerRefresh Sponsors. If it weren’t for our Sponsors, It’s likely DealerRefresh might not still be around. With the ever-going popularity of the Blog over the years and with the growing community of the dealer forums, it’s takes quite a bit of cash flow and band-with to keep DealerRefresh stable and moving forward.
So again, BIG THANKS to our current and past sponsors over the last several years.
It doesn’t cost much to advertise here on the DealerRefresh. I’ve intentionally kept the price down over the years so smaller startups in our industry have a popular media outlet and opportunity to get their name and services in front of a highly targeted dealer audience at an affordable rate. If you’re a vendor and are interested in getting your brand and message in front of a highly targeted audience of thousands, you may inquire here.
PLEASE take a moment to say THANKS to all our current sponsors below by checking out what services they have to offer. You may just find the solution you’ve been looking for.
Automotion Dealer Apps – For progressive dealers seeking to up their mobile experience and marketing.
eLeadOne – EleadOne introduces TRM, bridging the gap between sales, service and marketing.
VAN / Vehicle Acquisition Network – Vehicle trades don’t necessarily provide the vehicles you need. VAN does.
TradePending – Convert MORE organic high quality trade-ins from your own dealer website.
Dealer Inspire – an innovative disruptor building unprecedented websites and technology for dealers.
AutoHook – Drive more traffic to where it matters most – Your Showroom
PureCars – The PureCars Platform is revolutionizing the way dealers reach and convert car buyers online
VINCue – know what your competitors are selling, stocking and pricing.
ActivEngage – Get more quality leads and build your online reputation with dealer chat and text
DealerRater – Earn more reviews faster with ReviewBuilder
WalkAround Video – Want to tell more car? Send this a video using your phone with WalkAround Video
Drive Dominion – From DMS to Equity to Inventory to Digital Marketing, Dominion has you covered
Don’t think Millennials are a big enough customer segment to worry about? Think again. According to a recent DrivingSales study, Millennials are now accounting for 27% of new car sales. “The buying power of this younger market represents a significant growing opportunity for dealerships, the report states.
Who Are Millennials? Why Do They Matter?
According to one source, Millennials are those that were born between 1982 and 2004. Considering the World Wide Web was created in 1995, that makes the younger segment of this generation a teenager at the time the WWW came about. Practically speaking, the Web has almost always been with them since they’ve been buying things.
Here’s a few things we know about Millennials…
It’s a mobile world. Everybody is on-the-go all the time, and the smartest digital marketers are realizing this and making sure they stay in the game.
Although Facebook is desktop-friendly, they have made mobile their specialty with a UI that features thumb-friendly infinite scrolling, seamless third-party integration with Safari, Instagram, and other applications, and push notifications. Because more and more users are on mobile devices vs. desktop computers, Facebook has been able to surpass Google in digital display ad revenues.
Facebook’s success has come as somewhat of a surprise – many research firms published reports forecasting that Google would stay in the lead. Check out the reversal in eMarketer’s predictions on Facebook vs. Google display ad revenue in 2013 vs. 2015:
So, why is Facebook performing so far beyond expectations? Well, for starters, it’s #1 in audience engagement compared to every other social media network. Its mobile app has become a “one-stop shop” of sorts, allowing its users to read the news, find current sports scores, socialize with their friends and families, shop and play games all at once.
Additionally, Facebook has incredible advertising technology unmatched in its industry. The ability to offer custom audiences based on user data that is only available to them puts Facebook and their advertisers in a win-win situation by providing better results than traditional display advertising such as Google AdWords (Related: How To Reach The Car Online Shoppers Your Competition Can’t).
It doesn’t seem like Facebook is planning on stopping any time soon, either. They’re taking on Google’s AdSense with the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) and challenging DoubleClick with their ad server, Atlas. They also have bonus revenue from their video ad network LiveRail – and let’s not forget about Instagram.
If you’re ready to have your dealership take advantage of the power of Facebook advertising, check out LotLinx Deeplinking™ for Facebook to experience 44% better results than AdWords at 66% of the cost.
This blog post used information from this article by Marketing Land: Does Google stand a chance against Facebook in mobile display?
Through endless digital and traditional channels, consumer influence is happening both consciously and subconsciously as they navigate along a digital roadmap equipped with double-digit research touch points that follow no predictable path or straight line. This new age buying behavior makes attributing a sale to ONE source almost impossible.
While new and developing channels provide marketers with an abundant assortment of avenues to reach potential customers, the challenge of measuring the return on your investment (ROI) has become complex.
“Big data” is a widespread term used relentlessly in digital marketing across all verticals. But how can you (dealers) properly leverage big data to attribute a single sale to a single action?
Is it even feasible to attribute one sale to one ad source within the surplus of information available today?
Have you ever been in the middle of presenting (or speaking to your son or daughter), look up and take notice to attendees paying more attention to their phone than your presentation?
Do you get frustrated or have you come to terms with… it’s just the way it is now.
Facebook is not just for social conversations. It’s a social community with brands and storefronts, and for those that understand the power of Facebook and can harness it, a ton of possibilities exist. Dealers are looking for ways to promote their business and ultimately be profitable with Facebook, but so far, few are seeing the benefits.
More than 85% of U.S. consumers are on Facebook. Service customers average within a 5-7 radius of their dealer, while sales customers average up to 150 miles. Through Facebook advertising, dealers are able to target these folks with tremendous precision, and even upload their own customer information and target the ones Facebook can identify.
Some dealers are having ample success using Facebook Ads, but even this approach is limited. For the most part, all you are doing is driving click traffic to your website and hoping for a conversion that leads to a transaction.
This is a step in the right direction, but it does not create a unique customer experience, and it doesn’t produce a truly tangible return on investment. The evolution and realization that we need to work around people, and not around what we are attempting to sell them is paramount.
The Broken Engagement Funnel
As any honest media buyer or ad agency would attest, running paid ads on Facebook does not overcome the broken engagement funnel. The ads themselves are effective at increasing brand awareness, and even trigger action with consideration or purchase intent, but they do not engage the user to the point where conversion, let alone a transaction, can occur. To do this, the user has to leave Facebook and perform the action where the ad took them.
One company that believes it is changing this offers a program called HELIOS, which offers a turnkey solution that interfaces auto retailers with customers on Facebook. Through native Facebook services, the dealer, and real-time data integration, HELIOS is able to generate consumer-specific communications for brand awareness, car service, and sales leads.
Conversion rates and return on investment should be the main focus with additional interest on ‘softer’ metrics, for example brand awareness, however the ultimate goal for dealers should always be return on investment in both fixed and variable operations.
Social Activation Leads to ROI
Social activation is the act of transforming your social followers from voyeurs, into participants, and ultimately into evangelists. Social activation occurs when fans and followers directly participate in the activities you lay out, such as contests, coupon redemption, service and sales calls-to-action and experience sharing.
By providing users the ability to engage with their dealer in a transactional way without leaving Facebook, the customer is able to carry out their interests in a familiar environment with all the tools and information they need to complete their transactions. This includes everything from scheduling service appointments, reviewing repair and maintenance information, paying for their service visit, engaging with representatives at the dealership, researching vehicles with OEM information, vehicle trade, financing, and so on.
When you can do this on a regular or consistent basis with each customer throughout the lifecycle of their vehicle ownership with you, then you are realizing social ROI.
Free eCourse and eBook: Keys to Verifiable Social Media ROI
To assist with this, AutoConversion created a free 7-day e-course designed to explore the obstacles and causes behind why dealers and agencies are not able to produce a verifiable ROI with social media, and what it will take to do so (namely DMS and CRM integration with Facebook). The e-course is absolutely free and at the end of the course you will receive a free e-book that contains all the curriculum in the course, and more. It was designed for dealers, automotive marketing firms, and ad agencies alike. Please enjoy!
DealerRefresh Welcomes Sponsor – HELIOS
DealerRefresh is happy to welcome HELIOS to the sponsor community. With this partnership we will continue to explore a multitude of topics, ideas, and best practices related to how HELIOS impacts dealers, not only about social media, but also profitability and return on investment in both fixed and variable ops, paid media, buying funnels, and more.
To learn more about HELIOS and how it works and see if it might be right for your dealership, click on the image below for an overview of features and benefits and show our sponsor a little love.