Can anyone elaborate more in this?
A Toyota dealer in Los Angeles wants Toyota USA to help curb what he calls “abuses of online marketing by some competing dealerships”. Apparently some of their competitive dealers are buying their dealerships trades name in the search engines and believe the practice is diverting shoppers looking for his dealership to a competitor’s store.
I agree, this can divert the shopper. However, I’m not sure if there is anything that can or should be done about this (other then retaliation).
I have heard through the grapevine that several Manufacturers have been talking about getting strict with their dealers practicing this BUT what can they do about 3rd party websites doing the same thing? Is the manufacturer going to be able to police this as well? What about if your buying leads from Dealix, and Dealix is buying leads from the website that is bidding on your dealers trade names, and your competitive dealer is buying that lead from Dealix..WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Just because it’s not direct…you’re basically contracting another company to run SEM on competitive dealer’s keywords then buying that lead. I just don’t see how you can police this.
My current opinion is to keep it open. As long as the dealer is not using your actual dealers name in the text of their ad, I think it’s ok. It’s no different then a dealer renting a Billboard right down the road.
Take a look at this…I did a keyword search on Google for “Hagerstown Mercedes Dealer”. You can see..#1 and #3 are my competitors (I’m in the middle) and since they are in the top positions, this reflects a high CTR (click through rate)..meaning people are indeed diverting from their original search and clicking on my competitors ads.
I could get mad about this but it’s the game. I recommend setting up a separate campaign for your trade name keywords and having selective copy in your ad to better focus the customer towards your ad, what they came looking for anyways. MORE IMPORTANY..statistics show that “natural listings” have a higher conversion, so BE SURE that your dealers website is number 1 or more in the natural listing for these keywords as well!!
What do you think is fair?
Take the poll and be sure to share your thoughts and comments!
I’m always on the prowl for new software to add some spice to my online marketing. I came across this program, FastStone Photo Resizer.
FastStone Photo Resizer is an image converter / resizer intended to enable users to convert, rename, resize, add text and watermarks to images in a quick and easy batch mode.
The features that I find most handy is the text and watermarking. Getting your contact information (phone number and dealers URL) on your vehicle inventory photos is a great practice. I subscribe to several different ad sources for our pre-owned inventory and send many of our vehicles to several different free listing sites. Many of these sites don’t have your phone number prominently displayed nor do they allow you to have your dealers URL displayed on the vehicle details page.
With the watermark feature you can get fancy and place a CPO Logo on your photos. Why not build value in your vehicles with your photos as well?
Most of the features (convert, rename, resize) you won’t need if you have a decent vehicle inventory management system (like Homenetinc.com ..yea that was a plug but they don’t pay me for it.) but if you want to send your photos somewhere like a free listing page, they sometimes restrict the size of photo you can send. So the resizing feature can come in handy.
If you’ve been wanting to add your phone number or your dealerships URL to your inventory photos, this is an easy to use software that will get the job done for you quickly! Check it out!
Note: I don’t know these guys personally but if you use the product, donate some money their way via PayPal or pay for a licensed version. It’s cheap!
I just stumbled over your web site. Your the first person / site that seems excited about internet sales and help. I just took over the internet side of a growing Toyota Cadillac dealership in Iowa after 6 years of sales. The goal is to create a department.
The sale steps are the same however I am looking for tools of training and lead management that does the kind of email and web site editing you talked about on your page.
What do you recommend for lead management and training or advice for getting past first and second emails without price.
I will book mark your page and review often any help you might be willing to give is awesome.
Ever since I started this website/blog I have had the opportunity to meet some great people in this business. I often receive several emails a week from ISM’s just getting their feet wet. Every now and then you meet someone that really sticks out from the rest of the crowd. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with Jake Wirth, ISM for a smaller Suzuki dealer in Indiana. Jake was just getting started at the dealer as their new Internet sales manager, we were talking about everything from Dealer websites to follow-up process to CRM/ ILM software.
Jake put his thoughts and some of his beginning experiences on paper and asked me to share it on DealerRefresh.
Wow…some companies are ruthless. I was doing a general search on Google for “websites for auto dealers” and found this Sponsored Link that reads like this..
|www.bzrecovery.com – Disappointed? Too Expensive? Done? Call for affordable new websites!.|
OUCH! This ad is obviously going after BZ Results and targeting dealers that use BZ.
The link took me to MJMI. "Building America’s Best Dealership Websites" seems to be their tag line. Sort of a strong statement if you ask me. I don’t know though, I’ve never worked with or used any of their products. Their sites look “ok” and their ILM/CRM is nothing short of BZ Buzztrak.
I don’t really have an opinion on this but found it interesting how aggressive some of these dealer website site companies are.
This article was in the AutoUSA Newsletter; "Star Leader". I’m not sure who wrote it but I found it to be a decent source of information so therefore I decided to post it here on DealerRefresh.
|How To Immediately Maximize Your Online Customer Close Ratio
Do not be mistaken by the fact that the Internet is a new technology for automotive shoppers. Online purchasers are not a new breed of car buyer – they are, in fact, surprisingly traditional. Understand that and you can close more of them, faster and for higher profit than ever before.
This is not speculation. The findings of a recent Cobalt report called Lost Opportunities: The 2005 Industry and Dealership eBusiness Performance Study confirmed that online shoppers generally share a distinct but familiar customer profile.
Of course, you have to cut through a lot of statistics to get the full picture. Isolate key figures, though, you’ll notice a distinct trend:
The conclusion? That online customers want a fast response and a good price. It’s that simple. These are classic customers – people who are literally ready to close today if you can give them a price that meets their budgets and expectations. And if you can’t, they’ll wait until they find someone who can.
There is clearly relatively little brand loyalty among these shoppers – even among the large percentage who say that brand was the primary reason they bought elsewhere. To see why, just consider the nature of online shopping.
Like all customers, online shoppers are not naïve to the point that they submit their information for a brand that doesn’t appeal to them. After all, automotive brands are known quantities – they’re not mysterious entities that customers discover for the first time when they step onto a lot.
What’s more likely is that these customers simply aren’t terribly concerned about brand, and they’re willing to consider a wide range of options until they find a car that meets their other, more important criteria.
When asked why they chose whatever vehicle they finally purchased, of course, it’s natural for them to say “brand” – they did, after all, switch preference from their initial choice. But that’s really just another way of saying is that they found a vehicle with the qualities they were looking for – price, availability, color, you name it – somewhere else.
So what’s a dealer to do? There are three immediate steps:
First of all, respond immediately – and not just with an email, but with a phone call. These are shoppers who are ready to move, so don’t give them the chance to get away.
Secondly, give them a price. If 92% of online shoppers buy somewhere else, you’re not taking a big risk here, and if your prices are aggressive, you stand a much better chance of getting that customer in the door.
Third, be flexible when it comes to selection. Since so many of these buyers don’t care if you’re selling Ford or Fiats, your best opportunity for success is to demonstrate value wherever it happens to be in your store, whether it’s the new vehicle showroom or the used vehicle lot.
Follow these three simple rules, and you’re much more likely to improve your favorability among online shoppers – and that translates directly into sales.
I want to briefly touch on the second step, "Give them a Price". I know this is always a huge discussion…to email a price or not to email a price. Even to this day I’m back and forth with this topic. Though I have a formula that has been very consistant for me.
First, If I can get the customer on the phone and schedule an appointment…there is no need to send a price…right? However..many times the customer doesn’t answer or they leave you a bogus number. If I’m unable to get the customer on the phone right away… I use an old age in-stock unit priced very aggressive as a price quote (photo of that car included) to a general price quote lead. I also follow up with another email with a Pre-Owned vehicle that is close to what they are considering.
I can’t begin to tell you how effective it is to send that price quote. Most of the dealers in my market are still reluctant to send a price to a customer via email, so many times it totally works to my advantage. Chances are the price quote in the model that I send them is not the trim or color they want anyways, but it grabs their attention enough to allow me to start building communication with the customer. Hey..if they buy the Sale Unit…so be it, I needed to sell it anyways!
When was the last time to typed in your dealers name in Google or Yahoo to see what other competitive dealers are buying ad space by bidding on your dealers name as a keyword? Do you think it’s fair to do this? All the 3rd Party Lead vendors do it, even many of the Manufactures do this this to drive traffic to their shopping service sites like gmbuypower and forddirect. This topic will get more heated as dealers and the Manufacturs become aware of the issue.
Have you ever been curious to what would happen if you erased ALL of your internet presences? Shut down your website, turn off your auto-responders, neglect to answer customer emails, pull your inventory from AutoTrader and turn off your Adword campaigns.
Would your dealer actually feel the impact? And if so…would it take 1 month or more? Would your sales drop by 5%, 10% or with the aggressive internet sales manager, maybe 20-30%?
I sometimes wonder what would actually happen. Would it really have an impact or would the dealer go on selling cars as usual? Would the local customer stop by the dealer anyways? Would you still eventually sell that used Honda Accord to a “walk in” customer?
Just how important is it to have an Internet sales and/or marketing department? Of course I want to say it’s very important since I have an "invested interest"…but I still get curious sometimes to know what would happen.