Archives For Automotive Marketing Research

Source: Search Engine Optimization: Easy-to-Use Tools to Improve Your Dealership Website’s SERP Rankings

What happens to car dealership websites that don’t show up on the first page of search results? …They remain buried forever (play scary music).

Having a top rank in SERPs (search engine result pages) is crucial for car dealerships – it’s no wonder why SEO is considered a crucial strategy for many car companies.

In the last few years, SEO has evolved as a technique like never before. It is implemented at a high level to gain the required traction of the target audience.

With the changes in algorithms, the way automotive consumers tend to search has updated a lot. Whether it is being mobile first or the growing popularity of voice searches, these SEO trends have emerged in such a way that they decide the factors that impact the dealership’s website rankings directly.

But SEO is often mistaken for being a one-time hack. On the contrary, it’s a long term strategy. To ensure that you are able to attract customers organically, you need to work on optimizing your dealership’s site continuously. Search engine algorithms are always changing, so you need to have a smart approach to be able to adapt to those changes quickly.

I know, it sounds like a lot of work. However, there are several SEO tools  that can help you with this and get your site optimized.

In this post, we’ll take a look at 8 such easy-to-use SEO tools to help you improve your website rankings.

 

#1. GTmetrix

GTmetrix is a site analyzer and optimizing tool. It tells you everything you want to know about the performance of your website. It is a very effective tool to gauge the loading speed of a website.

Image via GTmetrix

You can test the loading speed of your website from different locations. GTmetrix has 28 servers located in 7 regions across the globe.

It tells you everything about the loading time, or the total number of requests being handled at different times. You can also set up alerts that’ll be triggered by your page if it faces certain conditions. GTMetrix displays a video of your page while it’s loading which helps you to identify any bottlenecks.

 

#2. SEMrush

SEMrush is another great SEO tool for businesses. It helps digital marketers to do keyword research and analyze keyword strategies used by their competitors. What’s more, it helps you run SEO audits of your content, find backlink opportunities, optimize landing pages, and more. With the free trial version, it has become quite popular among the masses.

seo-tools-Semrush

Image via SEMrush

SEMrush also helps you track the kind of traffic your website gets, in terms of paid and organic. The tool allows you to identify new keywords and their potential. SEMrush helps you craft better content and learn effective content marketing strategies as well.

 

#3. Majestic

Auditing your backlinks can be a hefty task, but Majestic makes it all very easy. It is a great tool to analyze how trustworthy your backlinks and referrals are. With the help of its site explorer tool, you can analyze a domain or URL in depth.

seo-tools-majestic

Image via Majestic

The backlink history checker enables marketers to audit backlinks detected by Majestic’s sophisticated web robots. You can compare backlink histories of competitors too. In a nutshell, Majestic provides you with an advanced link intelligence map with plenty of useful data.

 

#4. SpyFu

SpyFu is a very important tool to gather information about your competitors. Simply by entering a domain name, you can find out all the keywords your competitors are using. In fact, all the ad variations they’ve used by far will be shown as well.

SpyFu

Image via SpyFu

This can prove to be immensely valuable in gaining an edge over your competitors. You can also increase your web traffic with the help of useful recommendations.

Additionally, the tool enables you to connect and build important partnerships. SpyFu keeps you informed about every domain that bids on your AdWords, and suggests the AdWords you should be bidding on. It even tells you the ranking history of a website or web page using a keyword.

 

#5. Pro Rank Tracker

Pro Rank Tracker is a free cloud-based keyword rank tracking and reporting solution. It can prepare and provide advanced reports for your website by providing you with information on the keywords your website is ranking for, and suggest the keywords you must target.

seo-tools-PRT

Image via PRT

Pro Rank Tracker is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It is one of the best rank tracking tools available today. Its state-of-the-art algorithm gives you the latest, most accurate results about the ranking of your website.

The tool automatically tracks the ranks of your web pages. You can specify the search engines you want to track. It even allows you to track the ranks of your videos on YouTube and other video channels.

 

#6. Moz Pro

Moz Pro is an all-inclusive tool which takes care of all your SEO requirements. With a simple and easy-to-use interface, the tool provides you with analytics and insights to give your search engine rankings a boost. Its free add-ons such as Open Site Explorer and Keyword Explorer are also particularly useful.

seo-tools-Moz

Image via Moz

Their popular Chrome extension called Mozbar provides information about a page’s Domain Authority and Page authority directly on the browser. This is pretty handy for a basic competitor analysis.

Moz Pro helps with rank tracking, site crawling to uncover issues, on-page SEO optimization, link profile analysis and much more. Lastly, it can also assist with content management to ensure that businesses are able to promote the right kind of content.

 

#7. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a very popular tool for click-tracking and heatmap generation. This tool is quite different from most of the SEO tools available today as it helps you track the behavior of your visitors on your web pages.

seo-tools-Crazyegg

Image via Crazy Egg

You need to embed a small code on the pages of your website and this code will help track visitors that come to your pages.

Who are clicking on your pages? What are they avoiding? Are there any bottlenecks because of which they abandon the website? Which portion of the web page is most beneficial for conversions? Crazy Egg helps you answer all these questions with the help of heatmaps they generate.

 

#8. Copyscape

If your website content is a copy of some other page, it hurts your credibility and SEO. As Google is known to penalize duplicate content, your search engine ranking can be negatively impacted as a result.

seo-tools-CopyscapeImage via Copyscape

Copyscape helps you avoid any issues with duplicacy. It is a tool that helps you to check for plagiarized content by scanning and monitoring web pages with ease.

It can send alerts if your content is copied and or if it is being used elsewhere. Its sister site Siteliner can detect duplicate content within a website. What’s more, it also checks broken links and more.

 

Wrapping Up

SEO is a continuous process. The digital landscape is dynamic and ever-changing. So you need to continually monitor the performance of your site and optimize it.

There can be a host of problems on your site – with meta tags, copy, fonts, images, coding, broken links etc. SEO tools can help you uncover these issues. Once you are aware of them, you can fix them so as to provide a great experience to users.

Which are your favorite SEO tools? …Let us know in the comments window below.

Edited and reposted from article written by

Guest Blogger @Mention

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Source: Google Launches Initiative to Fight Fraud Directed at Car Dealers and Mid-Sized Companies

Google Launches Initiative to Fight Fraud Directed at Dealers and Mid-Sized Companies

Google steps up efforts to fight scams and fraud directed at Small and Midsize Business

Scammers claiming to represent Google continue to prey on small business owners. They often also make threats about removing listings or outrageous claims about ranking improvements. Sometimes they try to charge for things that are free on Google.

In the past, Google has done a number of things to try and stop this kind of fraud, including filing lawsuits. Now, it’s stepping up its efforts and has announced a new set of initiatives.

The company is taking legal action against several entities. In addition, it can now better identify accounts tied to scammers and remove them. Google has also developed a tool to let business owners report scams, and it’s providing a directory of trusted partners.

Here’s an abbreviated version of what Google says in its blog post today:

  • We’re taking legal action against Kydia Inc. d/b/a BeyondMenu, Point Break Media, LLC (and affiliated entities) and Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. d/b/a Small Business Solutions
  • We’ve developed new automated and manual techniques to better identify Google accounts tied to scam efforts.
  • We’ve created a new tool that lets business owners report scammy practices and policy violations.
  • We’ve started providing resources and education to local small business organizations.
  • We’re launching the Google My Business Partners program [with] a directory of trusted partners.

Google is also recommending steps that local business owners should take themselves:

  • Make callers prove they’re from Google.
  • Claim GMB pages.
  • Understand that ranking claims are probably fake.
  • Don’t respond to robocalls.
  • Use the Do Not Call Registry.

The partner directory will be especially helpful. Litigation is also critical. To the extent that Google sues and wins, it will be a deterrent to firms (within the reach of US courts) trying to take advantage of the ignorance of small businesses.

Facts and Statistics

The Internet – 2018

  • As of 1st January 2018, the total internet users across the world was 4,156,932,140 (that’s over 4 billion users)
  • 2 billion of the world’s internet users are located in Asia, where their population is just over equal to the total internet users across the world
  • In January 2018, data reveals that 3.2 billion internet users were also social media users
  • As of January 2018, the world’s population was estimated to be around 7,634,758,428. Over half of the world’s population is using the internet
  • On 10th April 2018, there were over 1.8 billion websites recorded on the internet
  • In 2018, China has the most active internet users in the world, at 772 million users. In the year 2000, this figure was around 22.5 million
  • Some of 2018’s top Google searches included iPhone 8, iPhone X, How to buy Bitcoin, and Ed Sheeran

Social Media – 2018

  • As of January 2018, Facebook alone had 2.2 billion monthly active users. Facebook was the first social media website to reach over 1 billion accounts
  • YouTube users in 2018 have surpassed the 1.5 billion mark, making YouTube the most popular website for viewing and uploading videos in the world
  • There are now over 3.1 billion social media users worldwide in 2018, which is an increase of around 13% compared to 2017
  • Comparing January 2018 to January 2017 figures, Saudi Arabia is the country with the largest social media usage increase at an estimated 32%
  • Instagram is most popular in the USA and Spain accounting for around 15% of total social media usage in these countries in 2018
  • In France, Snapchat is the second most popular social media user account in 2018, with around 18% of users countrywide
  • Facebook continues to be the fastest growing social media network, with around 527 million increase in users over the last 2 years, followed closely by WhatsApp and Instagram at 400 million
  • In 2018, 90% of businesses are using social media actively
  • 91% of social media users are using their mobile phones, tablets, and smart devices to access social media channels
  • Nearly 40% of users would prefer to spend more money on companies and businesses who are engaging on social media

Websites and Web Hosting – 2018

  • As of 2018, WordPress powers 28% of the world wide web with over 15.5 billion page views each month
  • Apache hosting servers are used by 46.9% of all available websites, followed closely by Nginx at 37.8%
  • 2018 sees 52.2% of website traffic accessed and generated via mobile phones
  • In the last 5 years, since 2013, website traffic accessed by mobile phones has increased by 36%
  • As of January 2018, Japan’s share of website traffic mainly comes from laptops and desktop computers at a measured 69%, compared to 27% on mobile phones
  • With over a billion voice search queries per month, voice is estimated to be a high trending digital marketing strategy in 2018
  • Google is the most popular search engine and visited website recorded in 2018, with over 3.5 billion searches each day

eCommerce – 2018

  • In the U.K. for 2018, ZenCart has the biggest market share with over 17% of .uk web address extensions using the software provider
  • In the U.S. as of February 2018, over 133 million mobile users used the Amazon app, compared to 72 million users accessing the Walmart app
  • Nearly 80% of online shopping results in abandoned carts, but we have some handy tips to ensure you can recover your marketing strategy
  • 2018 sees a 13% increase in eCommerce sales since 2016, with the majority of sales being recorded in the U.S. and China
  • 80% of U.K buyers use online commerce research before purchasing a product online or offline
  • Under 33% of U.K. consumers want to pay more for faster delivery, but 50% said they would be willing to accept delivery via drone
  • An estimated 600,000 commercial drones will be in use by the end of 2018 in the U.K. alone

Domain Names – 2018

  • As of April 2018, there are just over 132 million registered .com domain names
  • In the month of January 2018 alone, there were 9 million registered .uk domains
  • 68 million copyright infringing URLs were requested to be removed by Google in January 2018, with 4shared.com being the highest targeted website
  • 46.5% of websites use .com as their top level domains
  • Approximately 75% of websites registered are not active but have parked domains
  • From 1993 to 2018, the number of hosts in the domain name system (DNS) has more than doubled, reaching over 1 billion

References:

  1. https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-world…
  3. http://www.internetlivestats.com/
  4. https://techviral.net/top-popular-google-searches-2018/
  5. https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-r…
  6. https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-s…
  7. https://coschedule.com/blog/social-media-statistics/
  8. https://wordpress.com/about/
  9. https://w3techs.com/technologies/overview/web_server/all
  10. https://www.lifewire.com/most-popular-sites-3483140
  11. https://www.statista.com/statistics/685438/e-commerce-software-prov…
  12. https://www.appnova.com/6-important-uk-ecommerce-statistics-help-pl…
  13. https://www.statdns.com/
  14. http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/

https://ralphpaglia.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/infographic-3.png?w=580

Source: SEO or PPC; What’s More Important?

SEO or PPC; What’s More Important?

Just recently, a friend of mine approached me about his dealership site and how they had a consultant (SEO guru), do an SEO analysis of his site.

He was concerned that he may be losing money on keyword selection based on the analysis. As I explained to him there is some confusion out there regarding the entire Google platform and that having a balance of both high-level SEO, and an optimized PPC campaign is the ideal. I also explained that you only get charged by clicks, not keyword choices (lol)

Let’s cover SEO first.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” which is a practice that makes sure that your website follows all of the necessary rules of engagement to make it easy to rank as organically high on the search engine results pages (SERPs) as possible. It includes having good content in the form of copy, pictures, and video. All material should be relevant to the subject matter and have keywords and key phrases as an essential part of the site copy.  There are other technical aspects but forget those for now.  Having great SEO is the “free” way to get listed.

Offsite SEO is still a huge part of the overall SEO mix. Having other high-quality sites backlink to your website is the water that lifts the ice cube to the top of the glass so to speak. Having your dealership properly listed via all of the 300+ listing sites and the 4 main data companies (Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup and Neustar (Localeze), means that people will correctly know your company name, address, hours of operation, and telephone number. To have incorrect info strewn about the internet will definitely hurt your chances of getting highly-ranked. It will hurt your overall “Quality Score” which is essentially what Google uses to rank you in the search engine, and that’s where PPC and SEO strike their balance.

What is the “Quality Score”?
Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. It is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) and multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. Your Quality Score depends on multiple factors, including:

1) Your click-through rate (CTR) (PPC campaign)

2) The relevance of each keyword to its ad group (PPC campaign)

3) Landing page quality and relevance (SEO)

4) The relevance of your ad text (PPC & SEO)

5) Your historical AdWords account performance (PPC)

As you can see, there is a mix of PPC and SEO involved in optimizing a Quality Score which essentially determines where your stores website is going to show up in a typical search operation. Great SEO alone can get you on to the first page of search, but unless you are well-branded, your position may vary from near the top, to not on the page at all. The leads you get from great organic (unpaid) placement are basically free and are high quality. However, to get into the top position and get the most clicks possible, and the best clicks according to numerous studies, you have to pay for placement.

PPC guarantees a first page presence.
The cost of that presence is somewhat based on the quality of the website’s SEO execution. The ads in the pay per click campaign have to be compelling enough to get a good click through rate, but the words and phrasing used in each ad must also match those keywords and phrases (long tail search terms) on the website pages they are linked to. The better the execution and matching of verbiage in ads and on the site, the better your organic ranking, and the cheaper you clicks will be. It’s a seriously incestuous relationship. Google wants to reward you for creating a good user experience (SEO) but needs to make money so they have PPC to nudge those rankings to the top if you pay enough to rank high.
Google really has it figured out. It used to be that Google had two columns on every search results page. The left column had the organic listings (best SEO executions and/or brand names). People used to click at an 8:1 ratio favoring the organic or “free” listings over the listings in the right column which were all paid for. Google then eliminated the two column design and started putting PPC campaign ads on top of each SERP which now has only one column combining paid and free results. This cut down the ratio that favored free search results and increased Google’s click revenue.
The point is, having as much visibility as possible in any search operation is crucial. It’s termed “page dominance”. In my estimation, the companies that do both well, win. The companies that only do PPC, run inefficient, expensive campaigns. The companies that ignore PPC, are likely too budget-conscious to compete and suffer with inconsistent visibility. Those who combine Google Best Practices, and optimize both SEO as well as their PPC campaigns, dominate their competition.
I hope this helps clarify the decade-old question of how SEO and PPC affect one and other, and how using both to your advantage is the best way to the top of the mountain.

Source: ‘Ralph Recommends…’ Newsletter Announcement on ADM Professional Community

“Ralph Recommends…”
eNewsletter Publication Launch Announcement

Ralph Paglia, "The Godfather of Automotive Digital Marketing"Having been the Editor-In-Chief and managed the ADM Professional Community for over ten years now, it seems that every technology development, software and application being sold to car dealers, along with various service provider programs and just about anything somebody conceives of that they would like to sell car dealers has been pitched to me at some point…

Usually in the form of a product demonstration, sometimes starting with a two minute “Elevator Pitch”. The vast majority of time I have considered incumbent upon my obligations to this professional network to listen, watch, take notes, try it out, talk to any dealers currently using the widget in question and generally become aware of what it is, what it costs and what the claimed Return On Investment (ROI) is all about… The how when and why of ROI.

More background and qualifications; For over 30 years I have been blessed with work and assignments that required me to (in addition to selling cars) create product and solution development “Road Maps” used to guide future products and when they would be released for companies such as American Honda Motor Company, Reynolds, ADP (CDK), JD Power, BMW North America, Tier10 Marketing, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Sales, Mercedes-Benz USA and a few more. These projects resulted in me spending countless hours with software developers, project planners and executive committees as we defined what car dealers would need to stay competitive and to improve what customers experience when dealing with them.

As a result of this exposure, combined with my experience in selling cars while managing car dealerships, solution development and professional services to car dealers while working at the Reynolds and Reynolds Company, ADP Dealer Services (CDK Global), Tier10 Marketing, Courtesy Chevrolet and many other dealerships… I have developed a strong sense of which products and services do what, how well they do it, and whether or not they are worthy of consideration by car dealers, auto groups and enterprise organizations.

You may be thinking “Everybody has an opinion”, and you are correct… However, my opinion comes from an auto industry veteran with Bachelor of Science and Masters Degrees in Business Administration, who has implemented software and business procedures in car dealers that I served as a manager, as well as being employed by the largest software development companies in the car business to serve as Practice Leader and manager of consultants deployed to assist car dealers in the implementation of technology, people and process designed to drive improved business results and customer experience. I know what I am talking about when it comes to deploying solutions in car dealerships and I am eager to share my experience, insights and wisdom on the use of existing solutions and those to come in the future.

Several weeks ago I was approached by a couple of automotive professionals who I consider to be “Thought Leaders” within our industry… They asked me to consider creating and publishing a weekly newsletter with insights, opinions, guidance, reviews and recommendations for car dealers focused on products and services, along with sharing best practices and what I see as future developments, strategies and tactics in the car business.

My initial response was to say I am already doing this with the ADM Professional Community website and network. These people, who I consider to be wiser and possibly more intelligent than me, responded with, “Maybe so, but you currently provide your members with something that they must go to your site to find and see…” Which I acknowledged was true. They went on to say, “We want to create a newsletter that is delivered to members of the ADM Professional Community and additional professionals who are not members, but who work in the auto industry, which will become a valuable resource throughout the car business…”

I agreed and so the genesis of the “Ralph Recommends…” eNewsletter has come to be. Within the next couple of weeks you will be sent the first issue of “Ralph Recommends…” and I would like to ask for your help. Please take a look at what is in there and let me know your opinions about what’s good, what’s bad and what you would like to see. You can send me an email to RPaglia at Gmail dot com, a message via this network, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, call or text me on my cell at Five Zero Five, Three Zero One, Six Three Six Nine, or contact me in whatever manner suits you… But any feedback will be appreciated and considered as I move forward with the “Ralph Recommends…” project.

“Ralph Recommends…”

I look forward to hearing back from each of you…

Ralph Paglia
Editor-In-Chief
AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com

‘Ralph Recommends…’ eNewsletter Launch Announcement

Google and Apple Catch Up To Ford In Auto Industry Influence – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Google and Apple Join Ford as Key Influencers in the Auto Industry

Ask average consumers or professional marketers who is most influential in the automotive sector and their response would most likely be Scott Monty of Ford or Ralph Paglia from Automotive Marketing Group (AMG).

Alternatively, they may point to popular industry publications such as CAR and DRIVEREdmunds or Auto Trader. Certainly, all are very popular people and media outlets. In fact, a Social Media Today report lists them among the top auto industry influencers on Twitter. However, does social media amplification make one influential? Most social influence scoring platforms use amplification as major metric in identifying influencers but is that enough?

A lot of focus has been directed towards influence marketing this past year by car dealers and other businesses seeking to sway public conversations and advocacy in their favor.

In response, there’s a growing list of social influence platforms and strategies professing to hold the key to identifying and measuring social influence. One of the leaders in this space is Appinions, an opinion-based influence marketing platform that identifies and measures the opinion leaders in various industries that form online conversations around products, brands and businesses.

During the 2013 New York Auto Show, Appinions released a study entitled “Is Tech Swallowing Auto?”, which offers some surprising insights.

The report explores what is shaping influential conversations at the intersection of new vehicle purchasing and technology and identifies the major players in each category. The results confirm what many already know; luxury, safety, design, value and performance are all hot buttons in any discussion around marketing automobiles. What’s surprising is the role that auto technology has played in shaping influence and who is driving that influence.

Apple Catches Up to Ford as Auto Industry Influencer

Apple Computers has made its mark on history as a market disruptor and, thanks to SIRI’s “Eyes Free” mode, it’s continuing that tradition in the auto industry. The report identifies other technology players who are joining the ranks of key influencers. Google, because of Google Maps and the data it collects on driving patterns, has become a major player in generating opinions in this market. As of Dec 2012, Google Maps was the second most popular mobile app, just behind Facebook. Microsoft, thanks to the SYNC technology installed in Ford vehicles, and AT&T with partners GM and OnStar round out the top influencers.

Tech Trumps Performance

Given that these technology companies have become as influential in the auto industry as car manufacturers, it’s no surprise that the topic of auto technology represents the lion’s share of interest in online conversations. Technology represents 35% of the share of influence, followed by performance at 22%, value at 19%, design at 12%, safety at 8% and luxury at 4%.

The Appinions platform and research team identified that fuel economy (44%) and connected cars (32%) were the dominant topics driving opinion and influence with discussions on automotive technologies.

People over Brands

Another interesting insight was how highly GM executives ranked as influencers even though Ford, Toyota, Audi, Google, and Telsa all ranked as more influential brands. Appinions identified that GM’s executives were more outspoken in sharing their opinions publicly, especially on the topic of innovation.
This study highlights the importance of identifying the opinions being shared by people and businesses, and measuring their impact on public conversations. The opinions of these market leaders are generating public dialogue, which creates social proof that impacts the purchase decisions of consumers. Further, the source of those opinions and eventual influence may be generated from unlikely and unexpected sources.

“Clearly, influence has become a powerful currency for brands when properly understood, identified and managed.”
–Sam Fiorella

  • Share your thoughts… Has social influence become a new currency for brands?
  • Are you surprised at Apple and Google’s surge in influencing this market?
  • Or that GM’s executives rank so highly on automotive influence?

Follow Sam Fiorella on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samfiorella

Car Dealers Use Email As Source Of Competitive Advantage – And Dare I Say: ENGAGEMENT

At the risk of “engaging” in the use of a buzzword that is overused and abused (according to JD Rucker) let’s take a look at some insights I have discovered regarding the use of email to prompt Customer Engagement that can drive Competitive Advantage for your Car Dealership…

According to Forrester Research, we are now in the “Age of the Customer.”

Today, advances in technology allow every dealership to tap into their OEM data and information treasuries, and even the cheapest, most IT stringy car dealers can access all the computing resources they need from a variety of cloud based dealership supplier products and Software As A service (SAAS) suppliers. The ability to tap into cloud based technologies is no longer considered an advantage; rather, it’s a way of life. Think about how almost every American car buyer at some point uses Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or any number of User Generated Content (UGC) sites and networks… All cloud based SAAS, despite what anyone wants to say about it. Today, being the customer’s first choice is the only remaining source of competitive advantage, hence the fascination we saw the auto industry have with Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” concept a couple of years ago… However, the competition is fierce. To win, car dealers must be obsessed with their customers, focused on understanding them and engaging (JD’s favorite word) with them better than anyone else.

What am I talking about when I say “engaging email”?

   

The New Digital Car Buyer

Three major trends have emerged out of the recent (and far too rapid for many car dealers), evolution of car buyer behaviors across email, social, search, and the Web.
1. Buyers are more empowered:
Thanks to information abundance combined with better search and sharing technology, product information is now ubiquitous. The Web provides automotive consumers with instant information gratification. And mobile devices add a wherever/whenever dimension to every aspect of the experience. Consumers can access detailed specs, pricing, and reviews about goods and services 24/7 with a few flicks of their thumbs on their smartphones. Meanwhile, social media encourages consumers to share and compare. Today’s buyers are increasingly self-directed when it comes to making purchasing decisions. They have broad access to resources and proactively gather information across a number of digital channels, often developing brand perceptions before they ever interact directly with a brand. By the time a buyer comes to you, he’s probably already made his purchasing decision, so it’s time to throw out the old model of a persuasive shop girl greeting your customer at the door. Meet today’s buyer. She has the upper hand when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Tech savvy and brand sophisticated, she is wise to the ways of marketing, and she expects a lot. She believes you should inform and even entertain her, but never bore or, worse, irritate her. And she’s fickle — if you don’t keep communications interesting, she’ll opt out faster than a credit mooch when you go to pull a credit bureau… And as for you sales guys, the idea of schmoozing a customer sounds great, and it may even happen occasionally, but you know it’s not feasible for you to spend an inordinate amount of time schmoozing everyone. With today’s modern CRM apps, and the ones just around the corner, if you are in car sales, then the reality is that you manage a portfolio of hundreds or even thousands of customers! (orphan owner reassignments)

2. Car Buyers know how to Opt Out:
The junk mail of yore kept automotive consumers prisoner because they couldn’t “break out.” But today’s car buyers can easily opt out of marketing communications they don’t want. If you’re sending marketing emails using a white-listed email marketing services provider (ConstantContact, ExactTarget, etc.) and tracking your results (and we hope you are!) you probably know that yucky feeling when an email campaign triggers an exceptional percentage of opt-outs – worse yet, spam complaints! But automotive consumers who take the initiative to unsubscribe from your dealership’s emails might only be the tip of the pissed off customer iceberg created by your abuse of having their email addresses. Many more of your customers might be “passively opting out” — simply ignoring any future emails you send. We’re all getting better at tuning out the noise of today’s digital circus, and the result is that most traditional marketing techniques, which are based on “renting attention” from the car buyer as they go about their business, are becoming less and less effective as car buyers get more tech-savvy.
3. Automotive Consumers have Higher Expectations:
Today’s car buyers expect companies to keep seamless track of their purchasing history, communication preferences, and desires. If your system isn’t a well-oiled data machine, you’ll lose brand loyalty fast.
Consumers look for a unified and personalized experience across all of your touchpoints: your website, social media and photo platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), email marketing, etc. They want to find the information they are looking for in the medium that is most convenient for them at the moment. Whether they’re in front of their computers at work or in lines at post offices on their mobile devices, they expect an experience that’s streamlined and consistent — and it must be personal, too. They also expect you to recognize them — this is where it becomes critical to capture and store data over time and across
channels — and then feed them the exact information they want at the moment you interact with them.

It’s an exciting – yet challenging – time to be an automotive digital marketing practitioner. It’s no longer sufficient to simply push static information to car buyers in a mass advertising model, not even in CRM application data mined and segmented batches. In order to achieve a competitive advantage, car dealers must fundamentally shift the ways they engage with customers across multiple online channels throughout the vehicle ownership lifecycle. In order to do this, as an automotive marketing professional, you must learn to engage each and every prospective customer individually and personally… Which is going to require planning, strategy and execution if we want to do this in an efficient and scalable manner.
“Building on the vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital age, marketing is headed toward being on-demand — not just always ‘on,’ but also always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery.”
– Mckinsey, “The Coming Era of ‘On-Demand’ Marketing”
Email Is More Important Today Than Ever Before
In 2009, The Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that email was dead…Ironically, it was the most emailed article of the day!
Just about every day since then, someone has published an article or blog post echoing email’s demise. In
fact, if you Google “email is dead,” you’ll get over 1.5 million results. (To emphasize just how radical a
number that is, comparison searches bring up only 280,000 results for “blogging is dead,” 180,000 for
“social media is dead,” and only 2,500 for “podcasting is dead.” All of these numbers were current at the
time we wrote this in June 2013.) But the reports of the death of email have been greatly exaggerated, and the hysteria around the notion only shows that email is more important than ever. While companies now have the flexibility to communicate via traditional channels, such as direct mail and TV, as well as through newer channels, such as social media, email is still the quickest and most direct way to reach customers with critical information. Why? Because email is the one channel your audience accesses regularly. We – consumers – are addicted to email…
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
Email Matters More Today Than Ever Before
                   
Contrary to what you may have heard me say, Email is Alive and Well
On any given day, your dealership’s previous, current and future sales and service customers may or may not visit your dealership website, one of your blogs or any of your Facebook pages; but with few exceptions, automotive consumers check their email every day, if not multiple times a day.
Scratch that — how do you make it through all those meetings? It’s more like multiple times an hour! Despite what I have been heard to say at various presentations, meetings and even last week in Miami Beach, despite our illustrious #AutoMarketing experts, gurus, Thought Leaders, conference speakers and dealership suppliers sales reps or auto industry pundit criticism and cynicism, the stats around email are resoundingly positive. For example, there are currently 3.3 billion email accounts in the world.
(Source: Mashable)
What’s more:
  • Of Americans age 12 and over who are active online, 94% cite email as one of their regular activities. (Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project’s Generations 2010 report)
  • Jay Baer, Social Media Speaker, Author and Coach, says that 58% percent of adult Americans check email first thing in the morning. (Source:MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Summit)

Email is very much alive. Plus, it’s still the number one way for marketers to communicate directly with customers. According to new research:

  • Email is the customer preference. In a recent survey, a staggering 77% of consumers reported that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email – and email was the number one source for all age groups including 15-24! (Source: Waldow Social)
  • Email generates nearly a 200% return on marketing investment compared to other channels. For every dollar spent on email marketing in 2013, there was a $40.56 return. Compare that to other channels, such as search engine marketing, which is the next closest at $22.44. (Source: Direct Marketing Association and Smart Data Collective)
  • Email investment is slated to increase. 64% of companies indicated their organizations’ investment in email marketing was expected to increase in 2014. (Source: MarketingSherpa 2013 Benchmark)
The point is, email is not going anywhere. As an automotive marketer, it’s still your number one tool for reaching car buyers and service customers fast.
If you agree that email marketing is NOT dead, please make my source for this article happy and take a
quick break to tweet: “Email Marketing is NOT dead! #DG2EEM #ADMPC” (Thank you!)

“Where do you tell people to send important calendar items, documents, or discussions about important topics, either for work or home? Our guess is that ‘Facebook’ wasn’t your answer. It was probably email.”

– Jason Falls, Digital Strategist and Co-author of “The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing”
Email Marketing Faces Multiple Challenges
Here are the key areas of these new challenges to email use as a marketing tactic:
  • The Economics of Attention: Information abundance and attention scarcity make it harder than ever to get buyer attention
  • Opt-Out, Screen Out, Tune Out: Consumers don’t want to feel they are being marketed to, and will find ways to tune out unwanted communications
  • The Cross-Channel Marketing Revolution: New communication channels mean email can no longer be a standalone channel
  • Imprecise Metrics: Imprecise metrics that don’t show true impact means that email struggles to be strategic Email still matters – perhaps more than ever – but traditional paradigms no longer cut it. It’s time for a reality check regarding the new challenges that email marketers face as digital consumers get more sophisticated.
The Economics of Attention
The rise of the Internet has resulted in a quick transition from information scarcity to information abundance. The world is producing information faster than the human mind can wrap itself around the data. According to a 2011 IDC report titled Extracting Value from Chaos, the amount of global digital information created and shared worldwide grew nine-fold from 2006 to 2011, growing to 2 trillion gigabytes. This number is expected to quadruple by 2015.
Opt-Out, Screen Out, Tune Out
People are inundated with pitches, advertisements, and other interruptions on a daily basis. Consumers are marketed to so often that, as a matter of self-defense, they’ve raised a psychological “anti-marketing shield.” This is particularly the case when it comes to email content. Consumers with a vested interest in achieving “Inbox Zero” have many tools to help them sweep and filter unwanted emails. They create their own definitions of junk mail using custom filters in their email software, and if they don’t like a message, they’ll not only make sure they don’t see it again, but they’ll also tell others about their displeasure. And, let’s face it, most marketing emails pretty much suck. Even if yours don’t, that doesn’t mean they’ll interest your audience. What’s creative and alluring to you might just look or sound like another sales-y, drone-toned e-blast to your end viewer: “Hi, are you ready to buy a car today?” Don’t be that car dealer!
Information Abundance Means Attention Scarcity
Social scientist Herbert Simon first talked about attention economics when he wrote:
“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes.” What information sent by dealers using email marketing consumes is obvious: the attention span of its recipients. This means it is only getting more difficult for the emails your dealership sends to engage automotive consumers, whether you are seeking their business in the service drive or on the showroom floor…

The Cross-Channel Marketing Revolution
Today’s buyer seeks relevant and personalized content across all digital channels: email, mobile, social,
display advertising, you name it. Omni-channel, customer-focused marketing is no longer nice to have;
it’s a must-have for car dealers seeking a marketing based competitive advantage.
Companies that want to put customers at the center of their marketing strategies must engage them across the board, but this is only possible when marketing teams have a channel strategy that unifies their
products and teams. Traditional email marketing tools were designed for just one channel – email. It started as a single communications channel with no core connection to other marketing channels. Even
today, car dealers using standalone email service providers (ESPs) are stuck with a legacy approach that
doesn’t take into account the reality that today’s car buyer is adept at multi-tasking their car shopping information gathering across channels — engaging with email in one moment, a website the next, and then flitting across to social media. And he does it all while talking on the phone or texting. Traditional ESP solutions can’t adequately address this level of sophisticated multi-channel customer engagement. Nor can ESPs adequately capture all the online and offline behavioral patterns that automotive marketers should, and must track to stay on top of their dealership customer whims. To spearhead the movement toward true cross-channel coordination that incorporates email marketing, a new breed of automotive marketer is quickly rising to the top. These forward-thinking marketers are embracing strategies that leverage email as the best platform to tie together the customer relationship with the dealership and its franchises over time and across all marketing channels

Imprecise Metrics
With traditional ESP solutions, the marketer has to manually sort through multiple reports to track unsubscribes, clicks, opens, bounces, and so on for each email campaign. The insight these reports provide is, unfortunately, not that insightful with regard to customer engagement. When stuck with imprecise and generic metrics, email marketing remains merely a tactical channel, relegated to the sidelines instead of becoming a strategic part of leadership’s revenue plan.
“Automotive Marketing Professionals waste too much time trying to connect the dots using the basic email reports and metrics provided by their dealership ESP’s to the strategic metrics that dealer principals and general managers actually care about, such as leads and sales generated, and gross profit impact.”
–Ralph Paglia, Founder, Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community
Definition: Engaging Email Marketing
Consumers are always on, always connected, and always overwhelmed. If you want to connect with them, you have to work hard to engage them. In order to be truly effective, email marketing must provide some level of value delivered to the automotive consumer in order to become more trusted, more relevant, more conversational, more thought provoking and more strategic.
Think about it: you probably pay the most attention to emails from friends, family, and colleagues, people with whom you have genuine, trusted relationships. Sure, the relationship between a dealership, or even the people who work there, and an automotive consumer is never exactly the same as the relationship between friends and family, but automotive marketers can narrow the gap. Dealerships can enjoy some of the benefits of a trusted relationship by marketing to the car buyer and the service drive customer in a natural, non-marketing-speak way that truly engages him.
The best marketing that a car dealership can engage in (I used “engage” for JD’s benefit) doesn’t feel like marketing at all. If you can genuinely engage your audience through email marketing, you can build direct, trusted relationships across all channels. Do this right, and you’ll be the dealership that cuts
through the noise.
Let me cite an example I witnessed from a friend of mine who is a Volkswagen and Mazda dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While I was participating in a CRM Product Advisory Group meeting last week, Bob Cockerham showed me an image he posted to Facebook which contained a Holiday themed text caption… I was surprised to see it had achieved thousands of likes and hundreds of shares. The image Bob posted outperformed any pure business based image he had ever posted.  Now, let me be very clear on this topic… Obviously dealerships and their marketing professionals need to publish information directly relevant to the products and services they sell, but what Bob Cockerham did with his somewhat spiritual non-business image post was engage thousands of people and create the perception of who he is, as being somebody people can trust!
“Remember that the best campaigns aren’t about you or what you want subscribers to do. They’re about your subscribers and what they want.”
– Matt Blumberg, Chairman and CEO of Return Path
Five Key Attributes of Engaging Email
To engage and succeed, your dealership’s marketing emails must, above all else, be:
  1. Trustworthy
  2. Relevant
  3. Controversial, excuse me… CONVERSATIONAL and Not Campaign-Based
  4. Coordinated Across Channels
  5. Strategic
This article is adapted and inspired by a 156 page eBook I obtained from the fine folks at Marketo… In their eBook, Marketo goes into great detail about the 5 key attributes to engaging email marketing characteristics listed above… ADM Professional Community members are invited to download this treasure trove of email marketing knowledge using the link below. Once you have read about these key attributes of engaging email, Marketo provides information about the technology needed. The eBook also goes into marketing automation and how it can help your dealership graduate from basic email services to real, hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark engagement strategies. Ready to dive into making your dealership’s email marketing a lot more effective? Download the free eBook in PDF file format by right-clicking the link below and selecting something like “Save As”:
Please Note: You must a registered member of the ADM Professional Community and logged in to have file download privileges… If you want the eBook and do not want to become a member of the ADM Professional Community, then take a hike – JUST KIDDING! You can use the source link below to submit your information to Marketo and download a cope of this eBook.

via Car Dealers Use Email As Source Of Competitive Advantage – And Dare I Say: ENGAGEMENT – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community