Archives For Automotive Professional Networks

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.

ADM Members invited to the 3rd Annual Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Brian Pasch says he is so pleased to have been asked by First Class Educators to put together a series of VIP wine events for the 3rd Annual Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC).  Brian has been collecting California wine for over 30 years and has developed very strong relationships with some of the finest winemakers in the valley.
Brian also states that he is using his connections to create a series of very special, small wine and food tasting events that are associated with DMSC.  He will also be helping FCE plan the wine bus tours that attendees can participate in on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon.
The conference officially starts on Sunday March 16th with an evening cocktail reception with very special winemaker friends.  If you want to review the official conference schedule, view the event PDF:  2014 DMSC Agenda
One of the BIG changes this year is that the conference will be more intimate; only three workshops sessions will be running concurrently.  Only the very best workshops will be selected and only the best speakers will be facilitating these workshops.

 

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TrueCar Sponsors Ten Full Ride AutoCon 2013 Scholarships – The 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition

AutoCon 2013 Announces a Special Program Sponsored by TrueCar to Award Ten “Full Ride Scholarships” for Dealership Managers to Attend AutoCon 2013*

Automotive Media Partners, LLC is proud to announce the creation of a “Full Ride Scholarship*” program sponsored by TrueCar of Santa Monica, California.  TrueCar’s pioneering sponsorship of this program provides the funds to cover the costs of transportation to and from Las Vegas, lodging at the Aria Resort and full AutoCon conference registration. 

One of the most surprising aspects of TrueCar’s sponsorship is that the company has funded ten (10) AutoCon “Full Ride Scholarships*”.  Ten automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition at no out of pocket expense for travel, meals during the event or conference fees to themselves or their dealerships. 

  

The TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship Program is further evidence of the remarkable transformation that has taken place at TrueCar since the beginning of 2012. After receiving a remarkable level of criticism within the auto industry during the second half of 2011, TrueCar has evolved and revised their automotive purchasing programs for consumers and affiliated corporations to be far more dealer friendly. 

TrueCar’s objectives supported by these changes have included raising dealer profit margins to levels that provide more room for dealers to cover facility costs and the staffing levels needed to properly service new vehicle buyers sent to them by TrueCar.   


TrueCar understands and recognizes the need for ongoing training and thought leadership within the ranks of the retail automotive industry.  Their management team has decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate this commitment to betterment of the industry is to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2013. 

 

TrueCar executives Bernie Brenner and Mike Timmons approached the founders of the Automotive Digital Marketing and dealerElite professional communities, Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers because these online networks have served as “Ground Zero” for some of the industry’s harshest criticism of TrueCar in the recent past.  Surprising for a company as large as TrueCar is, their management team has reviewed the criticism published by members of the ADM and DealerELITE networks and taken corrective actions, changed their business models and worked with State dealer associations to create vehicle purchase programs that make sense for participating dealers. 

How will the TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships be Awarded?

TrueCar has asked that the AutoConnections Conference Management Team take full control and responsibility for ensuring that the 10 Full Ride Scholarships be awarded based on merit and need.  Criteria will include a wide geographic representation by selecting automotive professionals from every region in North America.  Another consideration will be to award scholarships to professionals who represent a diverse range of vehicle brands and positions within the dealerships they serve.  

Written TrueCar Scholarship Application

The application process will be a simple online application that includes all the expected contact information, a description of the applicant’s role in the dealership where they work and space for them to describe in their own words why they should be awarded a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship to attend the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas from September 4th to the 6th

Video TrueCar Scholarship Application

If you are better at explaining your reasons why you should be selected for a scholarship in a verbal manner, the AutoCon 2013 TrueCar scholarship committee will also be pleased to accept your proposal in a video format. Simply explain why you should be selected in a YouTube video that is either uploaded or embedded to eitherAutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com or dealerELITE.net . Please be sure to include the link to that video in your scholarship application where you write out your explanation of why YOU should be selected to receive a “Full Ride Scholarship”.

The AutoCon Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Mike Myers, Carrie Hemphill and Brian Pasch.  As applicants are being considered they will be contacted by a committee member and interviewed via phone and email.  Final selections will be made by committee vote and the awardees notified by email and phone.

AutoCon 2013 Scholarship Selection Committe

  • Ralph Paglia
  • Chris Saraceno
  • Mike Myers
  • Carrie Hemphill
  • Brian Pasch 

                                                    

Applications for TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships will be accepted starting Monday July 1, 2013 and award selections will begin Monday August 5, 2013.

 

With 10 TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships being awarded, the odds of being selected are probably better than any other similar program in the auto industry… So, do not hesitate to apply and encourage other automotive professionals to do so!  All of us who are stakeholders in the AutoCon event are thrilled with the investment being made by TrueCar to support what we believe is the best event in the auto industry.  The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon 2013 and the Full Ride Scholarship Program is appreciated and respected. 

In the past, TrueCar was a company that received an enormous amount of criticism, much of which has been emotionally charged and at times, crossed the boundaries of decency and professional behavior.  Many other companies faced with similar criticism and public ridicule would have released a barrage of legal actions to defend themselves.  TrueCar has consistently taken the high road and responded to their critics with program changes and by sending their senior executives to major auto industry events and meetings. 

 

The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon is further proof that this company is led by professionals who want to be valuable contributors to the overall success of the auto industry.

 

On behalf of the AutoCon team and the 10 auto industry professionals who will receive the benefit of these scholarship awards, a sincere thank you to TrueCar is extended.

Apply for a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship online at http://AutoCon2013.com

    

*PLEASE NOTE: “Full Ride Scholarship” is the brand name for this category of award and is owned by Automotive Media Partners, LLC.  All “Full Ride Scholarships” associated with an AMP promoted event with include a travel stipend that reimburses the scholarship recipient for airfare expense submitted up to a maximum dollar amount. Recipients will also receive lodging for the nights of the conference itself. Any room charges authorized by the scholarship recipient, or incidental expenses are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. Also included are the conference fees for registering and attending the event, which will usually include scheduled breakfasts and lunches that all event participants receive. It is important for scholarship recipients to understand that ANY expenses outside of airfare to and from the event, hotel lodging and conference registration fees are NOT INCLUDED in our version of a “Full Ride Scholarship”.  Furthermore, we strongly advise all scholarship recipients to travel with a valid major credit card and two forms of government issued ID. Adequate cash should be brought by scholarship recipients to cover meals outside of those scheduled on the conference agenda, local transportation and miscellaneous expenses… After all, you will be in Las Vegas and “Cash-In-Fist” is strongly advised!

   

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Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Enhanced Campaigns? – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Enhanced Campaigns?

Today’s car shopper prefers a mobile-responsive experience. Tomorrow’s search ads demand it…

In an attempt to drag all of its advertisers into the new multiscreen reality, willingly or otherwise, Google recently announced the impending switch to Enhanced Campaigns. Ads in all campaigns will have the potential to run across all devices, so whether your prospective buyer is researching a car on a phone, tablet, or desktop, she may be served the same ad. 

If your site isn’t flexible enough to take users directly to the page they want – regardless of the device they are shopping on – then it’s time to start tweaking your stylesheets. Otherwise, you risk wasting thousands on mobile and tablet users who bounce the moment they’re redirected to your homepage instead of the inventory, lease offers, or service coupons advertised.

What’s changing?

Along with disabling the ability to select which devices you want your campaigns to target, Google Enhanced Campaigns usher in greater flexibility in device preference, ad extensions, geographic targeting, and conversion optimization.

In legacy campaigns, AdWords set device targeting and ad extensions at the campaign level. So, all ads in a particular campaign were set to show on phones, tablets, desktops, or a combination thereof, all with the same sitelinks, phone number, or address extension attached. Enhanced Campaigns let you drill down and select devices and ad extensions in a much more granular manner.

Here’s an example of a new Enhanced Campaign in action:

A dealership is ramping up its Service Enhanced Campaign. During business hours, mobile users are served ads with copy boasting quick wait times, an address with one-click directions, and a click-to-call phone number. Desktop users see coupon-focused copy with a tracking phone number and expanded sitelinks to soft-sell service pages. Once the dealership closes, ads with links to service forms go live in place of the phone numbers.

Another big change arriving with Enhanced Campaigns is geographic bid adjustment. Dealerships can now boost bids in zip codes where they sell the most cars. Before, advertisers chose geographic targets for their ads at the campaign level, and you were forced to create different campaigns for every zone in which you wanted to have separate bids. With Enhanced Campaigns, you can easily adjust bids by location without having to create dozens of separate campaigns.

Here’s an example in action: 

Browsing sales reports, a dealership sees that a significant number of their new vehicle sales are coming from users in select zip codes. Using bid adjustments in Enhanced Campaigns, the auto dealer can quickly and easily increase their bids by 50% for targeted keywords in that zip code, leading to a greater market share in an already receptive area, while decreasing bids in zips known to have a weaker return.

Four things dealers can do right now:

1. Ensure that you have Google Analytics installed on your site, and link your AdWords and Analytics so that you can measure the effectiveness of your ad traffic.

Before you begin upgrading your account, make sure that you know what’s happening with the traffic you’re paying for. If you’re not looking at what’s happening after a user clicks on your ad, then you’re flying half-blind.

Linking accounts is easy – just make sure you’re an administrator on both your AdWords and Analytics accounts, and you’re halfway there. Follow the instructions here to close the loop.

2. Make sure the destination URLs on ads for inventory or other deep links won’t redirect mobile users to the homepage.

If you have a responsive-mobile site – that is, a singular site for all devices that doesn’t redirect mobile users to a mobile.yourdealership.com or yourdealership.com/mobile/ version of your site – then you’re already ahead of the game. 

Otherwise, contact your PPC provider and make sure that they create new Enhanced Campaign mobile ads with destination URLs that go right to the relevant page. Even if they have separate mobile campaigns right now, once they’re upgraded to Enhanced, those ads will show on any device.

3. Adjust bids based on location to make sure you dominate in zip codes you know have high sales numbers.

Take a look at your sales data over the last 12 months and send your PPC provider a list of the zip codes where you know you do well. Start with those locations, and concentrate on building out more sophisticated targeting in the future.  Focus on areas aren’t ranking well Organically.

4. Use upgraded call extensions to get free call tracking on your search ads.

Upgraded call extensions on Enhanced Campaigns no longer charge $1 per call, so take advantage of that free call tracking by adding it to any ads where a phone number will make a difference. You can also set up conversion tracking through AdWords to register any call greater than a specific duration to count as a conversion. That extra data will help guide on where the call extensions are most effective.

You Have A Lot of Work to Do.. – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

 

You Have A Lot of Work to Do..

Last month, my focus for the article was on “why” today’s automotive professional needs to build a personal brand.  Now that I’ve convinced you that it’s an amazing idea that will help you dominate your marketplace, I’m going to go into more detail on how to develop yourself into the recognizable, reliable name that people can count on.

First thing’s first:  GOALS. What are your goals? What are you looking to accomplish with your brand?  Of course you want to sell a lot of cars – there are a million ways to sell a lot of cars without committing to investing a large chunk of your time and money into a personal brand.  For example, my goal is to be the name in my area (target marketplace) that people think of when they hear words like Hyundai, new car, great customer service, educational, quick and hassle-free, car shopping experience, etc.  They have no choice but to think of me.  I want my brand to be stamped into their brain from an exceptional experience that they personally had with me, or someone they know told them that they had with me.  They could have read about great experiences with me on the internet, or social media platforms.  I want my name – my brand to be everywhere that those key topics are discussed.  You with me so far?

Next.  AUDIENCE.  Figure out who and where your audience is.  This is also called your target market place. (our geeky internet terminology)  Where do the people live that you are selling yourself as a brand to?  What are they looking or shopping for?  Who are these people?  What is their age range?  Are they male or female? All of these answers should be readily available to you with little effort.  This should be pretty self explanatory.  If you know your product and know what you are selling then obviously you know who you are selling to.  We’re in the car business people.. our manufacturers spend ridiculous amounts of money and consult experts in this field figuring out the majority of our target marketplace FOR US.  Tap into these resources.   This one is kind of a no-brainer.  In order to sell your brand to the right kind of people you need to know your brand and yourself.

Which brings me to number three.  KNOW WHO YOU ARE. What makes you unique?  What do you bring to the table (or can you bring) that is going to set you apart from the rest of the sales associates in your area?  Lyndon B. Johnson once said “What convinces is conviction.”  You have to believe in yourself, your goals, and most importantly – your product.  You can’t be the milkman delivering pizzas.  BE REAL.  If you’re not driving what you’re selling, I’m not sure who you’re trying to fool.  Wake up.  If you don’t personally want to own what you’re selling buddy  you’re in the wrong business and you definitely can’t be the expert.  If you can ‘t close yourself on a payment that you supposedly can’t afford, how do you ever expect to convince your customers to do the same thing?  If you truly believed inside of you that your product was the best overall value YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WOULD HAVE ONE IN YOUR GARAGE!  Why are people going to come to you, across town, instead of someone who is right across the street?  You need to know exactly what you are offering.  Sit down and make a list!  What can you consistently deliver over and over again that will set the bar just a little bit higher; however – most importantly- is GENUINE and REAL.

Once you set your goals – know who you are selling to and what you truly are selling – you need to BUILD YOUR PERSONAL VISUAL IDENTITY.  Some of you may refer to this as a logo.  As I mentioned before, logos are not necessarily imperative; however, they are strongly recommended.  What is the first thing that you see in your head when I say “Apple?”  THE LOGO.  If you can successfully and consistently complete the previous steps, then you need a visual aid to add to the value of your consistent and genuine brand name.  Like I said before, KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  What is a symbol of who you are?  It can be simple.  It can be complex.  All that matters is that it represents you and your commitment to being the brand that you have made for yourself.  For example:  Look at my stunningly handsome headshot above.  I wear glasses.  I make them look good.  I have several different shades, shapes, brands, and styles of geeky, thick-framed glasses that are as much a part of me as the service that I offer to my customers.  When anyone sees the logo on my cards, mailers, pens, brochures, websites, stickers, magnets, etc., they always make a comment about how amusingly it reflects who I truly am.  Nobody knows the real you better than you…well, or at least they shouldn’t.  Anyway, the point is:  Spend some time thinking or consulting with others (who know you very well and their opinion is valued) before you decide on a logo – should you decide to embrace this part of your own brand.

Ok, I know this all sounds like  A LOT of work.  Not gonna lie to you – it is.  Keep chasing pavement on that lot if that’s your choice.  If all of this sounds overwhelming, you haven’t seen anything yet.  I’m just getting started!!  We haven’t even touched on how you market this brand that is essentially, basically and most importantly, YOU.

 

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The following list showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow them in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the ranking for this list of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013 first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected. The infographic Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below.

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view the Top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013. The team at CouponAudit ranked the sites shown according to quality of posts.