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Lifting Service Revenue With Showroom Demos – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Recently passing my hometown fire station, a new billboard caught my attention. “Car Seat Demos” illuminated the dark sky.

My childhood fire station is reaching out to the community to educate drivers about car seats, and dealerships can too!

Winter is an especially critical time for hosting safety demos. Maintenance needs to change as driving conditions and temperatures worsen – and demos give fixed operations staff opportunities to engage with buyers in your area. While these buyers may not need a new car today, if they attend a helpful “how to” session in your showroom, you begin to build brand recognition for upcoming automotive purchases and expand your reach to attract repeat business.

 

In addition to contacting your nearest fire station to run a car seat installation class, here are two other time sensitive ideas to capitalize on during winter months.

 

 

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that car owners check their tire pressure once per month. Have your service manager instruct on how to gauge tire pressure and make sure gauges are available to purchase from your service counter. You can increase the reach of your demo by filming it and uploading to your store’s YouTube channel and website.

 

  • The nights are getting longer, and according to Weather.com, traffic deaths are three times more likely at night. The site also argues that depth perception and color recognition are impaired in the dark.  Your service team can compile a PowerPoint deck to present regarding night driving tips.

 

During my driver’s education course, my instructor emphasized the importance of functioning taillights and head lights, looking to the fog line of the road when an oncoming car is blasting its high beams, keeping a safe following distance, and signaling with plenty of yardage to spare. Other prudent night driving recommendations can be found via AAA and Department of Motor Vehicles. Consider personalizing your presentation by including local gas stations where drivers can go to seek help if needed.

 

Earlier this year, one of the dealerships that I work with in Ohio placed a link to tips for driving in the fall and at night. My Business Development Coordinator has stated that buyers are viewing and have appreciated the information. Take this idea and make it even more powerful by inviting buyers into your store for a formal demo, and then post the content in your digital channels (e.g. website, social media, e-blasts).

 

As stated in our eBook, Multichannel Marketing: Coordinating Existing Media for Maximum Con…, “Aberdeen’s “July 2012 Customer Experience Management: Using the Power of Analytics to Optimize Customer Delight” research, businesses who engaged in multichannel marketing saw growth in key performance improvements across the board, such as: a 6.8% increase in customer retention, a 5.1% increase in customer lifetime value, and a 4.0% increase in customer satisfaction.”

Not only will running a service demo this season get new buyers into your store, but you’ll show them the value of your desire to educate while boosting your service bottom line. Schedule an event today!

Featured Webinar

Featured Webinar

How can you turn MultiChannel Marketing into car sales? Auburn Volkswagen’s General Manager & Principal Matthew Welch will reveal 5 best practices for incorporating MultiChannel Marketing into your dealership’s strategy.

 

Watch on Demand

 

 

About the Author

Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Cobalt Account Advocate Marissa Dogeagle Smith is an Account Advocate at Cobalt, working primarily with Hyundai and General Motors stores. Marissa and her teammates provide and implement ongoing website optimization strategies that help dealerships distinguish themselves and drive qualified showroom traffic. Marissa is extremely passionate about the value of using website data to formulate and employ powerful strategies. Like many Toyota owners, Marissa learned to drive in a Camry and now owns a Corolla. Marissa holds a Business Administration degree and Marketing Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Feel free to reach out to Marissa directly at msmith@cobalt.com.

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.

Dealer Marketing Magazine and Automotive Digital Marketing Form Partnership

“We are proud to be associated with the ADM community,” says Brett Stevenson, Publisher of Dealer Marketing Magazine. “There are a number of social networks out there for auto dealers, but this is the Granddaddy. They have a large influence in the auto industry and have always helped dealers learn from one another.”

Source:  Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Death of a Salesman, has the day arrived?

The furniture and carpet retail industry’s pay commission only, BUT their salespeople get a percentage of the GROSS SALES REVENUE, in many cases 6% to 8% with an average being about 7%.  The key there is that the salesperson’s percentage is based on transaction amount and NOT on gross profit.  When there is a slow moving line of furniture or carpeting, it is not uncommon to see a retailer put a 10% commission on that product line to get the salespeople fired up.

There is nothing FUNDAMENTALLY wrong with automotive sales professionals being paid on a commission based system, but when the pay structure was established in 1972 and based on a gross profit margin that was, as a percent of the transaction price, 2 to 3 times what it is today, then there must be adjustments made in order to ensure that a sales professional position in the car business is still a high paid job.

When I started selling cars on Friday, February 13, 1981 my commission plan paid a similar commission as a percent of gross profit margin as many dealerships pay today.  This is ludicrous and counter intuitive! My first dealership felt compelled to put a CAP on sales commissions because we were selling diesel VW’s for $2,000 to $5,000 over window sticker… My first year of selling cars, a 10 month years in 1981 I made over $84,000 as a car salesman.  Let’s put that into perspective in today’s 2012 dollars… Can a first year car salesperson make $175,000 today?  And, don’t say I was anything special, because there were at least 4 or 5 people in my dealership that outsold me.

If you give an entire class of professionals a pay cut ever year for over 30 years, what do you suppose happens to the quality of who we have available to hire and the turnover in that professional category?  Yes… It is as obvious as it seems and a lot less complicated than people want to admit. Until the entire automotive distribution system in the USA allows for sales professionals to earn a living commensurate with the skills required for them to do a great job, we will be relegated to lousy salesperson performance as an industry average.  This is not just a dealer responsibility… Every time an OEM strips gross margin out of the MSRP on the window of a new car, and puts that money into dealer cash that is paid separately, they are in fact reducing every sales professionals income from selling those cars.  I personally believe that there needs to be more gross profit margin in the MSRP shown on the window of most new vehicles sold in this country.  And based on what most consumers seem to believe we have for profit margins in those Monroney sticker prices, they agree as well!

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

January 18 – 20 in Atlanta, GA with:

Ralph Paglia

Larry Bruce

Jim Ziegler

Ralph Paglia Larry Bruce Jim Ziegler

OUR MISSION:

In today’s fiercely competitive retail environment, every dealership must be operating at maximum efficiency. Every profit center must be synergistically integrated with every other department in the dealership while, at the same time, producing their maximum profitability. Your only choices – Grow or Die.

Ralph Paglia, Larry Bruce, Jim Ziegler and Special Guest Speakers will demonstrate numerous techniques, word tracts, strategies and real life examples of dealerships that are dominating their competitors with technology-enabled marketing and Internet techniques and programs. This is hands-on ‘real-world stuff, not theory. We’re doing it in the real-world, in real dealerships, with real customers.

You and your managers will leave with a step-by-step “Battle Plan” that will dramatically increase your sales and profits… immediately.

If you have questions, or to register via telephone please call:

800.726.0510

Weekdays, 8AM – 5PM

YOUR TROOPS WILL LEARN:

  • How to Ensure that your Dealership doesn’t Waste a Single Opportunity to do Business
  • Methods, Programs, Marketing and Advertising Secrets to Drive Floor Traffic and Phone Traffic
  • Video Search Engine Maximization
  • How to turn your dealership into an Internet Sales Powerhouse
  • Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn… the guys will show you how to create dealership Social Community marketing programs that yield incredible returns
  • Tips, Tools and Techniques that Produce Immediate Results
  • And Much More!

J. D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study Reveals New Vehicle Purchase Decision Points

Study Shows: Jaguar Continues To Excel At Treating Their Customers Right And Audi Continues To Suck At It!

The manner in which customers are treated by the dealership is more important to overall new-vehicle buyer satisfaction than the actual transaction price, according to the J. D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released November 18, 2010.

The J. D. Power and Associates SSI study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle automotive purchase experience. Overall customer satisfaction is measured across four factors:
  • working out the deal (33%)
  • salesperson (25%)
  • delivery process (21%)
  • dealership facility (20%)
J. D. Power’s 2010 SSI study finds that more than one-half (52%) of new-vehicle buyers cite dealer treatment as a reason to purchase their new vehicle from a specific dealer. In comparison, 38 percent of buyers cite vehicle price or the deal offered as the reason for selecting their dealer.

The SSI study reveals one aspect of car buying satisfaction (or lack of) that is of particular interest; once the selling car dealership is selected, the ease of coming to an agreement on the final vehicle price has the single-greatest influence on buyer satisfaction, surpassing the importance of fairness of the actual price paid.

With the exception of selecting a vehicle, negotiating the deal is the aspect of the new-vehicle buying process that takes the longest time (53 minutes, on average).

“The process of working out the deal is the primary indicator of whether new-vehicle buyers have a satisfactory purchase experience,” said Jon Osborn, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. “While there are some buyers who enjoy the negotiation process, many find it to be the most unpleasant part of purchasing a new vehicle. It is particularly important for retailers to make this process as efficient and collaborative as possible, given its importance to overall satisfaction.”

For a third consecutive year, Jaguar ranks highest among luxury brands in satisfying buyers with the new-vehicle buying experience. Jaguar performs particularly well in the salesperson and working out the deal factors. Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz follow in the luxury brand segment rankings. These two brands also ranked second and third, respectively, in 2009.

Among luxury brands, Lincoln demonstrates the greatest improvement from 2009, moving from sixth rank position to fourth in 2010.


MINI ranks highest among mass market brands, performing particularly well in dealership facility, salesperson and delivery process.

Mercury and GMC, respectively, follow MINI in the mass market segment rankings. The mass market brands demonstrating the greatest improvement from 2009 are Hyundai (moving from 16th rank position to seventh in 2010) and Chrysler (moving from 15th rank position to eighth in 2010).

The study also finds that 60 percent of new-vehicle buyers visit more than one dealership during the shopping process. While many dealers are rejected for not having a vehicle that the buyers wanted to purchase, a significant number of buyers (18%) end showroom visits primarily due to poor customer treatment by the dealer’s salespeople. While some new-vehicle buyers complain about dealer sales staff applying too much sales pressure, “With new-vehicle retail sales remaining soft and manufacturers spending considerable amounts on incentives to get customers into showrooms, the value of prospects coming in to a dealership is extremely high,” said Osborn. “Dealers cannot afford to drive away customers through poor treatment. In addition, most of these rejecters go on to purchase a different brand of vehicle entirely, meaning that both the individual dealer and the automaker lose out.” The Internet continues to play an increasingly important role in the new-vehicle shopping process, with more than three-fourths of new-vehicle buyers (79%) using the Internet during the shopping process.

 

Twenty-four percent (24%) of all new vehicle buyers in 2010 submitted an online request for quote to a dealer, and were, on average, more satisfied with the negotiation process and the price paid. However, perhaps expecting a quicker sales process, these buyers are more likely to express dissatisfaction with the length of the sales process than are buyers who did not submit an online request.

“Dealers need to streamline the new-vehicle buying process for customers who do a lot of research online,” said Osborn. “These buyers tend to be affluent, well-informed and time-sensitive. They generally know the exact vehicle they want and how much they expect to pay for it. Despite often having little familiarity with the dealership they are buying from, they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Dealers need to balance respect for the customer’s time while still providing what the customer needs.”
The J. D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 25,244 new-vehicle buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in May 2010. The study was fielded between August and October 2010.

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