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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.

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan – Automotive Digital Marketing

Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

 

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.

Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walk-arounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.

The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.

Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walk-arounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.

Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.

Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.

Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.

As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.

One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search.
Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings.  Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.

The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

Cut the SPAM and Serve Up More Content – Automotive Digital Marketing

Cut the SPAM and Serve Up More Content

What do consumers want from mobile marketers?

According to a new study by Hipcricket, it’s obvious that prospective customers want a lot less spam and a lot more ham.

The Hipcricket study, examining consumer attitudes and perceptions about mobile marketing, indicated that 66 percent of consumers say they have received a text message or mobile alert from a brand. However, consumers complain that the majority of brands miss their target with messages people find not useful, irrelevant, or insufficiently personalized.

How do marketers miss the mark? Here are some consumer responses from the survey:

  • 52 percent said the message felt “intrusive or spammy.”
  • 46 percent said the message wasn’t relevant to their interests.
  • 33 percent said the message didn’t offer any value.
  • 41 percent said they would share more information with brands if offered relevant offers or coupons

Doug Stovall, chief operating office at Hipcricket, concludes that the research indicates “consumers are actively engaging brands via mobile marketing, but brands must deliver relevant and personalized campaigns.”

Forty one percent of survey participants indicated they would share more information with companies via mobile in exchange for relevant coupons or offers. Location data (20 percent) and demographic data (19 percent) were the most common forms of data people were willing to share.

“This data, properly analyzed, can unlock a treasure trove of information that drives more personalized, relevant mobile marketing,” said Stovall

Bottom line: consumers are willing to view marketer appeals. But they want more ham (offers, incentives, relevance) and less spam (random, incentive-less ads).

To learn more, check out the infographic below.

mobile 2

mobile 3

 

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

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.

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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