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Use “Hummer Tax Loophole” To Sell More Vehicles In December

Are You Using \”Hummer Tax Loophole\” To Sell More Vehicles In December?

Car Dealer uses “Hummer Tax Loophole” to Educate Commercial Vehicle Buyers and Close More Deals In December

I received the following commercial vehicle buyer targeted explanation of the tax advantages businesses can gain by purchasing one or more new vehicles before December 31st. I received in my overcrowded Gmail inbox, where it caught my attention and I found it to be so compelling that it merited being shared with the ADM Community… The dealer group that sent it to me is the Resnick Automotive Group of Schaumburg, Illinois. I also added several sections with further detail directly from the IRS towards the bottom of this post:

One of the more popular uses of the Section 179 Deduction has been for vehicles. In fact, several years ago the Section 179 deduction was sometimes referred to as the “Hummer Tax Loophole,” because a the time it allowed businesses to buy large SUV’s and write them off. While this particular use (or abuse) of the tax code has been modified with the limits explained below, it is still true that Section 179 can be advantageous in buying vehicles for your business.


You still have an excellent opportunity through 12/31/2013 to minimize your tax liability by purchasing a qualifying Car, Truck  Van or SUV. Plus, under the Tax Relief / Job Creation Act of 2010, qualified small business owners who purchase a qualifying vehicle GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight) of 6000 pounds or more, may even have greater benefits if the vehicle is entirely used for business purposes.

  • Under the IRS ruling, the following  new “trucks” qualify.
  • Consult your accountant/tax advisor for complete details and eligibility.
  • Qualifying Vehicles of 6000 lbs. GVWR

Mercedes-Benz

Lexus

Toyota

Sprinter Van
ML350
GL450/550
GL350 BTC
G550

GX460
LX570

Tundra
4Runner
Sequoia

Additional Savings:
 Special Finance Rates, Factory Incentives and Dealer Year-End Discounts

Additional Section 179 Details Published by the IRS:
Update / IRS Guidelines for Vehicles in 2013

The IRS has not yet released guidance concerning Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation as it relates to vehicles for the year 2013. The guidance will be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin sometime after April 15th. So be patient, and check back here often for the release date.

There are a number of qualifications for vehicles, all with varying tax treatment. Please refer to page 6 of these Instructions for Form 2106 to read the exact IRS language.

What are the limits on Typical Passenger Vehicles?

For passenger vehicles, trucks, and vans (not meeting the guidelines below), that are used more than 50% in a qualified business use, the total deduction for depreciation including both the Section 179 expense deduction as well as Bonus Depreciation is limited to $11,060 for cars and $11,160 for trucks and vans.

Exceptions include the following vehicles:

  • Ambulance or hearse used specifically in your business;
  • Taxis, transport vans, and other vehicles used to specifically transport people or property for hire;
  • Qualified non-personal use vehicles specifically modified for business (i.e. van without seating behind driver, permanent shelving installed, and exterior painted with company’s name).

Limits for SUVs or Crossover Vehicles with GVWR above 6,000lbs
Certain vehicles (with a gross vehicle weight rating above 6,000 lbs but no more than 14,000 lbs) qualify for expensing up to $25,000 if the vehicle is financed and placed in service prior to December 31 and meet other conditions.

What Vehicles Qualify for the full Section 179 Deduction?

Many vehicles that by their nature are not likely to be used for personal purposes qualify for full Section 179 deduction including the following vehicles:

  1. Heavy “non-SUV” vehicles with a cargo area at least six feet in interior length (this area must not be easily accessible from the passenger area.) To give an example, many pickups with full-sized cargo beds will qualify (although some “extended cab” pickups may have beds that are too small to qualify).
  2. Vehicles that can seat nine-plus passengers behind the driver’s seat (i.e.: Hotel / Airport shuttle vans, etc.).
  3. Vehicles with: (1) a fully-enclosed driver’s compartment / cargo area, (2) no seating at all behind the driver’s seat, and (3) no body section protruding more than 30 inches ahead of the leading edge of the windshield. In other words, a classic cargo van.
Other Considerations
  • Vehicles can be new or used (“new to you” is the key).
  • The vehicle can be financed with certain leases and loans, or bought outright.
  • The vehicle in question must also be used for business at least 50% of the time – and these depreciation limits are reduced by the corresponding % of personal use if the vehicle is used for business less than 100% of the time.
  • Remember, you can only claim Section 179 in the tax year that the vehicle is “placed in service” – meaning when the vehicle is ready and available – even if you’re not using the vehicle. Further, a vehicle first used for personal purposes doesn’t qualify in a later year if its purpose changes to business.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Top 15 New Year Resolutions for Marketers Serving Car Dealerships – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Top 15 New Year Resolutions for Marketers Serving Car Dealerships


The Infographic shown below contains the top 15 recommended action items for automotive marketing professionals going into 2013… These were developed by the exceptionally talented marketing professionals at Hubspot and are well worth reviewing with your team and/or simply working them into your daily, weekly and monthly ongoing dealership marketing tasks to be completed as indicated:

16 Smart Resolutions for Better Marketing in 2013

It’s here — the turn of the new year. And you know what that means… This is your chance to reboot and decide what changes you’ll make in 2013.

Are there specific skills you haven’t quite mastered yet?

Do you have a particular goal in mind that you weren’t quite able to hit in 2012?

Of course, these goals could pertain to your personal life, but what about some career and marketing-related goals, too?

Why not improve some critical skills and habits that could advance your marketing career and make you an even stronger contributor to your company’s success?

What marketing resolutions do you want to make?

If you’re not sure where to begin, for starters, HubSpot would love to help! We’re offering our marketing community members a free consultation to chat with a HubSpot expert about 2013 goal planning. (Not too shabby!) It’s worth the investment to take some time to figure out what will be different for you and your marketing in 2013. So consider chatting with us, and take some time to reflect on your challenges and goals by setting some strong marketing resolutions for 2013. Here are 16 great ideas to get you started, chock full of with links to more in-depth tips and resources to help you become a better marketer in 2013 …

“I want to become a stronger, more multifaceted content creator.”

1) I will blog at least twice a week. Did you know that, according to HubSpot’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarketing Report, companies that blog 6-8 times per month generate over 2X more leads than companies that blog just twice a month? Valuable content is the meat that attracts visitors and leads to your company. Making the commitment to an increased blogging frequency should significantly increase your lead flow. Considering adding this to your list of resolutions? Here are 10 ways to never run out of blog ideas again.

2) I will produce at least one video in Q1, and post it on YouTube. Video content can communicate a story or emotion better than almost any other form of content. A lot of marketers have a mental block that keeps them from creating video content due to a lack of technical savvy or resources. Kick those excuses to the curb and use this goal to tell one of your customers’ success stories — it could become the strongest selling tool in your sales reps’ tool belt.

3) I will become an active contributor to social media by posting articles to my company’s social channels. Maintaining an active, helpful social presence is a great tool for growing a reach that can be used to promote your best content. If this is a current weakness of yours, start by making a commitment to sharing others’ content so you can grow that valuable following. Need help planning your social media updates? Check out our free social media publishing schedule template.

4) I will work to enhance my and/or my team’s design skills. This resolution is especially relevant for 2013. A recent HubSpot study found that photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes than text, and the trend toward visual content is only growing in importance. In 2013, investing in design skill development will be crucial for creating effective content for social media and other marketing channels. Purchase Photoshop for your team, ask a designer to host a short design tutorial, spruce up your PowerPoint skills, and download our 35 free email design templates — or check out these awesome, free design tools — if you’re a marketer on a budget. There are a lot of ways to become a better designer. Take advantage of them!

“I want to better optimize my marketing to drive stronger results.”

5) I will take the time to conduct a website audit in 2013. When’s the last time your website got a checkup? If it’s been a while, there could be plenty of missed optimization opportunities you never even knew existed. Does your website rank for certain terms that you didn’t know about? Conduct an SEO audit. Are there certain pages on your site that aren’t optimized at all — for search and for conversion? A website audit is a great thing to do early in the year so you reap the benefits throughout 2013. Check out our 25 website must-haves for driving traffic, leads, and sales, so you can start the new year off right with an optimized website.

6) I will take the time to educate myself and my team about the basics of SEO. Speaking of search engine optimization, every inbound marketer should know the basics of SEO. Especially with recent Google algorithm changes, there are some ways you can improve your search engine optimization through improved social performance (that’s right — they’re connected), and more! Download our free on-page SEO template, brush up on link-building best practices, and make sure everyone who creates content on your team keeps SEO best practices in the backs of their minds.

7) I will conduct one landing page A/B test per month to optimize my landing pages. When it comes to lead generation and reconversion, the difference between a 15% landing page conversion rate and a 25% conversion rate can be HUGE. Imagine if you could automatically generate more leads without changing your promotion strategy or generating more traffic — but rather just by optimizing your landing pages themselves? By making a habit of testing your landing pages on a regular basis to get more bang for your buck, you may be able to significantly scale your lead generation without having to scale your team! Check out this guide to landing page A/B testing to learn more — or download our complete ebook on A/B testing.

8) I will get into the habit of doing email A/B tests prior to emailing my list. Similar to the point above, optimizing an email before hitting send could increase open or clickthrough rates immensely. Who knows — maybe the first CTA headline you think of won’t resonate with your email list. But how the heck would you know if you didn’t test it first? Make this a normal practice in your marketing, and check out these various types of email tests you can try with your next email…. And while we’re on the subject of email optimization, you’re segmenting your email list too … right?

“I want to become a more data-driven marketer.”

9) I promise to set specific, numerical goals for every project I do. Goal setting is an important habit for every marketer in order to both evaluate and communicate their successes. Starting a new video series? What number of views, shares, website visits, or leads do you need to attract to make this initiative worth it? Make this step number one for all your work moving forward, and check out this free template to help you determine your 2013 marketing goals.

10) I will start tracking my analytics every week — if not every day. This is just plain good housekeeping. By keeping a pulse on how your marketing is performing on a regular basis, you can keep yourself from falling behind. A great way to do this is to use a waterfall chart to track your progress toward an end goal. If you get behind early in the month, you’ll know that you need to go full-steam ahead to fix the problem fast so you can still finish strong. Here are some other reports you should set up with your marketing analytics to keep your marketing — and sales — teams accountable.

11) I will commit to tracking my leads to sales, so I truly know what marketing channels work best.Smarketing” is a beautiful thing. Very easily, we marketers get caught up in measuring success by marketing numbers exclusively, but what works for us might not be what’s best for the business. For example, a marketer at a software company could get 10,000 people to download a flip-book of cute kitty images (Hey, I’d download that!), but it doesn’t mean those 10,000 people are going to be good fits as customers. Using closed-loop marketing analytics and aligning your marketing goals with sales goals to understand if your content is attracting the right people will help you understand what’s best for the business.

12) I will encourage my team to independently measure their work, and report back to me. Measuring progress doesn’t need to live at the management level exclusively. In fact, it may work to your benefit to encourage data-driven habits at every level as a tool to keep your marketing team accountable. Empower your employees by cultivating a data-driven culture. Help your team understand how they can track their progress, and ask them for updates periodically so it’s always top of mind.

I want to become a better overall inbound marketer.”

13) I will pick an organization I love and learn from them. Is there a company out there that you admire because of a particular way they do marketing? For instance, maybe you love Oreo’s content in social media. Or maybe you aspire to be as creative as Disney. Dissect WHY you love that organization, and learn from their marketing choices. Even if that company is in a completely different industry, there will likely still be key, valuable takeaways that can help to inspire your own marketing promotions. Start by checking our list of 10 of the most memorable marketing campaigns in 2012.

14) I will further my own education as a marketer by attending conferences and reading smart content every day. Never be too busy to keep learning. Consider attending a couple of top-notch marketing conferences this year. Print marketing ebooks and read them before bed, or read through an RSS reader of your favorite blogs while you sip coffee in your slippers. (Are you subscribed to this one yet, by the way?) You can always make the time. Find ways to keep your brain active and learning, and do the same for your team. Help them find educational resources they enjoy and can read every day, and set a good example by being a lifelong learner yourself.

15) I will accept feedback from my boss, teammates, customers, and community. A closed mind is a stagnant mind. Always be open to feedback when it’s given to you, and request it regularly even when it’s not. Survey your customers and clients to gut check their happiness. You may learn simple ways to make their lives better that make all the difference, yet takes no additional time from you. And, you’ll be improving the impact of your marketing along the way!

16) I will make a commitment to creating marketing that people love. The true path to successful marketing is making sure all the content you make, information you provide, and emails you send make your target market love you. When you create lovable marketing, it will also get clicked on, shared, downloaded, linked to, and promoted more often by your audience. And if you can build rapport and trust in the marketing stages, you’ll be teeing up a relationship that could lead to a lifelong, happy customer. To learn more about creating marketing that people love, check out our step-by-step ebook on lovable marketing here.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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CRM Triggered Personalized Customer Emails Outperform Bulk Email Campaigns for Car Dealers

CRM Triggered Personalized Customer Emails Outperform Bulk Email Campaigns for Car Dealers

 

Personalized Promotional Offers and Event/Time CRM Triggered Emails Seen Delivering Stronger Results than Mass Email Campaigns for Car Dealers and Automotive Marketers

The results stand in apparent contrast to study findings from MailerMailer last year. That study found that emails with the subject line personalized had lower open and click rates than those without personalization. The difference could be attributable to the sample set analyzed. The MailerMailer study took a broad view, looking at opt-in emails as a whole, while the Experian study analyzed promotional and triggered emails only.

I have seen where time spent detailing out the email templates that are triggered by lead status changes in a dealership CRM system creates a highly effective sales and marketing automation strategy. In my own personal experience, the many hours invested in creating custom email templates that are specific for such CRM activities as leaving a voice mail, trade-in estimate, payment quotes, changes in program interest rates for the specific vehicle the customer is interested in, or sending a price quote will pay off with a robust ROI. Customers receive a steady stream of personalized messages that are triggered by an event or timing that is predetermined and logically expected by the customer… When done properly, these automated highly personalized CRM triggered emails will elicit a thank you from customers for the diligence a salesperson has exercised in staying in contact with them. Quite simply, there are few other sales automation systems appropriate for car dealerships with as positive a result as robustly customized CRM implementations.

   

For CRM system triggered emails, those with the subject line personalized had an average open rate of 29.2%, about 25% higher than the rate for those broadcast email campaigns without personalization (23.3%).

  

As for unique click rates, personalized emails outperformed their counterparts for both promotional emails (3.2% vs. 2.3%) and triggered emails (6.7% vs. 4.4%).

   

The Experian study also finds personalization providing a significant lift in transaction rates and revenue per email:

  • For broadcast type promotional mailings, transaction rates were 7 times higher (0.35% vs. 0.05%), while for CRM triggered mailings, they were more than twice as large (0.62% vs. 0.25%)
  • For promotional mailings, revenue per email was more than 6 times higher ($0.26 vs. $0.04), and for triggered messages, they were 63% higher ($0.31 vs. $0.19).

Source 1: MarketingCharts.com/personalized-promotional-and-triggered-emails-s…

Dealer-to-Customer Emails:
Data Shows Longer Subject Lines Get More Clicks

These emails have a CTOR 94.7% above the average (and click and open rates 276.4% and 93.2% above-average, respectively). B2B emails show a similar trend, though not quite as clear cut. Emails with subject line length of 20 characters performed above-average for all 3 metrics, though the rates generally dipped after that until recovering from 90 characters in length and up. The peak for open rate was 20 characters (24.6% above-average), while the peak for click rate was for 140 characters (82.7% above-average) and for CTOR was also 140 characters (72% above-average).

E-commerce Emails Show Mixed Trends

Data from Adestra’s subject line study indicates that when it comes to the e-commerce sector, the results are fairly mixed. Subject lines 110 characters in length performed best for open rates (122.4% above-average), but those 70-characters-long did best for click rates (91.1% above-average), while those with 30 characters achieved the best CTOR (17.4% above-average), despite the latter having below-average open and click rates. Overall, subject lines with 70 characters appeared to do the best, with above-average performance in each metric.
  

For the events sector, short subject lines (20-30 characters) got the highest open rates, while longer subject lines (120-150 characters) got the best click rates and CTOR. Publishing emails displayed the same pattern as events emails, though for charity emails, short subject lines had the highest open, click, and click-to-open rates.
  

Overall, across the 6 sectors studied, despite an open rate peak for emails with 20 characters, longer subject lines (100+ characters) appeared to deliver better open, click, and click-to-open rates. This compares with recent studies from MailerMailer and Informz, which found shorter subject lines to clearly have the best open rates, though with mixed results for click rates.
  

Word Count Results Similar

Further results from the Adestra show that word count length has a similar effect to that of character count, but is amplified. Email subject lines that are a single word have a spike in open, click, and click-to-open rates relative to the average, though all metrics dip in response rates alongside increasing word length, until 15 words and longer, when they begin to rise and hit new peaks.
  

Looking at the results by sector, some interesting patterns emerge. For e-commerce emails, 1-word subject lines had the highest open rate, but 4-word lines had the best highest CTOR relative to the average. For events emails, shorter word counts (2-5) delivered the best open rates relative to the average, but longer word counts (19 and up) delivered both the best click and click-to-open rates relative to the average.
   

For the publishing sector, the results were clearer: longer subject lines delivered generally higher-than-average open, click, and click-to-open rates, aside from a spike at 2 words. For the charity sector, short subject lines did well for open and click rates, and longer counts (14 words and up) performed worst for click-to-open rates.
  

In the B2B and B2C sectors, open, click, and click-to-open rates were generally better for longer word counts, though 2-word subject lines performed best overall in the B2B sector.

“Coupon” Fares Worst Among Offer Terms

Notably, the study finds that for the e-commerce sector, the word “coupon” has open rates that are 55.6% below the average for offers emails, with click rates also 85.8% below-average and CTOR 68.1% below-average. This appears to be in direct contradiction to results from an Epsilon study also released in July, which found that the keyword “coupon” was tops for email opens. However, that study only measured the 2011 holiday season, which may explain the discrepancy in results.

  

According to Adestra, the words “sale” and “% off” performed best in click rates and CTOR relative to the average for offer emails, and also perform among the best for open rates.

   

Other Findings:

  • For the events sector, using currency (particularly $ signs), first names, “thousands,” or “millions” can have an uplift for all 3 metrics.
       
  • For the publishing sector, “video” and “exclusive” perform very well relative to the average, while the terms “newsletter,” “research”, “report,” “forecast,” and “intelligence,” all perform significantly below-average.
       
  • For the charity sector, the words “appeal” and “donate” fare poorly compared to the average, while “give” has above-average results.
       
  • For the B2B sector, currency symbols, as well as words such as “profit,” “revenue,” “turnover,” and “referral” perform markedly above-average, while the term “B2B” shows very poor response rates.
       
  • For the B2C sector, “sale,” “% off,” “video,” “exclusive,” and “new” perform best, while “coupon,” “half price,” “free,” and currency symbols are below-average.
       
  • According to a July 2012 report [pdf] from Experian, including the word “exclusive” in the subject line can provide a lift of 14% in promotion mailings (15.9% with vs. 14% without). Similarly, subject lines including “top 10″ or “top 5″ deliver open rates 13% higher than promotional emails without them (16.1% vs. 14.3%).
        
  • Also per the Experian findings, emails asking customers to rate and review purchased items generate 2 times higher open rates, 39% higher click rates, 22% higher transaction rates, and 32% higher revenue per email.

About the Data: The Adestra study campaigns had more than 5,000 recipients per campaign, but were not limited to large campaigns. The study was conducted across the client basis without regard to list size.

 

via  Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Online Car Selling Checklist for Automotive Marketing

Online Car Selling Checklist for Automotive Marketing Professionals

 

Online Car Selling Checklist

Can a computer sell a car?

While much of the online car selling process is automated these days, the answer is still no. To successfully sell a car online, there are a few essential points that auto dealers and individual sellers need to remember. Mere hours of work, invested by a few people, can dramatically improve your vehicle sales online.

Before you post your vehicles on the internet, double-check Strathcom’s Online Car Selling Checklist:

1. Do you have great descriptions to hook your reader?

When you’re selling online, you need to engage your reader the same way an author does, in the first paragraph. Do you have detailed, complete vehicle descriptions? If not, don’t expect to sell cars.

*Pictures and descriptions can lower a bounce rate by up to 60% (Bounce rate is the percentage of people  that leave your site without clicking through to another page)

Tips:

  • Be descriptive — “soft, heated leather upholstery” sounds better than just “heated seats.”
  • Use safe terminology — avoid words like “mint” or “new.” A car isn’t new if it’s three years old. Rather, use ambiguous or interpretive terminology like “very clean,” which won’t cause problems down the road.
  • Use words people relate to — “well maintained,” “local,” and “accident–free” are examples.
  • Paint a picture — help readers picture a car in their minds. A good description for a convertible: “This cabriolet turns heads cruising in the sun.”
  • Tailor descriptions — is it summer? Then describe the efficient A/C system. Winter? Mention the vehicle has a car starter and heated seats.
  • Instil confidence in the reader — use words like unique, rare find, great find, very successful, award winning, economical, powerful, safe, beautiful, stunning, eye catching, head turning, best-selling, etc. Customers want to know they’re making a great buy.
  • “What’s in it for me?” — Highlight the benefits of each element you are describing to your customer. Don’t just say “has silicone wiper blades,” but rather add “Silicone wiper blades last three times longer and perform better than ordinary rubber blades. They offer resistance to fuels, oils, acid rain, washer fluid and road grime.”

The industry is changing. Things like “Tilt” and “ABS” are no longer selling features. People now want to know the MPG or L/100km they will get on a tank of gas. Honesty is important too; if a vehicle has high kilometers, admit it — but focus on its spotless service record.

Bottom line: writing good descriptions will increase the amount you get paid for your vehicles.

2. Have you posted pricing for all of your vehicles?

While some dealers feel that more people will call if there is no price, this is never the case. You should at the very minimum post a MSRP for new vehicles and make it easy for a consumer to submit a lead for more information. Pricing should always be posted for used vehicles — no exception.

3. Are your descriptions legible?

Ensure that your listings have proper spelling, grammar and easy-to-read fonts. Avoid wild colours, OVER-CAPITALIZATION (AKA “caps lock syndrome”), and fancy fonts as these elements will not give you more attention, but rather annoy the reader.

*Car buyers now physically visit only 1.3 dealerships before buying. Don’t give them a reason to go to the competition

   

4. Are you consistent across all postings?

Complete descriptions, detailed photos, proper prices — all of the elements that make a good vehicle posting need to be applied across the board on your listings to capitalize on return traffic. Consumers will research for 3-6 months before making a purchase, meaning they will return to your site multiple times; you should convey the correct brand message on each visit.

5. Do you have photos for all of your vehicles?

Having good vehicle photos should be common sense; customers want to see a car before they buy it. Do you have pictures for all of your vehicles? Do you have them online as soon as a car hits the lot? You should, or you could be losing sales to the competition.

*According to Kijiji, ads with pictures were twice as likely to get a reply than those without

Tips:

  • Highlight selling features — focus on what matters to your buyer. Selling a minivan? Focus on interior and safety.
  • Timeliness is extremely important — get pictures online within 48 hours of the unit arriving.
  • Include a variety of photos — give your customers an online walk-around of the vehicle.
  • Take Interior & Exterior Photos — get every angle: under the hood, the dashboard, seats (front and rear) and the exterior.

Side-by-side, which looks more appealing: no-name pop, or Coke? Which would you pay more for? Having vehicle photos is like branding. It makes customers more confident in your product, and increases sales while allowing you to ask more for a vehicle.

The principles are the same online as they have always been offline. If someone came in to buy a Cadillac Escalade, you wouldn’t bring up gas mileage. The point is to tailor your photos and descriptions to each vehicle. This is the best way to build quality leads that will make you a lot more money.

– Michael Fisher with Stuart Bendall and Trish Rowsell

 

 

via Online Car Selling Checklist – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Josh Vajda Advises Car Dealers on How to Communicate with Mobile Customers

via How to Communicate with Mobile Customers – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

How to Communicate with Mobile Customers

It’s becoming more common for customers to shop, communicate and conduct daily business using their mobile devices.

If you are selling cars in a dealership, I’m guessing you’ve received many responses from customers with the signature “sent from my iPhone/4G-LTE smartphone/mobile device.” When you see this type of response, do you attempt to communicate as you normally would?

 

Almost all of the e-mail templates and responses I have seen were created for customers who are sitting at their computers. Many salespeople have been trained to reply to an Internet lead with a fairly long, personalized response that includes links to several pieces of inventory, reasons for buying from this dealership and one or two questions designed to engage. This type of e-mail is great if your customer is sitting at the computer. But if you send that same response to a mobile customer, they’re probably not going to engage.

 

So what’s the best way to communicate with a mobile customer? Here are a few tips:

 

1)    Get to the point. Mobile customers don’t think or respond the same way, and don’t have the same level of patience as when they’re sitting at home on their computers. A mobile customer is probably going to be distracted; multi-tasking, bouncing from checking e-mail to Facebook, to Twitter, to attending to their daily life. For this reason, keep your e-mails to no more than a couple sentences and you’ll be more likely to engage that customer in a conversation.

 

2)    Choose attachments and links carefully. If you’re used to sending a brochure about your dealership, an embedded video, or showcasing a particular vehicle with hundreds of photos, think twice before sending memory-heavy attachments to the mobile customer. Mobile users aren’t likely to open an attachment that’s difficult to view on a small screen or takes a long time to download. Instead, send a link to a video or send one good photo of the car that they inquired about.

 

3)    Be Patient. On mobile devices, many people respond one line at a time, as if in a chat. Going back and forth one line at a time may become frustrating to you. But remember, this is not about you, it’s about the customer and their needs. You may reach a point where you think that one phone call could replace all this, and ask the customer to just call you, or you may try calling them. Or you may be tempted to write, “if you set an appointment to come in and take a test drive, all your questions will be answered.” Yet, just as we’ve been taught to earn the right to ask for the sale in the traditional sales process, you must earn the right to ask your mobile customers. When you’re communicating via mobile, it may take a lot longer, moving one small step at a time. Trying to skip ahead in the process could disconnect them from the conversation.

 

What tips do you have for communicating with mobile customers?

via How to Communicate with Mobile Customers – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

English: Washington, DC, April 27, 2010 -- FEM...

English: Washington, DC, April 27, 2010 — FEMA launched web pages that now work on mobile devices and residents now have the option of getting FEMA assistance information on their mobile phones. The address is http://m.fema.gov. FEMA/Bill Koplitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

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Dealer Website Best Practice: “Talk To The Dealer” – Marketing Professionals

Dealer Website Best Practice: “Talk To The Dealer”

Does Your Dealership Have a “Talk to the Dealer” Website Page?

Recently I was contacted by Darin Wade, the owner of the new Power Ford of New Mexico in Albuquerque to assist in the development of a BDC and Digital Marketing Strategy.  One of the key differentiators that Darin had already implemented, which I became aware of during my visit was a feature installed on his website that is titled “Talk To The Dealer”. 

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like:

Here is where it gets interesting… As I was meeting with Darin and John Fachko, his GSM, I submitted the form from this page and asked Darin if he received it… Nope.  However, I did receive an automated response telling me that my inquiry had been assigned to a Power Ford salesperson…

Huh? I thought I was “Talking to the Dealer”?

We contacted the Power Ford website provider and rerouted the form submission to Darin’s personal email and his cell phone email. As they were instructed when the page was requested…

Every hear the acronym “QA”? It is an acronym for “Quality Assurance” testing, a process that technology providers are supposed to implement after a change is made to verify that it works as intended. 

This is a great example of a well designed and thought out tactic which could have easily been determined to be a failure had too many customers submitted the form and then received an automated response from Power Ford’s Contact Management system informing them of the salesperson who has been assigned to their “Talk to the Dealer” inquiry… This would have been perceived by most customers as being what a Twitter user would describe as an “#EpicFail”. The “Quality Assurance” process from the dealership’s website supplier SHOULD have uncovered this point of failure, but it is also incumbent on the dealership to verify the quality of the work being delivered by their suppliers… Which we did, within 15 days of the new website being launched.

Lesson Learned? Periodically validate each and every online lead form and customer inquiry tool. Ensure that you know each customer inquiry is being routed to the right place.  I recommend that dealers submit a test lead via each every Call to Action online form offered to website visitors each month and then evaluate any automated responses for optimum messaging and how appropriate they are relative to the nature of the customer’s inquiry, as indicated by the location and intended use of the online form.

BTW Bonus… Take a close look at the “Copy and Paste” from the Power Ford “Map & Location” page I posted below.  Then, use the comment form to tell me what you think is the most interesting element. If you look closely, you will see something that I believe every dealer website should provide, but which I have never before seen on a dealer’s website…

Be the first ADM Member to tell me what it is (using the comment form below) and I will pay for your registration to attend AutoCon 2013, an $895 value.

Power Ford
1101 Montano NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
 505-766-6600 FREE  
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     855-348-1314 
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     855-348-1315 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Downtown Albuquerque, NM, just after sunset. F...

Downtown Albuquerque, NM, just after sunset. Features the Compass Bank building (purple), the Bank of America building, the Wells Fargo building, and the New Courthouse, plus a Carl’s Jr. restaurant. Cropped a little black sky off the top in Photoshop, but the colors are as the G9 took them. This is easily my #2 Most Viewed Pic. It reached 300 Views on Dec. 23, 2007. It is also my #3 Most Interesting Pic. Congratulations! On 4 Feb 2008, it reached 500 Views! On March 6, 600! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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