Archive for category Car Dealers

Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing

Richard Holland writes: “Through the actions of this call center rep, and a customer with a recorder at hand, over 5 million people have now listened to this call.”

While it’s hard to believe that this is a typical experience, it only takes one extraordinary experience to make a huge difference. If that experience is good, wonderful things happen. If that experience is poor, there is always the chance that our always-connected world makes your business a celebrity – but not in the way you want to be known.

Great companies realize that great experiences can create more business for them.

They also know when it’s time to say goodbye to a customer who wants to leave. Providing a great customer experience is absolutely important to customer retention and loyalty. Smart business people also realize that providing a great customer experience for someone who doesn’t want to do business with you anymore can be just as important. That last impression can be vital.

How you say goodbye is just as important as how you say hello.

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Automotive Website Awards (AWA) Book is a Must Have for Car Dealers

The Automotive Website Awards (AWA) reception and celebratory event was held in conjunction with the 2014 NADA Convention in New Orleans.

Regardless of what anyone’s opinion is about the merits of the companies selected by Brian Pasch to receive the awards presented at this event, there is no other reference document, book, guide, website, Top Ten List or any other compilation of information regarding the companies that supply car dealers with eCommerce websites and associated peripherals that comes close to this book… As a reference tool used to see “Who’s Who” as an automotive supplier, the AWA Research Report for Car Dealers is without any competition… Neither is there anything out there that could serve as a reasonable substitute.

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So… With all that said, is this book worth the $50 cost to buy it from PCG Consulting? I have heard it said that actions speak louder than words. I purchased two of these books at the event in New Orleans and I paid full retail of $100. Every car dealer in America who considers Digital Marketing to be a core competency requirement for their business should order and retain this book… Every year.

If you are a Car Dealer then you need to invest the 50 bucks that this book sells for… The Automotive Website Awards #AWA2014 may not always pick the suppliers that I would have chosen, but the research done, which is published in this book, is the most comprehensive review of dealer website suppliers available from any source. Buy this book and review over 50 digital marketing suppliers who have their information listed, dealer customers cited and an assessment of their products and services shown. Learn more at http://ADMPC.com (photo taken at Automotive Media Partners, LLC)

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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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Car Dealer Website Live Chat vs. Contact Form: What Is The Difference?

Live Chat vs. Contact Form: is there really a difference?

The difference between a contact form and live chat is that chat is, well, LIVE. Much more than a virtual answering service for your phones, a good chat operator can guide visitors through the website (including inventory), set appointments, provide Edmunds.com data about vehicles or CarFax reports up to twenty-four hours a day (with participating dealers and select live chat providers), and much more. The live chat operator becomes a car shopper’s ‘concierge in the cloud’.

Read the rest of the article at the source via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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From the Trenches – When to Break the 3-Minute Rule with Videos

From the Trenches – When to Break the 3-Minute Rule with Videos

 

I’ve been using videos for our dealership since 2009 when I saw a seminar by Jim Ziegler at NADA. I was very impressed and went back to Chicago and bought a video camera. Since then, we’ve put up over 2,700 videos on YouTube.

The best practice of 3 to 5 minutes for a video is well known and has a firm foundation. But it’s not gospel. Let me explain.

In my mind, for dealers, there are basically four kinds of videos that you can make for your dealership and varying lengths that are acceptable for them.

  • Branding videos – very short, maybe 1 minute max.
  • Conversion videos – 2-5 minutes
  • True Walkaround Videos – 3-8 minutes
  • Instructional Videos – whatever is necessary

Branding Videos are basically advertising your store or product and services. Customers have a very low tolerance and acceptance for them because they are “push” marketing similar to TV commercials. Need I say more? These should be very polished and you probably want a professional involved.

Conversion videos are videos created and sent to customers by a salesperson on a specific vehicle because “a video is worth a thousand photos”. It allows the salesperson to introduce him or herself, plug the store, and ask for the appointment. The customer wants to see that car and is willing to watch a little longer.

True Walkaround Videos are not directed at a particular customer. They are intended to be useful to those researching a particular model. Consumers who are researching want to see as much as possible about a particular vehicle so they can compare it to competing models. They will watch the entire video if it provides what they are looking for.

Instructional Videos teach something and the complexity of doing so can cause varying lengths of time. Consumers understand that. Something simple can be taught very quickly but some things take longer just to get through the steps. The consumer will follow along based on their interest.

There are exceptions to every rule. The real key is whether you are providing the entertainment factor or are providing the information that is being sought by the consumer. A customer that is looking for detail will not appreciate it if you skip over those details to keep your video short.

 

Best practices are there to be a guideline, not a rule. Always practice being a consumer and that will tell you when to go beyond best pratices.

Visit with me at AutoCon2012 in September!

 

 

Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

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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Top 5 Auto Industry Professional Networks Traffic Report for June 2012

Top 5 Auto Industry Pro Network Site Traffic Report for June 2012 – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Top 5 Auto Industry Social Network Traffic Statistics from Compete, Inc. for 12 months ending June 30, 2012…

Unique Visitor Traffic

Ranking by traffic volume and the sites (including subdomains) submitted to Compete, Inc. for monitoring:

  1. www.AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com
  2. www.DrivingSales.com
  3. www.DealerRefresh.com
  4. www.DealerElite.net
  5. www.AutoDealerPeople.com

Total Visitor Traffic

Since these sites are actively trying to get people in the auto industry to come back to them on a regular basis, it is useful to also examine their total number of visits, which would include members returning for multiple visits throughout each month being tracked. Automotive Digital Marketing has a substantial lead in 1st place for most visitors, with DealerELITE and DrivingSales neck and neck for second most visited automotive professional network.

Ranking Results for these same five sites based on total visitors for June 2012 moves DealerElite from 4th (Unique Visitors) to a close 2nd, basically tied with DrivingSales:

  1. www.AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com
  2. www.DealerElite.net
  3. www.DrivingSales.com
  4. www.DealerRefresh.com
  5. www.AutoDealerPeople.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: For years I have compared Compete, Inc. data with Google Analytics measured traffic reports for dozens of websites I have access to, and can attest to the fact that Compete always shows LESS TRAFFIC than actual traffic to a website (in absolute raw numbers). However, the relative comparisons of multiple sites by Compete, Inc. is almost always relatively accurate, with the sites that get more traffic according to Compete, also getting more traffic as shown by Google Analytics. However, it is important to note that all data sources show variations and many industry pundits have criticized Compete, Inc. data collection methodologies, despite validation of these same techniques by Google and Google’s partnership with Compete on many research projects.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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