Archive for category Internet Sales Manager

Do New Car Photos Really Make a Difference from Stock Photos? – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Do New Car Photos Really Make a Difference from Stock Photos?

ADM Forum Question Posted by Kim Essenmacher

I have to ask this question because each seminar, webinar and research study that I have read is stating this to be the case. It increases VDP’s, time on the site and in turn increases sales.  Here is a study from KBB:

Shoppers Want Actual New Vehicle Photos, Not Stock Photography on Dealer Web Sites

According to a new study conducted by Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research among in-market car buyers, 90 percent of vehicle shoppers would prefer to view actual photos of new vehicles currently on the dealer’s lot than view stock photography of a vehicle they are interested in buying.

When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, viewing photos of the exact vehicle, its options, condition and mileage help a potential buyer make a purchase decision. But, when it comes to buying a new vehicle, in-market shoppers say they want to have that same luxury; seeing photos of the exact vehicle on a dealer’s lot before driving to the dealership. Today, most dealerships use stock photography of new vehicles provided by the manufacturer to showcase current model-year vehicles.

Recent market research shows nearly 70 percent of today’s new vehicle shoppers are turning to the Internet for new vehicle research. Nearly half of these shoppers visit at least one dealership Web site during the research process, making the information found on the dealer’s Web site crucial in garnering a new customer. In fact, 74 percent of vehicle shoppers say they are more likely to visit a dealership if they are able to view a picture of an actual vehicle currently available on the lot, rather than stock photography. What’s more, 53 percent would be more likely to buy that particular vehicle from a dealership offering actual photos of in-stock vehicles.

CDMdata Inc., a Kelley Blue Book Company, offers products and services that aid dealers in easily marketing both their new and used vehicles online with photos. CDMdata’s DigitalLot® Solution is a device that collects vehicle information by scanning the VIN, takes multiple photos of the actual vehicle and then uploads all of the information to the dealer’s Web site (and up to 150 retail Web sites) with the simple push of a button. The DigitalLot Solution can take up to 32 photos of each vehicle, and the in-depth VIN explosion allows consumers to instantly and accurately view all of the detailed information about their prospective new or used vehicle. For dealers who prefer to have someone else doing the book-in work, CDM Dealer Services provides a company representative to come to the dealer’s lot to upload the information and photography for them.

“The online automotive shopping and buying process must continue to evolve, and the DigitalLot Solution is a critical tool to help dealers improve their relationships and build more trust with online shoppers,” said Mike Romano, chief operating officer for CDMdata, Inc. and vice president of dealer strategy for Kelley Blue Book. “Whether using the solution for new or used vehicles, the DigitalLot quickly and easily automates the process of uploading dealers’ online inventory, allowing them to ultimately sell more cars faster.”

About Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com)

Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com is America’s most used and trusted vehicle pricing, values and information resource. The top-rated Web site provides the most up-to-date pricing and values for thousands of new and used vehicles, including the New Car Blue Book® Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. Since 1926, car buyers and sellers have relied upon Kelley Blue Book for authoritative and unbiased information to make well-informed automotive decisions. The company also reports vehicle prices and values via products and services, including the famous Blue Book® Official Guide and software products. Kbb.com has been rated the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings and the most visited auto site by J.D. Power and Associates eight years in a row. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than kbb.com; nearly one in every three American car buyers perform their research on kbb.com.

SOURCE: Kelley Blue Book

CONTACT: Robyn Eckard, +1-949-268-3049, reckard@kbb.com, or Joanna
McNally, +1-949-268-3079, jmcnally@kbb.com, both of Kelley Blue Book

Web site: http://www.kbb.com/

 

However, the largest dealer group in our state doesn’t use custom photos. My GM is afraid that if customers see new car photos that the customer won’t think that they can custom order a vehicle and we will lose sales!

I told my GM if he is worried about losing custom photos, we could put in the comments “Call if you don’t see what you are looking for?”

Also, how do we know that new car photos wouldn’t help increase the largest dealer group’s sales?

 

I am still trying to figure out which is the best way to go?

Any thoughts and additional research is appreciated.

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Ralph Paglia Replies to Forum Question Posted by Kim Essenmacher: 

this is a similar question to “should we put our inventory online”, which was quite the debate up until about ten years ago… There is no question about the effectiveness of actual vehicle photos versus stock images. all the research shows anywhere from double to 4 times the lead volume on inventory with photos versus stock images when half the inventory has one and the other half is the other.

Honestly, this is one of those irritating issues that is a qualified for me on whether or not I want to work with a dealer or group… If they have not yet progressed to the point where the acknowledge that actual vehicle photos work better than stock catalog images, then they probably haven’t switched to broadband from dial-up yet.

Now, with that said there are alwys the economic considerations… let me explain. If you sell a brand of new vehicles where demand dramatically outstrips supply and your biggest problem is how much to mark up new vehicles above MSRP, then do not bother incurring the expense of taking inventory photos. heck, for that matter, save electricity and don’t turn on the lot lights at night!

I have done the “actual vehicle photos” comparison at several stores. This is where we run a 3 month test by taking actual photos of all new vehicels that have a stock number ending in an even digit and do not take photos for new vehicles with stock numbers that end in odd digits.  Having done this “test” at at least 6 dealerships over time, rarely do we get to the end because the cars with actual photos get all the leads and phone calls.  Then, when people start showing up on the showroom with the VDP printed out and in their hands, the whole thing turns into a big joke… Sort of “No shit Sherlock” actuial photos work better than catalog images… Again, the only debate os about the expense and the work flow.

Actual photos of new vehicles make almost as big a difference in lead volume as they do for used cars… Ever try advertising used cars with stock photos? It rates a Twitter “EpicFail hash tag.

Real photos generate more leads than catalog images. Can you tell which one of the following images is real… and which one is Memorex?

The new 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LT Black Diamond and 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LT Black Diamond inventory images above are from the same dealership and for two different vehicles of exact same model and trim… Also, consider that “Real videos” generate more leads than “Real Photos” alone… Real Photos generate more leads than “Stock Images”… get the drift?

However, before incurring the expense of implementing real photos of new vehcile inventory, there is a genuinely valid question that should be sincerely and realistically answered first: “Does your sales department effectively convert leads into showroom visits and sales?” Because, if the dealership is deficient in handling customer inquiries, and does a poor job of converting leads into sales, and/or does a poor job of converting traffic to the showroom into sales… Then don’t waste time and money on inventory photos. You have more serious problems to deal with.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Deutsch: Audi Autohaus in Dresden

Deutsch: Audi Autohaus in Dresden (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  
Send Address to Mobile Device

Departments – Click to display

  • New Sales
     855-347-7202 
  • Used Sales
     855-347-7202 
  • Finance
     855-347-7202 
  • Service
     855-348-1314 
  • Parts
     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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Google Declares Web Metrics Obsolete: Strategic Change in Dealer Website Analytics – Automotive Digital Marketing

Google Declares Existing Dealer Website Metrics Obsolete: Announces Strategic Change in Site Tracking Analytics

Google Analytics Certified Partner Conference

Google Analytics Certified Partner Conference

The 2012 Google Analytics Summit theme was; “Next Generation Measurement” Considering the bombshell Google dropped on day one, the theme title couldn’t have been more appropriate. Google Analytics is set to make a seismic change to its very core, shifting from sessions to users.  “Sessions don’t spend money,” as Google Analytics Principal Engineer Sagnik Nandy put it, “users do.”  For too many years, dealer website reporting systems have looked at visits in a vacuum, focusing on single visitor sessions in a short-sighted attempt to understand customer behavior and falling out of touch with today’s automotive consumer who jumps from one web device to another, desktop to mobile, mobile to tablet, and reaches dozens of touch points before purchasing a vehicle or getting one serviced.

With the release of “Universal Analytics”, Google is set to redefine automotive marketing’s relationship with web data to accurately capture customer behavior across every device, every visit, and every action – even when new and used vehicle shoppers go offline. Gone are the days of looking at Internet sales leads and service appointment requests as the primary goal; showroom traffic and sales are what matters, and that’s exactly what this next generation of dealer website measurement targets.

Win Moments That Matter

Win Moments That Matter

With Google’s new Universal Analytics, visitors are given a clean and simple User ID that replaces the current mountainous number of tracking cookies packed with reams of confusing variables and micro formatted data. This unique User ID is like a customer number in your DMS, but it is stored on Google’s end, and is identifiable across any number of devices and locations. So if your customer first visits your dealership’s website on her home desktop after receiving a promotional email, then returns a week later on her iPhone, but waits a month before seeing a display ad from your store’s online advertising and finally converting by pulling turn-by-turn directions from work to the dealership on her work laptop, all of those interactions will be attributed to a single visitor. And that initial, month-old email will be given credit, along with the last-touch display ad, and any other touch points in the sales process.

Dealer Website Business Objectives

Dealer Website Business Objectives

For businesses with the right technology, User IDs will be sent directly to your CRM software. When customers walk in after visiting virtually, you will be able to log every visit and view them in Google Analytics. You now track all customer points of contact – online and offline – and finally get the complete picture of a customer’s journey from seeing an article your dealership published, researching your make and models, to purchasing on your showroom. A reporting trail that provides the insights and metrics for car dealers to learn which marketing channels actually bring you sales… While ignoring those that generate leads to nowhere!

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Marketing and Advertising Channel Attribution Gets More Accurate

Google’s Universal Analytics includes a new attribution modeling tool that uses a data-driven model to assign value to touch points in the sales process. Every interaction is now weighted according to its frequency and position in the purchase process, instead of always being given equal credit. And a more complete picture of every sale can now be more accurately configured with cost data that users upload directly into Google Analytics and update daily. Track the effectiveness of your dealership’s entire ad spend to realize the true profit on every sale – all without leaving Google Analytics and wrestling with dozens of media and advertising reports.

Google Analytics no longer begins with a single online session only to end with a disconnected form submission that depends on an email address that blocks messages from your dealership as spam. It begins the moment a customer first engages with your dealership’s websites, blogs and online assets. And it never stops… Welcome to the new marketing reality of Universal Analytics from Google.

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About the Author: 

Matthew Kolodziej is the Director of Analytics at String Automotive Solutions, which is the only Google Analytics Certified Partner supplying dealership websites in the automotive space.

About String Automotive Solutions:

www.StringAutomotive.com  –  877-227-8525  –  Auburndale, MA  –  http://twitter.com/stringauto 

String Automotive provides North America’s most innovative auto dealers with highly effective and uniquely customer focused dealership websites. Based in Massachusetts and having been many car dealer’s “best kept secret” for automotive digital marketing over the past 7 years, String has developed a reputation for being focused on driving dealership sales and profits.

String Automotive creates custom websites designed for your dealership

We don’t do templates, and we don’t follow the industry. We look outside the automotive industry and take inspiration from empirical data, experiments and enterprises that are on the cutting edge of web design and technology.

Yet, your dealership is distinctive and your website should differentiate you at first glance.

Your dealership is focused on attracting and retaining customers. Your showroom is spotless. Your sales force is attentive and informative. And your customer care representatives are courteous and knowledgeable. In other words, you ensure that your customers have a great experience at your dealership and that they would recommend your dealership to others.

Before visiting your showroom, most of your customers visit your website and interact with your business – often without your knowledge. They form an opinion of you and get a first impression. Your website should be elegant and easy to use, yet rich with informative content. We study our designs carefully and constantly improve them by observing car shoppers using them in blind tests. We observe in study after study, year after year, what impresses visitors and what turns them off.

Most dealer website are busy, confusing and designed to compete with their competitors’ websites. Our clients don’t compete with or follow their competitors, and they don’t mimic the next door neighbor’s website that is designed to scream messages at visitors and keep them on the site as long as they can. Our clients play a different game. Click here and we’ll explain…

What is a Google Analytics Certified Partner?

A Google Analytics Certified Partner, or GACP, is an accredited web analysis and optimization expert. Google awards the partnership only after a rigorous application and interview process, and few companies make the grade. String Automotive is the only GACP web provider geared specifically to car dealers.

Why is Google Analytics Important?

Google Analytics provides unbiased, actionable insights into how users reach your site, how they engage with it, and who they are.

GA takes the guesswork out of search engine exposure, third-party lead provider effectiveness, and accurate lead attribution. With Analytics, you know exactly how much traffic comes from organic and paid search and your third-party referrers, as well as which traffic sources are actually generating leads.

Analytics also unlocks valuable information on where your customers live, the devices they use to navigate your site, and which pages receive the most visits. This just scratches the surface of the data that Google Analytics delivers. Let String Automotive be your guide on deep dives into the data to help grow and evolve your business.

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

What Google Analytics Services Does String Automotive Provide?

String Automotive provides best-in-class Google Analytics deployment with advanced technical implementation and easily digestible reports. GA tracking code is automatically inserted into every dynamically generated webpage, complete with custom variables to track more granular data, and event tracking to monitor conversions.

We provide management with direct access to GA site profiles, along with custom reports and advanced segments tailored to present you with exactly the KPIs you want to track most. And our Analytics experts are available to help you parse and examine data that requires a deeper dive.

Drawing upon our past partnership with Google as a Google Website Optimizer Authorized Consultant, String Automotive has also been awarded the Content Experiments Specialization.

In 2012, Analytics absorbed Google Website Optimizer, enhanced its features, and renamed it Google Analytics Content Experiments. Its core function of conversion rate optimization remains the same in Content Experiments, which means that String Automotive is also the only web provider for car dealers with a proven track record of Google-partnered conversion optimization. We test and improve our page designs constantly to maximize conversions and bring you more leads.

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Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Comm...

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TrueCar.com Founder Reinvents Himself After Almost Killing His Company – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar.com Founder Reinvents Himself After Almost Killing His Company – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar.com Founder Scott Painter Gets A Do-Over After Almost Killing His Company

The ADM Professional Community was at the center of the storm a year ago when the retail auto industry joined together to both critique and reject the public facing TrueCar business model.  Since that time, numerous changes have been made at TrueCar in multiple areas.  I have previously published an article on ADM asking the industry to consider reevaluating TrueCar based on over a dozen significant changes to their business model which have each been designed to benefit car dealers and their customers.

One of the most striking of all changes at TrueCar has been the attitude, demeanor and statements made by Scott Painter relevant to the retail auto industry and car dealers.  I spent over an hour of one on one time in Scott Painter’s office last July and was struck by his candor, willingness to acknowledge the mistakes and miscalculations he had made in the past. 

The following article was recently published by Forbes Magazine and offers some deep insights into the changes that have occurred within TrueCar and rare insights into the changes that have been made on a more personal level by Scott Painter:

Serial entrepreneur Scott Painter, founder of TrueCar.com, has spent much of his career trying to tell auto dealers how to run their business.

Written by Joann Muller, Forbes Staff

Over the past two decades, he has founded 37 companies, many of them auto-related, and has raised over $1.25 billion from investors who share his conviction that buying a car is a painful experience in need of an overhaul.

Few would argue with that assertion. But Painter’s latest attempt to disrupt automotive retailing by sharing transaction data over the Internet stoked enmity among thousands of car dealers, who complained that TrueCar’s marketing tactics had triggered a price war that was driving them out of business. Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation, the country’s largest dealer group, spoke for many when he blamed TrueCar for creating “a race to the bottom.”

Even Painter now sees that his original business model was unsustainable. “If 10 to 15 percent of cars are sold at a loss, it threatens the survival of the ecosystem,” he said. TrueCar’s business model is based on the simple premise that car pricing will find its own equilibrium in a free market that is transparent. But the system tended to favor car buyers by promoting the lowest price on the block, giving them leverage to go find an even better price. By running roughshod over the interests of its own network of car dealers, whose cooperation is critical to his success, Painter ended up nearly destroying the company he had spent seven years and $126 million building.

“It’s embarrassing,” says a chastened Painter, blaming his own “arrogance” for TrueCar’s near-collapse earlier this year, when one-third of its dealer network jumped ship, car sales plunged and it piled up $40 million in losses.

Now, after enlisting help from auto dealers, manufacturers and other industry leaders, Painter is relaunching TrueCar.com with a more conciliatory approach that he says balances the interests of dealers and consumers. A new dealer council provides ongoing advice, and new management with experience in both auto retailing and manufacturing were brought in to repair fractured relations with the industry.

In a new $8 million national advertising campaign, bricks-and-mortar car dealers are portrayed as TrueCar’s “trusted partners” while the emphasis for consumers is getting a “fair price,” not necessarily the lowest one.

The site still publishes data about recent transactions but it no longer shares what the dealer paid for the car nor does it promote the cheapest price as the benchmark for other dealers to beat. Instead, it gives both network dealers and consumers enough information to strike what it calls “a fair deal” by letting them know what others recently paid for similarly-equipped new cars in their geographic area. Dealers pay $299 for every customer lead that results in a car sale.

Other car-buying websites like Edmunds.com and kbb.com share recent pricing data with consumers, but Painter says TrueCar’s figures are better because it shows actual transactions, rather than an average of recent sales. These transactions are posted on a bell curve, displaying the percentage of sales in four price ranges: below market, great, good, and above market. Both buyers and sellers then have the parameters to agree on a fair price, which Painter says typically settles in the lowest quartile of all transactions (the left side of the bell curve) compared to the lowest 6 percent of transactions before the change.

The ad campaign, which broke this week, marks a new beginning for TrueCar.com, which began in 2007 and grew quickly, doubling revenue every year. Although TrueCar.com is the public-facing business, about 80 percent of the company’s revenue comes from managing car-buying programs behind the scenes for affiliates such as AAA, Consumer Reports, American Express and military credit union USAA.

By the end of 2011, revenues were $76 million, TrueCar.com had turned profitable and, with 5,600 dealers in its network, it was selling 30,000 vehicles a month (2 percent of U.S. sales) through its website and the websites of its affiliates.

But trouble arrived in late 2011 as some dealer groups and regulators began to question the legality of TrueCar.com’s business model, suggesting it was acting as an illegal broker. Fearful of incurring fines, some dealers started bailing out of the TrueCar network. Others were angry about TrueCar’s marketing tactics, including an ad campaign that told buyers how much they could undercut the dealer’s price if they bought their car through TrueCar’s website.

The impact was devastating: the dealer network shrunk by one-third in the first three months of 2012 and vehicles sales through its TrueCar.com network plunged 80 percent, from over 13,000 per month at the end of 2011 to just 2,000 a month in June. Revenues from its core auto-buying programs also fell by one-third. On the precipice of death, Painter obtained an emergency bridge loan from existing investors, which include Capricorn Investment Group, GRP Partners and an affiliate of Guthy-Renker.

Then he spun into disaster control mode. In January he launched a series of meetings with dealers around the country to listen to their concerns. That resulted in creation of a dealer council comprised of 20 members representing 24 states, 35 brands and 281 franchises. In February he hired Pat Watson, a 39-year veteran of the South Carolina Dealers Association to keep the dialogue going. He also hired Larry Dominique, a former Nissan executive, to be a liaison with manufacturers.

To address regulatory concerns, TrueCar also made important changes to the way dealers quote prices on its website. Instead of offering prices relative to “dealer invoice,” they now promote guaranteed savings off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). In a few states, TrueCar had to move to a subscription-based business model instead of the $299-fee system to satisfy regulators. TrueCar also gave dealers powerful analytic tools so they can adjust prices according to changing market conditions to ensure they remain in the competitive “sweet spot” while protecting their profit margins.

The changes are working, says Painter. Dealers are returning. Over the past eight months, TrueCar has replaced more than 1,000 of the dealers it lost earlier in the year, ending the third quarter with 5,200 dealers. Vehicle sales have rebounded too. It’s back to selling 20,000 cars per month through TrueCar.com and the auto-buying program for affiliates is on track for record sales in the fourth quarter.

Remarkably, Painter is forecasting fiscal 2012 sales will be up 15 percent over 2011, and TrueCar.com will be cash flow positive again by the end of December.

Was it all a terrible dream? Sadly, no. It really did happen. But Painter no doubt learned a hard lesson about how difficult it is to force change in the auto industry.

About the Author:

Joann Muller, Forbes Staff

I write about the global auto industry

Source: www.Forbes.com

via TrueCar.com Founder Reinvents Himself After Almost Killing His Company – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) Workshop Suggestions from ADM Members

 

 

I wanted to enlist the resources of the ADM community to suggest new workshop topics or keynote speaker topics to enhance the upcoming Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC).

This will be the third year that DMSC is scheduled just prior to the 2013 NADA Convention in Orlando, Florida from February 5-7th.

This gives dealers the ability to attend two great conferences with one trip out of the dealership.

DMSC is an intimate learning environment that focuses on winning strategies and the processes to create change for the upcoming business year.  With dealership attendance limited to 250 people, the workshops will provide that one-on-one feeling that has made DMSC a top conference destination each year!

A number of top speakers have confirmed their participation at DMSC and with only a few speaking slots remaining, I would like the ADM community to share what is IMPORTANT for their dealership in 2013.

What are the strategies and/or processes you are considering implementing in the year ahead?  How can DMSC help you make the right decisions for 2013?

Confirmed Speakers – Alphabetical Order

First Class Educators (FCE) who hosts DMSC each year, has confirmed the following speakers for the Orlando conference:

  • AJ LeBlanc
  • Ali Amirrezvani
  • Brian Pasch
  • Carlton van Putten
  • Chris Reed
  • Craig Lockerd
  • Dave Page
  • David Kain
  • David Metter
  • Glenn Pasch
  • Jamie Oldershaw
  • Jared Rowe
  • Jerry Thibeau
  • Jim Flint
  • Joe Webb
  • Julio Gonzalez
  • Marc McGurren
  • Patrick Workman
  • Peter Leto
  • Ralph Paglia
  • Shuan Weissman
  • Stan Sher
  • Thomas Gage

So what do you want to know, learn, confirm?  This is your chance, as a member of the ADM community to make your voice heard and impact the direction of an upcoming conference.  Add your feedback in the comments below.

I hope to see many ADM members at DMSC, and you can register for the conference by visiting the official conference website at: http://www.DigitalMarketingStrategies.org.

Ralph Paglia, founder of the ADM community, will be doing a three part workshop series this year at DMSC, which you will not want to miss!

 

via 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) Workshop Suggestions from ADM Members – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Using Your Website As Your Content Hub

Using Your Website As Your Content Hub – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

I have been a proponent of “Hub and Spoke” and “Content Marketing” components within automotive digital marketing strategy for many years and have written, published and created entire teams of people to deliver what is essential a hub and spoke social media marketing strategy.  HOWEVER, I may be in disagreement with several points in this article and the comments made beneath it… Or, at least having a different perspective.

 

Because most dealership websites are provided by Cobalt (an ADP Company), Dealer.com, Clickmotive, KPA/TK, Dominion, or any number of other established providers, in many cases the result of an OEM mandate or endorsement, I do not recommend and have not seen much noteworthy success with using one of these fairly “standardized” dealer website platforms as the dealer’s “Content Hub” of choice.  I believe that a different type of site platform should be put into service by car dealers as a content hub within their “Hub and Spoke” social media marketing strategy, at least the part that is focused on content marketing.

 

As all three of you and many others know, I once created over 600 dealership content hub sites for use in an extensive and for the most part grossly over-reaching “Hub and Spoke” strategy when my team launched the ADP Social Media managed services solution for ADP Dealer Services in 2008… By the end of 2010 we had 660 dealerships on the program, and there was a whole lot of learning during that 2 years development and launch program.

 

Please believe me when I say that even as far back as 2009 there were many people within the ADP Digital Marketing team that wanted and insisted that content for marketing purposes should all be published on the dealer websites supplied by various ADP dealer website solution teams.  Even before the latest changes to Google’s SERP generating algorithms and subsequent updates, we found that trying to take website platforms designed primarily for promoting dealership inventory and not built for frequent content postings, and sharing of that content by all visitors to the site, was simply not very effective.

 

What we found a couple years ago, and what I still find to this day, is that the compromises required by the OEM mandated dealer website providers for the 10,000 of 17,000 or so total number of franchised dealers who are even remotely willing to consider content publishing for marketing purposes, so reduces the effectiveness of a content marketing strategy as to neuter it.  Yet, when we use a website platform that is optimized and designed to be used as a “Content Hub” with application layers syndication to the major social media networks, easily and readily adapted to multiple content sharing and appending apps, such as “If you like this article, you may want to check out these related posts…” type of technologies, along with Google verified authorship compliance, category and tagging features and other more social media 2013 type technologies… THEN the hub and spoke concept simply rocks and drives so much traffic, engagement, marketing communications objectives and SEO benefits to both the hub and the dealer’s eCommerce random access website (RAW – Larry Bruce) when appropriate reference and citations are implemented specific to relevant content posted and distributed from the hub, that we have a WINNING CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY.

 

So what types of platforms make good “Content Hubs”? Well, let’s start with the Ning Network platform that the ADM Professional Community, dealerELITE.net, AutomotiveSocial.comAutomotiveReputation.com and several other Content Hub purposed sites targeted to car business people have been built on by professionals such as myself, Brian Pasch, J.D. Rucker (@0boy), David Kain, Chris Saraceno and several others have done.  Not saying it is perfect, far from it, I have monthly meetings with the development team at Glam Media and they can be quite frustrating, but it does work, as shown by the success of the ADM Professional Community and over 30,000 monthly visitors from SEO alone.

 

Then there is WordPress and all the various “Theme” builds and templates designed to make it function as a great “Content Hub”.  Joomla, Drupal and many other platforms are all far better designed to serve as a content hub than any of the top 5 dealer website platforms that I am familiar with.

 

As for how to manage the schizo appearing strategy of having more than one website… That has been covered so many times I do not feel the need to repeat it in a comment.  But, once again let me state that due to the low costs involved and the increased effectiveness of purpose specific platform selection, along with the marketing reality of not wanting to take a “Buying Today” car shopper and send him/her right back up-funnel and into the research and info gathering mode by thrusting all sorts of content in front of their faces, which may distract them from their initial purchase intent that brought them to the website… ONE WEBSITE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR AN OPTIMIZED AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY at the dealership level. 

 

A Content Hub strategy requires a site platform optimized for its use as a centralized publishing point and a high frequency of such publishing in order to be as effective as possible.  And… Publishing a steady stream of content, much of which is relevant to customers focused on research and info gathering to a dealer’s eCommerce site may not be in the best interest of that site’s role as a lead, phone call and showroom traffic generator.

 

via Using Your Website As Your Content Hub.

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Mobile vs PC and why does it matter? – Automotive Professional Community

Mobile vs PC and why does it matter?

Mobile vs PC and why does it matter?

 

As someone who lives on his PC, I have to stretch my imagination every time I hear about the advent of the mobile generation.

I have an iPad and I have my super-duper Galaxy S3 smart phone. I absolutely love them for different reasons.

This got me to thinking about those who say PCs are doomed. And I have to say I disagree. It’s not just that PCs are not doomed, it’s why they are not doomed and what it means for Digital Marketing.

The popularity of mobile, be it tablet or smart phone, is portability and “less vs more”. Portability speaks to itself, so let’s examine “less vs more”.

The average person uses his computer for email, surfing, communicating, socializing, and finding specific things like maps and navigation. They also love games. These things are ideal for mobile and encompass the needs of these people. Therefore, combined with portability, you have the obvious attraction.

However, working on these devices tries one’s patience, unless you travel for your job. It is much easier to work on a PC than any of the alternatives. A PC has so many more software possibilities than a mobile device. It has a keyboard that is practical. And serious work can be done.

I think PCs are here to stay for some time.

What does that mean to marketers? Consider the times that many people contact dealers. It is usually lunchtime. Many of them are using their PCs and dead time at work to do so. It’s not just that they can’t do it at home. It’s that they plan that time for personal things to do that they don’t have time to do at home. I know because I do it too. And I’m a consumer. I often say to my wife in the evening, “I’ll try to do that on my lunch break tomorrow”.

Are their any implications I’m missing? Does it matter? I’m looking for opinions. What do you think?

 

Replies to This ADM Discussion:

  Tom, I posted a blog yesterday about the new 2012 J.D. Power AutoShopper car buyer behavior study and the big news was that 20% of the people who buy new vehicles in 2012 use a “mobile” device to access web based information related to their vehicle shopping activities… That’s right, 20%.  Keep in mind that the 20% number INCLUDES iPADS AND TABLETS.

So, as fast as the use of mobile devices is growing, it is in no danger of toppling full size laptops and desktop PC’s any time soon as far as becoming the majority of devices used by car buyers during the shopping process. With that said, we are fast approaching the moment in time when people use their mobile devices more frequently for accessing the web than full sized PC’s… What does that mean?

Well, from what I can see there is a distinct tendency to shop for vehicles and related information using full sized devices. Another significant piece of data is the predominant use of mobile devices to check information by car buyers WHILE THEY ARE PHYSICALLY VISITING DEALERSHIPS.  So the implications are clear and I am not the first automotive marketing professional to point out that we must now design our web based assets to work across a wide variety of different sized screens and browser formats…

Get used to it.  If your web sites and assets do not work properly across ALL OF THE ABOVE, including full sized PC’s with big monitors, cell phones and tablet devices, you are leaving money on the table in regards to your digital marketing strategy.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Google: Smartphone Using Car Buyers Reward Dealers With Mobile Friendly Sites – Automotive Marketing

Google: Smartphone Using Car Buyers Reward Dealers With Mobile Friendly Sites

Google Research Shows Smartphone Users Reward Mobile-Friendly Dealership Sites, Punish Dealers Who Are Laggards…

A Chief Marketer survey released in June found that roughly half of the marketers surveyed either have optimized their main website for viewing over mobile browsers (31%) or run a separate mobile-specific website (17%). For those who haven’t yet optimized their sites, there’s no hiding from the Google respondents: 96% said they had encountered sites that were clearly not designed for mobile devices.

Mobile Site Experience Critical

Details from Google’s “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today” indicate that about 3 in 5 smartphone users would quickly move to another site if they didn’t immediately find what they were looking for on a mobile site, suggesting that its not enough to have a mobile-optimized site, but that the experience has to be top-notch, too. 4 in 5 respondents who don’t like what they find on one site said they would search on another site, meaning that a poor experience could steer business to competitors.

Indeed, half of the respondents said that a bad mobile experience would make them less likely to engage with a company or dealership.

Dealerships’ Reputations at Stake

Further report findings suggest that car dealerships not optimizing their sites could damage their reputation among these smartphone using automotive consumers. About half said they feel frustrated and annoyed when they access a site that’s not mobile-friendly, and the same proportion said it made them feel like the company or dealership didn’t care about them. More than one-third feel that they’ve wasted their time.

Dealership Location, Hours, Click-to-Call Important

Car Dealers looking to provide the best experience to smartphone users need to provide users with the ability to take action when on the site. Other details from the study suggest that the key actions most users want to take on mobile sites are getting a location or business hours (76%), click to call the dealership (61%), sending an email (54%), and downloading an application (48%). Also important are getting to the dealership’s social networking page (48%) and playing a video clip (41%).

In terms of the most popular features, smartphone owners primarily want: a search bar that is both easy to find and use (78%); to have just 1 or 2 clicks for more information (78%); for the site to fit the small screen (76%); for there to be an option to go to the full site (74%); and for the site to look clean and efficient (74%).

Roughly 7 in 10 want big, finger-friendly buttons, and slightly less than two-thirds for there to be scrolling one direction only.

About the Data: The Google data is derived from a survey of 1,088 US adult smartphone internet users in July 2012.

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/interactive/smartphone-users-reward-mobile-friendly-sites-punish-laggards-23638/

What has your experience been in dealing with car buyers or service customers that want to use their mobile devices to engage with dealership staff?

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Landing Page Optimization – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Landing Page Optimization – Automotive Digital Marketing

 

Here I was sitting in a landing page optimization course and the first thing they did was throw a formula at me. C=4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a.Thankfully, it really wasn’t a mathematical formula, just a conversion sequence that helped you visualize conversion. Dr. Flint McGlaughlin the founder of MECLABS, the world’s largest independent research institution focused on offer response optimization, was standing in front of the class saying, “You don’t optimize websites; you optimize thought sequences. Say it with me, C=4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a.”

What goes in that landing page optimization formula you say?

  • Motivation of user, force of the value proposition, incentive, friction, and anxiety.

He went on to say that the sales funnel we all know and love is actually upside down, “The value proposition is the fundamental force powering your prospects up the sales funnel,” he added.

This can be measured by four essential elements of offer:

  • Appeal- how much do I desire this offer?
  • Exclusivity- where else can I get this offer?
  • Credibility- can I trust your claims?
  • Clarity-what are you actually offering?

In order to express your value proposition on the Web, you must have congruence (having every element of your page state or support your proposition) and continuity (making sure that every step of the buying process states or supports the proposition).

I know I can’t say it as best as Dr. McGlaughlin can, so I found a video where he discusses the value proposition in better detail.

Got it? Good. Next was incentives. The object of incentives is to balance emotional forces from negative to positive. To determine your ideal incentive you must consider: marketing intuition, perceived value differential,and return on incentive. Here is another video in which Dr. McGlaughlin discusses these elements

Next Dr. McGlaughlin spoke about friction and anxiety. Friction, in marketing, is the psychological resistance to a given element in the sales process. Anxiety, in other words, is like concern, but it is just as lethal as friction. To get a better idea of these two elements, click here.

What does this mean for you?
If your Website isn’t optimized properly, you’re losing customers. Dr.McGlaughlin showed us case studies where there was a 200% increase in capturing lead information by simply adjusting elements of their website. Take a look at the links presented above to better optimize your website, you won’t regret it. 

With this information presented to me I had to take a 50 question test to get certified in landing page optimization. I passed, would you?

via Landing Page Optimization – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Fund AutoCon Scholarship Program

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Communications Create AutoCon Scholarship Program

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Communications Create Scholarship Program For AutoCon 2012
 

Audubon, N.J. — Dealer Synergy and Cactus SkyCommunications have partnered with AutoCon to provide 50 Scholarships to dealership personnel so that they can attend the upcoming AutoConnections Conference and Exposition National Training Event at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas from September 5th to the 8th.

AutoCon’s goal is to provide dealerships with Digital Marketing Training, and they have assembled some of the industry’s top experts for this event.

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky will provide 50 Scholarships covering the Registration Fee for the event of $895 for a total of $44,750 in Scholarships. The goal of the Scholarship is to provide an opportunity for a dealership staff member that normally would not be able to attend the event to receive this valuable training.

With over 30% of vehicle sales coming from the Internet, Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky recognize the need for ongoing training for all the members of the Internet Team, and these scholarships will allow more training and growth in the retail automotive industry.

Sean V. Bradley and Peter Martin decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate their commitment to the betterment of the industry was to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2012.

Automotive Media Partners, LLC and First Class Educators are proud to announce the creation of this scholarship program sponsored by Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky for the full AutoCon conference registration fee.  The AutoConnections Conference management team of Ralph Paglia, Carrie Hemphill, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers will administer the program to ensure unbiased selection of scholarship award recipients.

 

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky’s sponsorship program will provide 50 fully funded AutoCon Registration Scholarships. Fifty automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition. The recipients only have to cover their out of pocket expenses for travel, meals.

Individuals interested in applying for a scholarship to the 2012 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition should go to www.autocon2012.com/CactusSky/ and fill out the short online application.

Links:
http://www.dealersynergy.com 
http://www.cactussky.com 
www.autocon2012.com

Source: AutoSuccess eNewsletter

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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