Posts Tagged Automotive Sales

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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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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Facebook and Twitter Offer Dealers New Ad Targeting Capabilities – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

via Facebook and Twitter Offer Dealers New Ad Targeting Capabilities

For the dominant social networks, the pressure is on. Facebook’s IPO cast a harsh light on its advertising revenue business models, which are not growing as fast as Wall Street had hoped. Twitter, on the other hand, has to prove that it has a business model for driving revenue that scales large enough to keep their doors open.

One way to add value to what is offered to advertisers and thus gain more ad dollars is to ramp up ad targeting, which both companies have done over the past few months. But while Twitter is playing it safe, Facebook is pushing the envelope with new tools, including corporate data base “Match-Back” services that could deliver the exact automotive consumers your dealership is looking for… But, could also bring the web equivalent of junk mail to your Facebook page.

Most Americans are accustomed to the rules of engagement for direct mail, which is very much an offline practice. (Subscribe to a new magazine? Don’t be surprised to see a raft of offers for credit cards in your mailbox.) But Facebook is allowing its big advertisers, including car companies and dealer groups to match the email addresses and phone numbers they’ve collected with Facebook profiles matching that data.

Car Companies, automotive retailers and mass marketed brands will be able to sync their entire CRM databases to their customer’s Facebook profiles. This matching set of Facebook profiles then being used to more efficiently target their customers while they are logged into Facebook, and before they have become that company’s Facebook page “Fan”. This allows car companies and dealers to invest advertising dollars into showing their Facebook Ads to targeted customers immediately, rather than waiting for them to “like” the brands’ content or page.

The move raises a number of privacy questions. When a consumer gives an email address or number to a marketer, there’s the expectation he will get communication from the brand. But what about when it comes to Facebook? “I don’t think anyone who has given an email and phone number to Facebook expected it to be used by Tide to target ads at them,” said Alan Chapell, an attorney who consults with ad-tech companies on privacy policies.

Facebook says it’s giving users two opportunities to opt out. First, a marketer must ask permission from customers to reach them on Facebook. Second, users can opt out by clicking a box on the ads themselves.

Twitter’s gentler approach


Twitter, which described its new targeting option as the biggest change to its ad capabilities since they were first introduced, is taking a more cautious approach. Twitter’s interest targeting includes 350 prepackaged categories, from the broad “pets” or “films” to more niche subcategories like “documentaries” and “Bollywood.”

The categories are not created from the content of tweets themselves, but from user actions on Twitter such as retweets and favorites, and whom users follow. If you follow Anthony Bourdain, for example, that’s a clue that you’re a foodie.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter is intrinsically public and users have no expectation of privacy. Yet Twitter’s approach to targeting is likely to be perceived as less invasive than, say, Google’s mining of search data or Gmail. “We have always been thoughtful and deliberate in how we roll out our advertising products and features,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “This certainly applies to targeting as well.”

From a revenue standpoint, Facebook is under decidedly more pressure to ramp up revenue — fast.

One could also argue that users have higher switching costs since many have spent years accumulating connections, photos and apps. That’s why we predict it will keep pushing the envelope until the scope of its business matches the ubiquity of its user base, and why the ad targeting has only just begun.

Article Source:

AdAge.com

Facebook Infographic Source:

Mashable.com

Twitter Infographic Source:

Guy Kawasaki and Infographic Showcase

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Yes, QR Codes Do Work – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community


See our QR Code in action. Scan the above QR Code to visit our Digital Dealer 13 site.

QR codes are all the rage, but do they work?

According to my Cobalt client, Lezley Pumphrey, BDC Manager of Motor City Buick GMC, the answer is yes. Her dealership started using QR codes in November 2011, directed at the Motor City Buick GMC Gateway page for GMC.

To date, they have seen a total of over 500 visitors from this new marketing method, a nice bump in traffic.

Pumphrey states, “At Motor City Buick GMC, we strongly believe in mobile traffic. Consumers no longer wait for an email response from dealerships. They grab their mobile device, research the dealership, and walk-in. The more mobile presence we can get, the better. We are always looking for ways to increase our QR code and Mobile website traffic.”

Lezley is not the only one seeing more traffic thanks to QR codes. In general, I would say dealers have gotten an average of 50-100 extra visitors per month through QR codes if they actively use them. These numbers aren’t huge, but the traffic is relevant and over time makes an impact. In addition these numbers are only expected to grow as the rise of QR codes continues.

In fact, a June 2012 Econsultancy Survey reports that 1 in 2 auto industry marketers are using QR codes to encourage customers to interact with their brand.

As with any emerging media, the big challenge is how to educate your clients and successfully incorporate QR codes into your in-store processes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Incorporate QR code giveaways at dealership events
  • Add a QR code to the last picture of vehicles details page
  • Incorporate QR codes on newspaper ads, monthly newsletters, direct mailers, etc
  • Add QR codes on vehicle stickers
  • Incorporate a QR code on signage in your service department so that people can scan while they wait
  • Place QR codes on the back of business cards for the sales staff – this way they can see a live view of inventory right away if they need it

Making QR codes a natural part of all your marketing can pay off in unprecedented ways when it comes to closing individual car sales, but you have to put in the time and effort to educate your sales staff and your clients.

Just think: a man may be interested in purchasing a car, but he needs to go home and talk to his wife first. The salesperson should have him scan the QR code for that vehicle in inventory so he can quickly and easily show his wife the car when he gets home. In essence, the dealership controls exactly what this man sees when he scans. This can have compelling aftereffects if the consumer is educated on its purpose. The key is to ensure the sales associate informs the consumer on how to later use the QR code.

Remember, innovation and education go hand in hand. In order to be successful, you need to educate both your staff and your shoppers about how to use these new codes. Start internally at the dealership. Train your staff on how to use QR codes and make sure they are comfortable using them. The same goes for your customers; since QR codes are new to many, it helps to incorporate clear instructions like “Scan this code on your phone to see 327 fresh-on-the-lot vehicles!” You may even want to have a link with a guide on how to scan a QR code. The clearer and easier you make it, the easier it will be to integrate.

Note: Motor City Buick GMC’s QR Codes come from their Cobalt Digital Advertising Packages. They get one QR code per month per package that integrates with their current incentives. They have used these QR codes on mailers, websites, and in the dealership. Learn more about our QR code offering today.

Do you have a great QR story? Share your story below.

By Jessica Terpstra

Cobalt Digital Advertising Analyst II

Original article can be found here.

via Yes, QR Codes Do Work – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Peacheetameleon: New Cobalt Study Shows Car Dealers Must Evolve to Survive

Peacheetameleon: New Cobalt Study Shows Dealers Must Evolve to Survive

When it comes to automotive digital marketing, it’s a jungle out there, and a new Cobalt eBook proves that dealers need to change their spots to survive.

According to new data from Cobalt’s car-buyer intelligence database, car-shoppers visit a minimum of eight dealer websites, with some visiting as many as twenty in a single day. With so much competition, consumer loyalty is clearly an endangered species. What’s a dealer to do to win the sale?

Evolution, baby. To survive, a dealer must take a cue from some common jungle fauna. Enter the Peacheetameleon, a mysteriously powerful new trybrid creature that is one third peacock/one third cheetah/and one third chameleon.

The Anatomy of a Peacheetameleon Dealer Website

  1. The Peacock: Like the most vibrant bird in the jungle, dealers need an eye-catching website to engage and dazzle those who have been desensitized by hours of dizzy web-surfing. Stop them in their tracks with a captivating design that-much like the peacock-shows off your best assets: competitive messaging like largest inventory, awesome specials, or great customer service. Websites with drag and drop capability make it easy and fun to mix up your dealer website with vibrant designs.
  2. The Cheetah: Looks are one thing, but it doesn’t matter how compelling your dealer site is if it takes eons to load. Look for websites that are HTML5 compatible so they can load with lightening speed on any device (tablets, mobiles, desktops, oh my!)
  3. The Chameleon: On a related note, you don’t want to blend into the digital landscape like the chameleon, but you DO want a website that easily adapts to any surroundings. A dealer website that is optimized for tablets, mobiles, and desktops ensures you can provide ideal car-shopping experiences anywhere, a must for today’s on-the-go shopper.

Becoming a Peacheetameleon takes work, but it’s worth it. Additional data demonstrates that today’s car-shoppers are easy pickings for the differentiated dealer. Our new eBook found that 60% of consumers haven’t selected a make and model, and 64% of shoppers visiting your dealer website will purchase within 60 days.

Translation: these shoppers are in-market, undecided, and looking for something that’s going to catch their eye and put their mindless web surfing to rest. All you have to do is be the dealer that stands out from the pack.

To find out more about real car-shopper behavior and how to differentiate your dealer website, download the full eBook ““The Guide to the Modern Car-Shopper: Connecting the Dots from Thei…

Jade Makana is Corporate Storyteller at Cobalt. She is passionate
about bringing brands to life through competitive positioning. Her
first car was a maroon Toyota Corolla named Ruby.

Illustration by Yan Chow, Cobalt Designer

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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Edmunds Releases 2013 Car Shopping Trends Study – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Edmunds 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report

There are many dealers who have strong criticisms regarding Edmunds.com, but regardless of whether you consider Edmunds an asset or a liability to the retail auto industry there is little debate about their unique position within the vehicle buying process for many millions of automotive consumers…

The stark reality for car dealers seeking greater understanding of how car buyers shop online in 2013 is that Edmunds.com has the ability to paint a vivid portrait of today’s online car shopper… Which includes 9 out of 10 new and used vehicle buyers!

About 18 million visitors use the Edmunds.com site every month to shop for their next new or used car, and this gives the Edmunds team an unparalleled insight into the car buyer’s research and shopping process.  For as many years as I can remember, Edmunds has used the online automotive consumer activity to generate extensive research data and analysis to drive the sort of car buying insights that would establish itself as one of the more valuable resources for car companies and dealers to better understand car shopping and the way buyers use automotive information.  Historically, Edmunds has made the analysis and insights available to their business partners and to the public through academic inquiries and media requests.  However, Edmunds has not previously assembled together the complete volume of current time period data and the analysis and insights gleaned in one coherent piece.

By publishing and making available the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report, they have provided the auto industry and especially dealers and automotive marketers with a true gem of a document.  The report which ADM Professional Community members can download using the link at the bottom of this blog post, shows the results of extensive data mining within the Edmunds.com’s extensive database to reveal the most relevant car shopping and purchasing trends in America today.  These trends offer direct clues toward ways that the automotive industry can move forward by empowering a more engaging car shopping experience.

Throughout the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report, you’ll also find references to a 2011 survey conducted by “Added Value” on behalf of Edmunds.com that asked 2,476 online car shoppers representing the U.S. car shopper population to describe their expectations for their next car purchase.  Edmunds correlated these responses to real-world buying data to see if shopper expectations match reality. In preparing their analysis and conclusions, the Edmunds market research team found many striking consistencies between the two sets of market research data. These surprisingly strong correlations between the two reports suggest that car shoppers have a strong sense of the automotive marketplace and that they know how to set reasonable expectations around price, availability and product performance.


By evaluating this wealth of data provided by the Edmunds team, you will find a story about car shoppers that is often surprising and counter-intuitive to many dealers and automotive professionals.  While at other times, the Edmunds data reinforces critical theories held by car dealers, automotive sales professionals and throughout the auto industry. Some of the key findings in the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report include:

  • Two out of every three car shoppers consider themselves highly engaged in the car shopping process, and they turn to a variety of information to help them decide on a new or used car. Time spent on Edmunds.com is up 2 percent from 2011 to 2012. And the most-viewed elements by new car shoppers on Edmunds.com are reviews, pricing information and photos.
  • Mobile access is becoming a powerful tool for car buyers. Traffic to Edmunds.com’s mobile site spikes on the weekends – and especially on Saturdays – when the bulk of car buying takes place.
  • Shoppers are very good at anticipating how much they’ll pay for a new car. New car shoppers told us in 2011 that they plan to spend $30,500, on average, for their next vehicle. In fact the average transaction price for a new car the following year was $30,803.
  • The average age of a new car buyer is about four years older than the average age of a used car buyer.

  • Shoppers are turning to leases now more than ever. And the difference between the average monthly lease payment ($433) and the average monthly finance payment ($468) is greater than at any time since Edmunds.com started keeping records.

  • About 44 percent of all trade-in vehicles last year went toward a new car by the same brand, which is consistent with our 2011 survey that found that 49 percent of shoppers say they “plan to stick with a brand that has worked in the past.”
  • Luxury car owners and shoppers are buying and considering more nonluxury cars. The trend speaks to the improved quality of non-luxury vehicles.

  • Many shoppers say they want just the basics in a new car, but emotions can drive buyers to add options. New car buyers are willing to spend an average of $2,200 – or about seven percent – above base model and trim prices to add more options on their cars. 

The Edmunds.com’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report is intended to be a free resource for ADM Professional Community members who are interested in creating a better car buying experience. This is just the first in a series of reports that the Edmunds Research team hopes will shed more light on car shopping behavior.  The team intends these findings to open up a dialogue which will contribute to the ongoing improvements within the automotive retail industry. They also want to encourage ADM Professional Community members to contact Edmunds at any time to discuss more ways that Edmunds.com can help you better understand today’s car shopper.

Here is a link to download a PDF version of the Edmunds.com’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report: http://static.ed.edmunds-media.com/unversioned/img/industry-center/… 

Edmunds Points of Contact

For Dealer Inquiries: 855-EDMUNDS
For Press Inquiries: 310-309-4900

Source: http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/car-shopping-trends/

Edmunds Annual New Vehicle Sales Forecast for 2013 and Historical Actual Sales:

via Edmunds 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Google Enhanced Campaigns?

Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Enhanced Campaigns?

Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Enhanced Campaigns?

Today’s car shopper prefers a mobile-responsive experience. Tomorrow’s search ads demand it…

In an attempt to drag all of its advertisers into the new multiscreen reality, willingly or otherwise, Google recently announced the impending switch to Enhanced Campaigns. Ads in all campaigns will have the potential to run across all devices, so whether your prospective buyer is researching a car on a phone, tablet, or desktop, she may be served the same ad. 

If your site isn’t flexible enough to take users directly to the page they want – regardless of the device they are shopping on – then it’s time to start tweaking your stylesheets. Otherwise, you risk wasting thousands on mobile and tablet users who bounce the moment they’re redirected to your homepage instead of the inventory, lease offers, or service coupons advertised.

What’s changing?

Along with disabling the ability to select which devices you want your campaigns to target, Google Enhanced Campaigns usher in greater flexibility in device preference, ad extensions, geographic targeting, and conversion optimization.

In legacy campaigns, AdWords set device targeting and ad extensions at the campaign level. So, all ads in a particular campaign were set to show on phones, tablets, desktops, or a combination thereof, all with the same sitelinks, phone number, or address extension attached. Enhanced Campaigns let you drill down and select devices and ad extensions in a much more granular manner.

Here’s an example of a new Enhanced Campaign in action:

A dealership is ramping up its Service Enhanced Campaign. During business hours, mobile users are served ads with copy boasting quick wait times, an address with one-click directions, and a click-to-call phone number. Desktop users see coupon-focused copy with a tracking phone number and expanded sitelinks to soft-sell service pages. Once the dealership closes, ads with links to service forms go live in place of the phone numbers.

Another big change arriving with Enhanced Campaigns is geographic bid adjustment. Dealerships can now boost bids in zip codes where they sell the most cars. Before, advertisers chose geographic targets for their ads at the campaign level, and you were forced to create different campaigns for every zone in which you wanted to have separate bids. With Enhanced Campaigns, you can easily adjust bids by location without having to create dozens of separate campaigns.

Here’s an example in action: 

Browsing sales reports, a dealership sees that a significant number of their new vehicle sales are coming from users in select zip codes. Using bid adjustments in Enhanced Campaigns, the auto dealer can quickly and easily increase their bids by 50% for targeted keywords in that zip code, leading to a greater market share in an already receptive area, while decreasing bids in zips known to have a weaker return.

Four things dealers can do right now:

1. Ensure that you have Google Analytics installed on your site, and link your AdWords and Analytics so that you can measure the effectiveness of your ad traffic.

Before you begin upgrading your account, make sure that you know what’s happening with the traffic you’re paying for. If you’re not looking at what’s happening after a user clicks on your ad, then you’re flying half-blind.

Linking accounts is easy – just make sure you’re an administrator on both your AdWords and Analytics accounts, and you’re halfway there. Follow the instructionshere to close the loop.

2. Make sure the destination URLs on ads for inventory or other deep links won’t redirect mobile users to the homepage.

If you have a responsive-mobile site – that is, a singular site for all devices that doesn’t redirect mobile users to a mobile.yourdealership.com or yourdealership.com/mobile/ version of your site – then you’re already ahead of the game. 

Otherwise, contact your PPC provider and make sure that they create new Enhanced Campaign mobile ads with destination URLs that go right to the relevant page. Even if they have separate mobile campaigns right now, once they’re upgraded to Enhanced, those ads will show on any device.

3. Adjust bids based on location to make sure you dominate in zip codes you know have high sales numbers.

Take a look at your sales data over the last 12 months and send your PPC provider a list of the zip codes where you know you do well. Start with those locations, and concentrate on building out more sophisticated targeting in the future.  Focus on areas aren’t ranking well Organically.

4. Use upgraded call extensions to get free call tracking on your search ads.

Upgraded call extensions on Enhanced Campaigns no longer charge $1 per call, so take advantage of that free call tracking by adding it to any ads where a phone number will make a difference. You can also set up conversion tracking through AdWords to register any call greater than a specific duration to count as a conversion. That extra data will help guide on where the call extensions are most effective.

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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