Posts Tagged Mobile Marketing

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

Top 15 New Year Resolutions for Marketers Serving Car Dealerships


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

16 Smart Resolutions for Better Marketing in 2013

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

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

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

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

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

What marketing resolutions do you want to make?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want to become a better overall inbound marketer.”

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

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

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

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

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Car Dealers Have 4 Mobile Musts for Google Advertising

4 Mobile Musts for Car Dealers Using Google Advertising

Here are the 4 Mobile Musts of Google Advertising for Car Dealerships

by Dan Blau, Cobalt Digital Advertising Analyst

Over the past decade, advertising budgets across the country have been increasing in the automotive industry. A new eMarketer report projects that the US automotive industry will spend $5.07 billion on paid digital advertising in 2013, with that total rising to $7.80 billion by 2017.

 

As budgets increase so does the number of channels in which those ad dollars can be spent, making decisions about where to spend your dollars extremely challenging. One important channel that should not be overlooked is mobile advertising on Google.

For the first time, smartphones are currently on pace to outsell standard feature phones. To say that the mobile car-shopping population is growing is an understatement. A J.D. Power & Associates study found that the percentage of US vehicle shoppers who have visited an automotive website via a smartphone grew from 17% in 2010 to 31% in 2012.

This increased access to smart mobile devices in the hands of potential car shoppers is a largely untapped opportunity. Especially when you consider that mobile shoppers are proven to convert better than desktop shoppers.

A recent study of Nissan’s digital traffic found that mobile car shoppers are 30% more likely to submit a lead than their desktop brethren. These potential customers tend to be on the go, in more of a rush, and looking to gain information— and sometimes take action— as quickly as possible.

If you’re not advertising and promoting your brand to roving car shoppers, that will help you build a strong mobile brand

Here are four mobile musts for your dealerships website and ad campaigns that will help you build a strong mobile brand.

1. Consider Your Mobile Shopper’s Experience

Before even thinking about advertising to drive traffic to your mobile site, you first need to get the site ready for proper viewing. The goal should be to make a simplified version of the full website that is user friendly and intuitive for your mobile shoppers.

First, make sure graphics and all content load quickly. Mobile users have limited time and attention spans. Aresearch study conducted by user experience expertsAkamai shows that mobile website bounce rate increases drastically if a site takes longer than 6 seconds to load.

Your next step should be to consider the varying screen sizes of mobile devices. Verify that appropriate formatting is in place to make the content appealing and easy to navigate while viewing on phones and tablets.

 

2. Appeal to Mobile Search Traffic

Now that you’ve streamlined your mobile site, it’s time to put yourself in the mind of the mobile shopper. Ask yourself:

What searches would a mobile shopper perform, and how can I utilize that search information to drive relevant traffic?

The user experience when performing a dealership search is different on a phone or tablet than it is on a desktop. For one thing the potential buyer is using a touch-screen, and therefore is less likely to type a long search query. Shorter searches mean that the keywords you need to bid on need to be very precise. It would be wise to consider possible shortenings or abbreviations. And be sure to avoid using keywords that are overly broad that will end up attracting irrelevant clicks.

3. Enhance Your Campaigns

Enhanced Campaigns in Google Adwords is a powerful feature than can help you organize your different mobile campaigns and set your mobile bids to ensure your ads perform better. Think about the size of a mobile screen and how important it is for mobile ads to rank high. On a desktop there are ten ad positions that take up close to one third of the screen, while phones and mobile devices might only feature three ad positions that occupy 50% of the screen.

That’s some valuable real estate right there! This monopoly on screen space is another reason why mobile ads tend to have higher click-through rates.
And in case you were wondering… Yes, Google has effectively monopolized the mobile search market. According to Global StatCounter, Google’s mobile search market share was 96.9 percent as of May 2012. This alone is more than enough reason for dealers to embrace Enhanced Campaigns in their mobile strategy.

 

4. Optimize Your Landing Pages for Mobile

Potential phone and tablet customers deserve the same experience as desktop shoppers. Directing users to designated landing pages with strong, relevant content— and not just dropping shoppers on the home page— is a big part of providing that seamless experience. These landing pages should be mobile optimized, easy to navigate and in line with the site’s overall style and layout.

These steps may seem basic, but there are still brands out there that ignore the simplest things that make the biggest impact on their dealership advertising.

What steps have you taken to make sure your advertising is reaching the growing mobile shopping community?

About the Author

Dan Blau has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Washington State University and brings 5 years of digital advertising experience to Cobalt. Before working at Cobalt he was a Marketing Specialist at a Bellevue e-learning company. Dan’s first car was a 1995 Turquoise Toyota Tercel 5 speed. He’s a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and is a season ticket holder. Feel free to reach out to Dan atblaud@cobalt.com.

via 4 Mobile Musts of Google Advertising – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Auto Dealers Beware: New Texting Regulations In Effect – 7 Tips

Auto Dealers Beware: New Federal Texting Regulations NOW In Effect – 7 Tips for Mobile Marketers

New FCC Regulations In Effect: Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA)

With the latest Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA) rules settling into place, we’ve got to remember that not all texts are created equal.

Is your dealership’s texting up to snuff? Do what it takes to get there…because 97% of texts are opened and read within 3 minutes vs. 22% of emails!

Did You Know?

According to the latest Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA) rules:

  1. As of January 14, 2013 – Messages (phone calls and texts) must include the ability to immediately opt out.
  2. As of October 16, 2013 – You must get unambiguous written consent before sending telemarketing calls or text messages via automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS).
  3. As of October 16, 2013 – Established business relationships with consumers no longer relieve you of that written consent requirement.

First Things First: What Are the New Rules?

The TCPA is often updated to reflect changes in technology and use, and the 2013 updates say…

  • Messages (phone calls and texts) must include the ability to immediately opt out – effective Jan. 14, 2013
  • You must get unambiguous written consent before sending telemarketing calls or text messages via automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) – effective Oct. 16, 2013
  • Established business relationships with consumers no longer relieve you of that written consent requirement – effective Oct. 16, 2013

Know Who and What You Text

So, what can your dealership do to insure compliance?

Check out these seven pointers, then make sure you do your research and talk with an attorney for specific legal advice*.  

Here are 7 urgent tips…

#1: Do you use SMS ShortCode programs for blasting text messages out to a long list of mobile phone numbers (used for mass marketing specials, contests, etc.)?

While they can be effective, they’re probably the most heavily regulated type of texting. It’s also the type that got the Lithia group in big trouble a few years back, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement. You may want to hit pause until checking with your vendor and attorney.

#2: Do you (or others at your dealership) text with customers?

If your employees text on behalf of the dealership from their personal cell numbers, you have a problem. You likely have no idea how employees got customers’ numbers and no record of their written consent to be texted. You also probably have no transcripts of the conversations and no control over opt-out messages. So while your dealership needed a system to manage and control one-to-one text messaging before the new TCPA regulations—a system like Contact At Once! Mobile Text Connect (MTC)—the need is truly urgent now.

#3: Do you have a process for gaining a customer’s express written consent to text?

It’s one of the new regulations as regards SMS text marketing, but it’s smart to apply it to any texting. So make it part of the process when capturing lead information. Keep a record of that written permission too, in case the customer challenges your dealership somewhere down the road. (MTC does all this for you, making it easy to be compliant and pull up records of written permission should the need arise.)

#4: Do you tell customers that “message & data rates may apply” when they text with you?

Even if they aren’t signing up for text marketing, this is a best practice. (MTC adds this on all consumer-facing calls to action, like the first “click to text” form.)

 

#5: Do you offer clear ways to opt out?

If marketing, you should include it in every message. If texting back and forth with customers (like about setting appointments), you should send it in the very first confirmation text message. (MTC automatically requires this opt-out message to be the first text you send.)

#6: Do you have a process for those who opt out?

Ensure that no one at your dealership texts them again by mistake. (MTC automates this compliance by blocking the phone number of opt-out customers…until that customer opts back in.)

#7: Do you already use a vendor to help manage your dealership’s one-to-one text messaging?

See if your vendor is up to date on the latest TCPA details. Then, make sure their system integrates mobile leads into your CRM, includes opt-out procedures, and lets you monitor and track the conversations so you can ensure these texts are used the right way…to provide information and customer service, not unrelated marketing. (If you are using MTC, you’re all set.)

Keep on Texting

Think that texting just isn’t worth this extra effort? Think again.

Texts sent to your customers bypass clutter and get read—Adtruth says that people check their smartphones 150 times a day.

And it’s in our interest to keep it that way. So while any rules change can be annoying, these TCPA changes can help prevent spammers from diluting a powerful communication channel.

That’s worth a few extra steps to ensure compliance!

*Please note: This article does not provide legal advice. Please consult your attorney for legal advice that pertains to your situation.

CONTINUE READING  AT THE ORIGINAL SOURCE OF THIS ARTICLE 

ADM Professional Community Members can download a full report in PDF file format:

TCPA-Guide-October-2013.pdf 

 

via 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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My Response to the Many Concerns I’ve Received Regarding Craigslist Block on Mass Posting Tools

My Response to the Many Concerns I’ve Received Regarding Craigslist Block on Mass Posting Tools

 

My Response to the Many Concerns I’ve Received Regarding Craigslist Block on Mass Posting Tools

Craigslist blocks on auto uploads, mass population tools and templates.  A system of checks and balances in software ‘law’ – Terms of Use http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use

I have no desire to build an automated posting tool that violates the terms of use of another software company (Craigslist). Keep in mind, Craigslist is not a lead source provider, it is a mostly free, “bottom up” oriented classified website. That being said, do we want dealers to be able to sell their products and services on Craigslist? Sure – Our entire philosophy is to make it easier for buyers and sellers to connect. However, just like Auto Dealers know that we can never replace the emotional aspect of buying a vehicle, so does Craigslist about their advertising. There’s a personal touch aspect that the developers of Craigslist do not want to lose to automation and mass posting mechanisms. Each time that a software company develops a way to violate Craigslist Terms of Use, Craigslist will fire back with a block; a means to protect the virtue of their product.

It is very unethical to violate Craigslist terms of use. I don’t believe in free lunch; no pain no gain.

   

So what does this means to auto dealers? It means that they may need to put a little elbow grease into posting their inventory on Craigslist; this could mean adding a staff member or allocating this responsibility to an Internet or BDC manager. Our most valuable assets are our integrity and the integrity of our staff, vendors and advertising sources.

I’ve decided to take an alternate path and train our dealership personnel to properly upload their vehicles to Craigslist and abide by their terms and conditions. We will always ask this question and decide: is it just, fair, and right to do what we intend to do and put ourselves in their (Craigslist) position. The answer is obvious. We will prosper and grow when we obey their ‘laws’ even if we don’t like them.

 

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

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

How to Communicate with Mobile Customers

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What tips do you have for communicating with mobile customers?

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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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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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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