Posts Tagged Mobile Marketing

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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Google On The Verge Of Anit-Trust Lawsuit – Automotive Marketing Community

Written by Tim Martell of Wikimotive


The United States FTC is looking into the possibility of pursuing an anti-trust case against search engine giant Google.  

Sources close to the FTC say that four FTC commissioners: “have become convinced after more than a year of investigation that Google illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals.” A decision to file a law suit against Google could have major implications for the future ofSearch Engine Optimization SEO and the search industry in general.

In 1998 a similar lawsuit was filed against Microsoft alleging that they abused their monopoly position. If Microsoft had lost they may have been forced to split into two parts. They ended up settling for an extremely large sum of money and, although they did not get convicted, they still lost. Many believe the case forced Bill Gates to resign as CEO and the company has never been the same since.

According to sources close to the FTC, it appears likely that they will pursue a case against Google. They won’t have to work very hard either, to come up with a good reason. They’ve been inundated with complaints about how Google is conducting itself. A lot of complaints have to do with Google favoring their own properties in vertical search results, but surprisingly that may not be what the FTC chooses to go after. One source said the FTC commissioners have given weight to… “complaints that Google refuses to share data that would allow advertisers and developers to create software to compare the value they get on Google to advertising spending on Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo.

In a related issue, the FTC is looking at Google’s handling of valuable patents, which are determined to be essential to smartphones. The agency is trying to determine if they are licensed fairly and whether patent infringement lawsuits are used to hamper innovation.”

If the FTC does decide to go after Google for anti-trust violations you can bet on one outcome with absolute confidence: Google will never be the same. And that will almost certainly mean a massive shake up in the world of SEO and digital marketing in general.

 

via Google On The Verge Of Anit-Trust Lawsuit – Automotive Marketing Community.

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

Mobile vs PC and why does it matter?

Mobile vs PC and why does it matter?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think PCs are here to stay for some time.

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

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

 

Replies to This ADM Discussion:

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

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

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

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

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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

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

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

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

Mobile Site Experience Critical

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

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

Dealerships’ Reputations at Stake

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

Dealership Location, Hours, Click-to-Call Important

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Fund AutoCon Scholarship Program

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Communications Create AutoCon Scholarship Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Source: AutoSuccess eNewsletter

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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