Auto dealers leverage dynamic digital media to maximize online presence and profits
Posted by Brian Cox on December 13, 2011
Gone are the days when the big three of traditional media marketing—newspaper, radio, and television—had exclusive dibs on every last penny of a dealership’s marketing budget. True, those old-school mediums still hold a place in a dealership’s overall marketing spend. But, make no mistake—they’re fast being reduced to a lesser role as the majority of marketing dollars are being earmarked for digital and social media initiatives at dealerships of all sizes across the country.
The seismic shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing is being driven by progressive, forward-thinking dealerships, who are tipping the scales in favor of stores that take calculated and strategic steps to capitalize on digital marketing’s vast reach, immediacy, and cost-effective benefits.
“Digital marketing is eclipsing traditional media,” said John Roth, internet director at Roseville Toyota-Scion in Sacramento, CA—northern California’s largest Toyota-certified pre-owned store. “It completed the waxing stage—and traditional media is waning.” Roth notes that over the last five years, the dealership has shifted from a mix of 20 percent electronic and 80 percent traditional media marketing to approximately 60 percent digital marketing and about 40 percent traditional. ”Up to 70 percent of our dealership’s sales can be attributed to web-based media, digital and social media, Facebook, and Twitter. Five to 10 years ago, it was the other way around—30 percent from digital and 70 percent from newspaper, radio, and TV advertising,” said Roth.
Why make the shift from traditional media to a digital media marketing focus? “It’s the same reason why we did away with the horse and buggy and got into transportation in automobiles,” said Roth. “The writing is on the wall. It’s the 21st century, and this is the way we’re doing business.”
Whatever the size, inventory, or location of your dealership—whether it’s a family-run Mom-and-Pop operation or a sprawling franchise mega store—incorporating digital and social media ventures into your overall marketing mix is flat-out crucial to a dealership’s ability to compete and survive in today’s environment.
Digital marketing boasts a host of attributes. It’s affordable. It’s immediate. And it’s more targeted, more trackable, and can deliver more substantial value to your dealership by facilitating true interactive engagement and building long-term relationships with your customers. Online marketing offers countless, ongoing opportunities for personalized, one-to-one communication and genuine give-and-take interaction with your customers—while at the same time spreading the word, far and wide, about your dealership through strategic content syndication in the digital realm.
“We started the transition from traditional to digital marketing in 2009—because that’s the future,” said Mark Cowart, general manager of Car City West in Des Moines, IA, a dealership with a five-star rating on Google Places. “There’s no benefit to newspaper anymore. I’m not doing any print. I’m getting rid of radio. We’ll have 10 percent TV ads and 90 percent digital marketing. We drive 70 percent of my customers through digital,” he said. “The number of people who shop online before they buy a car has grown considerably—and soon roughly 90 to 95 percent of people who own a computer will be shopping the Internet before they walk into a store to buy a car,” he added. When it comes to adopting digital marketing, Cowart said, “I have no fear factor to it. I want to be the creator, the innovator—I don’t want to be the follower. If you’re not in the digital marketing and social media game, you’re hurting your profits.”
Your customers and potential customers are in the digital space daily—and that’s where your dealership has to be.
Behold. The next frontier is here. And it is digital.
Brian Cox is president and CEO at Dealer Impact Systems and can be reached at email@example.com or at (877) 334-9638.
Create Online Connections that Count with Your On-The-Move Customers
There are more than 80 million smartphone owners in the United States—and that number is expanding by the second. Mobile is becoming the preferred channel of engagement for consumers. Having a mobile-friendly website is an absolute must to make your dealership instantly accessible to your customers via any mobile phone or device.
Just because a dealership’s main website can load on a mobile phone doesn’t mean that it’s mobile-friendly. However, with certain conversion technologies, your existing main website can be optimized for use on any new or older mobile phone that offers Internet access. When your dealership’s web address is entered into a mobile browser, the technology automatically recognizes the phone and converts the site to a phone-friendly interface, allowing visitors to quickly navigate your site and find information in seconds.
If you opt to have a website developer help your dealership go mobile, you’ll want to make sure that your mobile site is specifically tailored to the needs of your customers and the capabilities and format of their devices.
Keep the following in mind when planning and building your mobile website.
Write for the small screen.
With the pint-size phone screen in mind, choose fonts that are easy to read in this smaller format. Create readable content that fits the phone screen, and contrast the text against the background to help it stand out for your customers. Boil your content down to easy-to-scan bullet points.
Be nimble and quick.
Your customers expect your mobile site to load within a few seconds—so keep images small so they load faster. Keep your custom inventory videos short and to the point to engage your customers, and keep their attention.
Make navigation easy.
Keep the number of vertical links on each page to less than 10. Help customers move throughout your mobile site with easily identified buttons. Use large buttons to help your customers precisely make their selections—without making any unintended clicks.
Show and tell.
Use your mobile site to showcase your auto inventory, specifications, photos, videos, and specials to make it easy for your customers to learn about your dealership’s latest offerings—and then act on their impulse to contact you and come by for an in-person look.
Make it easy for your customers to find your dealership and the vehicles they’re interested in. Have your address on the landing page of your mobile site. Include driving directions for your customers with a detailed map that pinpoints your location.
Make contact simple.
Build in fields for your customer to enter his/her contact information and submit requests to your dealership. Utilize one-click dialing functionality so your customers can instantly call your dealership—and also save your number in their contact list for future reference.
Learn and evolve.
Understand how your customers are using your mobile site by evaluating its analytics—and use this insight to continually improve your site and your customers’ mobile search experiences.
A well-designed mobile website will put your dealership in the palm of your customers’ hands—wherever they are.
For more information on creating or enhancing your dealership’s mobile website, please call Dealer Impact Systems at (877) 334-9638.
Dealer Impact Systems Adds Automatic Human Voice Over Capabilities
Dealer Impact Systems (DI), a leading provider of digital marketing and reach solutions, is once again raising the bar for automotive dealers seeking to elevate their online inventory presence across the Internet. The company today launched their AHVO or “Automatic Human Voice Over” application, the latest addition to the company’s comprehensive suite of video and digital reach products developed exclusively for auto dealers.
DI customers can add AHVO to their current digital marketing solution with a single phone call-no onsite or system upgrades are required. Once enabled, the AHVO application automatically pulls nightly inventory information from the dealer’s videos and generates vehicle-specific descriptive commentary from an existing bank of thousands of pre-recorded voice clips. The AHVO application then auto-creates a complete human voiceover clip for the video, including detailed vehicle information, as well as geographical and dealership information. The human voice clips not only enhance customer experience, they also boost search engine results rankings.
Voice Clips Automatically Generated
“Even with recent improvements in text-to-speech technology, studies show that consumers recognize and prefer a real human voice to computer generated speech,” said Brian Cox, president and founder of Dealer Impact Systems. ” That’s why we took the time and resources necessary to ensure that our voice bank is extremely comprehensive.”
DI has long been committed to helping automotive dealerships promote their inventory listings across the digital landscape as quickly and seamlessly as possible. “AHVO significantly shortens the time it takes to get a vehicle that’s sitting on the lot into the dealership’s Internet marketing promotions in a powerful way,” said Cox.
DI customers can add the AHVO enhancement to their current digital marketing system for $150 per video license per month. There is no set up fee.
More U.S. adults—particularly African Americans and Hispanics—are using smartphones to e-mail, network, surf, and send video, says Pew Research
Smartphone use is gathering steam in the U.S., new research shows. Forty percent of American adults use their cell phones to surf the Web, e-mail, or use instant messaging, according to a study from Pew Research Center in Washington.
That’s up from 32 percent a year ago, based on Pew’s survey of 2,252 adults ages 18 and older that was released on July 7. “The smartphone has really penetrated the mainstream of American society,” says Aaron Smith, a Pew research specialist. In the first quarter, smartphones accounted for 34 percent of all mobile handsets sold in the U.S., up from 31 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to consultant NPD Group.
Smartphone sales are getting a summer boost from last month’s introduction of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 4 from AT&T (T). Motorola’s (MOT) Droid X will be released through Verizon Wireless on July 15.
If your dealership does not have a Mobile Website, now is the time. When a person types the dealer’s web address into a mobile browser, the technology automatically recognizes the phone and converts the site to a phone-friendly interface. The cutting-edge technology allows visitors to quickly navigate the site to find inventory, videos specials, and other information in seconds.
Call Dealer Impact at 877.334.9638 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Inventory Videos to Facebook Fan Pages
Putting your inventory in front of 500 million prospects is a no-brainer. With Dealer Impact’s integrated inventory video tool, you can turn a Facebook fan page into a second website for your dealership.
Make a basic fan page more comprehensive by adding inventory videos using Dealer Impact’s easy-to-use plug-in tool. Available as part of our Facebook Inventory App or as a standalone product, the video tool is specifically designed to work with Facebook’s interface.
The tool automatically integrates videos under a separate tab on your fan page. Users can quickly browse your inventory and click on specific vehicles to watch video. Each video page includes vehicle information, contact details for your dealership, and a request-information form to help you capture qualified leads.
Dealerships also have access to viewer statistics, showing which videos were watched and when.
Now is the time to use the largest social network in the world to generate leads. Learn more about our Facebook Inventory App and video feature by calling us at 877-334-9638. For an example of our Facebook Video App feature please visit:
Need more exposure for your inventory? Want more links pointing back to your site? Instead of just having one landing page (your website) why not have 10′s if not 100′s of landing pages? Social networking is making all of this possible and if you’re not participating then you’re falling behind.
In a recent blog post, we discussed the idea of putting your inventory videos out on YouTube. These videos each have their own URL with keywords which all link back to your dealer website. Along the same lines, Craigslist is another option for you to penetrate specific geographic markets. YouTube is an international sensation (as is Craigslist) but with Craigslist there are metropolitan networks where you can post an ad. Customers then search these listings by city/region to find local deals.
Dealer Impact has programmed the functionality to automatically generate a nicely formatted HTML ad with your vehicle’s information automatically populated into it – full of pictures, information, and links back to your site. Just like with YouTube, search engires are able to index each and every one of these pages for keywords. Even if a customer isn’t searching specifically on the Craigslist site, they could still find your ad by searching a specific enough phrase on a search engine such as Google.
For a sample Craigslist ad, visit: http://www.di-web2.net/craigslist/sample.html
From a marketing standpoint, notice how the branding of the dealer website is retained through to the ad. If you’re familiar with Craigslist, most ads you see have a plain white background, typically a lump of text that is hard to read, and some ads don’t even contain photos. With the thousands and thousands of ads posted on Craigslist, you only have those initial few seconds to grab their attention and get them to read on. We believe in branding your ads to your dealership, providing a professional looking landing page to convert more leads into sales.
For more information on listing your inventory on Craigslist, please call Sales at 877.334.9638
A new mobile marketing service provides some interesting opportunities for dealerships to begin experimenting with mobile advertising.
Sayso, the “mobile marketing marketplace” allows dealerships and other advertisers to rent targeted lists of mobile phone owners and deliver marketing messages direct to their pocket. Sayso advertisers set the price they’re willing to pay to deliver each message, controlling the price of each campaign to fit any budget. Advertisers can begin using Sayso for as little as a few hundred dollars. One of Sayso’s founders is Drew Jones, a friend and marketing partner of Dealer Impact.
By using Sayso, dealerships can tap the power of mobile marketing without an investment in building, managing or maintaining their own database. And because Sayso profiles all their subscribers, dealerships can target just the audience segment that matters to them. Want to promote a new mini-van? Sayso can target families. A new sports car? Sayso can help you reach out to middle-aged men. Used cars? Send your message to students.
Learn more about advertising with Sayso here >> http://www.saysomobile.com/advertiser/
Subscribe to Sayso here using the invite code IMPACT >> http://www.saysomobile.com
Read up on Sayso at their blog >> http://blog.saysomobile.com
Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant
By Rich Cherecwich
Social media, once a place for early adopters, curmudgeonly blog critics and college students, has officially entered the mainstream. According to a poll from Forrester Research, 75 percent of internet users participate in some form of social media, up from 56 percent in 2007.
One area where Forrester noticed large growth was in blogs and consumer-written product reviews. Participation grew from 48 percent of internet users to 69 percent, undoubtedly spurred by difficult economic times and consumers’ desire to research potential purchases before buying. The number of critics, or those who write the reviews, also grew from 25 percent to 37 percent.
Social networks increased in popularity as well with a 39 percent growth in new profiles. As more proof that social media has gone mainstream, Forrester noted that the age gap in social media is quickly closing. Although younger demographics still rate higher, the 35-44-year-old demographic saw considerable growth in writing reviews and joining social networks.
Subscribe via RSS
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- April 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- June 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007