Providing information for the online automobile dealer and car salespeople in today's ever changing world. Marketing, web design, and several other topics to help car dealers and salespeople increase sales/profits.
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Monday, November 09, 2015
Car Salespeople Should Take Accountability for their Social Media Marketing
Sometimes we see "red flags" when prospects want to sign up for our services, and one such red flag as an example is when we're asked if we manage a client's Facebook page. Could we do this for clients? Sure. There are companies that offer services specifically for this purpose. The problem is that social media is supposed to be exactly that, SOCIAL. If someone is relying on a 3rd party company to promote them on social media, the company is essentially pretending to be the rep. If someone isn't going to bother managing their own Facebook page for example, why would they hold themselves accountable for any other self-promotion? This has the ingredients for failure.
Sales reps can be busy, I get it. I have a hard time myself keeping up with our company social media profiles, this blog, and any other PR that I'm responsible for. An important thing to remember is that nobody knows you better than yourself. Trusting outsiders to "be you online" for the sake of convenience isn't a marketing strategy, it's a lazy way out. Think about it: if someone else is managing your fan page on your behalf, how often do you actually login on your own and interact with fans? If you're not engaging fans, what exactly is your hope that social media will accomplish for you, other than being able to say you have a fan page?
Friday, November 06, 2015
Proper use of Social Media for Car Salesmen
There are actually many advantages of using a professional "fan page", but one of the biggest reasons I've seen is that most reps probably shouldn't mix their personal lives with business when it comes to what they publicly display. As an extreme example, we've actually had a salesperson sign up for services with us and link his salesman website to his personal Facebook page. The first time I visited his page to ensure his link was set up properly, I was surprised to see photos of strippers and other scantily-clad women. I may appreciate a woman's body, but if I'm shopping for a car and am considering one particular sales rep, that would be a turn-off, and I'd say more so for any female car shoppers that may visit his page. Perhaps this cartoon sums it up better:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Traditional Marketing to Compliment Internet Marketing
We’ve been hearing it for years: online marketing continues to gain market share over traditional advertising media. For some people, this means shifting marketing activities from more traditional outlets (print, radio, TV) to online advertising. The operative word here is “shifting”. Someone who completely leaves traditional marketing for digital is putting all of their eggs into one basket so to speak, and while it has the potential to improve revenue, it also means they may not be getting the best return on investment. I’m a firm believer in efficiency - getting the most bang for the buck. How can you get car shoppers onto your website or using your other digital sales tools when some of those people aren’t “online regulars?” By using “old school” marketing to compliment your digital marketing.
Friday, February 06, 2015
An Open Letter to Fellow Vendors in Support of Creating Industry Standards
As vendors, we should seriously consider creating a standard format that satisfies the needs of all. This would greatly reduce the amount of time and effort we spend making sure each feed is consistent, and at the same time enable quicker deployment of new feeds which are popping up every day as new classified sites are launched that our clients want their vehicles on.
There's really no reason NOT to have an industry standard format that simply contains ALL available fields that we as vendors may need. If one vendor doesn't have a particular field available in their database (let's say "Down Payment" for example), that field could simply be omitted as an optional field or left blank. There would be a minimum amount of required data such as VIN, year, make, model, trim, etc. and a large amount of optional fields.
An industry standard was created years ago for web leads (ADF-XML) and has certainly simplified things on that front, but vehicle data files remain as an assortment of varying file specs.
I know I'm not the first person to suggest this, but little discussion has ever come out of any suggestions in the past, so I hope to change that.
On a side note, another beneficial tool would be to have a database of known customers who have either committed fraud (i.e. signing up for services when they are a non-dealer and found to be operating a scam) or who have become delinquent in their payments before moving on to the next vendor and doing the same to them. Not a "blacklist" per se, but more of a low-level background check based on info supplied by previous vendors. Something to let each other know "hey, this dealership used services for 3 months then disputed their credit card transaction for payments". The info would be available to vendors as more of an "FYI", and the vendor can choose to do with that information as they wish.
If any of our fellow vendors want to participate in creating industry standards for data feeds and/or a "red flag" list, please feel free to contact Jake at Higher Turnover, LLC through our website, www.higherturnover.com.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
F&R Auto Sales in Westport, MA and the Lessons of Reputation Management
In case you haven't hear the news yet, several employees at the car dealership appeared on security camera video belittling and harassing the driver over, wait for it...a $7 tip. Apparently the staff tipped Tansey approximately $7 on an order just over $42. They called Palace Pizza afterward and indicated they wanted their change. Upon returning to the dealership, Tansey returned the $7 as they requested, but the story didn't finish with him taking the high road. The dealership staff verbally harassed him, wanting to call the pizza shop to get him fired, and at one point a staff member can even be heard saying she would "put my foot in your ass".
In a moment of bad judgment, someone from the dealership thought the exchange was funny enough to upload to YouTube. That decision, along with the other decisions (calling the driver to return the tip money and harassing him when he returned) are not exactly inconsequential. Not only do local residents (i.e. car shoppers) now get a glimpse into who these dealership employees really are, but the video has gone viral and put the dealership on the international stage for the whole world to see exactly how rude they are.
Reputation management has become an important segment of a car dealer's list of things to worry about. Review sites such as Yelp! are popping up everywhere, and when something bad happens to a customer, they often take to these review sites to express their displeasure. Smart dealerships address customer complaints in the same public forum they are lodged. This shows other potential customers that the dealership truly wants customers to have a good experience, and that they want to work with people to make them happy whenever possible. I don't think there's any amount of reputation management that can help this dealer. I suspect they'll change their business name very soon to help mitigate some of the public backlash. As of the time this post is being written, there are around 2500 reviews on Google, over 1700 on Yelp!, their Facebook page has been taken down, and obviously most of the reviews are one star or otherwise negative.
Lesson: If you're going to do something stupid, don't upload the video of you doing that thing, and certainly don't expect it to help business. RIP F & R Auto Sales. At least we have a video to remember you by:
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
How Long Will It Take for a Website to be Indexed by Google?
Google and other search engines have complex algorithms which determine what site gets ranked first (and second, third, etc.) for any particular search. The search engines don't inform the public of what they use to rank sites because let's face it, if they did, everybody would be ranked #1 for whatever they wanted, and it would detract from the relevance of the results. Imagine searching for a new car dealer and the first 20 pages of results were for credit card offers. If that were the case, not many people would use the search engine anymore because it doesn't give them the results they expect.
The truth is, there are too many factors to consider when trying to figure out how long it will take a site to be indexed by a search engine. Sometimes our clients sign up for a website and if they have unrealistic expectations, they'll call us a week after their site goes live and ask why they aren't the #1 search result for "used cars". At the time of writing this post, that search yields more than 235 million results on Google, so why should ABC Autos be #1 out of 235 million?
Our best advice is to be patient, while at the same time ensuring the site is set up to be indexed as best as possible. This means you should have a sitemap to help the search engines find every page of your site. Do you have content on your pages? A website with no content is pretty much worthless, therefore the search engines won't rank it very high. After all, the crawlers "read" the content to help determine what the site is all about so they know when to include it in their search results. The site should also follow some standard guidelines. Google has made available a very handy document for beginners which can be found here.
With a little patience and using documented strategies (and likewise avoiding similarly documented "bad" strategies), you can typically have a site indexed within a month or two, and over time the ranking will increase for keywords that your site targets.