Let’s face it: there are more social networking options than there is time to pursue them, and deciding which ones are worth the time is a head-scratcher, to say the least. On the one hand, Facebook has a longstanding history of business success, but on the other hand, Google+ is backed by some of the most powerful resources in e-business. Which one deserves the nod?
Facebook Fan Pages
Like having a website, having a Facebook fan page is almost a requirement now for Internet business. Yes, you can certainly excel and be successful without one, but many web users now look for their favorite businesses in a place they already frequent – Facebook. You can almost think of Facebook as an aggregator for all the important news in a person’s life, so by not having a fan page, you are missing the chance to be on the “News” any time you wish.
Google+ is not to be overlooked, either. Drawing on the power and reach of Google, Google+ is bound to be a long term success. The target audience tends to be a little bit different too, so by using both, you have a larger audience and market reach.
In the end, both are going to be very useful tools for the dealership that needs to target a larger audience and keep up with the times. If you can choose just one, experiment with both to see which gives you the best results for the time invested. Whatever you do, don’t neglect social marketing altogether, because it is becoming the most popular way for businesses to stay connected with their customers.
In some businesses, the work is done once the sale is finalized. As you know, that isn’t the case for a successful auto dealership. One important component of great customer after-care is the follow-up email. With your follow-up email, you have the chance to stand out and make a lasting impression with your customer.
Personalizing your email will let your customer know you appreciate them and their individual impact on your business. Something as simple as addressing the email with their first name is an easy step that will make your customer feel appreciated.
Keeping in Touch
Your follow-up email is an opportunity to turn a one-time customer into a lifelong customer. Invite them to sign up for your newsletter to help you stay in touch and on their minds for the next service or auto purchase they make. Include social marketing info in this email, too, such as your Facebook fan page or Twitter username.
Your follow-up email is a great place to include relevant special offers, such as service discounts or a refund/exchange policy if you have it. Let your customers know that you will stand behind the cars you sell and how uniquely suited your service department is for their car care.
Don’t let the sale end when the customer drives away. Instead, take advantage of the power of a follow-up email to solidify the positive relationship you want to have with your customer in the long run. The five minutes you spend crafting the email can pay off indefinitely.
In a busy dealership, you may need all hands on deck for your chat support. This can be a great way to make sure every customer is getting reached and their questions answered. While fast response times are certainly critical to a successful chat program, is having untrained reps manning chat really a good idea?
Let’s talk about what chat is from a customer’s point of view: a way to get quick, hassle free answers to their questions. Many people opt for chat over email or phone because the answers are instant but there is not the level of commitment required from a phone call. For your chat service to be successful, you need to be meeting those expectations.
What happens then, when you have commissioned sales reps manning chat? If they are properly trained, what happens is a successful completion of the chat goal – answering questions and setting appointments, which can sell cars. Think of chat as a way to get people into the lot to close the deal, and not as a way to make the deal itself.
Pushing too much for personal details, such as complete contact information, is a quick way to turn customers off. They can easily hit the “X” on your conversation, whereas once they are on the lot, it is more difficult to walk away.
Make sure that each and every chat rep is trained on chat best practices to ensure your chat support works like it is supposed to – providing information and getting customers to step onto the lot.
People sending chat requests are typically looking for the same types of information, so focusing your training and resources on having easy access to the answers can streamline your chat process and help you spend less time on each chat.
From bad credit and no credit to down payment requirements and interest rates, chat users want to know how they will be able to pay for their car purchase from your dealership. A cheat sheet with this information would be a helpful addition to your chat resource library.
Know the basics for the warranties offered on all cars in your lot. Length of coverage, exclusions and main components covered are common questions asked by chat users.
Ready to Buy
The chat users in this category have already made up their mind to buy. They want to narrow down specific information, make sure the car they want is available, and set appointments to buy. You can get basic information, and even have them text or email copies of their driver’s license to make the deal close quickly once they arrive.
Help Me Find…
Chat users in the research stage want help finding cars by price, need or payment amount. Keep a payment calculator handy and know your inventory to help get them the answers they need.
Chat requests about trade-ins are usually about values or help with assessing condition. Give them as much information as you can over chat, but invite them to come in for an appraisal.
Knowing where most chat requests are headed will help you arrange your resources and have the necessary information at your fingertips.
If you spend some time with Google, you might find that they provide you with all of the tools you need to make your PPC campaigns and SEO strategies successful. The Google autocomplete algorithm is one of those tools. You have probably noticed it when you type a query in the Google search bar and suggestions pop up beneath. Those suggestions can be a gold mine when it comes to PPC and SEO optimization.
Start with a Broad Keyword
Type in a broad keyword, such as “ford focus” and watch what happens. You will get great ideas for new articles, keywords to target and how to structure your site. The first three suggestions under “ford focus” are “ford focus st,” “ford focus electric” and “ford focus gas mileage,” all of which can be made into easy blog posts or headers on a larger page about the Focus.
Narrow it Down
Now, take a suggestion like “ford focus electric,” and you will get even more ideas: “ford focus electric range,” “ford focus electric price” and “ford focus electric review.” Wow! You just found half a dozen articles, blog posts or keywords to target, and it cost you little time and no money.
You can go through your master list of keywords to create topic ideas this way for every broad keyword. Not only will you get great ideas, but also you will know what things are important for your customers. Autocomplete is just one of the many free Google tools to use in your SEO strategies.
If you’re putting out a large number of newsletters, coming up with unique topics for each one can become a daunting task. You may not always have enough content to make up a solid newsletter, or you may be looking to try something new. These five newsletter topics are so easy, they almost write themselves.
1. Virtual Test Drives
Once a month or quarter, pick a new model to write a virtual test drive about. One test drive can fill up an entire newsletter, giving you variety and some breathing room to come up with other informative content.
2. Money Saving Tips
From improving gas mileage to the most cost effective oil to use, your customers want to know how to save money on their maintenance costs. Explain about the different types of tires, carpet protection and other tips that your customers will find useful.
3. In-Depth Descriptions of Services You Offer
Explaining the services your dealership offers can help generate interest for those services. Someone who bought a new car from you may not know that you offer detailing, for example, and they might be interested to know what all that service entails.
4. Relevant News Topics
You might briefly touch on how the prime interest rate has changed, new lending requirements, traffic laws or any other relevant bit of news that your customers would benefit from knowing.
5. Employee Profiles
Customers love to know who they are dealing with. Include a bio on each of your employees to help your customers connect and feel as though they know your company personally.
When you are struggling for newsletter topics, these five standby topics will fill in the gaps or provide entire newsletters on their own.
Internet sales managers work very closely with their websites – sometimes too close. It can be difficult to step back and examine the process to see how effective it is. For example, does your dealership make it easy for customers to not only find the inventory information they need, but also a way to contact a sales rep without having to hunt for it?
From Google to the Lot
Take a step back and look at your website from a customer’s perspective. Do you cater to their needs from the moment they find you in Google, all the way to the time they step onto the lot? Providing the information they need saves you time and makes the purchasing decision easier for buyers.
Each page of your site should give your potential customers a reason to buy. From the individual inventory page to the financing options page and everything in between, fine tune the content by predicting and answering all customer questions. A customer who has to dig to find information or make a call to get a price may become someone else’s customer.
Make It Easy to Contact You
Placing your full contact info on each page not only helps your customers, but also improves your local SEO by helping Google know where your business is located, boosting your ranking for searches that target your geographic location.
Imagining yourself as the customer and looking at the sales funnel process from the first search on Google to handing over the keys in your lot will help you create a better, smoother buying process for your customers.
A one size fits all policy doesn’t work for much of anything, except for maybe ponchos. That is why you need to be able to tailor your service availability to the times of day your customers are actually needing customer service. It makes no sense to staff your support personnel around the clock if your requests stop coming in by midnight.
For most dealerships, having after hours support, especially in-house, can be cost prohibitive. Response~ConneXion solves that problem by allowing you to provide top notch support even after the lights go out. Best of all, you can customize your Response~ConneXion availability based on the unique needs of your customers, instead of a cookie cutter policy that fails to recognize the uniqueness of your dealership and customer base.
Response times average 15 minutes, which means your customers can have answers almost as soon as they send their request. The Response~ConneXion team can set appointments, transfer hot leads to your sales team, and manage all of the many facets of customer service, all while you are away.
Increase Internet Sales by 8 Units per Month
Response~ConneXion customers average an additional 8 units per month in sales. Those are results you can bank on! Response~ConneXion’s personal, timely responses make a positive impression on new and returning customers, increasing leads and enhancing customer satisfaction.
If you find yourself missing valuable sales and leads due to a lack of afterhours support, Response~ConneXion may be the missing link in your sales chain. Talk to us today to find out how we can tailor a plan to fit your dealership’s unique needs.
Some of the most profitable PPC campaigns are the ones that focus on less common or even incorrect spellings of industry keywords. Audi, for example, is easy to spell incorrectly. Search for “oudi” on Google, and if you have Instant Search on, you won’t even finish typing before Audi comes up as the top result.
What does this mean for a dealership’s PPC campaign? Big savings, for one. Many misspelled words are not targeted by the competition, leaving the field wide open for a savvy PPC manager to bring in loads of targeted traffic, often at a fraction of the cost of the real spelling.
How Do I Know What Misspellings to Target?
Some misspellings are so common that they show up in keyword research. Others can be guessed at. While most makes are well known and easy to spell, there are many models that might be a little more difficult for users to spell. Sequoia, for example, is tricky on the fingers and could leave many typists guessing.
Don’t just target misspellings. There are common typing errors, such as transposing letters or omitting them altogether. Targeting those can lead to a treasure trove of traffic, often for pennies. Since you don’t pay until there are clicks, feel free to experiment to find typos that perform well.
Marketing plans that look for the lesser traveled path are often some of the most successful. Finding ways to set your dealership apart from the rest is the key to staying on top and being more visible, and targeting those uncommon spellings and typos can help you generate more traffic at a lower cost.
It used to be that you could amass an army of backlinks and see results in search engine rankings. In fact, entire businesses are built on producing a huge quantity of backlinks for very little cost. Like all things that seem too good to be true, the era of farmed backlinks is seemingly coming to an end.
With the new Penguin update, Google has become even better at filtering out unnatural links. Sites whose backlinks were primarily in the form of “money” keywords – 65% or more – were the ones more likely to be hit. Those links use anchor text targeting a specific keyword phrase the receiving site is trying to rank in.
How Does This Affect My Dealership?
If you have paid for backlinks with specific anchor text, you may find your rankings slipping. Analysis showed that sites whose backlinks consisted more of generic, and thus, more natural anchor text, such as “click here,” “www.yoursitename.com,“ and your site’s title fared better in this latest sweep.
While you can’t undo past linking practices, you can move forward with a better linking plan in place. Mass production of backlinks may not be an effective strategy anymore, and it certainly isn’t if all of the links point toward hot keyword phrases, such as “Seattle Ford dealer” or “2012 Toyota Camry,” for example.
Optimizing your site naturally by providing engaging, keyword targeted content is the safest route. Black hat practices, such as comment spamming and automated (or paid) forum posts are the things Google works hardest to weed out, so avoiding them altogether is going to be your best bet for web longevity.