August 5th, 2011
Like a proud father who is moved with emotion as he sees his child graduate from college, I was filled with pride when Westbury Jeep secured their graduation honors. In July Westbury Jeep was recognized as the #1 Jeep Chrysler Dodge dealer in the United States for June 2011.
Being #1 in the US for any brand is a great reward and a double blessing for a passionate and engaging dealer principal. Many factors go into achieving that level of success and the entire Westbury Jeep team should be congratulated. Creating a team that executes on all levels is not an easy accomplishment.
PCG Digital Marketing has assisted Westbury Jeep define and implement their digital marketing strategy for the past three years. We have also developed a great relationship with Joel and his team based on keeping them ahead of their competition in regards to digital marketing.
Joel Sporn is a rare dealer principal that sought to understand all digital marketing concepts so he could adapt them to his specific vision for his franchise store. Joel is a student of strategy and fiercely competitive.
He chose to accept the responsibility of crafting his digital strategy and build a great team of marketing partners. Joel sought out and connected with people who could help him learn, execute, and integrate that knowledge.
Joel was patient to see the rewards of his digital investments, which is the main theme of this article. Too often the executive leadership of a dealership is disconnected from the staff that are tasked to research, select, implement, and manage a digital strategy.
This disconnect can cause dealer principals to be impatient. It is not uncommon for digital investments to be pulled off the budget before they bear fruit in as little as 60 days.
Digital marketing investments can have an immediate and clear ROI for dealers like adding 24×7 managed chat to a website, adding pop-up coupons, or operating a pay-per-click campaign with well-designed conversion pages. These digital strategies have an immediate pay-off and, when measured, create a comfort level with bean counters.
Other digital strategies require patience to create a market dominating success story. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most misunderstood investments. Joel took the time to learn, craft, and implement a market dominating SEO strategy and the payoff is clear today. Since an aggressive SEO strategy can take over a year to implement and refine, few dealers ever see the fruits of their SEO investment.
Automotive SEO strategies are continually changing. Just recently Google added the “+1 Button” to search engine listing pages and this one change will have a major impact on click rates to dealer websites. The Google launch of their social media platform “Google+” also creates new opportunities to drive social links and traffic to a dealer’s website. Despite all these new opportunities, I caution dealers that have little patience to start an aggressive SEO strategy. If you are looking for SEO to make significant changes in online visibility and traffic in 90 days, don’t start.
Patience is also required for Internet Reputation Management (IRM) processes, which yield an increase in online review counts each month. These reviews are visible to tens of thousands of in-market shoppers each month. Dealers who ignore their online reputation “scores” are in effect using their monthly advertising budgets to send consumers to their nearest competitors.
Dealers who want to fully leverage the digital divide must implement an in-store and post sale review gathering process. Implementation does not come without resistance from dealer employees. They are also uninformed and impatient on the benefits of doing “more” work in their already hectic workday.
The ROI to a commitment to IRM does not necessarily come in 30, 60, or 90 days, but when a dealership has 200+ more reviews than their nearest competitor, the pay-off starts to become very clear. When consumers call and ask for sales professionals they never met because of an online review, your sales team will take notice.
Unfortunately, I have already started to see dealers give up on IRM process investments. I’ve been told that it’s too hard to ask happy customers to take 60 seconds to post a review inside the store. I’ve been told that none of their customers have Google accounts. Both are excuses and lies.
Dealers, what lies are you and your employees believing that are holding back your online marketing success? Digital marketing takes a well-defined strategy and as I have outlined; patience. Success also takes a commitment to learn and lead from the top executives of the company.
We have mentored Brickell Honda, located in Miami Florida, over the past 2 years and they have over 800 reviews posted directly on Google Places. They have a market dominating digital marketing strategy that includes a strong belief in presenting a positive online brand image. With the correct leadership it is amazing what can be accomplished.
Westbury Jeep and Brickell Honda have demonstrated patience in crafting and implementing their digital marketing strategy. Success did not happen overnight. Their success came from having a strategy that reviewed all their current marketing investments, which resulted in an action plan.
These two dealers are examples of a new breed of automotive professionals that are making the investment to develop a strategy that includes technology, training, and the willingness to be ahead of their peers.
Has your dealership made a commitment to create a dominating digital marketing strategy? If dealers continue to measure success in 30, 60, or 90-day intervals they will never reap the rewards, which are produced from implementing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
I am not implying that your digital investments should not be measured each month. I am saying that until dealership executives invest in digital marketing education for themselves and their team, they will never have the patience to win the race. They may win a short sprint but never the marathon.
Successful car dealers are marathon runners. If you are looking for a new trainer, give us a call.
PCG Digital Marketing can offer a full assessment of your advertising budget and blueprint for success. The marketing blueprint will build the confidence that you will cross the finish line with a broad smile.
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
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July 14th, 2011
Dealers need to look at the value of their customer base in terms of the new power given to “Googlized” consumers. The consumer that we need to identify has an email account associated with Google services.
It can be a @gmail.com account or not, you don’t know unless you ask. The message of this article is that you cannot afford NOT to ask. Delaying impacts ALL of your digital marketing investments.
Business owners need to implement processes to ask and identify consumers with Google accounts. Why? Recent changes in how Google displays search results give your customers that have Google accounts unprecedented power.
These Googlized consumers can place a review directly on Google Places which impacts your business every day. For many businesses, Google Places is the #1 source of free referring traffic to their website.
Reviews posted on Google Places are very visible. Every month a dealer’s business name is searched thousands of times. Each time, Google Places and consumer reviews are displayed on Page One. You can’t hide any longer from your online reputation scores now that Google Places consolidates reviews from multiple online websites.
However, the Googlized customer has a special perk. Reviews posted by Googlized consumers can also be used in Google Boost advertising to make your PPC ads stand out from local boring text ads. Google Boost does NOT include reviews posted on 3rd party review sites.
This is a game changer for dealers operating in markets where their competition is using Google Adwords. Google Boost creates ads that are more compelling to the eye and increase click traffic. Best of all, in most cases they are cheaper than Adwords per click costs.
Googlized consumers can now “+1″ your website pages, videos, press releases, testimonials, and the list of digital assets goes on. The “+1” click is a positive vote for your website assets. These votes will eventually influence search position much like links from other websites.
Once empowered consumer “+1″ your digital assets, their thumbnail profile photo will appear to their network of friends. These thumbnails will catch the eye of consumers and increase click activity. Why? Their photo under your listing is their stamp of approval.
If you compare the power of Googlized consumers to increase brand awareness, click traffic, and enhance your digital advertising EVERY DAY, their worth soars over a non-Googlized consumer that sends you a note card of thanks.
It’s time to get serious about tapping into the digital marketing influence a Googlized consumer can do for any business. It’s time to ask happy customers to post their reviews using the Google Places App. It’s time to “socialize” your search marketing advertising strategies.
The boring SERP of years past is now a Technicolor quilt of thumbnails and stars.
Opportunity is here for those who see change before the masses.
Dealers who want the exclusive strategy in their market, just need to call us. Give our team a call at 732.450.8200 and let’s put together a strategy to leverage your Google empowered consumers in your market.
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
June 23rd, 2011
I was intrigued by a blog post written by Brian Carter entitled “SHOCKER: 3% To 7.5% Of Fans See Your Page’s Posts” and I recommend that you read the entire article as well as consider Brian’s tips to increase engagement.
With everyone’s obsession about collecting high number of Facebook Fans these stats remind me that high quality engagement and building the right fan community are so important. The stats above were collected from Facebook Pages that had a combined 400 million fans.
The chart shows that as the fans “increase” the visibility of your posts drops. Could this be a wake-up call for business owners that are pushing for numbers and not quality? You’ve heard the phrase “Junk In = Junk Out” so maybe this is the social media version of that warning.
Now aside from arguing these numbers if your page has higher stats, it’s still a reminder about the potential direct impact of any one Facebook post or short term campaign.
Heck, in fact these numbers are less than the visibility you get with an email campaign which have open rates around 10-15% on non-segmented lists. I’m not thrashing Facebook, I use it regularly. These stats just show that it can’t be the holy grail to solve all your consumer marketing needs.
My takeaway from this article is that building focused, segmented marketing strategies is the way to approach the diverse base of consumers looking for your goods and services. Business owners need to have engagement with consumers using multiple digital channels:
I have been amazed with the jump in leads when a dealer adds chat to these website. Dealer eProcess shared a great chart at a recent PCG Pit Stop that showed all age groups are using chat. See chart below:
I have also “seen the light” on texting campaigns since most people under 40 prefer to receive a text than an email or phone call. It’s amazing how fast a business can build a text marketing campaign. When you consider that most people don’t change our cell phone number often and that the phone is always with us, even in the bathroom, text marketing has an amazing delivery rate.
If you have ever watched the attrition on your email lists, you know how often people change their email. 15% of the US population moves every year and add to that how often people change jobs. Keeping email contacts up to date is laborious. Now consider how little attrition you will have on your text campaign database if you don’t abuse it.
To me fair, I have also seen great engagement on Facebook. Anyone who has tested different posting techniques knows that some posts start a fire of comments and others die on the vine. Facebook is another channel, but it’s value should not be inflated to greater than the data shows.
Business owners need to establish a multi-channel communication strategy for their market. If you ignore any one of the methods listed above, you are missing an important part of your market.
Now that PCG has added these channels to our consulting services, I could not be more excited for dealers who want to invest and engage in digital marketing. For me, there are many efficient and profitable ways to connect with consumers and that gives dealers more choice.
The future looks bright! If you need assistance setting up a comprehensive digital communication strategy, give us a call at 732.450.8200.