In light of the growing number of ADA related lawsuits, it is critical that your dealership addresses the overall accessibility of your website for shoppers with disabilities. Beyond the legal ramifications, enabling your website to effectively convert the largest number of potential customers is critical to maximizing your ROI.
DEALER INSPIRE + AUDIOEYE
At Dealer inspire, we’ve been at the forefront of offering accessibility solutions to our clients. We partnered with AudioEye to make their “Ally Toolbar” software available for use on your Dealer Inspire website.
Available to all users of your website, this assistive technology provides a fully customizable experience users can tailor to their individual needs, regardless of their device type, language preference, or preferred method of access.The Ally Toolbar includes controls for:
Displaying dyslexic fonts
Making adjustments to color contrast, font size and navigation
An audio player to read content aloud
Voice controlled navigation
Our AudioEye integration also provides ongoing optimization to continually increase the accessibility of your website and help ensure that you stay up-to-date with all current and future ADA accessibility regulations.
For something as complicated as ADA law and its accompanying guidelines, deploying assistive technology from an expert partner like AudioEye lets you rest assured that your website is open and accessible to the largest audience possible – all while protecting you against potential litigation.
HOW DO I SETUP MY WEBSITE TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE?
Providing AudioEye accessibility tools for your customers is a seamless addition to your website for a monthly fee, which covers the full Ally Toolbar, ongoing AudioEye support, and constant optimization to increase accessibility and stay ADA compliant.
If you’ve yet to opt-in to using AudioEye at your dealership, please do not delay any longer. Tap the button below and we’ll be in touch shortly to help get you set up!
Let’s take a little trip back in time. The year was 2012, and as a part of our dealership’s setup at a local summer festival, we were going to give away the hot, new iPad2 to generate more hand-raiser leads than ever using a QR Code.
What actually happened though was we spent way too much time educating people on what that giant, blocky black and white code on the sign was and the app they needed to install on their phone to scan it.
It was like working at the Apple Genius Bar…but only in 90 degree heat…and with people who didn’t really want to be there.
It turned out that people really only wanted to enter to win the iPad if they could do so quickly and easily. Like, you know…by writing their name, email address, and phone number on a little slip of paper and then jamming it into a cardboard box.
No one wanted to download a special app (over a 3G cellular network) just to scan a weird looking code thingy and then have to type their name, email address, and phone number on a tiny virtual keyboard. Who had time for that?!
Looking back on it all these years later, I think it’s pretty clear why this promo didn’t work as intended:
The smartphone was barely 5 years old, and only 45% of adults actually owned one.
Those who had a smartphone saw it as device of utility — not necessity.
There was too much friction in the digital experience compared to the traditional one.
So after that weekend long experience of #qrcodefail, my main takeaway was utilizing QR Codes in your digital marketing strategy may have been the right idea, but it was definitely the wrong time.
THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW
Fast forward to today and things are different now, aren’t they? 94% percent of adults between the ages of 18-49 now own a smartphone. In just a few short years our phones have become physical extensions of our bodies that we can’t live without.
Ten years ago, if I realized that I left the house without my phone, I would have been like “oh well, whatever”. If that were to happen today? Yeah…I’d freak out, and I’m guessing you would too.
So say what you want about the early days of QR Codes, but you can’t deny the fact that they laid the groundwork for some of the tech that’s been implemented inside of today’s most popular apps.
Scanning a digital code with our phone is now near ubiquitous thanks to apps like SnapChat and Spotify where adding a friend or loading up a shared playlist is as simple as pointing your phone at a code.
Then there’s the game changing fact that your phone’s naitive camera app can now instantly recognize a QR Code and prompt you to visit the encoded destination all on its own.
Also, like many other aspects of our lives, COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of technology and irrevocably changed consumer behavior. Today, it’s hard to go somewhere and not see a QR Code — they’re everywhere. From Home Depot to Taco Bell, businesses big and small are using QR Codes to direct people to schedule an appointment, order online, download an app, and so much more.
And you know something has gone mainstream when you see it on a Super Bowl commercial. Coinbase spent $13 million dollars on a 60 second spot that showed nothing more than a QR Code sailing across the screen. Not talking cats. Not expensive celebrities. Just a colorful, blocky code paying homage to the classic DVD screensaver of yesteryear.
That QR Code alone drove over 20 million users to the Coinbase website within that one minute where users were able to claim $15 in free bitcoin for signing up. The traffic and brand awareness benefits alone makes this a #qrcodewin!
Even after all that, if for some reason you still aren’t sold on the viability of QR Codes, then I’ll tell you that ever since version 85 of the Chrome Browser, QR Code generation is a standard feature of the world’s most popular web browser. That means anyone can quickly create a QR Code out of anything that’s loaded up in Chrome with just a couple of clicks or taps.
TIPS FOR USING QR CODES IN THE DEALERSHIP
If you’re ready to revisit the idea of using QR Codes at your dealership, I’ve put together a few creative ways that you can incorporate them into your shopping experience and marketing materials to drive engagement with your customers.
PROVIDE A MORE ENGAGING EXPERIENCE IN THE SHOWROOM
You could create and print QR Codes to place on the vehicles in your showroom so that when scanned would do any number of things, like open a:
Digital brochure for that vehicle
Video review or walkaround of that model
Video highlighting an F&I product such as Appearance Protection
Model landing page on your website
VDP for that specific vehicle
VRP with available inventory for that model
VIRTUALLY CONNECT ON THE LOT
With some folks being more weary of being inside a building for an extended period of time, shoppers might feel more comfortable wandering your lot, especially after hours and on weekends.
Just because these folks are out there alone, that doesn’t mean you can’t virtually be there to assist them. You could certainly use the showroom QR Codes above on the vehicles on your lot — or you could take it up a notch and provide the casual tire-kicker with an even better experience by providing a(n):
Video from your owner or GM welcoming them to your dealership and explaining your health and safety protocols
Easy way to connect with someone inside the dealership via chat
Instant trade-in evaluation experience powered by Conversations™
While we all understand the importance of reviews and the role they play in helping other shoppers choose to work with your dealership over your competition, you may not realize how review recency plays a factor in calculating your overall review score.
The short version is that as reviews age, they become less relevant to shoppers. So it’s not how many total reviews you have that matters most — it’s how often you’re getting reviews. Printing and placing review reminders on the desks of your salespeople and finance managers is an easy way to utilize QR Codes that lead to the specific, positive outcome of increasing your review velocity.
Now, it’s cool if you want to create a QR Code that will take someone directly to Google or DealerRater to leave their review. But it’s always good to have an even distribution of reviews on all the various platform. So a better idea would be to actually create a landing page that contains links to all the platforms where you have a review presence on your website. Then you can use that url to power your QR Code so that when scanned, people can then select their favorite review platform such as Google, Facebook, DealerRater, Cars.com or Yelp.
IN YOUR MARKETING
While QR Codes can definitely play a role in keeping your in-store customers engaged, you can also incorporate them into your traditional marketing channels to drive digital engagement.
For example, if you’re sending a direct mail piece with service coupons to your customers, include a QR Code that links to your service scheduler to easily generate appointments.
For any print advertising you run with new and pre-owned vehicles, include a QR Code that’ll allow someone to get an Instant Trade-In Evaluation via Conversations™, which will also generate a high quality lead for your team to follow up with.
Take it a step further and allow your salespeople to include a QR Code on their business cards that would link to their personal profile page on DealerRater that highlights their personal reviews.
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
And of course you can always use QR Codes just like we did back in the day in your grassroots marketing to drive sign ups for a giveaway or to create brand awareness in your community. The best part is you don’t need to go all Coinbase and spend $13 million to do it!
Think about this idea; do you sponsor any community events? I’m willing to bet you sponsor your local 4th of July fireworks, the high school football team, and/or maybe even a farmer’s market, right?
How about using a QR code on your signage or handouts for a free carwash for everyone at the event? Or maybe 10% off their first oil change or service appointment?
Today all the barriers have been removed, and using a QR Code in your grassroots marketing efforts is a great way to get new folks engaged with your dealership while also showcasing all the good you do within your community.
BONUS #PROTIP: TRACK WITH UTM CODES
Since you can take any text string and turn it into a QR Code, that means you can also incorporate UTM Codes for those times when you want to take a visitor to a landing page on your website. That’s one sure way to track how often your QR Codes are being scanned and which experiences your customers are finding to be the most “scan worthy”.
We’re always up for talking about creative ways to help our clients upgrade their digital marketing game. Want to talk about QR Codes or any other digital marketing strategies and tactics? Just give us a shout!
WHAT👏 A 👏 YEAR 👏 it has been. 2021 flew by, but before looking ahead to new tactics and strategies, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to reflect on some of the ways our amazing dealer partners got creative with the Dealer Inspire Connected Platform to move the needle during a very challenging year.
Teaming up with their DI Performance Managers, our clients did some serious outside-the-box thinking to really take the lemons that the inventory shortage and global pandemic gave us, to turn them into some pretty delicious (and strategic!) lemonade.
We were so impressed with how these digital hack-tics were implemented to optimize our client’s digital platforms, we just had to show some off LIVE on Inspire+. The show is called Dealer Hackers, and you can watch it on demand right now.
And whether you’re watching the show or reading this guide, remember — these digital hack-tics came at no additional budget or cost — just pure creative and collaborative thinking. How cool is that? And the best news is that you can do it too. So without any further ado, here are the top seven, peer-tested Dealer Hacks of 2021 that you can use in 2022 and beyond!
1. START TRADE-IN CONVERSATIONS FROM ANY LINK
With inventory being low, Delano Chevrolet Buick GMC wanted to make sure that every website visitor knew just how much they wanted to buy their car. In order to get that message out there, they used the Personalizer technology built into the Dealer Inspire Web Platform to create an experience where each visitor would be served a prominent message, on both desktop and mobile, prompting them to get an instant appraisal for their vehicle.
And while that messaging and use of the Personalizer tech is great, Delano truly hacked the system by creating a special hyperlink in that message that when clicked, opens up the automated trade-in flow within Conversations. So instead of enticing a shopper with a highly actionable message only to take them to a long, outdated form to fill out (that the user will most likely abandon), they’re instead having a friendly trade-in conversation from the comfort of a familiar chat window.
We knew this would be one of our top Dealer Hacks of the year when after just a few weeks of being implemented, Delano Chevrolet Buick GMC saw an immediate 71% increase in Conversations conversions.
Impressive, huh? Talk about the power of using your digital platform to work harder and smarter with some simple changes to your homepage! Setting it up is dead easy too. You can actually take any element on your webpage, be it a text link, an image, or a CTA button, and code it to open the Trade-In flow within Conversations with just one click.
For visitors that are already on your website, use this code in your hyperlinks to start the Trade-In evaluation process:
<a onclick="DIConv.startConversationWithVisitorMessage('Value My Trade')">Value My Trade</a>
If you want to bring someone to your website from an external source, like an email or social ad, and automatically begin the Trade-In evaluation process on page load, then use this code:
Ditching forms and replacing them with chat based experiences that convert? I’ll call that a win all year long!
2. GET IN THEIR (APPLE) WALLET
The DI Wallet has long been a key feature of the Dealer Inspire Website Platform that allows your visitors to add service coupons to their Apple Wallet (Android too!) — complete with push notifications when the user drives through any number of geofences that you define.
Pretty cool tech for sure, but leave it to our clients to take it to the next level. Even though DI Wallet is really for digital fixed ops coupons, this past year we saw many of our dealer clients hack the tech and use it for their vehicle acquisition strategies as well!
It’s one of those things that’s genius in its simplicity. Instead of creating a service coupon, you create a Trade-In Bonus Coupon for whatever amount you want. From there you promote the offer with a VRP Banner or a Homepage Personalizer that is only displayed to users visiting your website using a mobile device. When they tap that banner or that message, they will have the option to add the coupon into their Apple Wallet. And when they do, you’ll now be embedded by their side in their most trusted device waiting to remind them of that trade-in offer whenever they should drive nearby your dealership.
These wallet passes are a snap to set up too in the backend of the Dealer Inspire website platform. Just simply navigate to the wallet section and the coupon creator tool makes it easy to see what you’re editing and how it will appear to your customers.
Reading this on your iPhone? Tap here to add this coupon to your Apple Wallet
3. CREATE A CUSTOM “0 SEARCH RESULTS” PAGE
In today’s world of limited inventory, it’s crucial that you don’t lead your website visitors to dead-ends on the vehicle search results pages. The last thing you want is a shopper feeling disappointed that you don’t have what they’re looking for, so they bounce from your site and head back to the search engines to continue their shopping journey with a competitor.
Land Rover Palm Beach and other Myers Auto Group stores understood the challenge and fought to engage more of their visitors on their website by customizing their “0 Search Results” inventory pages to make them stickier amidst the inventory shortage. With the help of the DI Solutions Engineers, this forward thinking auto group created a custom page with appealing imagery and custom language to inform shoppers of the global chip shortage, along with CTA’s to encourage the shopper to connect with their team via text, chat, or phone to discuss current availability, along with vehicles that were allocated and in-transit.
The reality is that inventory is down for everyone, so it’s critical that you double down on selling your experience instead of the actual vehicle — which is exactly where this strategy comes in. You address the concern head-on by educating your shoppers about the shortage, and then you offer your services as the solution. Your friendly sales experts are there to be personal shoppers for your customers and aid them in finding their dream vehicle!
4. TAKE PRE-ORDERS WITH VIRTUAL INVENTORY
There’s certainly more than one way to hack around the lack of inventory. Our friends at Ens Toyota were selling their available and incoming inventory so quickly, they knew they needed to do something different to let customers know that their lot wasn’t as empty as it seemed.
They opted to take a unique approach by creating virtual inventory for each of their most popular models and trim levels, with eye-catching pre-order badging. The benefit to adding virtual vehicles to your inventory feed is that shoppers are still able to explore those VDPs, and discover all there is to know about that vehicle — all while learning that your dealership has the ability to make the shopping experience a ton easier simply by placing an order with the manufacturer.
If you like this inventory hack, it’s something that you can certainly implement at your dealership with the help of our team. Here’s what you do:
Identify the models and trims you’d like to create virtual inventory for.
In your IMS, create a fake VIN and stock number for each model and trim that you’d like to appear in your inventory feed.
Create an eye catching main image for each vehicle that shows the vehicle, and also includes pre-order badging (see the example above).
Upload your newly created main image to the appropriate virtual vehicle.
Once complete, contact DI Support to map your newly created virtual inventory to the designated vehicle results pages.
Because of variances between IMS’, you may want to start with creating one test vehicle first, and then working with the DI Support team to determine if there are any special needs required to successfully map the virtual vehicles in your IMS to your website.
5. VEHICLE CONFIGURATOR FTW
While the global chip shortage carries on, it does seem that inventory levels will remain uncertain throughout 2022 and into 2023. Due to its prolonged nature, we have found that more and more customers are heading to Google to search for things like “Can I buy a car directly from the factory?”, or “Where can I order a car?”. To meet this kind of shopping intent, your website needs to be equipped to not just rank for those keywords, but to convert on those shoppers in a meaningful way.
City Cadillac recognized this trend early on, and created an entire digital strategy predicated on driving traffic to the Vehicle Configurator tool on their website that sets up customers to build, price, and ultimately place an order for the vehicle of their dreams.
The messaging is consistent across homepage sliders, VRP Banners, and top level menu items to ensure every customer knows that “Building your next Cadillac has never been easier” #chefskiss.
Want to know more about Vehicle Configurator? Check out this fresh DIHOWDOI that shows you the ins and outs of the new tool!
6. GREET YOUR CUSTOMERS IN ANY LANGUAGE
One of the newest features of Conversations is the ability for dealers to create and display their own proactive greetings to their website visitors after a predetermined period of time has elapsed.
Our client at Advantage Auto Direct is a bilingual dealer, and they really wanted to encourage their Spanish speaking community to engage with their own Spanish speaking team members via chat.
To do so, they created a proactive greeting in Conversations to let shoppers know that whether they speak English or Spanish, they can connect with their team to get their questions answered in whatever language they’re most comfortable using.
Since implementing the bilingual greeting, Advantage Auto Direct is now answering 10% of their chats in Spanish, compared to less than 1% of chats prior.
What makes this hack even better is that your team doesn’t even have to speak a multiple languages in order to use it. Because Conversations speaks 52 different languages all on its own, you can use the included In-Chat Translations feature to instantly translate both incoming and outgoing messages in real-time, giving you the ability to communicate with your shoppers in their native language.
7. SUPERCHARGE YOUR CAREER POSTINGS
In today’s environment, car dealerships (like most other businesses) have many job openings across all departments that they’d like to fill with qualified candidates.
Our client at Kelowna Nissan is no different, and they wanted a way to manage their own job postings on their website. So we came up with a solution to hack the blog that’s a part of their Dealer Inspire website which would allow the dealership’s HR Manager to do just that.
This is a pretty simple trick if you want to try it out as well. All you need to do is create a new blog post for each of your open job positions, and include all the relevant information, along with a link for candidates to actually apply for the job. Once all of the content is in place, you assign it a specific category, like Careers, and publish it to your website.
From there you simply create a new Careers landing page and include a special shortcode that will populate the page with all of the published blog posts matching that category. For example, if you call your category Careers, the shortcode would look like this:
The advantage here is now you have a centralized landing page on your website to highlight all of your current job openings, but you can now also use that page along with those individual career posts in your content marketing strategy to help spread the word about your open positions.
LET’S GET CREATIVE TOGETHER
The Dealer inspire Web Platform was built on WordPress for a reason. To empower dealers like you to innovate and create an online presence that serves the needs of your business. So whether you’re doing it yourself (which you totally can), or are working with your Performance Manager, there isn’t a better suited platform out there to bring your digital marketing strategies to life. Doesn’t that just hit ya in the warm and fuzzies?
But seriously, that’s what we want for all of you heading into 2022. Don’t accept the status quo. Shake things up. Push the limits and don’t be afraid to break things! Testing strategies during an uncertain time can feel like a big risk, but without that risk you wouldn’t have the big rewards! So bring it on, 2022, and let us help 😉
Do you have a Dealer Hack that you want to share with your peers in the industry? I’d love to hear all about it! Just shoot me an email, and it just might show up as one one of the top Dealer Hacks of 2022!
Want to roll with any of these hack-tics on your website? If you’re already a part of the DI family, simply reach out to your Performance Manager to discuss. Not a DI client? Drop us a line and let’s chat about how we can help you, today!
THIS JUST IN… Online reviews MATTER. Groundbreaking, right? 😜 Alright, we know most dealers have been building their digital reviews for nearly a decade now, but we have to ask: once you get them, what are you doing with them?
While many of our dealers have reached incredible feats of collecting hundreds and thousands of positive reviews on third-party platforms, few are giving those happy customers the starring roles on their website and digital ads. Now more than ever, new shoppers want to know the safety, quality, and convenience of your experience — and there is no better way to tell them than with 5-star ratings and reviews. Using your top promoters on your own platforms just makes sense to build trust and give shoppers the confidence they need to choose YOU.
But Katie, you say, “Shoppers can easily find thousands of my great reviews on DealerRater, Cars.com, Google, and Yelp,”
That’s fantastic! But getting ratings and reviews on third-party sites is just the beginning. If you’re not sharing all of those shiny stars yourself, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build trust and increase conversions in your own marketing. (I’ll get to that in just a bit!)
Today I’m going to share five easy ways to amplify the voices of your happy customers, so they work harder acrossall of your marketing channels, not just review sites.
Your reputation is your most valuable asset, so let’s not keep it a secret. With your reviews on solid footing, it’s time to showcase your stars on YOUR platform. These are proven strategies I personally recommend to my clients with confidence because they are highly effective, easy to implement, and don’t cost you more than a little time and effort (which we can do for you!). In my book, that makes these hot tips 5-star rated.
1. Turn Happy Customers Into Homepage Heroes
“Welcome to Katie’s Kia” may be a very nice greeting for visitors to your website, but could it be stronger? ABSOLUTELY. After all, we know your customers are cross shopping. You may only get a moment to make a first impression, so every word on your homepage needs to hook shoppers and show them why they should buy from you.
At Dealer Inspire, we’ve found reviews are the perfect way to start engaging visitors and building trust the minute they land on your website. When you dedicate a homepage slider containing a recent review quote with a link to more reviews — you can immediately give shoppers a view into how well they’ll be taken care of.
They’ll see that you take pride in your experience and that customer feedback is important to you, all while getting comfortable with your team and proven service.
I’ve been blown away by what this simple shift has done for clients. As we’ve tested homepage reviews — engagement has skyrocketed. Check this out:
You can also use Dealer Inspire’s Personalizer™ tool to make sure customers see fresh reviews whenever they return to your site. By showcasing new quotes with each visit, you reinforce your credibility and establish trust in your entire dealership team.
2. GIVE REVIEWS THEIR OWN LANDING PAGES
Don’t make shoppers investigate your reputation across platforms — have a page on your website that syncs your 4 and 5-star reviews from Google, Facebook, DealerRater, and Cars.com all in one feed. This dedicated landing page for your reviews (which is free out of the box at Dealer Inspire) gives your SEO efforts an extra boost, increases engagement and time on site, and provides a much needed hub to both showcase and solicit reviews.
With all of your best customer feedback in one place, it’s easy to build trust! That’s why I also recommend sending a link to this page to any leads you’re working. It builds confidence and can help you close the deal. It’s also a perfect destination for email campaigns and other communications you have with your customers.
3. Build a Page To Build Reviews
48% of shoppers say that reviews need to be less than two weeks old to make an impact on their decision¹, so it’s important to be constantly generating fresh reviews.
By building an engine to drive reviews on your own website, you can easily include it in your process and marketing. Feature the most important platforms to be present on, and give customers the option to leave feedback where they are most comfortable.
This is the perfect destination to use when asking customers to leave a review after they take home their new ride. Once they’ve had a chance to give their new car a name, show it off to their work buddies, and pick out a new license plate cover — it’s your moment to shoot them a text with a link to this landing page.
We recommend texting within the first 24-48 hours. Often that’s all it takes. But to give yourself the best shot to have that text message result in a positive review, include a picture. We found that 50 percent of all review requests that include a picture will lead to a review²!
The bottom line is that your customers are usually happy to share their experience with the world, and a simple text message with a photo linking to a well designed landing page makes getting that review easy.
4. Showcase Your Top-Rated Sales Stars
Just like you wouldn’t let a customer aimlessly stroll through your showroom without assistance, you can begin making 1:1 connections with your digital showroom shoppers by introducing them to your top-rated salespeople on your staff page and VDPs using Salesperson Connect™ from DealerRater®.
Not only can your visitors choose who they’d like to work with, but they can also schedule 1:1 appointments with them right on your website, making those shoppers more likely to show up and purchase — because leads generated from Salesperson Connect™ have a 2.5x higher close rate³ compared to standard website leads.
5. Power Up Your Ads With Promoters
Nothing beats the words of your customers. A happy car buyer sharing their experience is way more impactful than any claim or offer you can make. So instead of tooting your own horn or offering a rock bottom price, I recommend incorporating reviews into your digital ad campaigns. They’re free to use and they WORK!
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Show social shoppers what sets your store apart: Build a targeted social campaign to introduce your store to local in-market shoppers who may not have discovered your dealership yet. Our video templates that showcase dealership reviews and awards are consistently among the highest performing for our FUEL: In-Market Video partners.
Show your stars in Google ads: An easy way to boost conversion is to incorporate reviews in your paid search campaigns. Google has an ad extension that will allow you to show your star rating and review count within your Google ads. If your dealership has at least 100 unique reviews in the past 12 months with an average rating of 3.5 stars or better, you’re eligible to activate this extension.
Another opportunity to shed some light on your dealership’s reputation in your paid search ads is by incorporating a sitelink to the review aggregation page on your website.
WE CAN MAKE YOUR HARD-EARNED REPUTATION WORK EVEN HARDER
Your dealership’s reputation is your most valuable asset, so let’s work together to show it off. Whether it’s a new campaign featuring reviews, homepage testimonials, or a website hub for all of your great customer feedback, let’s see what we can do to turn your well deserved reviews into bottom line results.
NADA has selected four Dealer Inspire leaders to take the big (virtual) stage at this year’s show, so if you’re registered, come by and watch them drop some advanced marketing knowledge focused on increasing dealer ROI. These workshops will give you complete, connected strategies to drive performance and efficiency across your inventory, fixed ops, and sales profit centers.
Here’s a sneak-peek of what you can expect from our workshops, as well as their totally-real Rotten Tomatoes® score from the critics! 🍅⭐️
TURN YOUR MARKETING INTO A TRADE-IN MACHINE
Tuesday, February 9, 11:30 am – 12:30 pmEST Jason Stum, Director of Strategy
Fortune 500 companies and “industry disruptors” are out-marketing dealerships in the ultra competitive game of pre-owned vehicle acquisition. Learn to transform your marketing into an omnichannel trade-in machine that can continuously acquire new inventory and customers. This framework will give you a competitive advantage with new acquisition tactics that the big box retailers haven’t even thought of yet.
WIN BACK YOUR FIXED OPS MARKET SHARE IN SEARCH
Thursday, February 11, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pmEST Cara Garvey, Digital Advertising Director Mary-Grace Wilson, SEO Director
With car dealers still navigating the fallout of fewer car sales due to the pandemic, keeping your dealership’s service bay full is more critical—and challenging—than ever. Dealerships have to focus on marketing their superior (and safe) service experience, and then capture the search intent of the valuable customers looking for service nearby. This session will show you how the 1-2 punch of digital advertising and search engine optimization can give your service department the competitive edge over national chains and local repair shops.
WEBSITE DESIGN MISTAKES THAT ARE COSTING YOU CUSTOMERS
Watch On Demand Nate Jones, Director of Product Design
Making website design decisions based on your gut and what one person thinks looks good can end up costing your dealership hundreds of customers by affecting mere percentage points on your conversion rate. Measurement, experimentation, and iteration are essential to optimizing your website, and our designs are based on years of those user behavior results. Nate will identify the 11 most common dealer website mistakes that cause users to bounce, and then show you how to fix each one of them so that your website guides more of your visitors to convert into customers.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY
Whether you’re going to NADA or not, our team is always here to discuss your specific strategies and how we can take your ROI to the next level. Just reach out and we’ll get to work, because there is no time to waste in future-proofing your dealership.
While most people slow down and unwind a little during the second half of December in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, car dealers work harder than ever to close as many deals as possible before the big ball drops to ring in the new year.
So that means right about now you’re hopefully finally catching your breath and reflecting on how your dealership dealt with the challenges that 2020 presented, and how your business can grow in 2021.
If 2020 was good for anything, it showed us that your digital platform is your most valuable asset and taught us a lot about the good digital habits that are helping dealers win in this changing landscape. If we can all take what we learned and really commit to those habits year-round, we can take dealer ROI to the next level in 2021 while future-proofing the dealership experience for years to come.
So without any further ado, here are some New Year’s Resolutions that’ll help your dealership win 2021!
1. LOSE 10 LBS. (ON YOUR WEBSITE)
In the past two decades, we’ve looked to our websites to just generate leads so your team could then reach out and set appointments after they’re gone. But with customers now expecting and sometimes needing to complete more of the car buying process remotely, 2020 proved your website needs to be so much more to make the most of every opportunity.
Your website truly needs to be a digital dealership, where shoppers can quickly find vehicles, get their questions answered, and connect with friendly experts on your team who can start guiding them down the Road To The Sale to purchase, just like in-store.
That starts with having the right messaging (with live video) and digital retailing solutions that work seamlessly with your website experience — as well as the right commitment to using those tools — but assuming you already have those, let’s resolve to making sure shoppers can easily find them.
As dealers added new solutions in 2020, websites have put on a lot of excess weight with buttons and widgets that get in the way of guiding shoppers down clear paths — wasting opportunities on shoppers who give up trying to find instant, easy answers to their questions like “can I afford it?”. This excess weight is something that happens to all of us, especially around the holiday sales events, but now is the perfect time to reevaluate your website experience to foster a healthy conversion rate in 2021.
Not all buttons have the same value for you or the customer, so funnel your traffic to the buttons that are more likely to drive sales (not just form-fills). For example, a shopper who quickly filled out an [Unlock Extra Savings] form to see how it affected the price (someone will be in touch to tell them later) is not as valuable as the shopper who clicked [Explore Payment Options] and instantly personalized their payment, valued their trade, saved an account on your website, and started to add accessories and insurance products — so send more shoppers that way.
By taking a deeper look to discover website design mistakes like too many conflicting CTAs, or disconnected shopping experiences that are causing your customers to bounce instead of convert, you can make a serious impact in your business KPIs without spending more advertising dollars to acquire more traffic.
2. START WORKING OUT (YOUR DEALS ONLINE)
Once you have shoppers clicking the right buttons to start the buying process on your website — make sure your team is there to help them! These engaged shoppers exploring payment options online are just as valuable as the opportunities that physically walk into your store, so it’s important to staff your digital showroom and build the habits that will continue and close those deals that start online.
Instead of creating a dead-end to their online experience and forcing them to come in for an appointment to learn more, you have the tools to keep up the momentum and guide them closer (or all the way) to purchase online. Of course many customers will still want to visit the dealership before signing, but the further you can get them into the process online, the more likely they are to follow through and stick with your dealership. They may have submitted leads with other websites, but you’re clearly positioned to win if they’re actively working a personalized deal with you.
Whether they’re on your website in the moment or just left, watch how easily (and instantly) you can pull online shoppers back into the buying process by simply texting the kind of personalized question or recommendation you would offer in the showroom.
No matter what digital retailing solution you have, it needs to be backed up by your dealership’s people and processes, so now is the perfect time to re-acquaint your salespeople and BDC agents with your tech stack to ensure they understand how they can quickly close more deals like these, more efficiently.
The days of “just get ’em in” are officially over. In 2021, resolve to stop saying “just get ’em in” and instead say “let’s go Online to the Sale!“. You’ll have happier customers, and a happier team.
3. BE SMARTER WITH YOUR (ADVERTISING) MONEY
By the end of 2020, something else that became clear was that targeting audiences in your Digital Advertising campaigns was about to get a tad trickier than before.
With Google updating their Personal Advertising Policies restricting your ability to target specific zip codes, combined with the impact of COVID-19 on your business — it’s critical that you reevaluate not just how you’re spending your budget — but on what platforms, and which geographical areas you’re targeting.
The first thing you can do is reassess which areas your dealership did the most business in last year, so you can ensure you have optimal coverage with your paid search campaigns. You don’t want to start the new year by overspending in geographical areas that are no longer providing a sales ROI due to shifts in consumer behavior, and underspending in areas that have historically proven to lead to sales.
The easiest way to do this is to use your CRM or DMS customer data to plot your sales on a map to visually highlight your highest converting areas. You can then use that visualization to work with your Dig Ad provider to adjust your targeting as needed to maximize your spend.
Another recommendation is to use that data from your CRM or DMS to add a customer match layer to your audience targeting on your Google and Facebook ads that’ll help ensure you’re staying in front of all your sales and service customers when searching or surfing. Keeping your dealer’s brand top of mind is going to be more critical than ever in 2021.
You’ll also want to consider how to maximize the reach in your defined geo-targets by diversifying the platforms that you’re advertising on besides Google. For example dealers who have been advertising on Microsoft Bing have seen a 36% higher Impression Share and a 77% higher Click-Thru Rate compared to their same ad campaigns on Google.
Lastly, 2021 will officially usher in the era of true in-market audience targeting with highly valuable first party data. It’s critical that you understand what audience data you’re using to power your advertising, because it can be the difference between guessing and knowing that you’re targeting people who actually want to buy a car.
For example, powered by Cars.com’s 25 million monthly active shoppers, FUEL: In-Market Video has a 100% pure in-market audience, so you know every penny spent is getting in front of local shoppers who are looking for a new vehicle in the short term. Watch the difference that made for Julie Chisum’s advertising ROI at Toyota of Cedar Park!
As we start the new year, it’s a perfect time to rethink and refine where your dollars are going — and resolving to continuously optimize through the year.
4. BE MORE PRESENT (FOR SERVICE KEYWORDS)
COVID-19 brought many challenges, but in a weird silver-lining kind of way, it also helped reveal some opportunities that you have to improve the overall operations of your dealership.
If your dealership had to shut-down the sales side of your biz because of the pandemic and you were only able to operate your service business for a period of time — you probably focused on your Fixed Ops marketing in a way you haven’t in years. And as a result, there’s a good chance you had your eye on the local big box and independent service centers that are aggressively marketing to steal your market share.
Make this the year that you finally fix that leaky fixed ops marketing and resolve to build up your service department’s digital marketing to the same level as your sales department, so you can fend off these competitors and win back customers.
The first step is making sure you’re set-up to capture the local high-intent searchers who are looking for service providers like you. By having the right paid, organic, and local search strategies in place for your service department, you can show up first three times in front of these valuable customers.
Considering upwards of 70% of searchers are on mobile, that top placement is critical for capturing those valuable customers — since only the very top placements are visible without scrolling down.
To take your strategy to the next level on the SERP and beyond, check out our Fixed Ops Marketing Strategy Webinar so you can get the tips, tricks, and info you need to get up and running with a comprehensive cross-channel digital marketing strategy. This year you can optimize your dealership’s service presence to not just fend-off, but overtake, the competition (and without breaking the bank to do it).
5. SPEND MORE QUALITY TIME (WITH YOUR HAPPY CUSTOMERS)
A decade ago, review generation was all the rage because we recognized just what powerful (and free!) positive reviews could and would do for our business. However, it’s possible that over the past couple of years you may have lost sight of keeping your reviews fresh because you felt that your dealership had “enough”.
It’s understandable if your focus shifted from generating new reviews to other matters you felt were more pressing, but you really can’t ignore the fact that 97% of shoppers use reviews to choose their dealership, and 86% of shoppers don’t consider reviews over 3 months old helpful (BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey Dec. 2019).
Those two stats should tell you that you need to constantly be driving new, positive reviews each and every week. But it’s 2021, so don’t think you can rely on the same tactics you did a decade ago to drive new reviews, because this year it’s not just the review that will matter — it’s the actual words in the review that will give your dealership the boost it needs.
Oh good, you’re still reading! Remember way back at the beginning of this blog post when I said that your digital platform was your most valuable asset? Well, I should probably amend that statement to say it’s your digital platform AND your people that are the two most valuable assets your dealership has.
When it comes down to it, consumers often see dealerships as all being the same because many dealers tend to look the same, and say the same things. For example, I personally worked for three different dealerships that each claimed they had the largest inventory in the state — and I can assure you, for two out of those three dealers, that wasn’t the case.
If you virtually attended REFUEL 2020 then you had the opportunity to see famed entrepreneur, Jesse Itzler, tell the story of how a college marketing professor changed the trajectory of his young life by asking him one simple question during his final presentation — “what makes your brownie different from all the other brownies on the market?”.
The point Jesse goes on to make is that no matter what you do, there are thousands of other entities doing the exact same thing. So how are you going to do to stand out? How will people know that your dealership is different that all the rest?
To answer that question, we say that in 2021 you should embrace (and market) the people and processes — the customer experience — that truly make your dealership different. Don’t settle for the same old USPs that you’ve been relying on for years. Develop your your real “Why Buy” message and tell the world what it is that you and your people do and offer that no one else does, and why should that matter to car shoppers in your market.
That unique ingredient will make all your marketing efforts perform better, all year.
LET’S MAKE 2021 THE BEST YEAR EVER, TOGETHER
Everyone here at Dealer Inspire knows just how challenging 2020 was for our car dealer partners. The pandemic still isn’t over, and new challenges are going to be thrown at us along the way, but together we have everything we need to win this year.
If you would like to talk about your dealership’s overall marketing strategy for 2021, just drop us a line and we’ll schedule some quality time to talk things over.
Wishing you and your team nothing but the best in 2021 and beyond!