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            “Can you hear me now?” Because of Verizon’s past marketing efforts, this question is forever linked with the Verizon guy testing their network’s ability to provide a solid cell-phone signal in all areas consumers might roam. This is one example among many where a communicative strategy left a lasting mark on consumers’ minds and their purchasing decisions.

            Communication is a powerful thing that can make or break your business. While it is critical to have a well-formed vision that drives your business efforts, if you want your business to move from a day-to-day mundane experience to a cause that energizes your employees and market, it is also essential to communicate your vision clearly, consistently and with passion in all aspects of your business.

 Communicate your vision clearly

           You could have the most dynamic, well-formed vision that defines what you want to accomplish in your business and how you will get there, but if you do not express that vision well, you derive no real benefit from it. Consider your vision as your central theme for your dealership that is present in everything you see and everything you do.

            Taking the example of a “No hassle” approach used in my last blog, I was on the telephone with one dealership and when they placed me on hold, rather than hold music playing, there was a monologue about that dealership’s no-hassle philosophy. Within 30 seconds the speaker said the words “no-hassle” four times expressing this dealership’s vision for their sales approach. By the time the salesperson answered the call I knew exactly what I should expect when I step foot on that dealership’s lot. That is communicating your vision clearly!

Communicate your vision consistently

            The reality is a statement on the wall is not going to go the distance with incorporating your vision in the fabric of your dealership. Your vision statement printed in places like your dealership’s wall, brochures, and stated in your media ads is essential; however, this is not enough. The old adage is true that what you do says volumes more than what you say.

            With that in mind, once you are communicating your vision through printed and visual media, there are two areas to address that will ensure your vision’s success in your dealership: your employees’ actions and attitudes toward your vision. It is imperative that your employees not just uphold your vision statement, but that they completely buy into it – lock, stock and barrel. When this happens, their actions: how they handle their transactions, how they manage their leads, how they provide customer service, will all rise to the level of excellence you need. Those that do not will be obvious because they will stand out like a sore thumb in the atmosphere you have cultivated.

Communicate your vision with passion

            Attitude is one of the elements that differentiates between those that work hard but do not experience great success and those that work hard and do. A salesperson can do all of the right actions but if their attitude does not express their confidence in your vision then they can do more harm than good. While it is good to have your vision printed everywhere and said consistently, if it is not expressed and lived out in the work day with passion, it will lack the quality that energizes your business and inspires your market to do business with you. 

            Communication can make or break your business. How are you communicating your vision to your employees? How is your business communicating your vision to your market? A well-formed vision has the potential to drive your dealership where you want to go. To unlock that potential, communicate that vision clearly, consistently and with passion!

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Drive your business or your business will drive you. This principle is true not only in business but also in life. There are so many day-to-day variables in business that if your day is not met with some sort of plan it quickly becomes a day of riding the waves of problems and concerns that arise at a moment’s notice without any navigational plan ensuring you will arrive at your goal when the day ends. The first key to solve this chaotic scenario is to develop a well-formed vision that becomes the beacon that guides you, and everyone involved in your process, to the destination at which you want to arrive in your business.

If you are like me, you have seen one too many worn out vision statements written on the wall of some business while receiving service in such a way that contradicts 90% of the goal it articulates. Vision statements only become powerful when they truly reflect the heart of the business and are taken seriously by those called to support it. This applies not only to the leadership level of businesses, but also to those in the departments that carry out the leadership’s direction. Whether you are a general manager, internet sales manager, or a salesman, a strategic vision statement can help greatly in making your business day more efficient and successful. So how can you go from moving directionless during the work day to intentionally advancing toward your goal? Here are a few steps to follow to develop your well-formed vision.

 Answer the “what” of what you are setting out to accomplish.

           Too often we get so caught up in playing the game that we lose sight of the prize for which we are playing. It helps greatly to know what you are trying to achieve. When answering this question, it may be wise to set your goal to something that will provide on-going success. For instance, we all want increased revenue, but if your only goal is increased revenue you may quickly lose sight of what brings your revenue, customer satisfaction! A better approach may be that your ultimate goal is to help your customer truly receive what they want so that the result is you receive what you want, which is exponential growth in revenue with repeat business.

 Adjust the “what” of your vision to include the “how.”

            If you want to take your vision from an average, ho-hum statement to a dynamic vision with depth that takes you where you want to go, make your vision statement tell those involved with your business, not only what you want to accomplish, but also how you will get there. One approach many dealerships have is a “No Hassle” approach. A great way to incorporate that approach into a vision statement that tells the “what” and the “how” might be to say, Our dealership exists to provide a no-hassle atmosphere as we connect customers to the optimal vehicle for their lifestyles. This statement tells the reader what the dealership wants: a comfortable atmosphere where the customer gets what he or she wants, and it tells the reader how: the customer will get what he or she wants by the dealership providing a no hassle approach and seeking to find the right vehicle that matches the customer’s lifestyle.

 Simplify.

           Once your vision answers the “what” and the “how” for your dealership’s purpose, its time to put it in words that are easy to read and remember. You may have a thorough vision statement, but if it is too long and too wordy it will be challenging to make it stick. Taking the vision statement already suggested, it might simplify to read, Our dealership exists to give no hassle treatment and connect you with your optimal vehicle! This is succinct and applies to everyone from the general manager to the salesman on the lot to the customer shopping for his or her new car.

 By following these simple steps it can make a profound, long-term, positive effect for your business experience. When all three of these steps are utilized it can produce a vision statement that is easy to say, easy to remember, and easy to hold yourself accountable to your dealership’s purpose as you make decisions throughout your day so that you arrive at the goal which you determined.

“There’s no shortage of money, just a distribution problem!”   

The same is true about markets.

There’s no shortage of markets, just a distribution problem.  And that means one key to expanding your market share is expanding your market base.

Fortunately, the auto industry has an almost limitless supply of buyers – and those buyers need sellers.  Smart “sellers” have every incentive to go wide with their offerings.  For every new or old car, someone has a “want”.  Exotics and kit cars need parts.  And what are now called Muscle Cars were once known simply as cars.  This market is especially rich for suppliers and buyers.

Almost every Baby-Boomer out there has a rich memory of a muscle car.  Maybe it was a first car, a graduation present, or your high school sweetheart’s…..you name it, there’s a point of reference.  Now that those Baby-Boomers are grown up, have some disposable income, and time on their hands – getting back in touch with those cars that made life carefree and fun are becoming a real focus…and a real money-maker.

Grab some time, check out the web and see just how many local, state and national car clubs are out that need new cars to fix, new parts to buy, and new memories to make.  Discover a new market and find the solution to distribution!!

Since my last blog about the Summer Sales Event, I’ve had a lot of activity with updating slideshows and interior pages on my dealer’s websites.  Was it because of my insightful blog?  I like to think so, but that’s difficult to measure.

Now that you know what kind of changes you want to make to your webpage, take a little extra time to make sure they will be effective.  I don’t expect everyone to be marketing experts so I’ll help you out.  Here are some hints when creating slides:

  1. When creating a slide realize you only have about 6-8 seconds for the viewer to see the overall slide, read it, comprehend it and decide if they want to click on it.  This is the same way you view a billboard on the side of the road – it’s a temporary image with one direct message.
  2. Don’t be too descriptive – that’s what the Image Link page is for (you want to link the slide to an interior page with a full description). 
  3. Think about where your eyes are drawn to on the slide.  You want the main focus to be what you are selling.  Bright image graphics or off set wording can be distracting and take away from the main point of your slide.

If you are creating the slide yourself or if you have your website provider create it for you make sure your point gets across.  It’s always a good idea to get a non-bias 3rd party to take a look and get their feedback on what they are drawn too and what message they perceive from the slide.  If you have more questions on how we can help your website get the right attention, give us a call. 

Liquid Motors, Inc – 800-581-2884

It’s that time of year – new models are being introduced!  Excitement is stirring in the air and dealers can hardly maintain the hype.  That means the Summer Sales Events are about to be in full force.  I hope your employees are ready for some of the busiest months of the year.

Here are some helpful hints to prepare:

  • Start by making sure everything on your website is looking how you want.  If you need to add service specials or update your staff page, this may be the time of the year that your webpage gets the most hits. 
  • Update your main page with a new slide introducing your Summer Sales Event.
  • Inform all employees within the dealership of the Sales Event.  Your service operator, cashier or porter should know enough information to at least direct someone inquiring. 
  • Local advertising is obviously important – newspapers, tv/radio ads, billboards.

Your website host is happy to make any changes needed, but please don’t want until the last minute.  I would recommend checking over your website as soon as possible to give ample time for the changes to be made and double checked. 

Let’s make this the best Sales Event your dealership has ever had!!  For more information on how Liquid Motors could benefit your dealership’s success, please contact us!

Does anyone remember when car dealers thought the Internet was not going to impact their business and that they did not need it? Heck I sure do because I was behind a desk at a store and remember it like it was yesterday.  Well now we are faced although in a smaller scale a similar question, “Do I really need a mobile website”?

My goal of this blog is to give you some statistics and patterns that will certainly open your eyes as to what is happing in the automotive segment and what is with out question going to happen.

According to Morgan Stanley’s report for 2011 over half of all Americans now own a smart phone! I have to admit when I read this I was blown away, my first thought was I guess the economy is not as bad as I thought. Then as I continued my research I see where Google stated they activate over 900K Android devices everyday with the trend heading towards tablets.

Now that we know that customers are buying mobile devices and the forecast through 2015 is only stronger in the mobile device arena lets see how current mobile user behavior impacts the automotive industry.

Google is now releasing a lot of automotive specific information as they enter the automotive space with their Dealer Jumpstart Google Automotive Team.  There were a few specific details that really stood out to me.  In your mind right now take an internal guess of what percentage of automobile related queries happen daily via a mobile device?

If you guessed 20% you are correct the slide below gives you a visual feel for how mobile device searches is in hyper drive. Google is also reporting that by 2015 half of ALL queries will come from a Smartphone.

Now you’re a believer that mobile is here to stay and increasing daily. Let us take a look at some of these mobile users behavior.  The behavior of a customer is invaluable in your marketing efforts and by knowing this you can put your dealership in front of these in market customers.

What time of the day are they searching? Every vendor I know of including us here at Liquid Motors will tell you if you’re in the Internet business you need to be available when the customers are shopping.  Would you be surprised to learn that 35% of the time consumers are searching for answers to their automotive questions they are doing it when the dealership is closed 7PM-7AM according to Google? This not only shows how critical it is to have the information customers are looking for at their finger tips but to be available for them. Now that is customers service and great customer service WINS!

How Google says customers are engaging dealerships on the move and look at the percentage of customers actually doing price comparison while they are on your lot!

The fact that customers are doing price comparisons on your lot should not be a surprise heck remember the “old 3rd base coach” they would be on the phone with at home looking on line at pricing? Now they just have the ability to do it in their palm, plus with so many new apps like Redline that consumers are using they are getting trained to do this.

Here is your mobile ready checklist

Create a mobile optimized website. Your main dealer site may be visible on your mobile phone but there are so many functions that are lost and the user experience is lacking to say the least. With Google’s statistics that 57% of mobile users say they would not recommend a business with a poor mobile site and 40% of mobile users have turned to a competitor after a bad mobile experience using your main dealer site as your mobile site is just not acceptable in today’s market.

Make it easy for customers to get to your mobile site – use a company that utilizes device detection so mobile users are automatically viewing your mobile site not redirected or required to use a different mobile URL. Here is an example of a Liquid Motors Full and Mobile site comparison.  The site is http://www.mercedesbenzofgeorgetown.com/  if you wish to review the site yourself.Track clicks for “get directions” and “click to call”. Take advantage of your analytics they will allow you to make adjustments to your websites SEO.

Utilize tools such as QR Codes so consumers looking for answers or vehicle details can find these easily. These Quick Response codes should take consumers directly to the vehicle details page on your mobile website.  You can also use them on your mobile sites to allow customers to see more information or fill out contact forms easily.

Track and monitor results with your analytics.

Make measureable adjustments as needed. Remember if you make a change you want to know where you are at the time of the change so you can measure a positive or negative affect of that change.

Are customers doing reviews about car dealerships and what do you consider a review? If you ask most people what they think of when you ask, “What is a review” most would tell you a form the customer fills out. Well according to Google 80% of car purchasers will tell someone about their experience and in today’s world, 50% are doing so digitally.  Roughly 10% of these buyers will do so in a written or digital form submission. Word of mouth still rules the roast it seems.

What is next for Google, we know Live Chat for Adwords powered by ActiveEngage is in beta but who really knows I am sure there will be a lot over the next several months as they enter the automotive space full speed. I do know one item I have seen and since Google offered 6 Billion dollars to purchase Groupon® which was rejected a new product has been coming down the pipe line called Google Offers.  If you are familiar with Groupon® then you have an idea of what they are doing.  Not only can customers sign up to get local offers they are interested in like Groupon® but on Google searches customers can click on the “offer” icon and the current offer your dealership has running will display. No release date on this that I have found or heard to date.

Thank you for following my blog and all of us hear at Liquid Motors appreciate your input, feedback and support, without our dealers we are nothing!

Global economics have certainly challenged the selling side of the equation.  Larger populations – larger markets?  Maybe not.  Maybe just more diverse markets…and lots of them! 

The driving goal for any business is learning how to capture market share – and the bigger the share, the better!!  While automobile manufacture is global, sales are regional…unless we’re talking specialty cars.  And in a very competitive economic environment, finding that sweet spot is essential to dealers – it keeps business moving, covers financial commitments, and (hopefully) funds more than a couple of retirements, kids in college, and the occasional dream vacation!

So how to find the sweet spot(s)?  Do a little homework.  And get creative.  Of all those families with 2.3 kids, how many are driving age?  What about the Baby Boomers?  They’re a huge economic base and have more disposable income than those families just starting out.  How many universities are in your area?  They’re a great source of potential buyers. 

All these markets are looking for their specific deal – the offer that has them in mind.  Do a little work…rev up those creative thinkers…and capture more than your fair share of the markets!

Creating compelling descriptions for your inventory can be one of the most time consuming task that you perform when merchandising your inventory. This is especially true when it comes to creating descriptions for your used car inventory…those units you might not be 100% familiar with all the options, awards and details of thus, make it even more challenging to come up with quality content. I work with several dealers whose pictures rival those of the actual manufacturer yet when you look at their listings not a single one of them has a description tied to it. It is not only important to have descriptions on each inventory item to help provide potential buyers with more information…but it is also a critical component when it comes to getting your cars found on both the major search engines as well as your third party advertising sites. Without relevant content these sites will have nothing to look for and will ultimately bring your competitors site to the head of the pack.

With advances in technology comes the ability to automate processes that once were a time consuming burden on the dealer. Products such as our OMG (Optimal Merchandising Generator) give dealers the ability to take key vehicle data and populate pre-defined custom description templates across their new, used and certified inventories allowing them to spend more time taking better pictures of their inventory or simply focusing on selling more cars.

So whether you use an automated tool such as OMG or enjoy taking the time to write your descriptions on your own make a point to ensure that they are all compelling, complete and as accurate as possible.

Google Analytics can be a scary thing, but it will help you with your Internet marketing the more you understand it. I would urge you to log into your account and look around. Google Analytics Standard Reporting can be narrowed down by the hour, day, week, and month.

Google Analytics Standard Reporting shows you. Visits, Unique visitors, page views, pages/visit, avg. visit duration, bounce rate, and % new visits. This report will tell you how many visitors have been to your site and how long they stayed.

The Site Content report shows you the site content. This report shows how many times someone has looked at your site pages. This would be helpful in letting you know if your site pages are sending the right messages.

The Site Speed Report shows you avg. page load time, avg. redirection time, avg. domain lookup time, avg. server connection time, avg. server response time, and avg. page download time. This report is telling you how fast your site is.

The In Page Analytics shows you where consumers are clicking on your site. This report is will show you in detail where people click exactly on your pages and give you percentages which is helpful when creating new pages to draw more attention to your site.

This is a basic over view of Google Analytics. You owe it to yourself and company to log in and become familiar with this powerful tool.

 

The answer is – it should!  But honestly, when was the last time you checked to see what your website was saying to your viewers?  We constantly add and add and change and add things to our websites and before long we know exactly what’s on it, but we have no idea how it looks to others.  I find it incredibly difficult to step back from my own “masterpiece” sometimes because I feel like it’s such a part of me that I would hate for anything to happen to any piece of it.

As I go through my dealers’ websites a majority of them look amazing (probably because we host them) but then there are the ones that I click to go on their main page and I’m already stressed out.  Be concise and direct with what you are want your viewers to see.  I want to know exactly where to go for anything I am looking for within the first 3-4 seconds.  If I have to search, then I get frustrated and will go back to my Google search and see what comes up next.  That’s website suicide!

Don’t be overly artistic with your website.  Fluff is not always a good thing.  Viewers want structure and conformity – they are expecting to find information the same way they find it on other websites.  You have no idea how many times I have been on a website and could not find the phone number or the hours of operation.  It makes me feel like I’m the dumb one.  There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing how to navigate a page.

Now for the contrasting question – Is it saying enough?  This is where it is important to make sure you are practicing good search engine optimization.  Keywords through out your website will help search engines know what you are advertising and hopefully get you as high on the list as possible.  Consider listing each vehicle as new/pre-owned, make/model/style, the surrounding cities, having a dynamic URL and the list goes on and on.

All of our websites are not only designed with the search engines in mind but more importantly are designed for the best user experience possible. Our goal is to incorporate logical website navigation centered on getting shoppers directly to the information they are looking for in as few clicks as possible. We want to ensure that every page on our sites is quick to load which will help reduce the amount of “bounces” our dealer’s sites receive.

Please call us if you would like more information on how we can help you and your dealership maximize your online potential!  We would love to help you! www.liquidmotors.com

 

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