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- » Building Your Online Business Community - AutoConversion Blog | Search Engine Brand Marketing, Automotive SEO, Automotive Affiliate Marketing
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I’ve used my card for years until it stopped working. I got a new card so never use the old one. I just tried the old one again, that had over 200,000 point on it, and all my rewards points were gone. I now see on the website that there is a way to transfer points. But, where did all my old points go?
This is why businesses have to be regulated and why a corporation is not a person. There is no conscience or soul in entities that are beholden to shareholders and greed. Corners are cut, deception is the order of the day and the public pays in increased health or economic risks. Businesses are begging for a heaver governmental hand when they can’t run a clean operation or police themselves. Fines are not enough, Corporate executives (including the banking sector) should start serving time or the business should be shut down.
So far I have failed terribly at Facebook advertising. I hear that even Pinterest are planning paid advertising.
Zach thanks for chiming in.
Your comment about people trying to run you into the ground thinking you can carry the weight of an entire department on your back is a copout. I am sorry but, but generally speaking this is just the nature of business.
I read your comment multiple times and wasn’t sure how to respond, but go read this LinkedIn Pulse article. The author speaks to this kind of thinking: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-i-wrote-leadership-bs-jeffrey-pfeffer
The experience you share is not uncommon. Part of the challenge in any business and any industry, not just automotive, is overcoming these obstacles. It’s not the industry so much as it is you.
Believe me, every single person is faced with the same challenges to which you allude. It’s not the industry. It’s business. It’s the world. It’s life, man.
Much obliged to you for the heavenly rundown of Conferences & Expositions. This is a useful to all…
Great information.Content Syndication lets you to list your vehicles once and have your ads published to multiple online media channels.You get more and better exposure, website visitors and more leads.
Ryan, thanks for the wonderful mention here. This is a great reference and resource for those of us professionals that want to see everything in one vision. I know it takes time and effort on your part. Thanks for all you do… JIM
This a fantastic resource you put together here, Ryan. Great stuff!
Hey Mark thank you for chiming in. I modified my post a bit since you commented, but only to strengthen my point and draw focus.
Innovation is a tremendous challenge for companies as they grow. With their growth also comes other benefits such as scalability and reliability. This acquisition does not achieve anything, in my opinion, other than direct the flow of revenue. As for “investing into customers and the industry,” for me that is only PR babble.
I do not believe that the auto industry as a whole is slow to change. I see us on the cutting edge in several ways. Some dealers might be slow to change, but the industry as a whole is progressive in my eyes.
Ryan, agree that we do not know if this will be a benefit to dealers or create for “homogenization” and make things stale. Remember innovation rarely comes from big corporations. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr were NOT products of large “risk averse” organization.
The flip side- in an industry that is very slow to change (auto dealers) this will most certainly provide them with a reason to do the same old, same old.
I actually moved out of the auto industry for the past 3-4 years because of the extreme push-back and general lack of support / understanding when it came to integrating technologies and taking marketing to the next level. I’ve always championed the importance of cross-disciplinary focus and so far the more I know, the more people try to run me into the ground thinking I can carry the weight of an entire department on my back. I’m hoping once people start to evolve and younger generations take place of the dinosaurs, I can get involved again because I truly love the auto industry more than any other industry I’ve experienced.
Well, of course there are problems in automotive. Dinosaurs in leadership positions creating legions of career focused minions in their own image. Automobiles are of course becoming less about nuts and bolts and more about software and firmware. Ford got it right when they moved a team out to the Silicon Valley to be in the center of excellence for these emerging technologies. VW moved out of Michigan to escape the pervasive old school mentality that dwells in Detroit. The message is clear… Learn how to change, or go the way of the dinosaur.
the timing on this is correct with transportation time sharing UBER and others… creative marketing angle that I could see customers enjoying. not really that far of a stretch from 24 month leasing Toyota currently endorses.
Efforts do tail off. They typically last as long as the person spearheading them is around. Somebody has to carry the torch. A common problem for most small business really. Thanks for sharing Matt. Love your work.
Yes, email marketing is almost entirely useless. Especially if you are just now assembling a list. Personally, I am much more likely to follow excerpt of news on social media, digging deeper if the message resonates with me and a link is present. Some car dealers do handle this work in-house, but I find that often that effort tails off after two or three months.
Great to see ABTL making headlines! I have to attribute my initial success in automotive to Autobytel.
Back in 2001 I started working for this little unknown computer repair company in Pennsylvania called HomeNet. I was hired by owner Jesse Biter to set up, support, and up-sell this new software program they just launched called IOL (Inventory Online).
HomeNet had an informal relationship w/ ABTL where we would set up IOL for their dealers at no cost. My job was to up-sell the dealers to our Pro license so we could make money. To my recollection, ABTL sent us at least 2-3 dealers a day. As you can imagine, this kept me quite busy and eventually made me good commissions too.
Late in 2001 ABTL decided to sunset their dealer website program. They gave us the list of dealers who would be losing their website (about 300). Jesse and I called each of them and offered to transfer their site over for free. I think we got about 100 dealers moved over.
Funny to reminisce how dealers hated “Internet Customers” back then. I remember so many dealers telling me they would never have a website again for their dealership. Wonder where they are now?
small town dealership and they are just know getting into this because i am doing it myself and its not easy and always up for some help
RSS to Post is a good plugin. However, I had some minor issues with newer WordPress versions as the plugin is a bit outdated now.
That was an amazing presentation. You are right about social media and marketing. I have been a part of car dealership and both have always been associated with one another though success would still depend on how social media and marketing are used.
Yeah! you are apsolutely right. Nice post. Giving interesting business tricks.
Nancy I am such a loaf. All this time I left you hanging like this. I am terrible. I also have not been on Carbucks nearly as much since I started working for SOCIALDEALER. I do however share it with people all the time. Carbucks is a real-world example of a great online community.
We need to catch up. I am curious about TruePro.org.
WOW! Ryan, I am truly humbled and honored at the same time. When I created Carbucks, I, like others, were looking for a common meeting place to meet peers in the industry with a social and friendly feeling. I believe what sets Carbucks apart from some of the other automotive groups, is the fact it is a “No Pitch” zone and we strictly enforce this. We keep it light, but informative…fun, but professional. I am so happy that you have enjoyed the virtual coffeehouse. The shared informative content and the nurturing of friendship from every guests is what has made Carbucks a success. See you there soon…Oh and your next “car”-puccino is on me!
I still like the quote from the CEO at 1-800 Flowers. He said, “Build relationships first, do business second.Thanks for sharing it.
Jim no way man I always like to hear other people’s ideas. I just don’t always like them. Haha. But seriously thanks for chiming in. You have been a significant part of my journey. Everyone here has actually. Thanks to all of you. Really.
Ryan, I remember those days when you first started and together we signed a few dealers. You were definitely a pioneer but sometimes your mind was closed to outside suggestions/direction. I really thought that you had what it took to create something great and I only hope that you get the fire back someday to continue on.
You are a young and old soul all wrapped into one! Life is the journey… keep it coming!
How, where and when we communicate is more important than ever. We are talking more and saying less everyday. I still like the quote from the CEO at 1-800 Flowers. He said, “Build relationships first, do business second.” Ah so true. You have learned some hard lessons over the years, as have most pioneers who blaze new territories. Smart Dealers are the ones using technology to build relationships not the ones using it to dis-intermediate relationships.
I look forward to more good stuff from the heart of Ryan Gerardi. All the best.
I love this article! Although our destination is extremely important, it’s embracing and being present in the process that makes all the difference. You are one that lives a life of passion and purpose and I’m so glad to be on this journey with you. May the days ahead be filled with even greater purpose for you and the lives you touch!
You continue to provide insight into automotive digital marketing ahead of the curve. It can be a lonely place at times, but I suspect your in good company with Jeff and HookLogic. Only the best for you and yours, DTG
@Vicki I hear you. Thinking I might feel a bit invaded too.
They got a great response rate but not sure how that same strategy would be perceived in the US. Trying to imagine what my reaction would be receiving a direct mail piece with my house in the background and a car I don’t own in the driveway…might be crossing the line on personalization. Results focused, it definitely worked.
We all have dreams of things we want, and usually assume are out of reach. Way to go Pfaff, for capitalizing on putting dreams within reach in the mind of the consumer. Somebody was really thinking…
Amazing!!! The team at Pfaff is making us Canadians proud!
wow that is a huge response for a huge effort. I could see Google maps being able to monetize this. great share, thanks! DTG
I subscribe to this site and waiting for a new blog post similar to what I’ve learned from this post. Very informative post.
We’re using AmeroBiz to advertise one of our automotive clients, and although is not a niche advertising platform, it has been working great for our client.
Great post. I’m a forward thinking car dealer who embraces new marketing concepts in articular new media.
Rorie that is interesting to hear. I doubt there are more than 10-12% of dealers in the USA getting a lot from their blogging. More so than the blogging itself is managing expectations and shaping perspective with your dealer audience. You know what I mean? As more and more best practices come about that dealers can understand then I would expect we see the rate of dealers blogging accelerate more quickly soon enough. Thanks for posting your comments. Pretty neat hearing from the other side of the pond.
Very interesting, looking forward to seeing how effective the introduction of these ads is going to be hopefully we see some dealer success stories.
Personally I’m not sure which advert I would be more likely to click on. Facebook or Twitter?
Hello guys, just commented on another blog over at TK Car Sites regarding blogging.
I mentioned that a study in a trade publication earlier this week said that the UK dealers are behind our US cousins in regards to Blogging and Car Dealer Video(which is our mission to change.)
Many blogs in the UK lay neglected, with old content from a year ago. If it isn’t out of date then more often than not its just pages and pages of different deals that they can offer you and I don’t know where to start reading.
Would love to see some success stories!
Hey, great posts on this site. It’s really helpful to smaller car dealers like myself who are looking to use new technologies to grow my business. I’ll keep coming back here read more.
Ah yes, dealers definitely struggle with the practice of being a thought-leader as opposed to an advertiser. We are in the thick of this battle of concept vs. practice. Appreciate you chiming in Rorie. Will be sure that we connect.
Brilliant infographic will definitely have to get that out via our Twitter feed. Slowly I see dealer marketing teams slowly changing their attitudes from the outbound, one directional model of communication to that of a more interactive stance. However I have seen dealers mainly using blogs as a noticeboard for their new promotions!
Yo go girl!
Erica I share so much of your sentiment. On the flip side, I continue to see a lot of the same short-term thinking and motivations from dealers that I believe are the primary culprit for such a lack of trust that auto shoppers have with auto dealerships.
The Principals and GMs and the GSMs are the ones in the best position to change this, but it will take years of consistency and diligence of effective leadership.
Ultimately, it comes down to companies like the ones identified here to continue leading the way on this evolution.
This space is more evolving than any other we have ever known because at the end of the day, we can’t necessarily control everything that is happening and the direction these sites are going in. Well, with blogging you can, but not Facebook or Google or any of the others that we know or don’t know YET! With a website, I can choose to upgrade it or add a widget, but Facebook can change all of the rules in 30 days (i.e. Timeline). So while we can’t necessarily control everything we would like, what we can do is be aware and informed and constantly implementing the best practices of the day and as those change so do we.
Social/Reputation are not going away….will the players change? Yes. Will the best practices change? Yes. Will the demographics change for the sites? Yes. But will this desire for consumers to really KNOW the companies they are trying to do business with change? No. This trend is here to stay….while people say we are becoming less “personal” because we do so much online, in a way, we are becoming MORE personal because we want so much transparency and humanness from everything around us and now we have the ability to get that on such a broad scale. We don’t have to go down to the dealership and meet all of the employees to determine what they are like…we can go to Facebook, Twitter, review sites, their blog, Flickr, YouTube. These sites are full on brand extensions and especially with reputation, they are brand extensions whether the dealership wants them to be or not!
While these sites may not be huge lead generators, they can definitely be lead KILLERS! They can stop you from getting leads if managed poorly and if managed well by your competition, they can steal leads away.
This space is so exciting because I believe as dealerships continue to leverage the potential of these sites, as an industry, we will finally see the crumbling down of the old consumer perceptions that dealerships and the people in them are just out to “get the consumers.” There are so many AMAZING dealerships with AMAZING employees and this is their era and we look forward to helping them get the credit they are due!
Hey Erica thank you for chiming in and for clarifying what Digital Air Strike is all about. I like that you have spelled out how Digital Air Strike helps its dealers meet their objectives. That sounds like an excellent approach.
I am encouraged to hear you say that some of the most common objectives are building customer loyalty and improving CSI. Too often do I hear dealers ask how many cars will blogging and social media sell me. I have come to learn that is more of a cop-out response for not knowing and understanding the true role that these marketing efforts play.
First and foremost, thank you for acknowledging our company as one of the three leaders in this “infant” space. This space is young and constantly growing and changing and, much like raising children, everyone has their own approach and philosophy on how best social media can be leveraged.
Second, we do agree that dealerships need to set specific expectations and objectives. This is a crucial step in our own setup with our dealers. However, not all objectives are the same and we do not try to force dealers into a prescribed set of objectives. Some of the most common objectives our dealerships are looking for are building customer loyalty and improving CSI, which we help them do by engaging with prospects and customers in a professional and timely manner, on both social media sites and review sites. We track click throughs, coupon/offer downloads, engagement levels, star ratings and much more. For dealers that are interested in learning more about our programs and specific results, we have case studies and references that we can share.
We look forward to your future posts.
I agree with your points. Now that that google has changed the way it ranks your site again by saying that they will put emphasis on sites with high quality content, the challenge to make write-ups that actually inform and keep readers coming back, starts. Thanks for sharing your insights.
Thanks for sharing such a valuable topic.i think a blog helps to a car dealer to interract with his customers.
Thank you for sharing this,I agree. I am certain that this post will be very valuable to car dealers.
You are right social media has taken over.
Great information. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to post a link in my blog and hub.
What a brave post! It’s a shame the iWatch rep (AJ) responded while angry. I’d love to see information from them that corresponds to the points you brought up. The main question that I would love to see answered is “how do they plan to maintain a certain brand when their content has the potential to vary so much?” I’m sure they could overcome that because there are many internet-based stations that face the same issue.
The advertising question is one I don’t quite get. It seems like someone may have given you incorrect info. I hope you get to talk to AJ, because I think he’d find that you’d be more than willing to post a correction if your info is indeed wrong.
Also, I didn’t feel like you were bashing iWatchRadio. You seemed to have a very positive experience with them and with the radio show host. I felt that you were just giving your view as a general businessman. I hope the conversation hasn’t ended here, and I hope to see a new post (with AJ’s cooperation) that addresses these issues. I think people could learn a lot from it.
Hey AJ thanks for chiming in. I think it is good that you took the time to point out that I am incorrect about some aspects of your business model. I do wish however that you would have also noted my enthusiasm for iWatchRadio. I think it is a great concept and has a lot of potential, and I stated this in my post.
The way it was explained to me is that advertisers pay the show host a fee to have my ad appear on his show, which makes sense, but then the show host pays iWatchRadio a fee for each ad slot. That is the part that does not make sense to me bc you are also charging the show host studio time. So yeh if that is not accurate then I was misinformed, or I misunderstood.
So, can you confirm that iWatchRadio DOES NOT charge the show host to run ads on his own show that he pays you to broadcast?
If that is a definitive YES that at least everyone that reads this post will be able to have that clarified.
You’re completely wrong about our business model.
For one, iWatchRadio.com will never run out of time slots, regardless of how many possible slots can be available at any given week.
We have the capabilities to stream multicast connections over 1000’s of different channels, and we’re only utilizing one of those channels as of right now.
As we grow, our talented team of advertisers can brand these shows for their unique abilities, and down the line result in full sponsorship and advertising revenue for each of our show hosts.
Also, you’re completely and 100% incorrect about our means of charging for advertisement and how commissions are broken down between the show hosts and the station itself, so please make sure you get your information from the source before you go out and publicize something that isn’t true what so ever.
Great read, Its great to see the dinosaurs making the transition to where thier customers are!
Hello. I just wished to let you know that some parts of your website are hard to read for me, because I’m color blind. I’m afflicted by deuteranopia, however there are more kinds of color blindness which could also get difficulties. I can understand the biggest section of the website Fine, plus the areas I have issues with I will be able to read using a particular internet browser. Still, it would be cool if you would remember us color-blind people when doing the next site update. Appreciate it.
We were looking at getting some solar power panels for our residence not too long ago. The only problem was the amount. The least expensive solar system we identified was close to ten thousand bucks. It might have taken us several years to recoup that amount. At any rate, we came across these instructions for making your own solar panel products. We ended up going that way. It ended up saving us a great deal of dollars, and the free, green electrical power is excellent! 🙂 We run several of our kitchen appliances off this source of power.
Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll try those. I also found some online tv streaming here, so be sure to check it out!
The Nintendo Wii started out the revolution of movement centered gaming management, but they were not the initial. The Sony PS3 remotes have had gyroscopes in the remote way before the Wii was released, but the full independence that Nintendo produced with their WiiMote has not been defeat because. For Nintendo Wii fans this new way to control the sport process, is not only revolutionary, but also a quite immersive gaming experience. There has under no circumstances been a mainstream gaming process that has introduced the full relatives into the gaming motion the way that the Nintendo Wii has in the full background of console gaming.
Great article. Binging truth to the public is a marvelous undertaking.
Reloaded page and it appeared. Thanks!
Where is the video???
I really liked the way you used WikiLeaks to frame your Cloud Wars argument. You’re spot on and I think this whole WikiLeaks situation is definitely bringing the Cloud Wars more into the mainstream. We linked to your article in a recent WikiLeaks article on our blog as well. I think our readers will enjoy your take on things.
We can make a comparison to the Industrial Revolution when factories were built near rivers and other sources of energy. When the idea of centralized power generation and delivery was presented the chief concern for business was reliability. The Grid, therefore can be compared to the Cloud. Today we would scoff at the idea of every business constructing and maintaining there own power plant for numerous reasons, including the fact that power generation is not their core competency. Why then should businesses, and consumers for that matter, be IT Admins. As the technology powering the Cloud continues to improve things will only get better. While business as a whole may be slower to adapt, consumers (knowingly or not) are diving into the cloud headfirst. The Cloud is the future of computing.
Very nice article. I work with small business owners teaching them how to leverage the Internet and increase their sales with social media list building. I am always searching for more great information on social media list building because their is always another new angle that is just around the corner and you don’t want to miss it. Again thanks for the great content.
Yes now a days social media is became more powerful that why a new field called SMO (Social Media Marketing) is getting Famous.
Varda you really put some things into perspective and I think that a lot of dealers today recognize this and do utilize Facebook in these ways. There is a balance that must be met however in that if all the dealer does is blast special offers in large volumes then he risks turning you off like Ann Taylor has. It would behoove a dealership to also use Facebook to provide humor and selective entertainment, current events, etc.
This is a very interesting article to me, because I tried to “like” my dealership on facebook, but couldn’t find it. I have a couple of thoughts on the subject.
First, the reason I’m looking for my dealership is that I’m 38 and trying to simplify my life. I want to hear about special offers and events on facebook instead of via email or mail because it’s less clutter for me and puts timely actionable information in a timely actionable place. Let’s face it, if I don’t act within a couple of days of a mailing, I’m not going to. Don’t let your offer become one more piece of trash I have to deal with later.
The thing is facebook originally started as a college site, so most of their demographic is younger and has different needs. So, you’re not going to see a lot of people on facebook “liking” dealerships for my reasons – at least not yet. However, while the Gen Xers on facebook might be a smaller demographic, we’re still important (and tend to be at a good point in terms of income). Social media is not about having a large audience, it’s about having the right audience (do you really need a million people in India “liking” your dealership?).
The second thing is that I don’t really want a relationship with my dealer outside the one I already have. You are not my friend – don’t try to be one. I’m about to “unlike” Ann Taylor because they keep clogging up my homepage with irrelevant articles. What I’m looking for from businesses is more of the same: just easier. You send birthday cards? Give me a birthday greeting on facebook! You email special offers and events? Do it on facebook! In my ideal world, the only thing I’d get in the mail would be personal letters, eBay packages and Christmas cards (I prefer to have my bills sent directly to my online bank account). The only thing I’d get in my email are things that need a reply. Facebook would have all of the announcements and chatter in 430 characters or less.
We continue to treat the symptom but not try to cure the disease. If we really want to get off foreign oil, we need to take some bold steps.
1) The EPA can pass an initiative that in the year 2020 no new vehicles sold in this country, under 20,000 lbs, can run on any petroleum based product.
2) This gives all the energy companies ten years to build production and
distribution of these next generation fuels. They can implement one or multiple fuel alternatives like hydrogen, algae based fuels, cellulose, CNG, electric, etc.
3) Starting in 2016 we start boosting the price of gasoline per gallon and add 50 cents to a $1.00 per gallon each year till we reach 2020.
4) anyone who owns a car running on gasoline can still keep their vehicles, but again the price of fuel will encourage them to upgrade or retro-fit their current vehicles to the new fuel system of their choice.
Anything less than a firm cut-off date, will insure that every year our politicians will pay lip service to “energy independence.”
Wow Jerry I had no idea that these countries were converting to NGV at this rate. I appreciate you sharing this information here. We absolutely need to step up the urgency on this matter.
I am the State representative for the Pickens Plan and lead a Montana based company introducing natural gas as a vehicular fuel to mid-continent consumers. I have to express my bewilderment as to how at this late date the Senate of the United States remains unresponsive to the nation’s demand for an energy solution. While other less sophisticated countries set the pace for the world.
In the past 6 months Argentina has converted 60,000 vehicles to natural gas. Pakistan has overtaken Argentina’s position in July and is on a production path to add another 1.55 million CNG vehicles – 18 percent of total by the end of 2012. Worldwide, there are 11.2 million natural gas vehicles by, led by Pakistan with 2.4 million, Argentina (1.8 million), Iran (1.7 million), Brazil (1.6 million), and India (725 thousand). with the Asia-Pacific region leading with a global market share with 5.7 million NGVs, followed by Latin America with almost 4 million vehicles.
The US has 110,000 NGVs, mostly buses.
Emissions from natural gas vehicles are 1/5th of a petroleum fueled vehicle and fuel costs are ¼ that of gasoline or diesel.
Natural gas may also be mixed with biogas, produced from landfills or wastewater, which doesn’t increase the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere.
CNG-powered vehicles are considered to be safer than gasoline-powered vehicles.
NGV’s can be refueled anywhere from existing natural gas lines. This makes home refueling stations that tap into such lines possible.
Flatiron’s fueling systems can be placed and in service in a day.
Our Montana based company can fill hundreds of skilled positions and the NGV industry would add thousands of new jobs nationwide.
The U.S. has the energy of 700 billion barrels of oil in proven natural gas deposits – most of them located onshore in places like MONTANA!!!
Every dollar spent in a natural gas powered vehicle will add $3 to the GDP – a dollar spent on OPEC oil puts 50 cents in the pocket of hostiles.
Coal will remain the cost effective solution for base load power, NGV consumption of natural gas will only reinforce that fact.
So what the heck doesn’t the Senate understand?
Hi Will. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I visited your bloig/site and see you are on WordPress which is a great call but am curious about if this is your website or just your blog. You have sections allocated for inventory but how did you plan to publish your inventory?
I’d be curious to know about your overall strategy. A blog is good for cultivating business but not necessarily for converting in-market buyers into leads.
Great blog. Your video (talking, not sound) was a little difficult to hear. I found a lot of useful information here. I love the idea of putting more pictures. I am just starting a blog for my dealership, I would love some suggestions on what direction to go.
I will be returning here for more tips and tricks for blogging for my dealership. The times they are changing!
You can now view the edited version of this webinar on our Viddler channel:
The edited version came out nice. It is just under 10 minutes in length and covers a number of topics pertaining to some of the challenges for auto dealers today.
– Selling cars today changes frequently
– The social media buzz is impacting the car buying experience, e.g. branding, networking, customer service, etc.
– Customers have few places to praise a dealership and/or personnel
– Carfolks fosters this possibility
Enjoy and leave your comments below.
Missy in case you did not see my Tweet response about this, the edited version of this webinar is now available on the homepage. Alternatively you can visit our Viddler channel where we publish them too. Visit our training page for link: http://blogproautomotive.com/training/
Hi Missy absolutely. We record them all and then release an edited version that packs it down into about 5-6 minutes. I fell behind on our edited versions but should have them all up soon enough ok. Will keep you posted and thanks for participating.
Do you have this webinar available for replay? I missed it and I would love to get the insights!
@Eric good call on the competitive twist. I have been toying with some ideas related to that and think your example has given me enough incentive to pursue some.
When I first heard of foursquare my initial thoughts were on the lines of “how ridiculously useless is this?” But I sat on that notion for a few days and then gave it a whirl, fighting off the urge to write about it until I gave it some time. The I ended up writing this post and I plan to do more.
Now this evening I came across an article about foursquare that shares my sentiment, somewhat. It’s kind of blasts foursquare w/o giving it a fair shake but it does make some valid points. It’s on gawker call, If you use foursquare you are an annoying jackass.
Anyhow, I think there are some potential merits and in fact we will be incorporating foursquare in a new app we are rolling out in April for AutoConversion.
@Patrick thanks for chiming in. Think I should clarify my suggestion for dealers to advertise their use or presence on foursquare. I wasn’t suggesting for dealers to irrelevantly share their location but to maybe include links to their profile and venue URL in things like email signatures and profile links, etc. Hope that is more clear cos I am with you on the inundation of useless and irrelevant information sharing going on.
You can now view the edited version of this webinar on Viddler: http://www.viddler.com/explore/autoconversion/videos/67/
While there, consider subscribing so that you will receive a notification from Viddler each time we publish a new video to our channel.
You may also add us as a friend and we will be able to share videos with you and include you in the AC Webinars group: http://www.viddler.com/groups/acwebinars/
Thanks again to Brian Collins from CMP for being our guest presenter.
Ryan – First off, great timely post! I agree that the possibilities of local marketing through foursquare are HUGE compared to other social platforms.
The only thing that I don’t agree with is your suggestion in #5. The firehose of information that these real-time services produce is flooding the social web in my opinion. The cross pollination of these services makes the experience fragmented. I’ve hidden the Facebook Newsfeed and Unfollowed multiple people on Twitter in the past 2 weeks that are avid Oversharers on foursquare. If the information is relevant (ie Try the Ribs @ Big Fatty’s BBQ!) then it is value. Letting the world know that you’re back at Wal-Mart for the 4th time in 3 days isn’t helping anyone.
Eric – I love the idea of leveraging retailers being asleep at the wheel to build your brand. If you’re leading the charge (which you are), why not? Thanks for sharing these tips!
Eric these are excellent examples. Really appreciate yo sharing them with our readers. I think they show the creativity foursquare will demand from dealerships to make it useful for sales purposes.
This is a good first step for dealers to begin experimenting with FS; the true power comes after creating initial awareness and gaining acceptance.
I’m the mayor of our NY store, but I also created a venue page for our service department. It’s still early, but that’s the key – getting in an setting things up now. The promotion – free oil change for the Mayor of our service dept. – has been created, now I’m sharing that promotion via other online channels (like you mentioned above)
The To-Do & Tips are where the value comes from – notice the promotion on my To-Do list: http://foursquare.com/user/emiltsch
Because the check-in’s are GPS/proximity based, a tip left at a nearby location where you’re the Mayor can tell others checking in about your dealership…
Another scenario where we’re fortunate to have exposure is at our new Mall Store. I’m the Mayor of Eastview Mall, http://foursquare.com/venue/432155 – lots of people checking in, many within my network as well. People checking in at Eastview Mall receive a message telling them to stop by our Mall store to register for our monthly contest. (Here;s the Mall store venue: http://foursquare.com/venue/530674)
Lastly, here’s where it gets interesting from a competitive nature. What’s stopping you from becoming the Mayor at another dealership & leaving a tip which mentions your store? I’ve mentioned this once before – describing it to the electronic version of your display ad showing up next to another dealer’s display ad in the newspaper.
(Here’s one example where I’ve actually done this: http://foursquare.com/venue/1278007 – future check-ins there see my message, about ADUSA)
Location based activities like this are only going to reach a small portion of this segment – but you can’t beat this type of targeted approach when its free.
Hey Steve thanks for taking the time to address this here. I think it demonstrates the commitment at Autobase to provide a quality product and it is good for others to see this and to know about the capability for this part of the interface to be customized. I can contact you directly to fill you in on the dealer referenced in this post so that you can address the issue with them.
The edited version of this webinar is now available on our Viddler channel using the following link
Be sure to check it out to get an idea what we covered. It’s just more than 5 minutes in length and while it doesn’t include everything we covered in the live session it does hit on the core topics we discussed.
While there be sure to subscribe to our channel and also add us as a friend so we can include in the AC Webinars Viddler group.
Ryan, you are correct: this is not the ideal way to present permissions to consumers.
I will also say that the timing of your post is impeccable, as our developers have been working with our email deliverability partner on this particular topic. In fact, we are in the process of rolling out changes to our standard unsubscribe landing pages.
Additionally, we offer the option of customized landing pages which are branded with the dealer’s logo and provide links to the dealer’s homepage, online inventory, etc. The customized option also serves as a global unsubscribe mechanism for all marketing emails. Whether the page you featured is a configuration issue or the dealership is unaware of the customized landing pages we offer, I can’t say with the info provided.
I can tell you that we are constantly striving to provide our dealers with the simplest and most powerful CRM solution, which includes strong management of their email marketing. If you have any other input or ideas, please feel free to contact our Product Team at 317.842.4242. Thanks.
The edited version of this webinar is now available on our Viddler.com channel:
It is 5 minutes in length and one of our better edited versions.
Please check it out and let us know any feedback or input you might have.
View the edited version of this webinar on Viddler
The edited version is a cut-to-the-chase rendition of the webinar that gives you the highlights in under 5 minutes. Definitely worth your time.
The edited recording of this webinar is now available on our Viddler channel with this link – http://www.viddler.com/explore/autoconversion/videos/59/
Definitely worth checking out. Packs the entire webinar in under 5 minutes.
You may notice some subtle sound effects added for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Hey Gene you are welcome sir. Glad it was useful for you and thanks for letting us know. This is what it’s all about baby!
Great video on blocking ip ‘s and banning the spambots from a WordPress blog. Thanks for posting this Ryan.
@James how are you planning to show what cars are in stock? If you intend to leave a wall comment for each vehicle in stock then I would be weary but if you have a widget that can list them in a Box then that might be more effective. I have not pursued this objective there yet, but it is the logical next step.
One thing we do on our dealership blogs is include an RSS listing of the inventory. When the user clicks a vehicle then it takes him or her directly to the dealership website where he can learn everything there is to know about it on the dealer’s website.
To see this in action go to http://blog.yourmercedes.com/
There is something to be said for what Ralph wrote previously, about pursuing Facebook as a means for further developing relationships with those who are already customers versus establishing new relationships.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing. You are at least the second UK blogger to comment on this post.
The article and reader comments are very useful…thanks.
I am currently consulting for a car dealership in Cambridge UK and i have suggested setting up a facebook site to:
a) use as a place to show the cars stocked
b) To encourage users to write a review on any of the cars (these are prestige cars like BMW, Range Rovers, Porsche etc.
c) To enable customers to have another source of where our cars are stocked i.e. autotrader, our website, facebook…basically so that they can chose the media that suits them.
d) To enable customers to keep abreast of what we are doing should they not want to receive email updates.
e) Because it shows us as open and venerable, I bet some car dealerships would be scared of such a thing…i mean people can write what they want.
f) becasuse competitors might do it! it is free and easy to do, so why not do it first!
Looks like a great topic for this month’s webinar!
Remember too, that even if you are not able to attend live, you should still register for the webinar. Afterwards we will send you the link to the recording, so you can watch it at your convenience!
Funny you should say that Ralph. About a year ago I was suggesting the same thing on cardealerforums.com and got a bit of resistance from another user on the site. Look for, “Blogs don’t have anything to do with CRM” by “Sporty81” on this thread:
Interestingly, Sporty81 was from VIN Solutions. I wonder if he has changed his tune since then. I would hope so.
I found this article on Chris Ferris’ ADM Professional Profile and although I agree with the recommendations that you make, I would like to add that the use of Social Media by car dealers may be made much more effective if approached first as a relationship development, enhancement and engagement strategy. Soliciting new customers may be a lot less effective on Facebook than connecting with new and existing customers who have already purchased vehicles or services at the dealership. In many respects, I see the best use of social media for car dealers as evolving more into a CRM-type function than a conquest or new customer acquisition marketing tool. To check out links to a dozen examples of dealers using this strategy, read the article at:
Theresa I like your perspective. You seem to have a good mindset for this type of marketing. I hope more dealers start seeing it like you do.
I signed up for your mailing list so I can check it out but I do not see placement of your blog or facebook groups on your site. Am I missing it or are they just not there?
Great article! I too struggle with the iFrame debate. I have some set up on hoselton.com… It enables me to have a lot of control over our web site and update content quickly (versus having our web provider do it), but I too have been concerned about SEO.
My school of thought is that a well built site will perform great on the search engines, which TK’s SEO team (our web provider) does a great job with. There is much you can do to dominate the first page, but you can’t win every SEO battle… user functionality is obviously the most important aspect of a site. That being said, SEO comes an extremely close second!
On another note… my “Hoselton Auto Mall” Facebook page is up to 49 fans. Social marketing is a much longer term approach than most dealership marketing activities, but I believe it will pay off in the end. Marketing today is so much of a spider web… you need to branch in more directions than ever and be thinking ahead at all times. In the dealer world, it’s not just about this month’s end anymore. 🙂
Hi Mike. I am looking at your website http://www.midtnautos.com/ but do not see any connection to it with Facebook. Was curious to see your FB page and becoming a fan.
There is a gentleman on the Automotive Digital Marketing Ning Network run by Ralph Paglia that blogs about everything BUT autos. Says he gets lots of dialog generated this way. Link to his profile is below if you want to check it out:
Show me how I can access your FB page.
Steve i use facebook and do a few posts every other day. I cannot say it has helped me sells cars but it does help to get our name out. Instead of my picture in the profile I use a pic of my website and in my pictures i have posted a few cars. i do not make my post about the business but about positve happedings locally.
I think it’s time for auto dealerships to get back to the basics when it comes to marketing their business. Very well written article, thanks for the info.
As an Australia-based Packers fan, I found your blog on google and read a few of your other Packers posts.
I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.
I must agree that video really is not a great way to advertise online. Very interesting post!Keep them coming!
there is good relationship you mention here to car dealers and web 2.0, one is software and another one automotive, good article here i read it and i like your creativity i didn’t get this type of web blog still now, this is first time i seen thank you for sharing the information.
Good posting.Do u want to see Auto Forum and Community ? u can visit my blog friend :D.ow yeah your blog has alread bookmarked by me
I do not know new thing about comodity if i not read this nice article. Thanks for increase my knowledge on comodity.
Gentlemen. Good to hear from you.
Ralph I dig what you are doing on those Ning sites. Building communities for dealers is a new level in CRM, and we have solutions for this I am happy to share with you. You have a knack for it.
Jeff dealers really do have long road ahead. It will take time for shoppers and dealers to figure out how to relate with one another using these new tools and opportunities. Remember just less than 2 years ago we were conversing about the possibility of dealers blogging. It’s happening.
I look forward to the coming year for sure.
Ryan, thanks for the mention! It’s been a long road for DealerRefresh and you have been there since the beginning Ryan.
I’m glad DealerRefresh has given others in this industry inspiration to grow there own sites and social networks. Kudos to these sites for wanting to help move this industry in the right direction. It would never happen with just one blog.
As for dealers, well, they still have a long road ahead of them. Though there are a select few of true leaders out there that really get this “web 2.0”.
It’s going to be an interesting year no doubt. The weak will continue to fall and the longer the current economy persists the narrower the funnel will get. We’ll see!
Great article… I agree that in 2008 we saw people working in the car business start to get far more engaged with online professional networking, information sharing, file exchanging, etc. and all kinds of interaction that will probably raise the overall level of competency and professionalism amongst Internet sales and marketing practitioners throughout the auto industry… That said, my biggest and most exciting projects in 2009 will be to try and successfully launch “dealership communities” using interactive Web 2.0, UGC type platforms to create online communities made up of a dealership’s (or group) customers, employees and suppliers… Maybe even a few OEM people who touch the store as well. If we can create the right combination of site platform technology and email database extraction for invitation lists, I believe it could work. You can check out my early efforts at the following Ford dealership “communities”:
This may be one of those concepts that will be tough to get off the ground, but for the dealerships that figure it out and are successful with it, I believe the results may be as significant as the best CRM implementations.
Wasn’t Oodle looking to do this over 2 years ago? I think I can remember reading something about it a while back.
Yes it is a buzzword which I think is finally buzzed out. For me, “Web 2.0” will always define the period in the life of WWW where websites became relational meaning that they offered more than just browsing and converting. Like the bulletin system back in the day. The days before my time on computers.
It was a great plan when gas was $4.00 a gallon. Now it is still a good long term plan we have to do eventually.
Vehicle listings from Oodle will soon appear in Facebook. This should help generate some more traffic for dealers. Oodle listings are even free! Inventory management companies like VinSolutions send their dealer’s inventory to Oodle.
Web 2.0 is just a buzzword. Or it is just a way to say companies keeping up with technology are web 2.0 when those who are behind the times aren’t.
I agree that web marketing would help the dealers but facebook would help or not i am not sure. I go with Steve Taylor that facebook may work in other industries but automotive i am doubtful. By what you have explained if we can get good business then we must give it a try.
@Missy Caulk – I am an Ann Arbor native myself. Good to hear from a fellow Ann Arborite.
People are generally adverse to change. You can’t expect the Unions to give up being unions for the sake of it. However, if there were compelling alternatives then maybe that could persuade.
Great post and so true, living in Ann Arbor I got this post through a Google Alert. Our state has already lost so many jobs due to the Big Three restructuring since 2001. We are in for more years of hard times.
Watching the news up here, the Unions are not willing to budge. (((sigh)))
I understand where your coming from and understand how Facebook can work in other industries and initiatives. But in the context of automotive, and seeing it from the perspective of a potential customer, I wouldn’t go onto Facebook, I would ignore Facebook if it appeared on my Google search and EVEN IF I did go on and read what a dealership had to say, I don’t think it would influence me to purchase from them.
I believe that if the website is a manufacturer or C2C website then Facebook can play a good part. Consumers are looking for recommendations and reviews on brands and models of car to help them decide which to buy. Only 19% of consumers at the moment are even considering this type of social medium when researching their purchase online. http://www.vlane.com is such a site that can and do use Facebook to promote their site, but they aren’t a dealership.
Again, I’m looking at it mainly from my 12 years web experience, 8 of which in automotive in the UK, so it might all be different in the USA.
If you haven’t already check out the Cap Gemini Report 08/09 to gain an insight into what people are doing online.
Great points… also do not forget to post an ad in the Facebook Marketplace. Fastest way to build your network is look-up your walk-ins/appointments on face book and other social sites. Keep your self in the prospective mind. Now and then share some news with them… write on their wall etc.
You can also go broad and create groups… your business group, scion group, local ford group etc… etc…
There is a good discussion at the Grok which distinguishes Social Media and Networking sites for building relationships and networking rather than for SEO and advertising, which I wholly agree with.
You stated something key, “consumers are very unlikely to use Facebook in their buying process”.
This would be because dealers do not use Facebook in the buying process. As dealers learn to find ways for using Facebook as part of the buying process then I would expect your customers to naturally become a part of that process.
Think of the telephone, fax, and email. Well, the phone might be a stretch b\c it has been around as long as selling cars has, but when fax and email first hit the scene they were not part of the car buying process. But today they are a staple.
My post presents a real-world use for Facebook with dealers and their customers and I hope to experiment with it on some of my dealership customers. I am confident it would help the dealer build their Facebook network which if done consistently would indeed lead to sales.
Appreciate the response Steve and let me know if there is anything with which I can be of assistance for you.
Hi, I would be interested to see if what you’re suggesting would actually work. In fact I’m struggling to see if Facebook has any benefit to a dealer except for the backlinks it would create. From a UK perspective, consumers are very unlikely to use Facebook in their buying process. It may be different in states but I still feel buyers aren’t interested.
Or am I missing something?
The brand concept is right on. In fact, that is why Waters sued the others in the 80s – he said the band was dead creatively but they were out touring without him because the brand was alive and well.
Wright was certainly a huge piece of the Floyd sound. Without him, you would not have much of the band’s sound (vocally as well), and even some of its best songs (Us and Them, Great Gig In The Sky). He will be missed, but you are right – through the brand he’ll live on.
I posted a tribute at my blog too, at http://isorski.blogspot.com/2008/09/pink-floyds-richard-wright-passes-at-65.html.
Thank you very much for the great information.
At the dealer level, the profiles should be managed by well-suited Customer Service representatives, be it sales people or product specialists or whatever; people who are in some sort of customer service role.
The protocols these people follow should be determined by the profit center stake holders.
These sites would be hybrids of online marketing strategies coupled with sales prospecting and customer retention processes, some automated and some manual.
Who do you recommend creates and manages the various profit center profiles… marketing or profit center manager?