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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch CEO

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I am still amazed how many dealers have less than 20 reviews on their Google Maps listings. Even worse are dealers who have Google Maps listings with incorrect information and/or missing their website link. Dealers with low review counts often will find that they are mostly negative posts which creates an unfair picture of any dealership.

I was thinking why some dealers have ignored Google Maps and the reviews that show on their listing. I have come to the conclusion that they don't realize how many times each month their Maps listing is shown to consumers.

For a dealer in an active metro area, their Google Maps listing is shown over 15,000 times. Normally at these number of impressions, dealers will get over 300-500 visitors clicking to their website and dozens of phone calls.  As a reminder, put a tracking number on your Google Maps listing.

Poor Reviews Decrease Leads

When a consumer clicks on the Reviews link on a dealer's maps listing and sees very negative ratings, it is no surprise why consumers may end their consideration of that dealer. I'm writing today to encourage  Internet Sales Managers and General Sales Managers to implement a 4x4 IRM strategy for the next few months. 

By starting with realistic goals, dealers can take small steps to increase their consumer direct leads.  With all the competition on Google Page One for your brand name, your Google Maps reviews are one of your most powerful defensive tools.  As your reviews increase, so will the leads and calls.

Starting A Internet Reputation Management Process

Every month, dealers sell cars to family, friends or long-time customers. I am encouraging all dealers to identify these loyal brand advocates and contact them to achieve 4 reviews on Google Maps each week for one month. This 4x4 strategy will produce 16 positive reviews spread out over the month.

This investment will be one of the best uses of your time in the next 30 days.

If you feel that posting 16 reviews on Google Maps in one month is too many, split it with one other review site that shows on Google Page One or Page Two when you do a search on your exact business name.

The reason why I am encouraging this initial measure to be done with loyal customers is because many dealers have only bad reviews "front and center" on Google Maps. I don't want a new customer to see just the "ugly" posts.   Keep in mind that Google is rolling up reviews from Edmunds, DealerRater, Yelp, CitySearch, so posting directly on Google is key for visibility.

Car dealers need to achieve balance by getting loyal customers to post from their home computers that will not lose faith when they see some negative reviews posted. Once balance is established,  any customer should be encouraged to post a valid, truthful review. If you don't ask yourhappy customers, then your positive counts will never go up.

If dealers implement a 4x4 strategy on Google for one month, then they can expand that strategy to Edmunds, DealerRater, Yelp or InsiderPages. The goal is to achieve a natural set of posts that are not all posted on the same day or to put up 20 reviews in one week.

4x4 Reputation Management Rules

Always play by the rules; don't cheat. Have the reviews posted from actual customers from their own PC at home. Never post reviews from inside your dealership.

Ask your customers to be specific about the car they purchased, who they dealt with and where they live. By including where they live, you demonstrate that people are willing to drive a distance to shop at your dealership.

Get started...Google Maps is your #1 free advertising source on the Internet. Don't waste the opportunity.

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing

Automotive Reputation Management Specialists

Brian, Great advice. You do bring up a great question, however if google is pulling reviews from DelerRater, Yelp, etc., would you recomment customers go to one of these third party sites to submit reviews or go to Google directly? If they submit a review from Yelp won't Google show it as well? Or dowe Google place a higher weight on reviews submitted directly?
Shaun Raines
Brian, Nice post. This is great coaching for dealers. I don't think that dealers are ignoring Google maps as much as they're simply lacking awareness. Your strategy is a great way to increase the level of attention. If I might add on to your advice I would also encourage dealers to offer an incentive to these loyal customers for taking the time to write the review. Good stuff! Shaun
Bryant Gibby
I'm with Shaun on this one. I'm the sales manager at our dealership and totally lack awareness with regard to our reviews. Where is the best place to direct those 16 customers? Are all dealers rated on google or is it something that we need to sign up for?
Brian Pasch
@Bryant Most dealers have a Google Maps listing and I would focus ALL initial posts to be placed on Google Maps, a few a week. Google will roll-up reviews from other siets but they do not roll-up 100%. For example, Marlboro Nissan has over 300 reviews on but their Google Maps listing is bare.
Brian Pasch
@Shaun A word of caution. In December 2009 the FTC passed a law that requires a customer to include in their review that they were compensated. Failure to disclose that information can result in hefty fines for a dealer. Find the customers that will take a few minutes to post; compensation can also cheapen the value of the review process.

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