The more things change, the more they stay the same. There are no shortcuts... Car dealers, when it comes to websites, SEO, reputation management, SEM and social media stop simply buying services blind or going co-op “approved” to save a buck. Stop buying enterprise solutions because it's one check or everything comes on a "proprietary dashboard" and start getting effective results with accountability. Start being your own dealership online rather than being like all of the rest. The same is what enterprise solutions get you. It doesn't work.
Some quick examples: Redundant SEO doesn't stand out and as a matter of fact it’s penalized today by Google and Bing. Copied press releases don't get clicked, read or acted upon. Facebook posts (even though, yes, Google and Bing don't crawl them) that are identical to every one of your competitors don't gain reach or go viral. And PPC ads that aren’t set up properly and don't have unique content don't convert.
It is time to drop the vendors that are endorsed by your brand/OEM that 450, 700 or 1,600 other stores are on; and time to invest properly, get involved with what YOU put online under your name and get real about understanding and results. And for business sake, reputation management and social media are not things you just turn over and don’t watch and discuss, period. Paying vendors to get reviews and paying someone to put up pictures of goldfish in adjacent bowls starting at each other with "caption this" was not acceptable in 2009, let alone 2012. And even if you're not up to speed with what Google or Yelp are doing (and you need to be), don’t pay for reviews from someone that’s not a salesperson, service writer or other employee. Your reputation is your responsibility, not a vendor’s for a couple thousand dollars a month.
Your OEM-certified vendors don’t understand social media and for most brand headquarters, the people making the decision don’t know much more when they sign the purchase orders or endorsements. Most eCommerce heads had stints in other areas of their brand operations and have no experience or understanding. It’s time you knew that because you are trusting your largest traffic generator, which most dealers flinch at spending $1,000-1,500 a month for…let alone more appropriate, higher costs, to a decision someone made based on a relationship, a pitch and/or promises of non-dealer-centric benefits.
Take ownership and yes, you can and must do and be responsible for every single thing that has your name on it: advertising, fliers, sell sheets, hang tags, pictures, video, templates and online marketing...all the way down to your business cards. If you aren’t on your way, or at least starting, down your digital comprehension and betterment it is only a matter of time before you are absolutely, positively passed up.
You will hear this from very few people and places because it flies in the face of convention. And it disagrees with what you hear in ads and presentations. And it is an about face from what nearly all of the OEMs want and believe. And because it’s hard to beat the 800 pound gorilla (vendors); the gorilla that has no idea what any part of the funnel in their traffic report is, how to properly maintain website optimization, how to set up a legitimate Facebook or Google Plus page and just can’t get its hands around how to actually answer a lead.
Welcome to being back in business for yourself and with the right frame of mind. Yes, that means the herd you leave just may be heading the wrong way…
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