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JD Rucker

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It’s All Going Mobile. We Get It. Now What?


Compared to a couple of years ago, the number of dealers who have some sort of mobile strategy is exponentially higher. As an industry, we're starting to really understand just how important mobile is, but there needs to be more action and less discussion, in my humble opinion.

Here's an article I wrote on one of my blogs. It was originally meant for a general business audience but I adjusted it slightly so we can apply to the car business as well.


When I finally stopped counting, I found 43 articles posted this week on various publications proclaiming that everything was going mobile and that marketers and businesses need to make the appropriate adjustments. All of the articles had two things in common: they gave reasons why we needed to market to mobile users and they didn't give very good ways other than the basic or generic methods for doing so.

Well, I'm here to give you some good ways to do it. That's all. No need to convince you that you need to do it. If you're reading this article, you already know. If you're not reading this article, you probably already know. Now, let's get away from why and start really digging into how.

Build Everything for Mobile

Everything. I didn't say most things. I didn't say "everything digital" or "all of your advertising". I said "everything" and I mean it.

Signs. Billboards. Television commercials. Radio spots. Newspaper ads. PPC campaigns. Social media posts. Your website. You employees' apparel.

Pretend like people will be carrying around smartphones and tablets with them everywhere they go. Pretend like their primary method for interacting with businesses is not the phone, not their email, not their laptops, and not coming to see you in person. Pretend like they're on the verge of using their mobile device even when they're in your store. Now, stop pretending because all of that is already a reality.

Watch your customers at the store. How many of them check their phones during the visit? Check your analytics. Look at the devices through which they're viewing your website.

Now, give them the opportunity to have a mobile experience with everything you have. Once you have the opportunities in line, give them the reason to act. For example:

  • Forget about paper coupons for parts or service. Put virtual coupons at your store if they download your app or go to the "In-Store Customer Discount Page" on your website.
  • Post unique videos and articles about specific vehicles. I'm not talking about stitched videos. I'm referring to sending a salesperson or someone else out to that new model that just came off the truck and giving it a good, short walkaround. Lots of dealers and vendors are talking about video, but few are investing into the medium properly. It doesn't cost much if anything. It takes time and commitment.
  • Let customers post to your site, community, or social profiles. In fact, encourage them. Give them incentive to do so. Tell them if they post a selfie with your sign in the background, they'll get 10% off. Images posted to Facebook or Twitter are much better than checkins on Yelp.

I could spit out ideas for hours, but we're writing an article, not a book. Think of ideas for yourself. What can you do with everything you have to make it part of the mobile experience.

A Mobile-Only Website Would Work

All too often, we build a website for the company and make it really pretty on a desktop, but we neglect to put the same effort in for mobile. Whether you're using responsive, adaptive, mobile-ready, or full-site only platforms, make sure that your website is designed specifically for mobile.

My personal recommendation is to go with responsive, but this article is not the place for that debate.

If your primary website mimicked a mobile experience, you're better off than if your mobile website mimics a desktop experience. At some point in the near future, we will begin to see more websites that appear like mobile websites even when viewed on desktops. This is a good thing. Those who start doing it early will be ahead of the curve.

Social is Mobile

For a while there, it was looking as if Facebook would be able to become the only web presence. They faltered, then interest dropped off, but they got close. Now, we're still stuck with our standard online presence and a separate social presence.

But wait! It doesn't have to be so partitioned. Social media sites, Facebook in particular, have very powerful mobile connections. By drawing as many people in as possible to engage with you through their mobile devices on social media, you can start to bridge the gap and work towards a unified web presence. This is much trickier than what I can explain in a short article, but the strategy is one that we're implementing for clients now.

If you think social, think mobile. If you think mobile, make it work with social. Both can be made local, thus we hear about the SoLoMo concept that has been so popular at marketing conferences for a few years now.

Erase All Desktop and Analog Thinking from Your Mindset

This is the most important thing to do. We've hammered it so far in this article with everything we've said. Now we're going to push it all the way through to the other side.

You don't have a mobile website and a desktop website. You have a website. You don't have social media fans on mobile and social media fans on desktop. They're all on mobile (or will be eventually). You don't have customers walking through your doors who aren't seconds away from having their phone in their hand. Embrace it.

Buzzwords like "showrooming" and "competitive shopping" are real but pretty much meaningless until you have a purely mobile strategy for everything you do. Keep that in mind next time you're looking at your advertising and marketing budgets. If an expenditure doesn't assist in taking advantage of a mobile society, consider letting it go.

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