We all know that just having a website, no matter how great, is not enough to make sales in the automotive industry. LEARN MORE
Welcome to Part 2 of what is a major real live hands on case study. Last week I wrote Part 1. For those of you that missed it, click here to catch up on what you may have missed.
We ended last week with starting to get more social media plans installed. We also started a picture and video policy. However, The major thing was CRM and digital marketing this week.
I narrowed down three choices of CRM companies that integrate with the DMS that dealership is using. It is not a common DMS like ADP, Reynolds, or Arkona even. We learned that the DMS only works properly with only 3 CRM companies. The CRM Companies are eLead, VinSolutions, and CAR-Research. All three companies have something great to offer. We made the decision to stop being the pilot for the DMS company that was using this dealership to develop their CRM. They are light years away from where everyone else is in the marketplace. I came to a conclusion that we have no accountability in the dealership and nothing can be measured. I noticed that the sales desk does a great job and so do F&I. Now with processes, accountability, and reporting I think that this store can sell and additional 10-20 units per month.
After numerous conversations and demos of CRM products we decided on eLead. I have been a customer of eLead in the past and have great relationships. I wanted VinSolutions because Vin had some cool features that no one else has. However, the owner of the dealership liked the functions of eLead and felt that it was simpler for the showroom. Their opinion was that Vin worked well for someone on a high level like me. I liked CAR-Research too but we all agreed that for what we need eLead would be the right fit. Also, eLead has agreed to do install in the beginning of November where no one else could accommodate the owner's quick need.
So we signed a contract for the CRM and that is in the works. The next aspect that is important is to really make the dealership website great. The challenge is that it is OEM mandated and certain things are not able to be done while others are being developed as we speak.
We have begun the process of changing and updating employee pictures and bios. The way that we get employee bios is that we have a questionnaire in their employee packet that they need to fill out when they start employment here. I revised the questions to make better bios. The owner liked how another dealership on the West Coast had their staff page so we started to research how we can get a similar page built. If I can get the owner to agree in the near future, I would like to add videos next to the employee picture and bio of each employee.
We are reconfiguring buttons on the website to make it easier to navigate and have better call to actions. We want to stand out from competitors and really be unique.
Other best practices that I started working on are basically because I love the way that Checkered Flag in Virginia Beach has their website providing major transparency with things like a "women's page" or a page explaining "taxes and fees". This dealership is active in the community so we are working on making these efforts stand out as well. I have been working on content because I do not want to be a copycat but I love the ideas and would love to use them since very few (literally) dealers on this planet are that much outside the box.
I noticed that the dealership had no specials for pre-owned and service. I got with the used car manager and we had 8 vehicles that are aged units that he wants to just sell and move on. I created specials with comments. The page got filled up nicely and now the site has more great content. After that I got with service manager and went over some promotions that he gave me. The site now has 7 service specials. That's right I said "SEVEN". Dealerships miss out on opportunities by not updating service specials or keeping 1 generic special.
I have not begun to focus on Facebook, twitter, and G+ but will add my focus when I get back from Internet Sales 20 Group next week. However, I have created a blogging strategy that I love. It includes content syndication and it spreads the content virally. For those of you that would like to know how I do that, just take a look at how I have been marketing my own business (Dealer eTraining). I believe that content needs to be visible and easy to find. I have employed the same strategy to brand my own name and get known by industry people at conferences in the last 4 years. The strategy is to connect multiple social networks and blogs together using one platform. For blogs, I use posterous, blogspot, wordpress, and tumblr. I will have the dealership outsourced graphic designer work on designing these blogs so they look amazing. We have been adding content that includes videos, pictures, spy photos, community events, celebrity information, interesting news, dealership information, and just anything that will catch people's eyes and create engagement. It has only been 1 week so I cannot report changes yet. However, over time we should see a big increase. Every blog is optimized with proper keywords, backlinks, and content.
I got the dealership signed up with Pinterest and read a lot on it. I saw what Jim Ziegler has been teaching and saw how major Pinterest players operated to drive traffic. I implemented the strategy and it took me all of 2 hours. The Pinterest profile now has over 50 images and some were re-pinned while others were originally and strategically posted to drive traffic to the dealership website. As time progresses we will continue to optimize the profile even further.
I got started on a basic cost effective VSEO strategy. Last week we implemented a strategy to have sales people fill out a form. We revised the form to have 8 questions with a waiver. We have started gaining traction and filmed a few happy customers. The testimonials got uploaded to not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 of the most power video search engines out there. We took these testimonials and created blog content on our syndicated channels as well. We used sites like youtube, vimeo, daily motion, and metacafe.
I did some research the other day to see which photo sharing sites are best for seo and everything else and as always Flickr was the choice. I started a Flickr account and had 40 pictures optimized for starters. I also connected Flickr with Pinterest as they work well together. I discovered this by researching it and reading about it. We take pictures of guests at delivery time.
The dealership advertises in the local newspaper on weekends. Last week when I was given the advertisement I saw a few major things missing. The dealership advertised their local number and there was no call tracking to see how many calls we get off the advertisement. Well I noticed that our current call monitoring solution has 2 extra phone numbers not being used so I placed one of the numbers to start tracking those calls. I also saw no QR codes (no surprise). A lot of dealerships still do not know much about it. I looked over the ads for all competing dealerships in the area and no one else had QR codes. I created a QR code for new car inventory on the dealer website as well as a separate one for used inventory and placed them on the add next to new and pre-owned.
The owner of the dealership was getting her nails done and saw a plain brochure at the salon. She brought it to my attention and would like something similar but created. I started working on ideas on how to digital enhance it with QR codes, social media, and an online reputation, all in a fold-able brochure.
Dealership Process and Operations:
Last night I was handed a book from the OEM that goes to the owner of the dealership. It talks about performance of sales, internet lead management, and service. It has national averages, store averages, and goals of what needs to be accomplished. I even got to read the customer comments to gather an idea of what practices that I need to fix and train on in the store so that we can improve the customer experience in the store while creating better communication. In the next few weeks I will be training various departments on CRM, communication, and best customer practices.
So far...that is all we have for the first 2 weeks. I feel like we have already come a very long way. It is exciting for me because I get back to my roots of not only digital marketing and managing Internet operations but I get to focus on store processes. I really love what I do and I am passionate about it. If anyone has questions, always feel free to contact me.