Last week, we hosted a webinar to discuss How to Merchandise Your Inventory Effectively. In this webinar, we talked about the fundamentals of e-commerce websites, different variations of structuring your inventory listings, and Strathcom’s four best practices for well-merchandised inventory. But rather than put the cart before the horse, we want to make sure we share this important public service announcement:
Category: Automotive customer service
The year is 2017, and seeing the advances technology has made over the past few decades, it’s hard to imagine where we might go from here.
For now, it appears we’ve reached a milestone. As far as vending machines go, this may be the greatest iteration. A Singapore dealer, Autobahn Motors, has created a 15-story vending machine – its sole purpose? Dispensing supercars. Continue reading “A Vending Machine for Supercars?”
Do you know exactly what your online providers call a conversion? What they call a lead? If you cannot definitively answer that question it might be time to have a chat with them. Although there seems to be endless oversight in the automotive industry, there is no industry standard for what we call a lead or a conversion.
Most people would agree that a form completion, email, text, chat or clicks-to-call all represent a lead as a consumer is engaging directly with your business. Sounds fair. Continue reading “Clarity on Conversions: what is actually being reported to you? Leads?”
Strathcom Media is one of a few Chrysler Digital Certified Providers in Canada, but what makes us the number one online advertising provider for your dealership?
We are a recognized Canadian Premier Google Partner. Why is working with a Google Partner better?
Google Partners are well-versed in all things AdWords and must continuously meet Google’s standards to maintain partner status. Being a Premier Google Partner means Strathcom employees have certifications that are current and they are on top of the rapidly changing developments in Paid Search. This means we offer a competitive advantage to our clients and that you are receiving the highest quality customer service.
Being a Premier Google Partner also allows Strathcom to test Google’s beta features. When Google releases a new application or update, Strathcom gets to take part in beta programs before it is available to the general public. This means that your dealership can leverage the advantages gained by using Google marketing features before your competition even has access to it!
Google encourages ongoing experimentation and requires Strathcom to demonstrate that we are actively doing split testing on ads to ensure the use of different keywords and messaging. A Google Partner that doesn’t continue to maintain Google’s standards can have their badge removed.
We are also a Facebook Preferred Marketing Partner, which – similar to being a Premier Google Partner – means that we have access to more insights and access to more training from Facebook. In fact, on December 3, we will be co-hosting a webinar with Facebook to discuss ways that Chrysler and other FCA dealers can take advantage of the slick tools that Facebook has to offer. If you are a Chrysler dealer, you can register for this free webinar here. If you are not a Chrysler dealer, we will be hosting Facebook webinars with other OEMs in the future, so stay tuned!
Aside from being a Premier Google Partner and a Facebook Partner, what sets Strathcom apart from other companies? First, Strathcom is focused exclusively on the Canadian automotive industry. Our knowledge and experience gained in this industry over the years allows us to know firsthand how advertising online has changed and we have adapted with it. With our knowledge, we can help you improve the results you are getting online, get an edge online in the automotive industry, generate more leads and increase your brand awareness.
We also offer transparent monthly reporting on account performance, such as impressions, clicks and conversions. Our Paid Search analysts hand write a monthly report which outlines achievements and recommendations for your account. Reporting data is pulled directly from your Adwords and Google Analytics accounts – which you will also have full access to!
The best part? We are a Chrysler Digital partner that can help you claim co-op dollars through online advertising. Not sure what you need? Work with us to customize a campaign to your dealership. Mix and match Social Media, Search, Display, Remarketing, and even Hyper (re)Targeting packages until you get exactly what you want.
If video killed the radio star, perhaps the internet killed the sleazy-car-salesman stereotype. Of course there are always going to be salespeople that only have their own best interest at heart, but thanks to the internet it is much more difficult for car dealers to manipulate a customer like they could back in the ’70s and ’80s. All a customer has to do is enter the information for the vehicle they want into Google and can determine right then and there if they are getting a good deal.
As discussed in an article from Dealer Bar, the auto industry is very unique in that, “As consumers, we don’t blink an eye when buying a couch or a shirt that brings in 50% or more profit to the retailer, but car dealers often struggle to make 4% off of a vehicle sold”. Of course dealerships are still making money, but this distinction is something that car buyers should consider.
This is great news for car buyers! We can now make more informed buying decisions and we should no longer feel so intimidated when visiting a dealership. I think as car buyers we can begin to view the process this way:
“They aren’t your enemy. You want to buy a vehicle and they want to sell one. Your goals are aligned.”
This past Thursday we were fortunate enough to attend the 2nd annual Dealer Talk X event in Calgary. It was amazing to see how the event grew and evolved in just one year. As always, there were some amazing speakers and here is a quick highlight reel of what they had to say.
The day started off with an inspirational keynote from the 2010 Canadian Olympian Gold Medalist, Jon Montgomery, titled Dreaming Big and Living Bigger. “Things are only out of your reach if you put them there” was the overlying message throughout Jon’s presentation. We all face so many challenges on a daily basis, but some of those challenges exist to push us further; we just need the drive to get there and to celebrate the small victories along the way!
For the first breakout session we listened to Rick Johnston talk about behavioural economics and how the consumer buying cycle has changed, but not in the way you think. Most buyers still go through these 6 phases: Meet & Greet > Fact Finding > Vehicle Selection > Present > Demo > Write-Up, but what has changed drastically are the Fact Finding and Vehicle Selection phases. It’s not uncommon to have a customer walk into the dealership and say “I want a 2016 Honda Civic EX-T in lunar silver metallic, what’s your best price?” So if that’s the case, have your salesmen adapted to this shift? If the customer is coming in to buy and ends up leaving without a vehicle, where is the disconnect? Just because customers are coming into the dealership already set on a vehicle, it doesn’t mean that you can’t provide them with different options for things like financing, leasing, warranty packages, etc. Don’t limit yourself just because the customer says they want to finance the vehicle for 72 months. Give them options.
Our second breakout session was with David MacDonald. David spoke to us about market strategy and financial research and how it pertained to 3 demographics: Albertans, women, and millennials. This was a data-heavy session, so it was perfect for us data nerds! For Alberta buyers, here were the top three reasons why customers wanted to purchase a newer car:
- 29% Previous vehicle had too many kilometers
- 28% Newer or different features in their vehicle
- 27% Treat myself to something newer
The decision process varied from rational (too many km’s) to emotional (I work hard so I deserve this).
Here are a few more stats to get you thinking:
- 85% of Albertans are searching on a desktop or laptop
- 42% are also searching on mobile, but they tend to go back to desktop to dig deeper into research
- 73% of Canadians said having no-pressure sales was the number one thing that mattered to them
- 48% of Canadians also said they want an easy to navigate website
- 42% of recent car buyers and future intenders in Canada are women
- 87% of all car purchases are influenced by a woman
- 60% of millennials will graduate with debt ($40 to $50k)
- Millennials also lean more towards used vehicles: New – 46% and Used – 54%
Another important takeaway from this session was when David took us through the advertising mediums each demographic uses the most. For each demographic, newspapers were on the bottom and radio didn’t even make the list. Something to think about if you are using either of these to advertise.
After lunch, we got to listen to Rohn Jackson chat about changing our demographic targeting. He brought up a great example about how the data on him as a buyer says he’s a 32 year old male (so a millennial), but when he walked into a dealership with his wife and 6 month old son, he wasn’t seen as a millennial, he was seen as a parent in need of a family vehicle. So if that’s the case, why do we focus on demographics like age and gender? Why not focus on parents? His main message was: don’t focus on a product segment, focus on a people segment.
The day wrapped up with an invigorating keynote from Scott Stratten. If you haven’t heard him speak at an event yet, you should! The overarching theme of his presentation was customer service and how it affects your brand. From doing something as simple as responding to tweet, to going through the amazing sequence of events that the Ritz Carlton staff did to return a stuffed giraffe, (if you haven’t heard the story about Joshie, check it out here), the stories that your customers (or staff) write are usually the ones that stick. The most common issue is that customers simply don’t feel as though they are heard and it’s amazing what an immediate response can do to defuse a situation and how it can start to build a story for your brand.
If you would like to see any of the presentations, they will be posted on the DealerTalk website in a couple of weeks. A big thanks to DealerTalk for putting on another great event, we look forward to coming out again next year!
We were lucky enough to attend Google’s Video Ignite event at the New York Chelsea office. It was a great event packed with a ton of useful content that we would like to share with you!
Video has been gaining popularity for quite some time now; video even had its own section at Think Auto this year, which was a first. Most of us would agree that we would rather ‘watch’ the internet as opposed to ‘reading’ it, but how do you become successful at utilizing video? Karolina Chodkiewicz, Senior Strategic Partner Manager, YouTube Content Partnerships North America with Google was so kind as to share the top 10 fundamentals of YouTube:
Does your video appeal to users in a way that will encourage them to share you video? Having great content is key, and here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a strategy for your video: is it topical, is it valuable, and is it relatable?
Is there an element of your video that speaks directly to your viewers? This could be content added in the main video or as supplementary content. Think of calls to action and video descriptions!
Are you able to incorporate your viewers into your content? Are you able to spark a conversation in the comments section and get them involved with what you’re doing?
This is probably the hardest fundamental: updating your video content regularly. We all get busy and forget to make time. Having a schedule and specific video format in place will be key. You also want to make sure you’re portraying the right personality and voice in all of your content.
Do you have a clearly defined audience? You can set your targeting at the video level, show level, and even channel level. Targeting your videos will give you more opportunity to speak to different audiences.
If the audience loves it, can you make more of it? Meaning, if you spend $40,000 on a video that everyone loves, do you have the resources to keep making videos to that level? Can you continue to hire the right crew for your video?
Will your content be found? Not every video can go viral, but are you choosing topics that are trending or evergreen (like how-to and DIY videos). Go check out google.com/trends to kick-start those creative juices!
Can every single video be appreciated by a brand new user or do they need to sit there and watch multiple videos to understand what you’re trying to get across? If you want your content to be shareable, you will want to make sure it’s accessible as well.
Is there a way to feature guest stars? More and more viewers are relating to YouTube Creators as being more like them compared to traditional celebrities. This means that they take their opinion seriously!
Is the idea for this video coming from a genuine place of passion and does it fit your overall brand? You want to create unique content that aligns with your brand identity and excites your viewers!
Karolina and her team researched the top performing YouTube channels and found that they all incorporated a combination of these 10 fundamentals which were key to building their success. We’re not suggesting that you need to incorporate all 10 of these items in every single video, but keeping 2 – 3 in mind is definitely a good place to start.
If you’re looking to get some videos created and would like some help coming up with a strategy, don’t hesitate to give our team a call!
Head on over to your site and take a look around. Have you ever wondered how your site traffic finds what they’re looking for? Today it is all about efficiency: how quickly something can be done, with as little pain as possible. (Hello, Keyless Go!) But wait – what about customer service? Isn’t buying a car supposed to be a memorable experience with the best team of people helping you out every step of the way?
As you are probably aware, the journey to purchasing a vehicle starts way before the customer walks through the door. How is your dealership supposed to make that first impression and keep their interest? Why not start with your website?
Introducing Notepad! Strathcom has recently created a whole new level of options to help your dealership hold the attention of the valuable traffic coming to your website. The Notepad feature combines the best of both worlds, creating efficient customer service.
Add Notepad into your site, and users will be greeted with a small tracker that automatically tracks which vehicles they are looking at. Why do we say this is the best of both worlds? Because we do the work for the user! With no login necessary, your potential customers aren’t distracted from their main focus – your inventory! From there, your site will keep track of which cars the user has shown interest in; plus it gives them notifications of price changes! And finally, next time the user heads back to your site, Notepad will be there to remind them of the units they looked at last time so they don’t have to start at square 1. If the car has been sold since the last time they visited your site, Notepad will automatically remove it. It’s quick, easy, and ever-so-painless!
Notepad is just one of many great tools that Strathcom is now offering. So sit back and let us take care of the heavy lifting!
For more information on Notepad and our other website personalization tools, give us a call today or subscribe to our newsletter.
In addition to Expanded Text Ads (ETA’s) Google has also recently released Responsive Ads – are they right for your business?
Depending on the website, you can feature different combinations of your Responsive Ads. A short headline with the description, a long headline and a description, or a short/long headline. All this means is that your ad will have more opportunities to reach your target audience while they spend their time online. Note that long headlines and description lines are 90 characters, while the short headline is 25 characters. They also allow for branding, since Google allows you to upload a logo and an image.
One concept to think about when using responsive ads is the number of characters you use in the headlines and the description lines. The possible combinations would mean that your ad will take on ad spots where your ad would make no sense without a concise message in the headlines. Additionally, because of the lack of control (i.e. telling Google an ad can only show if the description line shows), Google might feature your description but only half of it – due to the size of the ad. In other words: don’t say more than you need to!
Another point is that Google can’t show you previews for every type of ad , so the creative you come up with might not meet your expectations on different websites. It all heavily depends on where the ads are shown. I suggest controlling this by finding strong performing placements/websites where they show and excluding mobile apps at the campaign level.
At the end of the day, you should take advantage of responsive ads since they offer more than Google Text Ads. However, like anything else in an AdWords account, monitor them closely. You can let Google find strong performing websites, but rein in control right away when you find them. Don’t let these responsive ads run rampant! As soon as performance dips for an extended period of time let Google find better performing websites or change your creative and repeat the process.
The hard truth: winter is coming. And with winter, comes white walkers snow and ice that require consumers to switch from their summer to winter tires. Car parts and services search queries happen year round, but many queries see huge seasonal peaks that your dealership should be capitalizing on. With the looming seasonal change upon us, is your dealership ready to face the long night?
Strathcom had the privilege of attending a webinar recently put on by Google and Mintel that focused on the issues and opportunities that exist for Canadian dealerships’ parts and service departments. Here are some key takeaways from Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst at Mintel.
Canadians seem to be a little neglectful when it comes to vehicle maintenance! Mintel’s report shows that 19% of consumers bring their vehicles in for service just once or twice a year. Further to this, only 17% bring in their vehicle when there is an immediate problem. Whether it be financial barriers, scheduling barriers, or other barriers, consumers seem to be very hesitant to bring their vehicle in regularly.
There is also a strong presence of DIY (Do It Yourself) customers. About 10% of customers perform basic maintenance service on their own.
- Recent vehicle sales are up
- Future sales projections are up. As millennials now represent 21% of the Canadian population, they are the most likely generation to purchase a new vehicle
This represents a great opportunity for service departments as these recent and future vehicle sales need to be serviced.
How to leverage this opportunity? What should dealerships focus on?
No surprises here…offering good customer service is a must. According to the findings, key components of exceptional service include:
- Decreasing waiting periods
- Having a mechanic or a repairman available
- Offering free shuttle service
- Offering a complimentary loaner car
- Seamless spending: Assuring the shortest possible purchase path – challenge the convention with mobile technology and craft a payment process that makes it easy for the consumer
- Making it easy to book an appointment – ask yourselves what prerequisite information is actually required. Are there ways to decrease the length or forms to make it more likely for consumers to submit the booking online?
- Help owners track cost of ownership
Other ways to generate business from these opportunities include:
- There is space for the service industry to leverage referral business generation. For example, UBER leverages digital referrals by offering a bonus to those that make the referral and those that receive the referral. Possible rewards could include a free car wash, or a discount, for example.
- Consumers are also looking for tools that provide the reward / punishment system to help them better themselves. For example, just like Fitbit badge, digital achievements are acquired for achieving objectives.
- Drive organic traffic by taking photos of your service and tagging photos to drive awareness among your customers’ networks. This is a great way to establish and expand on relationships on the digital space.
- Attract the DIY customer by providing a high-level service class. This will facilitate relationship-building and rapport with the consumer.
- The DIY customer can also be more price sensitive. Counter this by offering time sensitive promotions while the service bay isn’t heavily occupied.
- Leverage YouTube advertising as DIY customers often consult YouTube for instruction on how to maintain their vehicle.
- Perform efficient mobile marketing that will drive traffic with location based, long-tailed keywords
- Customer service is still king: repeat business relies on good customer service
For more information, give us a call today! And for access to future webinars, subscribe to our newsletter!
Mobile search has become a way of life for consumers. In fact, Google proclaimed that 2015 was the first year that saw more searches being done on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops combined. Not surprisingly, more and more people conduct their research online before making a purchase, and automotive customers are no different. Buyers are now Googling vehicle brands, reading reviews, comparing models, and visiting dealership websites before finally deciding on which vehicles they’re interested in and where they will be purchased.
For over a century, Ford has been a driving force in the automotive industry by continuously improving their vehicles and manufacturing process as well as revolutionizing the automotive industry as a whole. The evolution of Ford has continued this year with the implementation of its new digital program: Digital Dealer Direct (D3). This platform offers services like digital advertising, dealer websites, integrated lead management, social media/reputation management, dashboard and reporting, and digital consulting and support.
Strathcom Media also offers these services, and there is a reason that Ford reps have been advising our current Ford customers to stick with us: our service, our tools, and our transparency cannot be beat. An automotive pioneer such as Ford needs a digital marketing partner that is just as innovative, and that can ‘Go Further’.
We are a Ford partner, meaning that we integrate with D3. If you are using D3’s services, we will not charge you for the services they provide you; which means you can have a beautiful, customizable, responsive website for a lower price.
We are also Google’s largest automotive vertical partner in Canada. This gives us unique insights and knowledge on online advertising, search engine optimization, and more. It also gives us the opportunity to attend and co-host Google events where we can share these insights with you.
Progressive Tools & Technologies
We have spent years researching websites to find out what users are and aren’t clicking to ensure that they get more out of your site, and you get more valuable leads. We have the data and we know how to use it to improve your users’ experience and improve your conversion rate.
We have also just recently invested over a million dollars to develop new tools and an all new platform to ensure that you are ahead of the technology curve. These tools include geo-fencing, personalization, silent salesman, bounce recovery and more; all of which help you serve specific information, to specific users, based on their specific behaviors.
We are committed to giving you the best service possible. Each of our Online Marketing Managers is Google Certified, so you can rest assured that they know their stuff when it comes to your online advertising. We are dedicated to answering your questions, solving your problems, and doing so in a professional, timely manner. This is why we reach out to our clients monthly to keep them in the loop and ensure that they are not having any issues.
Strathcom also has a guaranteed up-time of 99.9%, and our content changes have a guaranteed turnaround time of 2-5 business days (depending on the item). Should you have an issue, we won’t give you the run around. In fact, our president makes his personal cell number available to all of our customers, so you never have to wait to get in touch with someone.
Here at Strathom, we like to lay out exactly where every dollar of your online advertising budget is going and how it is benefiting you; including how many leads were generated, and where those leads came from. We also hide nothing by providing you complete access into Google Analytics, AdWords, and our dashboard. Does your current provider do the same?
The same goes for content changes. A lot of providers will tell you that they do unlimited standard changes, but what does that include? For our premium clients, we handle all of the work necessary to make your site look just right for no extra cost. For our core clients, we charge an hourly rate of just $120 per hour, which means you can have a landing page, for example, created for a portion of the cost that some of our competitors charge.
If you are looking for an innovative, honest, knowledgeable provider that is going to build your digital platform to be Ford tough, look no further than Strathcom Media Inc.
“DOHC with VarioCam Plus variable valve timing, 8 s., sequential automatic transmission”
Every industry has its own jargon, and the automotive industry is no exception. In fact, insider jargon at car dealers is so prevalent that if you search “car dealer jargon” in Google, you will find endless jargon dictionaries to prepare customers for a dealership visit. Some believe that the use of jargon strengthens their sales presentation and their image by making them seem more technically savvy or more knowledgeable.
This is a mistake.
If you are looking for the source of a problem with a customer, there is a strong chance that it may rest on some misunderstanding, and this often stems from a lack of common vocabulary. If you’re not in the automotive industry, it’s highly unlikely that you will be exposed to the technical jargon used within dealerships, and even simple car jargon can be confusing.
If the customer has no idea what you are talking about, they often won’t tell you. Even the small portion of those who will tell you have lost valuable time trying to understand what could have been put in plain language.
So what’s the solution?
Unfortunately, since dealer jargon has been used for so long, sales associates often don’t even realize they are using it. But to truly inform and engage your audience, pay attention to the terms you employ, the descriptions you use and the people with whom you are communicating.
If your messaging isn’t adapted to the person to whom you are talking, your client will not understand and they will end up being heavily disappointed and frustrated at the end of your interaction. Therefore, listen to the words your client is using and bridge the terms they use with yours. By demystifying the language used within the automotive industry, you will successfully build a sense of trust between you and the customer, and we all know trust is critical for sales success.
Are your website or marketing campaigns failing to generate business? How do you convince uncertain buyers that your product and services meet their needs and expectations? How do you persuade them that they are right to call on your services and right to trust you?
One of the most effective ways to persuade a potential customer is to show credible testimonials.
Why is this?
How often do you hear the following statements: “I’m not much of a car person”, or “I don’t know much about cars”. Now, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What do you do when you need to buy a product you don’t know much about? What is your initial reaction when you are searching for an expensive product or service? According to Google’s Think Auto data, 48% of people consult the internet for vehicle information, and 25% consult their family and friends for this information. This is because prospective clients want to mitigate as much risk as possible. When we are faced with a tremendous amount of vehicles to choose from, we all want to make the “right decision” and avoid making a purchasing mistake.
Loyal customers have a story to tell. Give someone who has already made a similar purchasing decision a chance to tell their story in front of the cameras and showcase what’s great about your dealership.
These testimonies will play a huge role in reassuring customers of their decision making throughout the buying process. That being said, not all customer testimonials are created equal. Unfortunately, many false recommendations circulate on the web, which makes it even more important to make sure your customer testimonials are credible and authentic.
Once you are ready to reap the benefits of a strong video testimonial, get on YouTube! This medium is greatly underutilized by Canadian car dealers. The potential to drive a lot more traffic and inexpensive pay-per-click rates are the two components that make YouTube a great tool for delivering video advertisements.
And guess what? Here at Strathcom Media, our automotive video production team will come right to your dealership with the proper equipment to produce high-quality videos without disrupting your day-to-day operations. All you need to do is have your vehicles (and any featured customers) detailed, polished, and ready to film. We will edit your videos to your satisfaction, and then optimize them for search engines to help you get the most views possible.
Check out one of our testimonial videos below!
Social media, television, radio, print ads, digital advertising, in store displays, billboards, email blasts, text marketing… there are hundreds of different marketing strategies to promote your brand. Most marketers will agree that multi-channel marketing is a key focus in one of their current marketing strategies. As marketing evolves each year with new technologies, new social media platforms, and new ways consumers buy, trying to stay on top of these changes while finding the time and resources to develop a solid marketing campaign can be tricky.
Most automotive dealerships can lack the resources to be able to create a fully staffed marketing team that can take on the responsibility of creating effective multi-channel marketing campaigns, while trying to analyze what is really working for them.
This is where investing in a digital marketing partner can be a huge asset to you, your employees, and your company. With an account manager that will help you strategize and create effective online marketing campaigns, and a development and design team working hard to make your site stand out from the competition, what’s to lose?
From PPC campaigns to creating responsive websites Strathcom Media understands the importance of an online presence as mobile and digital marketing continue to dominate the marketing world. Contact us to see how we can save you time and money without having to hire new employees to meet these demands.
Advertisers love the ability to follow around potential customers with remarketing ads because it’s a great reminder to customers of their ever growing list of wants, as the advertiser patiently waits until your will power is at its lowest and for you to finally return and make your next purchase. You may even be running these images ads for your own dealership.
Now, what if I told you that you could have this same stalking ability but get your business in front of audience that is actively shopping for your products a second time? No more passive approach to remarketing, patiently waiting until a user is ready to continue down the purchase path. You can skip the waiting and now entice previous website visitors when they’re actively on the hunt again. How can this be? Well…
Facebook, being the largest social media network (with about 1.5 Billion active users) has always tried to close the gap between their users and other sites. The more they can roll into facebook the more time their users will spend on facebook. This is why it was no surprise when facebook took a giant leap in the reviews world by launching their new Best Professional Service site.
In the world of Google and PPC, there are currently only 4 ways you can target potential customers. These include:
- Keyword searches
- Past site Visitors
- In-Market Audiences and;
- Affinity Audiences
Recently, Google – in their infinite wisdom – decided to throw another targeting method into the mix and it is sure to float the proverbial boat of car dealers across the world.
Since 2013, many big brand companies have been taking advantage of Instagram’s 400+ million member community by sharing high quality, image-rich content while driving results that matter. Thanks to the great success of these campaigns, Instagram has opened up their advertising product to all advertisers, internationally. No brand, budget or idea is too small to take advantage of this next wave of social media advertising.