Chess, Not Checkers: Why Your Dealership Needs a Digital Strategy

wood chess pieces on board game. brown vintage background

When most dealerships are faced with the question, “Does your business have a digital strategy?”–the usual answer is (hopefully), “Yes, of course!” And this would be great, but are you truly utilizing this strategy? Or, even worse, are you not using a strategy at all? We’re not saying that not having a digital strategy is borderline criminal (though it is)–we’re just here to help.

Strategy, according to Wikipedia, is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. In short, a strategy is an in-depth plan. For your dealership you should be thinking of the long-term advantages your dealership provides compared to your competition, and how you can defend that competitive advantage. Continue reading “Chess, Not Checkers: Why Your Dealership Needs a Digital Strategy”

Be More Dynamic, with Facebook Dynamic Inventory Advertising

A man chooses a car on a blue background.

Your dealership has a wonderful selection of vehicles in stock.

Your sales manager sets prices at competitive market values.

Your inventory manager writes thorough, accurate, helpful descriptions for each unit.

Your detailing staff do a meticulous job making every vehicle spotless.

Your photographer shoots and edits photos just right, so that your products appear dazzling.

Your social media advertising is parroting the same message as every other franchise, and it doesn’t show off the above, anything unique about your business, or what you alone have to offer.

Wait a second—let’s talk about that last one. Continue reading “Be More Dynamic, with Facebook Dynamic Inventory Advertising”

To OEM or Not to OEM? That’s the Advertising Question

William Shakespeare in period clothing sitting in school desk with laptop computer shrugging at viewer.

As an automotive dealer you’ve got a lot to worry about. No doubt, when it comes to your business’ online advertising you’ve got a keen interest in sharing the most effective message that’ll have the most impact in service of your business goals—to sell cars. At your dealership, you’ve got a certain idea of what your business is. It has a certain voice, a certain persona that you want online users to get acquainted with; it resonates with your audience and eventually prods them to trust you with their business. But what if you’re not satisfied with the message or advertisements pushed on you monthly by your OEM? Maybe you think their incentive message is too weak? Perhaps too generic? If you run the incentive advertising of your manufacturer, are you simply settling for creative that doesn’t do your business justice? It’s a fair concern, and one that deserves serious consideration. This post delves into the question of “why” run OEM incentive advertising, and questions whether individuality in your advertising, at this level, might not be the hill to die on. Continue reading “To OEM or Not to OEM? That’s the Advertising Question”

Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility

Trust banner and icons

For any business, credibility is key in maintaining a high level of customer service and, in turn, a high level of customer loyalty. This is especially important for the automotive sales industry, the long-time favourite butt of many a joke aimed at the quintessential “used car salesman” and his well-greased “what do I have to do to put you in this car today, sir-or-madam” approach to business. How then is a dealership best advised when it comes to building a reputation that the consumer will trust? Focusing on the area of online presence, this post will outline a few of the steps you should take (or, frankly should have already taken) to help ensure that the legend of the sleazy car lot doesn’t haunt your reputation on the net! Continue reading “Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility”

You Ask, We Answer: Google My Business

map with google my business written and pin on top of map

Welcome back to another installment of “You Ask, We Answer!” (*intense music plays*). Because when you’ve got questions, we won’t rest until we find the answers. Well, there was that one time when one of the temps fell asleep while searching for the answer, but we doused them with a bottle of cold water–because that’s the type of intensity we bring to our webinars!

Today, we tapped our Lead Content Strategist, Google Local Guide, and moral beacon Melina Beeston to talk about Google My Business. Not only have we embedded the video below, but we’ve transcribed the whole damn thing (while I may subscribe to the infinite monkey theorem, it isn’t the best practise as a business).   Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: Google My Business”

Reel Leads: How Video Can Help You Market Your Dealership

Sleazy man with big curly hair is wearing an old 70s outfit. He holds an old 8 mm camera and shoots some video. He is very happy.

One day, probably in the near future, we’ll connect USB cords into a slot on the back of our neck and intake copious amounts of information in a matter of moments. The only thing at risk is filling  our minds with too much knowledge and our heads exploding, like one of Gallagher’s watermelons (sorry for the dark mental image, it’s Monday morning and I’ve got a long week ahead of me). In the meantime, we’re forced to find as many different methods of learning as possible within a short time frame. Sort of like when I went to the “How to Make an Impact with Video” seminar put on by Margaux McWatt of local video production company Modern Muse Media. Attempting to condense their 30 hour video training program into 1 hour might’ve proved impossible, but hey, the Mission Impossible movies make Tom Cruise look like an ordinary sized person so my motto is never say never. And while we certainly had to skip a good portion of the actual —you know— filming and editing, I still walked away learning about the importance of video content on social media. Continue reading “Reel Leads: How Video Can Help You Market Your Dealership”

Taking Control: Improving the Millennial’s Car Buying Experience

Tattoed guy is listening to a podcast on his laptop

In our previous post, Driving the Market: What Millennials Look for When Buying Cars, we shared some insight into what can help you and your dealership best maximize your chances for sales success and brand loyalty–when it comes to one of the fastest growing, car buying-demographics.

Following up, we’re addressing what dealers can do to adjust their business practices for what millennials look for–their priorities and expectations–in order to increase the chances of this huge demographic driving off of your lot in one of your vehicles. Continue reading “Taking Control: Improving the Millennial’s Car Buying Experience”

You Ask, We Answer: On-Page & Technical SEO

Vector illustration - Web development

Welcome to the first of many thrilling installments of “You Ask, We Answer!” (working on the production value, in the meantime just imagine a gong sound in the background), where you send in your questions, and we answer them in our webinars.

We figured we’d start out strong with our Director of Product Development, CrossFit strongwoman, and all-around good gal, Carrie Oliva, talking about On-Page and Technical SEO. We’ve embedded the video footage of the webinar below, and then painstakingly transcribed (read: edited what the app transcribed for us) the answers to the questions below that. Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: On-Page & Technical SEO”

Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!

questions, business concept

Here’s the thing—sometimes something perfectly good gets replaced. Even if the original didn’t need improving (*cough* New Coke *cough*). But sometimes, even if the older version was fine, a change can be absolutely reinvigorating. Life-changing even. Now, am I suggesting that the changes we’ve made at Strathcom are going to change your life? Damn straight. Continue reading “Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!”

Facebook vs Google: The Battle for Digital Marketing Supremacy

hands holding a smartphone with graphic that says facebook vs google

You did all the right things, talked to all the right people, and finally decided to utilize digital marketing–now what? Let’s not talk about budget, but rather the important question of what route to take. Do you use Google Ads or Facebook marketing? Which platform is going to give you the best bang for your buck? Which platform is ideal for your marketing needs? Is Strathcom trying to just sell me their service with this blog? The answer to the last question is a resounding “No!”, but the other questions aren’t quite as simple. Continue reading “Facebook vs Google: The Battle for Digital Marketing Supremacy”

Analyze This!: New Features in Google Analytics

Young man at the psychotherapist, lying on couch, emotionally speaking, discussing with psychotherapist his problems, practitioner making some notes. Horizontal photo banner for website header design

In the 70s people hung out at roller disco rinks wearing bellbottom jeans and big perms. In the 80s they hung out at the arcade, and acid-washed denim was all the rage. Fast forward to 2018 and all the cool kids are wearing morose, Zuckerberg-esque heather grey hoodies, sitting in independent coffee shops, spending their time on Google Analytics.

Okay, maybe not quite. But if you’ve been hanging around in Google Analytics lately, you’ve probably seen a few new things pop up. And while we’d never toot our own horn about how cool we are (*sound of crickets*), we do know a thing or two about Google Analytics. Cool or not, you can never say we’re not helpful, so here’s a quick summary of those new features and how they can make your life easier. Continue reading “Analyze This!: New Features in Google Analytics”

Enhance Your Display Campaigns with Custom Intent Audiences

Beyonce on a billboard, holding a google logo

Like my diet, the Google Display Network can be a bit hit or miss. For those that need a quick refresher, think of the Display Network as a passive form of advertising where, unlike traditional search advertising, Google gives advertisers the opportunity to place ads on a variety of sites or apps beyond the ‘Search Engine Results Page’ (SERP). Users in this network may not necessarily be in “shopping mode,” rather, they are busy reading about crypto currency, watching Beyoncé’s latest music video, and learning why its good to drink kombucha (two of three being major components to my aforementioned diet). To be successful in the GDN, your ads must not only attract the users’ attention, but entice them enough to click through to your site, leaving the original content they were engaged with. Accomplishing this is not easy – have you ever tried competing with Queen B? Continue reading “Enhance Your Display Campaigns with Custom Intent Audiences”

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2018: FULL REVIEW

think auto screen

June 21st has come and gone, and yet another Google Think Auto conference is in the books. Moving this hotly anticipated event from September to June was a solid choice by the Google team — can you blame us for thinking that? We live in Edmonton where it’s winter 10 months of the year and we were dying for some warm weather! Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2018: FULL REVIEW”

Driving the Market: What Millennials Look For When Buying Cars

Young and handsome hipster man, buying a new car with his girlfriend, from the car saloon.

How can you best maximize your chances for sales success and brand loyalty, vs. losing sales opportunities in both the short and long-term? For starters, this can be done by having a deeper understanding of the preferred car shopping experience that today’s customer is looking for, both online and offline, and then adjusting the dealership’s business practices accordingly. Today’s customer, who also happens to be the customer of tomorrow, are those who were born between 1977 and 2000 — commonly referred to as millennials. It is estimated that by 2020, 40% of new car buyers will be millennials; furthermore, according to a study by Brandwatch, 88% of current millennials use the internet to research a new car purchase.

Simply put, this means that a dealership’s sales and marketing team must ensure that their shopping experience, both online and off, is up-to-date.

So how can your dealership ensure that its online and offline experience is up-to-date for today’s potential customer, while staying true to your brand? It starts with understanding today’s customer, particularly the millennial, and doing what’s necessary to integrate the online and offline brand experience for them, in one seamless flow. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean memes or viral videos (which, if used incorrectly, are the online equivalent of the giant inflatable green dancing tube man).

Continue reading “Driving the Market: What Millennials Look For When Buying Cars”

A Modest Request…

child dressed up as retro business man

In the wonderful world of web, we as consumers are exposed to subliminal messages and overbearing marketing lists that have become second nature. And while automotive dealers have a plethora of knowledge, having seen the industry progress firsthand, some of the marketing ploys they ask for get lost in translation due to the stimulus-overload we are already in the midst of. Simply put, there are too many features available on websites, and everytime we add a new feature something gets lost in the shuffle. We, as designers, are often tasked with creating carousel slides to catch the eye while there are better tools available. If you read my last blog, about trusting your designer, then you’ll remember that sharing your vision and goals is an important part of the process — but letting us help guide you with our professional knowledge is just as important. After all the main goal is to improve the communication from Dealership to Marketing Manager to Designer, culminating in getting the message through to the customer loud and clear. And as a former dealership employee, marketing manager, designer, and customer, I can tell you with all honesty that these lanes of communication could be improved. Continue reading “A Modest Request…”

Spam & Regs: GDPR and What It Means for Your Business

Shot of a young businessman looking angry while using a computer during a late night at work

E-mail, or E-mbarrassed

Well, this is embarrassing.

According to the 2018 Radicati Email Statistics Report, the average person has 1.75 e-mail accounts. And I have six. Six! That I can remember. And that isn’t including any ultra-regrettable, junior high school e-mail addresses I signed up for in the halcyon days of the internet, and have been trying to forget ever since (in my defense, sk8er_boi_98@hotmail.com was created well before Avril Lavigne hit the scene).

Now I suspect that number of 1.75 e-mail accounts per person is a touch low—dragged down by everyone’s Nana & Pop-Pop who have an e-mail so that they can use Facebook to comment on large corporations’ posts asking how their grandchildren are doing, but I digress. I have six e-mail accounts that I use fairly regularly, which means that on May 25th, 2018, I probably set a personal record for most e-mails received.

“Damn you, GDPR!” *shakes fist at the air*

Continue reading “Spam & Regs: GDPR and What It Means for Your Business”

Businesses, It’s Time to Go APE Over Google My Business’ New API!

Monkey going ape over Google API

Google’s omnipresent HAL9000-esque eye is trained on all things mobile these days, and when it noticed that local search on mobile devices is growing faster than mobile search overall, well, you better believe gears started turning. In response to the remarkable 50 per-cent annual growth in mobile search Google’s been adding new features to its SERP Knowledge Panel and Google My Business (GMB).

And then, an announcement! Google is introducing a new GMB Application Programming Interface (API). In tandem with this release, Google also revealed a new agency analytics dashboard and a new agency partner program. The API is designed to give agencies the ability to manage additional, diverse categories of business information, including merchant descriptions and Posts. For multilocational brands and small outfits alike, this new functionality promises greater control over a wide range of content. Continue reading “Businesses, It’s Time to Go APE Over Google My Business’ New API!”