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.
It’s time to buy a new car – you know your favorite brand and you’ve done your research on the models you want to try, but where should you start?
How does a customer decide which store to go to, the location, or even which phone number to call? With Google processing over 40,000 search queries every second, the possibility that a buyer may start on the web are extremely high. Google is currently being utilized by over 85% of today’s users, and can easily function as a primary connection between the customer and dealer.
By typing a business into the Google Search engine, a quick search can produce millions of results for a user to choose from. But which one do they choose? A dealer who takes into account the importance of Google’s marketing ability will recognize that a proper search will pull up a link to the main website, quick links to many frequently sought out pages, as well as the convenient, easy to read Google+ Local page.
This area on the right hand side provides a first glance at the business. User friendly and appealing to the eye, the Google+ Local business page provides potential customers with quick links and more.
Professional photos, a map to the location, reviews, hours, and contact information give the customer access to everything needed to get a first impression and seamless accessibility to contacting the business.
Data shows that Google+ Local has had a steady increase in interest and users through to the year 2016. What better way to showcase a first look at your business than to do so with a strong development like Google+ Local!
From a business owner perspective, Google+ Local is easy to use and update. Plus enjoy the benefit of Strathcom Media tracking your reviews so that your business maintains a quick response rate.
Don’t overlook this simple business tool. Google+ Local is a first impression before the customer steps through the door!
Introducing the brand-new, open-sourced Facebook 360-degree video camera!
Right now, even the most progressive dealerships in the country are using some sort of spinning platform with different areas where you can attach lighting for best results. This contraption raises the vehicle off the ground and spins the car so you can capture it from different angles.
The new Facebook 360-degree video technology will take consumers’ increasing demand for more photos and video to a whole new level with full 360-degree video. They are claiming this is the “best camera of its kind”.
The How & Why with Facebook 360-Degree Video:
The Facebook 360-degree video camera is built with 17 component cameras: 14 wide-angle cameras on a flying saucer, 1 fish-eye camera on the top, and 2 more on the bottom. Using web-based software and new techniques in filming, you’ll be able to “stitch” images together and bring your customer into the vehicle in a new way. Facebook has created a webpage with helpful tips and tricks, best practices, and success stories to help you get the most out of Facebook 360-degree video: https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/get-started/360-video.
Facebook is saying they’re not interested in jumping into the camera-manufacturing space, so they’ll be putting the open-source designs on GitHub sometime this summer. There are a few other companies in this space that have designed versions similar to the Facebook 360-degree video camera, but so far, there has been no comparison of video quality between them all.
GoPro – https://gopro.com/spherical
Nokia – https://ozo.nokia.com/
The future of video shows a clear path into 360-degree viewing and virtual reality. If you haven’t started doing videos of your showroom and dealership, get filming and give the people what they want! What are you waiting for?
In the meantime, check out some AMAZING Facebook 360-degree videos other industries are doing: https://www.facebook.com/Facebook360/timeline.
If this question has never crossed your mind, it’s a good thing I’m asking it.
There are many ways to target one city or location, but some methods are going to be much more effective than others. It also depends on the size of your budget. Obviously the larger your budget, the more you can target in regards to location.
So let’s consider your budget. Ask, “What locations can I effectively target with my budget?” Asking the right questions will move you one step closer to targeting more effectively. On top of that, if you are planning on expanding your location targeting, can you still afford to target that many locations with your current set of keywords? The last thing you want is for campaigns that are providing a strong ROI to be in the hot seat when you open up the location targeting because they become limited by budget.
Once you have the available locations you’re able to target with your budget with the current set of keywords (or the select few you’ve chosen), you can ask “Is this a radius target or specific target?” In my opinion, you should always be targeting specific locations if Google allows you to. Heck, if you can target individual postal codes within a location, do that! Only use a radius targeting zone if you can’t target specific individual towns or communities.
The reason is, if you know exactly what kind of performance data comes from each individual zone, you can make smart bidding decisions. Pay less for less qualified traffic. Pay more for more qualified traffic. Or you can simply make the decision to no longer actively target that location.
There is definitely some leg work to figure out this kind of information to make more informed decisions. If you need some help, or want even more advanced strategies contact one of our Online Marketing Managers for more helpful insights or advice.
Act now! Hurry! Low Stock! Only a few items left!
Creating a sense of urgency during the sales process is a common practice in marketing, but is very underutilized in the automotive industry.
Take a look at your current website and ask yourself, am I creating a perspective sense of urgency that encourages potential customers to buy now? Are your customers aware that if they don’t act promptly, they may lose their chance to buy the product, or to benefit from the promotional offer? This practice works well, if executed properly.
Here’s how you can generate a sense of urgency to increase your sales and online conversions.
Provide Availability Information
Dealerships have a great opportunity to use the scarcity effect on their websites. When an item is perceived as being limited, the desire to have that product will increase due to the inherent fear that people have of missing out. Leverage this by providing instantaneous alerts on inventory and let customers know when the stock level is low.
Integrate a Timeline on Your VDPs
This week only! Exceptional price! You have 3 days and 4 hours to take advantage of this offer! Add a countdown to your VDPs to remind users that your offers are temporary and perishable and that they should buy before the end of the countdown to take advantage of your deal.
The search results on Expedia’s website prominently displays a “Daily Deal” function with a timer. This fuels the urgency and encourages visitors to act fast!
Show Off Your Vehicle Popularity
Show visitors the popularity of your vehicles. The popularity of a product decreases consumer uncertainty and increases demand as a result. When an item is perceived as being popular, the desire to have that product will increase.
- “15 people are looking at this SUV”
- “10 people booked a test drive in the last 48 hours”
Creating a sense of urgency doesn’t need to be complicated. If you have a website with Strathcom Media, you will have access to the tools that can achieve this for you. The result? An increase in your customers’ confidence levels in your product, and the creation of a sense of urgency that will successfully spur people to convert their interest into a purchase. What are you waiting for? Join companies like Amazon and Expedia and start creating conversion producing urgency now!
Every manager and business owner out there knows that marketing decisions often need to be made quickly, and so we often rely on our intuition to guide us.
The problem is that our intuition can easily deceive us. By not asking the right questions and by allowing emotion to permeate the decision-making process, it can become easy to make a decision that will negatively affect your company’s fortunes. Therefore, it’s important to have a system of predetermined guidelines in place to support our decisions. We should challenge our intuition and ask ourselves if there is data and evidence to back our marketing decisions.
Google, for example, has proven to be very effective in this type of decision making. Google tested 41 shades of blue to confirm which would bring the highest click rate on their paid ads. As crazy as the study might seem, this campaign enabled the company to generate millions of additional dollars in profits.
Here at Strathcom Media, we often get the request to publish a “GET APPROVED FOR CREDIT” call-to-action (CTA) button on the homepage, despite extensive research showing this particular CTA is seldom clicked. This valuable homepage real estate is unnecessarily occupied. Take the time to monitor your analytics and discover what meaningful CTAs could be placed on the homepage.
The same applies when choosing advertising mediums to leverage. There is no lack of advertising channels to choose from (Google PPC, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, print, radio, billboards, email, direct mail, flyers-the list goes on), but how do you choose the appropriate channels for your dealership?
Some marketing agencies are notorious for promising significant conversion and lead increases in an attempt to lure in gullible buyers with too-good-to-be-true promises. This stains an industry that can potentially yield a very high return on investment.
That being said, a wealth of information gives us a great advantage, enabling easier decision-making. A good agency will use informational reporting to create marketing accountability and evaluate their value. In a digital world, there are so many metrics that you can measure anything and everything! A competent account manager will be able to break the metrics down for you in a way that is both understandable and useful.
Keep in mind that not all data is defined consistently. For example, if a marketing agency is promising to increase your conversions or your leads, ask them to define what a qualified sales lead or conversion is. Having a common definition of a qualified lead is imperative to avoiding disappointment. A confident marketing agency will have a strict framework for what does and what does not qualify as a sales lead.
A good place to start is by asking the right questions to define your advertising strategy. Here are some sample questions to help you figure this out:
- Who is your target market? It is wise to conduct some research and take a look at your analytics to find out what your age and gender demographics look like. This will influence your answers to the other question below. (If you don’t already have Google Analytics (GA) connected to your website, do so immediately, as this information is easily accessible and invaluable.)
- How do your competitors execute their promotion strategies? This may also influence your choice of promotional activity. For example, many of our dealers are executing geo-fencing strategies to steal customers from other dealers. How will this affect the way you react, if you choose to react at all?
In summary: Strathcom integrates these methods so we can better know our clients, understand our market segment, and identify weaknesses and strengths of our digital strategy, and then ultimately take the guessing and intuition out of our decision-making process. You can too! At Strathcom Media, we apply these methods in our decision making to ensure our clients’ marketing decisions and advertising strategies are backed and driven by statistics, keeping their minds at ease.
Going into 2016, Google reported some big changes in the way consumers are researching and purchasing online. Google has reported that 86% of research is done on mobile, and 52% of these searches are done during work hours. It’s pretty clear we are shifting to a mobile driven world, when we consider these additional stats: we are checking our phones 150 times, and spending 177 minutes on our phones a day.
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.
Every year, Google shares some valuable insights with their automotive partners in the form of their Think Auto study. Sifting through this goldmine of data, it made me realize that not enough dealers focus on conquesting and as a result they are missing out. To set the stage, here are a few points from Google’s research I found particularly valuable:
- 75% of the automotive research process is done online
- The average consumer only visits 1.5 dealerships in person compared to 5 back in 2005
- 87% of people consider multiple brands during the research and shopping process
- 71% of people switched brands with a new purchase (was driving a Ford and bought a Chev)
- 81% of people are using search engines during the shopping process and search leads to brand discovery
- People are open to influence from the start
- 63% start with a competitive brand in mind and buy something else
- 14% start with a brand in mind and buy it
- 23% have no brand in mind
Okay, so we can all agree that a bunch of stats can be boring, so what does this actually mean?
We know that the research and shopping process is predominantly done online, no surprise. However, what most dealers and manufacturers don’t want to admit is that brand loyalty is low, VERY low. Only about 12% of shoppers are brand loyal and about 14% of shoppers buy the brand that they first have in mind.
This is why you need to focus on conquesting!
So how can we do this?
Here are three steps to start a good conquesting strategy:
- Brand and model comparison pages on your website. Few dealers actually do this. You might have heard about this strategy in the past but did you actually go and write why the 2016 Ford F-150 is better than every other truck in the market?
- Incorporate a conquest strategy into your paid search campaigns. People use search engines in the research process and then discover new brands as a result. If you’re a Chevy dealer trying to compete with the new Tacoma maybe you want to come up in this search:
- Don’t forget about the 2nd most popular search engine in Canada, YouTube. Leverage the popularity of YouTube and film some comparison videos. Walk around your Dodge Ram 1500 explaining why it is superior to the Silverado and Sierra. With some simple editing software you can even loop in some stock footage of competing models.
The reality is people are not brand loyal, they are open to influence and you can take advantage of this. Why focus on first time buyers when they only make up 17% of the market, focus on the 71% of people who are open to switching.
Get Conquesting, Get More Leads.
Online reviews can have a major impact on your business. They can increase rankings within local search engines, and be the deciding factors for consumers choose to shop at your business over another. Here are some interesting and important statistics regarding the importance of having an online reputation:
- 90% of consumers say online reviews have influenced their buying decision.
- 92% of consumers trust online reviews as must as personal recommendations.
- 80% of buyers are more likely to purchase from a local business with good reviews.
- A 1 star increase in star ratings on reviews can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
Given the above statistics, asking consumers to review your business online is becoming increasingly more important.
Here are some tips and tricks to start collecting those reviews:
- Make it easy. Having reviews on multiple platforms like Facebook, Google, Reveiwsii, makes it easier for clients to use the platform of their choice.
- Focus on Quantity over Quality. Not everyone is going to have a 5 star rating, consumers that see this will have an easier time believing that the reviews they are reading are true.
- Ask buyers to post a review. Make it apart of your sales process to ask clients to leave a review base off of their experience.
- Make sure you are actively responding to both Negative and Positive reviews. Consumers that notice this, will see that you care.
Remember, your customers will talk about you. Why not let them share their experiences with the rest of the world?
One of the first things any business student would learn in their marketing class would be the famous 4P’s of marketing which can also be referred to as Marketing Mix, or the definition of marketing itself.
From February 18, 2016 onward, Bing Ads will further empower individuals and organizations to achieve more. How are they going to do that?
Bing has been in Google AdWords’ shadow for quite some time. With Bing’s new network (and with you in mind, of course), they’re lined up for growth and success.
First, Bing has changed–and is still changing–the way we search. Let’s look specifically at Windows 10. In this latest version of Windows, you’re able to search for items right from your Bing-integrated start menu. It seems so simple. And that’s one of the reasons Bing has seen and will continue to see an increase in their searches–it’s so simple. Bing’s capabilities span across other devices, platforms, and partners such as the Xbox One, AOL, and the Wall Street Journal.
Second, Bing is setting up points of parity by remarketing the brand and offering an Ad Editor to Mac users for improved utility and usability. Bing wants to help you “Be There” during moments that matter, so these changes were no-brainers for ensuring advertisers had access to all the tools they might need with the Bing Toolkit.
Third, Bing’s statistics for search uniqueness are very attractive to individuals who love to test and then retest. Bing reports they get 1 in 3 of U.S. searches and 15 billion monthly searches around the globe. This number continues to grow. They even say 25 percent of clicks resulting from searches are exclusive to the Bing Network. This opens the door to so much more testing; for example, keywords that don’t work well in AdWords might be successful in the Bing Network.
If you write content, any kind of content, you probably wonder whether or not your copy is going to persuade someone to complete your desired action or conversion. The tips I’m going to share can be used for longer copy, but I mostly apply it to ads, Facebook posts, and landings page content that I write for increased conversion rates. Here we go!
Tip #1 Be Personal
Use you/your/I as much as you can. Especially if you’re posting in Facebook using your organization’s profile, you’re speaking to people – not another organization. Being personal will make your people feel like you’re another individual speaking directly to them, rather than a faceless corporation searching for sales.
Tip #2 It Doesn’t Have to Be Creative It Just Has To Have Resonance
Sometimes we think that we have to be creative, but you don’t always need to be. Your writing sales copy just needs to resonate with the person reading your content. As long as you’re accomplishing that you will see better results than if you focused on writing something unique or original that no one else has written about before.
Tip #3 Emotional First, Rational After
Appeal to people’s emotions. Then hit them with your rational argument. Popular emotions to appeal to are pride, fear, laziness, and approval. Rational arguments to make could be cost effectiveness, profit, and savings.
Tip #4 People Are More Likely To Read Headlines With The First Letter Of Every Word Capitalized
This is a North American thing. It won’t however be the same across the world, like in Europe, they might react better to headlines without the capitalization.
Tip #5 No One Cares About Your Body Copy Unless They Care About Your Headline
You’re probably only reading this blog because the headline caught your eye, and it resonated with you. Spend most of your time thinking of a heading rather than the actual content. I spent 1/2 of the time working this headline with my colleagues and the rest on writing the content.
So follow these five tips in all of your ads, blogs, and social media posts, and soon you should notice greater reader retention and better conversion rates as a result!
We hope we have you convinced by now that your dealership should be on Instagram and that it’s important to your brand development. The insane growth of the app presents a great opportunity to define your brand and increase your presence on the mobile network. With over 400 million users worldwide, Instagram has now surpassed Twitter as the largest mobile photo-sharing app in the world.
Considering the amount of active Instagram users, it should be easy to collect a significant following in your area with some simple hashtags and nice pictures–but your dealership account can’t seem to break 10 Likes or increase followers. Instagram is so much more than a Valencia filter and #yeg. Let us help you get past the 5 mistakes you might be making and that you don’t want to throwback to.
- Not Having an Optimized Profile
When a customer searches for your brand, there is nothing worse than for them to land on a private account. This makes your brand appear closed and selective, and customers do not want to be granted permission to view what you have to offer. Public accounts allow you to be easily accessible and approachable, and give them a visual glimpse of your brand.
It’s also important to fill in the Bio section of your profile. Use keywords to help customers find you, and include your website to encourage visits and leads.
- Misusing Hashtags
Maybe you aren’t using enough hashtags for interested customers to find you, and this means fewer interactions with your posts. More hashtags equals more Likes and comments, and Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per image. Start by testing 5 different hashtags per post until you’ve collected a significant amount of tags to use in every post and guarantee results.
- Only Posting & Not Engaging
Like on Facebook, users on Instagram want a glimpse into your brand, and to interact with whatever posts interest them. By replying to comments on your posts, you are demonstrating you’re a dealership that’s excited and committed to customer interaction and service.
- Too Promotional
Instagram is a great platform to promote any deals and specials running at your dealership. However, your profile should not be cluttered with promotional images that overshadow any of the personal content you post. Limit promotional posts to once a week, or get in touch with our team to start Instagram Advertising.
- Not Having a Plan
Like with other marketing tools you use at your dealership, always have a plan for what outcomes and goals you want to achieve through Instagram. Is it to promote a lifestyle or community engagement? Avoid random posting, but also make sure you have a consistent schedule for when and what content you plan to post to your account.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and we can ensure these words are being heard. Instagram is not your grandparents’ social network, and you can turn hashtags into dollars for your dealership. Contact Strathcom Media today to find out what we can do to improve your Instagram presence!
In the world of Google Search, keyword targeting has become the most specific method of reaching out to customers with the intent of purchasing the products and services your dealership has to offer. Traditional keyword targeting also ensures ads are within relevant context by including several metrics such Quality Score and Click-thru-Rate. However, no matter how granular you try to be in your keyword basket, it’s difficult to understand audience behavior based on their keyword searches.
With the launch of remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA); intent, context, and audience were combined to create a search campaign tailored to past visitors of your site who are searching Google for your dealership, vehicles, and services. Since implementing RLSA’s to our accounts’ strategy, remarketing has now proven to be as successful at targeting past website visitors on the Display and Search Network.
Now, we are able to combine the success of keywords and RLSAs by adding different ‘bid only’ audiences to your targeting strategy in the Search Network. By adding different audiences to our ad groups, we can serve ads and unique landing pages depending on the audience the customer belongs to, the next time they conduct a generic Google search.
For example, we can add shoppers looking to buy a Honda Civic and a Honda CR-V on separate lists, and the next time these users search for “new Honda”, we can serve them either Civic or CR-V specific ads with landings pages that lead them to claim an offer or book a test drive for their desired model.
Coupled with Customer Match targeting, we can move prospecting car buyers down the conversion funnel from researchers to loyal customers.
Here at Strathcom, we are dedicated to improving our skills and knowledge by staying up to date on all new PPC trends and products. Call us today to get started on your new PPC account!
It was YellowPages in the Library with the Candlestick!
A couple months back, Alexandre Brabant posted his experience helping a client decipher what was going on with their Ad Words campaign being run by the Yellow Pages Group, what he found was they were employing some shady techniques to increase the amount of money they were receiving for running the campaign – all behind the customers back. This gave us the idea to give you, the reader, some questions to ask your Yellow Pages rep or any rep who is running Ad Words on behalf of your business.
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…
Is it fair to expect to convert visitors on their first visit to a website? According to Hub Spot, approximately 96% of visitors that come to a website are not ready to buy….yet[i]. For the casual browser who is looking for more information, offering the visitor relevant information to keep them on your webpage for longer could mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce.
That being said, we all know that a certain percentage of bounce is inevitable for any website out there, particularly when we are dealing with an extremely competitive landscape such as automotive marketing.
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.