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October 29, 2020

Is your digital strategy using a one-size-fits-all method?

Ditch the rigidity and get the frequency you need to win the micro-moments

Did you hear that crash in the distance? I wonder what it could have been…

Oh, I know! It was yet another marketing campaign biting the dust.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Tom, doesn’t that happen to everyone sometimes?”

Actually…no. It doesn’t happen to everyone.

So why is it happening to you?

The answer probably has something to do with how your digital strategy is pushing your ads.

The quickest route to finding out why your digital strategy keeps resulting in duds is to ask yourself this question:

Is my digital strategy getting me the frequency I need to succeed?

See, the marketing game has been doing some changing lately.

Whereas it used to be a competition of who could reach the largest audience, now we’re competing for a different prize—the micro-moments.

Google defines micro-moments as “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.”

These blips pop up in-between the everyday moments that everyone has—texting a friend, checking Instagram, posting a Facebook status—and they’re known as the “I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments.”

In other words, these are the moments a consumer is ACTING instead of REACTING.

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These moments are crucial because THIS is when the final decision is made; THIS is when a customer either chooses you or doesn’t.

If your digital strategy has been producing more losses than wins recently, 9 times out of 10 it’s because you’re losing these micro-moments.

But why? What are you doing wrong?

Here are some possible pitfalls your digital strategy might be making that could be taking you out of the marketing game (you might want to write these down.)

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  1. You’re prioritizing volume over frequency.

As I said above, there was a time when the world of marketing orbited around one point, and one point only: VOLUME.

Here are some potential dangers for making volume your main goal:

  • You typically end up with a wide—but extremely shallow—pool of potential buyers.
  • A large audience sees your ad at least once, but one interaction just isn’t enough to assure your dealership is at the forefront of a client’s mind during micro-moments.
  • Guarantees you reach a broad audience—but it doesn’t guarantee you reach the RIGHT audience, which is crucial in order to generate the kind of quality interest and interaction your dealership is looking for.

So, is volume a bad thing?

Definitely not; in fact, EVERYONE wants their marketing campaign to reach a large audience.

But let me tell you a secret: the best way to achieve volume is to stop making it the end-all-be-all, and realize frequency is the true Holy Grail.

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See, while a digital strategy emphasizing frequency often appears to be reaching a smaller audience, it’s working from a targeted list of in-market buyers in your area.

These individuals have consistently shown auto-shopping behavior online—they are interested in BUYING, not just looking.

Having this targeted list allows your digital strategy to maintain the potency of your message while blasting it across every channel available.

By using your ad spend to reach a more concentrated audience repeatedly—as opposed to a broader audience once or twice—you will actually generate more interest.

Wait, what?

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It’s true. Though you’re targeting a smaller group of people, you’re increasing the amount of interaction they’re having with your ad by having them view it repeatedly.

Each time a potential customer is emailed, texted, or left a voicemail, the chances of him choosing your dealership skyrocket—thus, the volume of your client pool grows.

And by elevating the amount of interaction buyers have with your ad, you increase the chance that your ad will be at the forefront of a buyer’s mind when that micro-moment comes knockin’.

So, in a nutshell: frequency actually has the ability to create volume, and it’s key when it comes to upping your chances of locking down micro-moments.

The second reason your digital strategy could be failing to win you the micro-moments?

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  • You’re using a one-size-fits-all communication method.

Okay, I think we can all agree that communication isn’t what it used to be back in the days of M.A.S.H. or Little House on the Prairie.

But I don’t know if we truly understand how much it has changed.

Nowadays, there’s a surplus of ways to communicate—texting, calling, emailing, direct messaging—and the list goes on.

And here’s the thing: everyone has a different way they prefer to communicate and be communicated with.

Where most digital strategies go wrong is, they attempt to apply a one-size-fits-all communication method to a vast array of buyers, and that just isn’t effective if you’re looking to actually engage with your audience.

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Why not?

Because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, and by attempting to communicate with everyone the same way, you’ll only reach those who prefer THAT communication style, sweeping aside all those who don’t.

How can you expect to win the micro-moments if you’ve essentially shut out a potentially large portion of your audience?

In order to have a successful marketing campaign, you have to meet buyers where they’re at; it’s your job to reach them, not vice versa.

In order to accomplish this, utilizing every channel at your disposal is critical.

You want to ensure that if a potential buyer misses your first email, you’re following up with a text,

A voicemail,

A retargeted second email,

Whatever you can to get his attention.

Because, at the end of the day, it’s your job to appeal to him by reaching him on his turf.

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The marketing game is happening on EVERY channel; by only using one or two, you’re taking yourself out of the matches happening on all of the others.

Slapping your product on every platform ensures that your bases are covered and ups your chances of buyers not only interacting with the ad, but doing so over and over again.

This also ups your chances of building up connectivity/relevancy between your brand and the sites potential customers are visiting regularly, shooting your dealership to the top of the shopping list when those “I-want-to-buy” moments come callin’.

Also, making sure your ad is being broadcast multiple times across various media platforms increases organic traffic through sheer volume, as more content means more keywords and higher probability that your content will come up in a user search.

So, to put things simply:

Make sure your digital strategy is reaching buyers where THEY are.

The easiest way to make sure that’s happening is to have the cold, hard, data.

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Do NOT just trust what your digital strategist is telling you because, chances are, he’s telling you what you WANT to hear, not what you NEED to hear.

Be sure you’re getting your facts from a reliable source, such as Google Analytics.

When you get your information from a non-biased source you can rest easy, knowing that these stats are completely trustworthy because they’re coming from a place that has no stake in how your dealership is doing, so it has no reason to try to pull the wool over your eyes.

Interested in knowing more about how Google Analytics can benefit your future marketing campaigns? Check out my blog on the topic here.

Are you worried your digital strategy could you costing you the micro-moments?

If so, it could be costing your dealership time, money, and sales.

At ACI, we know the importance of winning the micro-moments, and by prioritizing frequency and utilizing every channel available, we ensure that your dealership is at the top of the queue when those moments arise.

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Have questions about the importance of micro-moments? Frequency? What I should write about next?

Contact me at tom@advconcepts.com

October 22, 2020

A dealership is only as strong as its client base—have you been watching yours dwindle?

If customer retention is your aim, customer relations is your game.

It’s a universal (and heartbreaking) truth that losing customers is inevitable.

Afterall, a business is like a leaky bucket; no matter how much you fill it up, there will always be some that dribbles out.

This can happen for a surplus of reasons; I mean, people move, people die, people follow friends and family to new companies.

While many of the causes that draw customers away are inevitable, Client Insight Inc. revealed that the #1 reason a customer quits buying from a business isn’t because he no longer cares about its products, but because he doesn’t think it cares about him.

So, what’s the solution? How do you combat the issue of losing customers?

Well, the same way you fix the leaky bucket—you stop focusing on putting more in and instead focus on plugging the holes.

See, there was a time when, whether people liked your dealership or not, they were pretty much obligated to shop there because they didn’t have many other options. Now, things have changed.

In fact, there’s a slew of dealerships out there selling the same products as you are, while probably promising the same “once in a lifetime” deals, just waiting for one of your customers to accidently hit the link to their site instead of yours.

In today’s market, it’s not always your product that sets you apart from the crowd—even though I’m sure your cars are way nicer than that guy’s—but actually your bond with the buyer.

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Studies have shown that companies that failed to prioritize customer relations lost 20% more clients annually than their counterparts. While this stat might be scary, it does confirm one thing: you can’t expect customers to stick around anymore without being willing to do the heavy lifting it takes to keep them.

This work comes in the form of customer relations—and it’s not without its rewards, considering the fact that strong customer relations often lead to loyal clients, positive word of mouth, and—yep, you guessed it—increased sales.

So, it’s time to up your customer relations game—that means not just saying that you care, but actually PROVING IT, and I’ll tell you how in 3 steps.

  • Make consistency in communication a priority
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Just as it’s unrealistic to call someone your best friend after one positive encounter, it’s impractical to assume a customer will make you his number #1 choice after one successful purchase.

This trust has to be earned, and upholding a consistent standard is the perfect place to start. Afterall, consistency across every channel—digital and personal—ups your chances of one triumphant buy leading to another.

However, this consistency can only be achieved by making sure that every aspect of your dealership is functioning in harmony. If your receptionist isn’t up to date with what’s being said on your website, or your sales department isn’t on the same page as your finance department, your clients could be getting mixed messages throughout the buying process.

This is risky because, if your communication isn’t consistent across the board, your customers might begin to question to consistency—and reliability—of your dealership.

  • Communicate WELL and OFTEN
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While the content of your communication is important, it’s not everything; there’s more to customer relations than first impressions.

In the words of George Farris, “conversation with customers will increase sales, even if the product or service is never mentioned.” See, it’s the continuity of your communication that truly keeps customers coming back.

Afterall, the road to good customer relations doesn’t start and stop when the transaction is made. The service and aftercare you provide following the sale is truly what cements your customers’ feelings about your company.

Staying at the forefront of a client’s radar will keep your name at the top of his shopping list if the time to buy comes back around; don’t just assume you’re his #1 choice, be sure of it.

Keeping communication channels open and active—by responding to emails, answering queries, and responding to questions on social media—is key to building this long-lasting relationship. After all, the bond isn’t formed in the showroom, it’s forged just about everywhere else.

  • Maintenance is key
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Alright, you’re in a pretty good spot with your customer relations, time to sit back, relax, and watch the sales numbers skyrocket, right?

Well, not exactly. See, establishing a good relationship with your buyers is only half of the equation; maintaining these relationships is key if you want your dealership to be a “go-to” instead of a “one-and-done.”

A good way to go about maintaining your relationship with your clients is to treat these relationships like you would a personal friendship (Disclaimer: this does NOT mean hitting them up for 5 dollars for lunch).

Just like personal friendships, customer relations have to be nurtured and cultivated—they don’t happen overnight, and they can be lost in a second if they’re not made a priority.

To keep your dealership at the forefront of your customers’ minds, try requesting their opinions on your products.

After all, buyers have crucial insights into your company that your team could easily overlook, and getting their points of view could be a game-changer for your business strategy—plus, it shows them that you see them as more than just a one-time sale, but as a valued contributor to your dealership.

Another way to keep your buyers interested and promoting your dealership is to offer membership rewards, special deals for previous shoppers, and surprise gifts for loyal supporters.

These small acts will show customers that it pays to stick with your dealership, making any switch-up to another company feel like a hassle instead of helpful.

Customer relations is an ongoing project—but it’s worth to effort! Putting in the work to build a bond with your clients is beneficial because it ensures that they stick around—and that your sales numbers continue rising. Remember, customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition, and ACI is here to guarantee that your dealership is doing BOTH in 2021!

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Have more questions about how to up your customer relations game in the coming year? ACI could be key to keeping your customers coming and your sales numbers soaring—send us an email with your questions and suggestions about what to write about next!

Contact me at:

tom@advconcepts.com

October 15, 2020

Are you failing instead of sale(ing)?

Marketing can only take you so far—Identify the points of failure in your sales strategy that could be costing you sales

Picture it: you’re slumped at your desk, scrolling through last quarter’s sales numbers for the millionth time. The results are less than inspiring.

Enough is enough, you think as you jump to your feet. It’s time to kick my marketing strategy to the curb!

Not so fast, cowboy; ease on back into your saddle and think this over: maybe your marketing strategy isn’t the issue.

You see, marketing is a huge component of sales, but it isn’t the only component; there’s a lot of other pieces to the sales equation than just having a snazzy marketing strategy.

Think of it this way: your dealership is a lot like the cars that you sell. Just like a car is made up of parts, such as an engine, transmission, battery, alternator, and more, your dealership is the same way, composed of a marketing strategy, sales team, customer service, website, etc.

If one of your cars starts acting up, do you immediately throw away the engine even if it might be your transmission that’s the problem? Of course not! You always troubleshoot before coming to a final decision…do you see where I’m going with this?

When you start seeing your sales numbers plateau—or even decline—your marketing strategy could very well be the issue. However, you can’t be 100% sure until you do some digging, and making a decision without being certain can do more harm than good.

So, what’s your next move? How can you identify your dealership’s point of failure? Is it even possible?

Of course, it is, it just depends on how your dealership decides to approach the problem.

If you want to take a specified approach to finding your dealership’s point of failure, try breaking down one of your typical marketing campaigns—from ad all the way to final sale—in order to trace what worked and what flopped.

If when going through the steps of this campaign it seems that the first two phases—message (what’s said) and media (how it’s delivered)—produced little to nothing for you to follow-up on, your marketing strategy could be your point of failure. However, if after these steps your dealership is generating leads, getting positive traffic on its website, and your Google Analytics is showing improvement in your overall customer engagement, your marketing team probably isn’t your issue and it’s time to start considering other options.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How were the generated leads handled?
  • Who handled them? Is my BDC representative up to my dealership’s standards?
  • Is my team—from sales to IT—on the same page with what to do with each lead?

If not, a simple issue of miscommunication could be leading to a larger problem—bungled leads and missed opportunities.

If working your way through a marketing campaign for your point of failure seems too tedious, try looking at the issue from a broader approach by reviewing these areas:

Website Accessibility:

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world. Gone are the days of prospective customers waltzing through your door, pen and checkbook in hand. Instead, a customer’s interest is usually shown by his willingness to visit your website and fill out a lead. With this in mind, it’s your dealership’s responsibility to make sure this process is quick, simple, and efficient. If dealing with your site is the equivalent of pulling teeth, your point of failure could be your website accessibility.

Customer Service:

This just might be the heart and soul of your dealership, because it’s here that your customer gets a glimpse into how much you actually value them. Playing the blame-game when they call in with a problem? Sending them straight to hold and leaving them there for an hour? Sounding like you’d rather have a root canal than answer their questions? Not exactly the way to a customer’s heart…or his wallet. Allowing a bad day to impact your dealings with a potential client can have disastrous effects—like costing your dealership a sale and maybe even a lifelong customer. Make sure that your customer service is staying on par with your dealership’s high standards when dealing with clients, because if they’re letting the ball drop, they could be letting your sales numbers drop, as well.

Inventory:

Okay, let’s say a couple walks into your dealership. We all know the drill: they want a car. You sell cars. Should be a match made in heaven, right? Well, that all depends on if you actually have the car they want to buy. See, just having a lot full of cars isn’t enough to hook a customer and make a sale; it’s all about the quality of your inventory. If your inventory is unvaried and out of date, customers coming to your dealership looking for a thrill might start looking for the door instead. Make sure your dealership is offering an updated, wide variety of options for its customers—if not, your inventory might be your dealership’s point of failure.

Planning (Or Lack Of):

Waiting until the last minute to come up with your sales plan is like throwing a pitch with your eyes closed; yes, there’s a very small chance you’ll hit the strike zone, but there’s an even bigger chance you’ll clobber the batter. Establishing a strong strategy each sales quarter heightens your chances of reaching your goals for several reasons:

  1. When you take the time to lay out what you want to accomplish in advance, you’re more likely to see the picture from every angle, whereas it’s easy to miss something when making decisions during crunch time.
  2. Having a set plan ensures that everyone—from your sales to your finance department—is on the same page, leaving less room for error by miscommunication.
  3. Finally, having a comprehensive strategy helps to avoid pitfalls—big and small—that could potentially derail your quarterly goals, as you’re following a pre-established path instead of floundering around in the dark.

In short, Michael Jordan never stepped up to the free throw line unprepared. Tiger Woods never took a shot without taking that same shot 100 times during practice the day before. If your dealership is attempting to hit its sales numbers without a plan of how to do so, lack of planning could be your point of failure.  

While these are only a few general areas where your business might be falling short, your point of failure is unique to your dealership; however, so is your point of SUCCESS. At ACI, you won’t get lost in a pile of generic mumbo jumbo; we focus on your SPECIFIC objectives and goals and we’re willing to put in the time, research, and work to get your sales numbers moving in the right direction in 2021!

Questions about your point of failure? Interested in getting back on track? Have questions, comments, or input into what you’d like to read next?

Contact me at:

tom@advconcepts.com

October 7, 2020

Numbers don’t lie—But people might. How much money is your dealership wasting on its digital strategy?

6 Google Analytics features proven to show you the facts and show you the money in 2021

Do you hear that? That incessant knocking at your door? That phone that just keeps ringing? Money says it’s a salesman who wants something from you (I’ll give you a hint: it’s your checkbook).

He strolls into your office and dumps a load of statistics onto your desk; it all sounds good, but how can you tell the fact from the fluff? Let’s face it, if you’re still playing guessing games with your digital strategy, you could be doing this:

Enough is enough. It’s 2020, which means it’s time to stop taking everything at face value—especially if that face only sees you as a whopping commission. You deserve your facts from a reliable source.

Most have already heard of Google Analytics—most even have it up and running right now—but few understand what it truly offers. If this is you, we need to have a serious talk.

Google Analytics in a nutshell

Google Analytics is a web service that tracks and reports traffic on your website, keeping the books, so you don’t have to. This platform is fully automated (i.e. once you’ve added your tracking code, it immediately begins tracking, storing, and providing you with crucial statistics), constantly improving, and…there’s one more thing…

Oh, yeah, it’s free. Translation: it’s not after your money like that pesky salesman. You can trust it to give you the cold, hard facts without a hidden agenda. But how is it done?

In a nutshell, Google Analytics breaks up its data in three ways:

  1. Acquisition – find out how you get traffic to your website.
  2. Behavior – find out what people are actually doing on your website.
  3. Conversions – find out how visitors turn into customers on your website.

At this point you may be saying: yes, I KNOW about Google Analytics, but isn’t it overwhelming, confusing, beyond my reach? Not anymore, because today we’re breaking down the top 6 features of Google Analytics and how implementing them could up your sales game and save you money in 2021.

  1. Traffic Reporting

This feature tells you just how many people are visiting your site each day. On top of this, it gives you the ability to track various trends over any period of time. If you’re willing to dig a little deeper, you’ll be able to narrow down the exact source of your traffic, i.e. which channel brought in the highest number of views for your site. This knowledge is beneficial because it reveals if your current marketing strategy is actually initiating engagement between your site and your audience.

  • Bounce Rate

This feature reveals the percentage of site-goers who exited without interacting beyond a single-page—to put things plainly, they bailed. If your site has an abnormally high bounce rate, yet your dealership relies on viewers interacting beyond one-page visits, you might want to do some investigating. Before making any drastic changes, make sure you view the problem from various angles:

  • The Audience Overview report provides the overall bounce rate for your site.
  • The Channels report provides the bounce rate for each channel grouping.
  • The All Traffic report provides the bounce rate for each source/medium pair.
  • The All Pages report provides the bounce rate for individual pages.

You can even compare your company’s Bounce Rate to other industries within your field by going to the admin section, selecting Account Settings and then checking Benchmarking. If your company’s Bounce Rate is high compared to others in your realm of influence, your digital strategy could be focusing its attention on the wrong areas—and costing you valuable customers.

  • Goals

You can use this feature to measure how often visitors are completing a specific action on your site. In a nutshell, it reveals how well—or not so well—your site is fulfilling its target objectives. Implementing and reaching these goals is key to the success of your business; if, for some reason, your goals aren’t being met, it’s probably time to reevaluate your strategy. Maybe your customers need some incentive to keep scrolling—or maybe you need to kick your current digital strategy to the curb.  

  • Conversion Tracking

Any action that a person takes on your website—from making a purchase to signing up for an email list—is considered a conversion. Tracking these conversion points allows you to see when and where someone converted, the exact traffic source that referred them, and much more. Understanding your conversion data can take your company to the next level—giving you the tools to fine-tune your campaigns to bring in more customers.

  • Key Word Referrals

Ever wondered what a customer searched in order to stumble upon your website? Well, now you don’t have to. With this feature, you can see what people typed (key words) into a search engine when they found your site. This information has the power to drastically increase the power of your SEO strategy.

  • Audience Reports

The ultimate benefit of this feature is the ability to compare performances, habits, and tendencies across different audience segments and then conclude how to relate audience activity to your business goals. This information has the power to dictate which campaigns are viable for different audiences. It also reveals which audiences have a higher engagement rate and therefore deserve the highest level of attention.

While I’ve only hit on a few features that Google Analytics offers, the possibilities are ENDLESS. Stop flushing money down the toilet, because there’s only one thing standing between YOUR DEALERSHIP and a new and improved digital marketing strategy—start listening to the NUMBERS, not the SALES PITCH!

At ACI, we’re not interested in selling you shaky programs covered up by inflated reviews; we use Google Analytics every day to track exactly where your ad spend is going and our monthly reports are cut and dry about the traffic we’ve generated for your site. These analytics are monitored consistently, giving us the ability to adjust ad spend (at NO additional cost to you) so that we can produce the best possible results every. single. time.

Still a bit fuzzy on Google Analytics? Our experts on staff will walk you through the process of “translating” the information so you can get back to doing what you do best: SELLING CARS!

Contact me at:

tom@advconcepts.com