Turner 4 dealers's Blog

October 4, 2009

The power of social marketing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 3:25 am
Talk about a bad week, first Toyota recalled 3.8 million autos in what could cost as much as $100 million and then they get sued for "Terror Marketing."  Akio Toyoda even referenced the book "How the Mighty Fall" by Jim Collins, saying that his company was grasping for salvation
Let me start by saying that this is NOT a bash Toyota article.  What I took from all of this was how Social Marketing has become a primary means of reaching buyers.  In this case Toyota and Saatchi got it wrong in a classic what were they thinking moment.  As a dealer you could use Social Marketing in a less dramatic and more effective way. 
Like I said the other day, I would use Social Marketing as today's version of the Meet & Greet. Paul Rushing recently said on his blog that you should look at social sites very much like a cocktail party.  You wouldn't run around a party asking what kind of a car everybody is looking for, and you shouldn't do that on Facebook either.  If you were at a party you would probably just tell people what you do and hand out a few cards.  If someone were looking for a car they would take the conversation further.  That's the way to use social sites.
So think about your dealership's efforts from that perspective, are you pitching non-stop?  Social sites and social marketing have the potential to really take your sales to a whole new level, they also have the ability to humble giants.
Just a thought…

October 1, 2009

If I had…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 1:37 pm
I was talking with a friend the other day and both of us use to work in dealership's not too long ago.  We were discussing how awesome it would be to have a store or group today as compared with just a few years ago.
Today, most Dealers and GMs not only "get" the Internet many even understand what an important role it plays in the store's overall marketing plan. 
Today, there is no need to have a "Floor" sales team and an "Internet" sales team.  Nearly everyone has at some point been online and looked at your website before walking on your lot.  So you should just simply have Sales Consultants.
Today, we can do amazing things with the website and inventory.  With a small, inexpensive, video camera you can have short videos about each car online in minutes.  If I were selling cars today, I would have one of these cameras on me at all times.  I would send EVERY prospect I had at least 2 videos. 
  • The first would be me describing the process and why they should buy from me. 
  • The second would be a quick informative, and hopefully entertaining, video walk around. 
 Remember the road to the sale?  Even though there are many versions, nearly all had at or near the top "Sell Yourself."  The first video helps you sell yourself and your store.  The second video addresses arguably one of the most important, yet almost forgotten, part of the sale;  The Presentation.
When I first started selling to Internet customers in 1998, the medium did not allow for these critical elements so we as an industry let them slide.  Back then what separated you from the others was if you even responded to their email.
Today, if you want to sale cars you had better learn or relearn the New Road to The Sale.  I will be addressing what I believe to be today's version this month. 
The recovery seems to be picking up steam so follow all of my post in October to help you get ready to sell.  Their gonna buy a car, might as well be from you…
Just a thought…
As always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me 714-937-1239 x280

September 27, 2009

Demographic Differences Between Facebook and MySpace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 4:44 am
Wow, I just read an article on Mashable that had some very interesting information.   
First thing that caught my eye was that "On-Line Ad Spend" across all sites was down 26% for the automotive sector…wow.  I don't think that I am alone in thinking that it was up because dealers and OEMs have been scaling down their traditional ad spend.  But get this, Ad Spend on "Social Network" sites was up 178% for the automotive sector. 
The other thing that caught my eye was title of a referenced article "The More Affluent and More Urban are More Likely to use Social Networks" that reported that Facebook users have a largely upscale profile. In fact the top third of lifestyle segments relative to affluence were 25% more likely to use Facebook than those in the those in the lower third.
The bottom third segments related to affluence were 37% more likely to use MySpace than those in the top third. 
Additionally the report showed that users of Facebook were also much more likely to use LinkedIn, a network geared towards business and professional networking, than those who use MySpace.
Another referenced study by iStrategyLabs reported that Facebook's userbase is quickly getting much older.  The number of Facebook users aged 25 to 34 has grown over 60% and the number of users 35 to 54 has grown a whopping 190%.  Comparatively, the number of users aged 18 to 24 increased only 4.8%.
As the article clearly states "Facebook, simply put, is not a young site anymore."  The article stated that to a site like Facebook that lives on advertising this is a big deal.  I think it's a huge WAKE-UP CALL to dealers across the country. 
This economy is arguably the toughest we may see in our lifetime, and technology has rapidly changed the way we inthe car business reach customers.  The articles and studies referenced above should clearly signal that the Internet has truly become the primary means of reaching today's buyers.  The good news is that it's easier and more cost effective than any other method and according to many it is clearly where the buyers are. 
In conclusion dealerships that find a way to integrate Social Networks into their marketing plan will be poised to reap the rewards that the upcoming recovery will most certainly bring.
Just a thought…

September 25, 2009

Magic Bullets?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 12:46 am

Another day has come and gone and reading the late news stories I see all kinds of articles but one that really jumped out is by Phil Sura on Digital Dealer

Phil rightfully pointed out that;  “This is similar to the Internet manager or general manager looking for the one idea that will take their Internet department to superstar status. That one idea doesn’t exist. The market is too complex.”

He went to say that;  retail leaders in the automotive Internet space are constantly making adjustments to modifying their approach since the market is evolving. You may have the perfect SEO strategy one day and Google changes the analytics and three dealers across town jump ahead of you with the key searches. I would suggest that it is research and time on the “course,” which leads to a better understanding of the game, which leads to a stronger scorecard. “

Great advice Phil.  Start out with a plan, work the plan and adjust as you measure your results. 

Just a thought…

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September 24, 2009

Are you ready? Encouraging signs suggest you should be!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 2:48 pm

I read some very good news this morning.  Actually two articles both of which suggest that the market is starting it’s return. 

First there was the article in Automotive News that said that AutoNation has begun to acquire new stores and has increased their order for new vehicles.  CEO Mike Jackson said “We’re not afraid to buy Ford or Chevy franchises where we were in the past,”.  That’s GREAT news when you consider that AutoNation was one of the first mega groups to start cutting cost at the beginning of this downturn. 

As if that were not enough to get a real car guy excited, I then read that Ford CEO, Alan Mulally feels that the market is beginning the upturn.

It got me thinking about when the economy started to rebound after 9/11.  I remember that there were a few dealers that really got a head start on the returning market.  It was those dealers that had huge successes.

So if I were back in a dealership today what would I do right now? 

I would assess the state of my store’s marketing plan.  How will these returning customers find you?  

Do you have a great website that not only looks good, but allows you to add specials in minutes not days? 

Are those specials optimized so that the most relevant special for that unique visitor shows upon them landing on the site? 

Does your website have off-site authority based SEO techniques that not only drive traffic to your site but put your inventory on the search results listings?

Now is the time to get ready, because some very smart people are already doing that.  If you’re not ready maybe your competitor is?

Just a thought…

September 23, 2009

Design or Potency, which is more important?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 6:13 pm
Tags: , , , ,

When it comes to your dealership’s website which is more important, Design or Potency? 

I would argue that while design is important potency means more qualified leads, and I will take qualified leads all day long.  Over the past 10 years we’ve seen a lot of change in the business, especially on the website front.  Websites today are without a doubt the most important element of the dealership’s overall marketing strategy. 

When it’s time to redo your dealership’s website here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Can you tie your website to your current marketing plan quickly and easily?  In other words if you’re running a campaign featuring a $199 a month payment on your radio and print ads, can you tie that same promotion to your website? 

When considering design or look and feel of your website, ask yourself a very simple question:  Will it help me sell more cars?

If the answer is NO, then stop and go in a different direction.  I’ve been in this business a long time and I have seen things that some dealers insist be on their website that have absolutely nothing to do with selling a car.  Just because it’s cool or it looks good does not mean it will generate leads.   Isn’t that the whole purpose of the website, to generate leads?

There are a lot of website providers today, far more than when i was an Internet Manager.  So you have choices, so don’t fall for the flashy pitch.  Instead dig a little deeper and ask about how they optimize website.  Ask them to really show how they do it.  Don’t just take the buzzwords of the day and assume they know.  Have them actually show you on a real site.

Get your friends and family to mystery shop for a car.  Have them search online for that car and get inside the mind of a “car buyer” and stop being a dealer for just a moment and see what they see.  Now ask yourself, how can I make my website make their search easier.  That’s the secret formula, make it easier for the customer to buy from you and ….You Win.

So which is more important..Design or Potency?

Just a thought…

September 22, 2009

DVDs? How about simple online videos?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 11:22 pm
Tags: , ,

I just read another article where Chrysler is scrapping the traditional Owner’s Manual for DVDs. 

It’s great that they realize that the printed owners manual is a thing of the past.  But instead of DVDs why not simple online videos? 

Online Owner Guides could be posted on the dealership website and easy to access or even online sites like You Tube.  They could very easily be updated or changed. and cost thousands less to prouce and maintain.

Just a thought…

Should The Detroit 3 Take Silicon Valley’s Advice?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Turner @ 6:15 pm

I read an article on Automotive News  today where Silicon Valley venture capitalist offered Detroit some advice..Start Over.

So is starting over the only way for Ford, GM and Chrysler to succeed in the new economy? 

There could be some good advice in there.  Alot of the woes that face Detroit today stem from an old and over grown business model that is slow to react to the changing market. 

Many of the things that make today’s start-ups so competitive is that they are nimble and quick to not only respond to a changing market but to also foresee changes before they occur. 

Perhaps Detroit might be wise to listen or at least see what they can do to become more nimble. 

Just a thought.

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