I used to be a huge wrestling fan when I was growing up. I backyard wrestled. My friend and I ordered every pay-per-view. I even had a short career as an amateur wrestler in my early 20′s. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The bowtied gentleman seen in the picture above is, in fact, Justin Roberson (AKA Pretty Boy Rob AKA PBR). Yessiree, Boy Howdy, DOM has quite the eclectic staff.] However, it had been a long time since I actually watched and cared about wrestling. On a whim, I purchased Wrestlemania XXIX (the first PPV I had bought or watched in 12 years). I was excited. IT’S WRESTLEMANIA!!!! The biggest spectacle in all of sports entertainment. Even though I hadn’t fully followed the year-long lead-up to the event, or the sport itself for years, I was excited.
Then I watched it.
Then I was disappointed.
Then I wanted my money back.
Then I never wanted to have anything to do with WWE ever again.
What Can Your Dealership Learn From My Experience?
The first takeaway is ensuring that there is consistency. It had been years since I watched a WWE PPV event, which is similar to someone who may return to your dealership to buy another car. Obviously, some physical changes like a remodeled showroom or new location may have happened, but hopefully the pillars of your dealership haven’t. For me, there were new wrestlers I wasn’t familiar with, some I was familiar with. I expected change and adaptations … but getting bombarded with Slim Jim commercials and musical performances was something I was not prepared for. This WWE was not the WWE I knew from years before.
If you built your brand on a core value, make sure that pervades everything your company does. Doing so will ensure that there is consistency at your dealership throughout the years of growth and personnel changes. For someone who had previously pleasant experiences with WWE, I now swore them off. Advertisements? Extended music performances? This was not the same company that I used to love. I didn’t like it one bit.
Customer Experience is Key
Second, customer experience is key. We all know that. But, what can sometimes happen during (sales) “events” is that the onus is put on the offers to drive the sales. That may bring in the customers, but that doesn’t ensure they have a good experience once they are there, which is just as important to the sale as having inventory or specials to begin with. I was already sold on Wrestlemania. I paid the $70. I was promised excitement and entertainment. However, what I ended up with was nothing close to that. That negatively affected my perception of the WWE brand.
Literally everything your company does affects customers’ perception of you, from your website to your lot. The tiniest things can turn potential customers away. Spend time on your own website and ensure that those “Live Chat” pop-ups aren’t intrusive and that your links work. How easy is it to search inventory? How long does it take to get someone on the phone? Maybe those tracking numbers are taking a long time to forward or your employees aren’t answering the phone quick enough. You may only get one chance to impress a customer. Don’t make it difficult for them to give you their patronage. The only way you’ll know these things is to audit your system. DOM routinely secret shops our clients’ dealerships to find inefficiencies and areas of improvement.
Don’t rest on the laurels of your dealership’s name. That only leads to stagnation. Make sure the customer is taken care of and treated right, or lose your competitive advantage. WWE allows Wrestlemania’s reputation to do the selling for them, but it’s ultimately the quality of the event itself that will keep fans coming back and happy. They failed on that front for me, and I can assure you I won’t be making that mistake again.
Side Note: How is Undertaker still wrestling despite not being able to do anything but punch and fall down? Does he have a Lazarus Pit?
If you have any questions about how to improve your dealership’s customer experience, give DOM a call: 864-248-0886.
Our staff threw together this “Harlem Shake” video as a team-building exercise this past Friday. Any inherent embarrassment is buffeted by the fact that this is no better or worse than 95% of the “Harlem Shake” videos already out there, and that at least a couple of the guys made an attempt at doing a proper Harlem shake, old-school ‘80s style, yo. (Much love, Al B!) Think you can do better, dealers? Bring it on!
You’ve probably gotten one of these in the mail. You finally verified your Google Places listing (via 2-3 week postcard [damn you auto-attendant!]) and you received this Google AdWords coupon in the mail teasing you with $100 in free advertising. What’s to lose? It’s free money! Right? The intent behind these promotional gift cards is to get you hooked into Google AdWords Express (formally Boost), which is affectionately known by SEM Professionals as “AdWords for Dummies.” For many auto dealerships getting started with automotive SEM, AdWords Express is a great way to test the waters. However, before you stick your toe in, it’s a good idea to understand the differences, benefits and weaknesses of both AdWords and AdWords Express.
Easy Set-Up: Four steps. 10 minutes. That’s all it takes. There is no search term analysis, no KEI calculations, no keyword research. You don’t even have to worry about starting bid prices. Google does all the critical-thinking for you by calculating a monthly budget based on search volume. Just commit to how much you want to spend and Google will do the rest for you.
Automatic Targeting: Google will take the categories you have specified on your Google Places page and automatically show your ad for those searches in your geographic location. Simple.
Automatic Bidding: Google will also automatically adjust bid prices so there is no more examining specific keywords to see which ones you are willing to spend some more dough on. You get a 30,000 foot view of budget control, but, unfortunately, don’t get the granular control you may want over cost per click.
In addition to these benefits, AdWords Express also allows you to edit your ad titles from the business name (default setting) to whatever you want, assuming it adheres to Google’s Editorial Guidelines. You also have the ability to create multiple ads for each business category. Even more convenient is that all of the metrics can be seen from the Places dashboard.
Though offering certain benefits, AdWords Express also has severe limitations. For instance, your ads only show up in the business categories you select for your Google Place, which is limited to five. You won’t be able to run a variety of model-specific ad campaigns. Google, unlike a PPC manager, takes the Ron Popeil method of “Set it and forget it!” They make assumptions about your business and let it run its course. They are the ones in the driver seat of your campaigns. There isn’t a rep overseeing the monthly changes and patterns and adjusting settings accordingly. Even though Google automatically geo-targets searchers, you don’t have the ability to target customers in other geographic regions, a huge negative for an exotic car dealer who ships worldwide. The biggest bummer, however, has to be the fact that you don’t have the ability to add negative keywords to block your ad from showing up in unwanted searches.
More Targeted: AdWords allows you to control which landing page your visitors will see based on what keyword they searched, Express does not. This is a huge factor when looking at your conversion rate and ROI. With AdWords Express, you have to assume that your homepage has a strong enough call-to-action to convert.
Ad Extensions: Ad extensions, an AdWords exclusive, give your ad additional lines of text and the ability to stand out or offer more links. Four types of ad extensions exist in AdWords: Location Extensions, Call Extensions, Ad Sitelinks and Product Extensions. Sitelinks, shown in the photo below, allow you to display additional areas of your site that might be relevant to the user’s search query. A good sitelink extension for the search “2012 Honda Accord Greenville, SC,” might include a link straight to the inventory, a page with Accord specials and a research page. In our findings, Ads with Ad Extensions get clicked on four times more often than those without them.
Conversion Tracking: AdWords allows you to track conversions, Express does not. Sure, it’s great to be able to say “Wow, we received 500 clicks this month,” but unless you can pinpoint how many visitors actually turned into leads, those numbers are just for vanity. Thankfully, AdWords lets you do just that, even letting you see which specific keyword is generating the most conversions. This is, without a doubt, the biggest advantage that AdWords has over AdWords Express.
Display Network/Remarketing: You’ve seen them: the image ads that follow you around the Internet based on your search history. That’s Google’s Display Network, and it’s not available to Express users. The advantage of the Display Network is that not only can you target people on the websites they most frequently visit, but you can also target people who have visited your site. Known as remarketing, this tactic allows you to target a user who viewed your Camry inventory page with Camry-specific ads, keeping your dealership’s name in front of the customer while they continue their shopping process. Automotive remarketing campaigns are a very powerful tool, and it is only available to AdWords users.
Because AdWords gives you total control of your campaigns, it doesn’t lend itself well to pay-per-click (PPC) neophytes. It’s very easy for beginners or DIYers to become overwhelmed with keyword lists and various campaign settings (not to mention burning through funds from choosing too many broad keywords). For the best ROI, having a PPC professional or SEM company set-up your AdWords campaigns and oversee it is the best option, which also happens to cost money (usually through a management fee).
AdWords Express is a kiddie pool and AdWords is the deep-end. If you want to execute a triple Lindy and make a huge splash, you’re gonna have to shed the swimmies and head to the deep-end. Whether you choose AdWords Express or AdWords, a search engine marketing campaign can supplement your website’s organic traffic and increase unique visitor traffic to your site, which only leads to more leads and sales. If you aren’t currently running any PPC campaigns, we suggest you start. Choose wisely.