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http://www.internetsales20group.com

 

Automotive Internet Sales Interviews TrueCar & Responds To Joe Webb & Brian Pasch...

 

It seems that there was a negative post about TrueCar recently, http://www.dealerknows.com/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-truecar/ Joe Webb of Dealer Knows published the post and then a lot of people in the industry started to jump on the band wagon of the negativity. One of those people was Brian Pasch of PCG.
I have a problem about what was said and the people saying it. Especially when TrueCar is the TITLE sponsor for AutoCon... How can you tell dealers that they are great and good enough to be a title sponsor and then say they are wrong or bad out of the other side of your mouth...

 

So, I wanted to set the record straight. The first part of this video is ME and MY opinion of the situation. And the second part (the majority) of the video is the ACTUAL GoTo Meeting interview with Ken Potter, VP Of Dealer Development & Mike Timmons, Executive VP of TrueCar. Automotive Internet Sales.cm had the opportunity to sit with TrueCar and get their feedback and official position on the situation.

 

I normally DO NOT get involved in these situations BUT... Ken Potter has been a friend for over 12 years now and I do not like people attacking him unfairly. He is an integrity based individual. And I do not feel that TrueCar is doing ANYTHING wrong with their policy for "Write Offs" on their leads...

 

I am ALWAYS open for conversation if you want to reach me. Please email me at seanb@dealersynergy.com or call me on my cell 267-319-6776

 

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DID YOU AUTHORIZE YOUR INVENTORY TO BE POSTED ON ANTI-DEALER OR HOSTILE WEBSITES?

5:00 AM and the Alpha Dawg is on the Point. Actually been awake since 4:00 AM. Did you ever have so much on your mind you couldn't sleep because you were thinking so hard? Well, a lot of side issues that came out of this Cars.com battle that are bothering me and I intend to pursue them.


First of all many people reported on the blogs and on Facebook and in Private Chats and Messages. That your inventory was showing up on TrueCar and CarGurus. 

Well, that is troubling. One participant in the blogs emailed a statement that ALL of our vendors, or at least most them, are brokering off our inventory to other websites you didn't subscribe to. OR, perhaps buying and selling your inventory to brokers and listing services where other websites pick up your cars and put them on their own sites. The example they used in the email to me was a listing site the sender claimed to me was brokering your inventory back and forth between these lead generator vendors buying and selling inventory to each other... your inventory, for $6.00 to $12.00 each. I have not investigated fully but I believe there's got to be some truth to that in essence. 

I HAVE NO PROBLEM RIGHT NOW WITH TRUECAR
I think their model revisions are as in line with dealers' best interests as any of the others.

BUT, I have a severe problem with CarGurus. I believe they are anti-dealer and NOT good for us or the consumer... my opinion based on what I have seen. 

CarGurus is an alleged lead generation service that Tells The Consumer whether or Not Your Unit Pricing is a Good Deal or a Bad Deal (in their opinion?) During the course of all of this, one of my dealers discovered his Chevrolet Tahoes listed on CarGurus and labeled as a Bad Deal. The rub is He never gave any inventory listing to CarGurus. According to him, the only vendor he was aware of with his inventory was Cars.com. Have you checked, CarGurus to see if your cars are listed there when you don't do business with them???? 

I am not sure if Cars.com, AutoByTel, AutoTrader, or any of your vendors have the right contractually to do this. I am also researching that. They may be acting strictly within the rights you have signed away somewhere in the deep paragraphs buried in the text of your agreement with them. We will find out.

Here is the language in the Cars.com agreement you probably signed that authorizes them to do this to your dealership.

4. Content. Customer grants Cars.com a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, transferable, license to access, edit, store, enhance, modify, adapt, translate, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, publish, perform and display publicly, prepare derivative works of, and otherwise use Content, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers. Cars.com reserves the right to modify the Sites and Products, and to edit or reject any Content or portion thereof from use on the Sites or Products in its sole discretion and without notice."

You need to get with your dealer and have this re-negotiated out of the agreement. 

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http://www.automotiveinternetsales.com 267-319-6776

Here is the thread on the Cars.com situation...

http://automotiveinternetsales.com/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?xg_source=activity

Automotive Internet Sales Reviews Jim Ziegler's Concerns About Cars.com & Brian Pasch's Response...

The subject of http://www.cars.com has been getting pretty heated lately. It has achieved over 6,000 views on the local blogs like:

http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?xg_source=activity

http://www.dealerelite.net/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?xg_source=activity

Brian Pasch, CEO of http://www.pcgdigitalmarketing.com/company/meet-our-team/brian-pasch/ has come out and said that Jim Ziegler is wrong and he thinks that Cars.com is NOT doing anything wrong. As a matter of fact, Brian has created a blog post

http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/jim-ziegler-has-the-cars-com-marketing-strategy-all-wrong?xg_source=activity

That basically says that Jim has it all wrong...

I shot this video to explain why I support Jim Ziegler's point of view on the Cars.com situation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me-

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2012http://www.autocon2012.com/cactussky/

Dealer Synergy & Cactus Sky Communications Create Scholarship Program For AutoCon 2012

 
 

AUDUBON, N.J.Aug. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Dealer Synergy & Cactus Sky Communications have partnered with AutoCon to provide 50 Scholarships to dealership personnel so that they can attend the upcoming AutoConNational Training Event.  AutoCon's goal is to provide dealerships with Digital Marketing Training, and they have assembled some of the industry's top experts for this event.

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky will provide 50 Scholarships covering the Registration Fee for the event of $895 for a total of $44,750 in Scholarships.  The goal of the Scholarship is to provide an opportunity for a dealership staff member that normally would not be able to attend the event to receive this valuable training.

With over 30% of vehicle sales coming from the Internet, Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky recognize the need for ongoing training for all the members of the Internet Team, and these scholarships will allow more training and growth in the retail automotive industry.

Sean V. Bradley and Peter Martin decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate their commitment to the betterment of the industry was to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2012.

Automotive Media Partners, LLC and First Class Educators are proud to announce the creation of a scholarship program sponsored by Dealer Synergy & Cactus Sky for the full AutoCon conference registration fee.

Dealer Synergy & Cactus Sky's sponsorship program will provide 50 fully funded AutoCon Registration Scholarships. Fifty automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition. The recipients only have to cover their out of pocket expenses for travel, meals.

Individuals that are interested in applying for a scholarship to the 2012 AutoCon Conference need to go to www.autocon2012.com/CactusSky/ and fill out the quick application.

For more information on Dealer Synergy, please visit http://www.dealersynergy.com

For more information of Cactus Sky, please visit www.cactussky.com

For more information on Automotive Internet Sales, please visit www.automotiveinternetsales.com

Contact is Sean V. Bradley - You can reach him at 267-319-6776


PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1lrug)

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Google Enters New Car Lead Generation Business

Another prediction that I wrote about has come true.  Change is in the air again at Google.  Paid Search just took a big step forward or backwards, depending on how you think.  It's called "Google Cars"

 

In November 2011, I wrote about a product called "Google Advisor" which will change the landscape of paid search marketing for new car sales.    It has taken a very long time for this product to get off the ground.  This type of product has been around in the mortgage lead generation business for years.

 

Well the Google Advisor product for automotive leads is here and it has a name: Google Cars.

 

I finally was able to see the product live today and so can you.  Just change your browser location to Zip Code 94301 and conduct a search on Google with this phrase:

Palo Alto Toyota

What you will see might shock you, as Google has clearly entered into the new car lead generation business.  I created a few screen shots to explain how the model works, and I am sure this will be evolving.  I would love to get your opinion on this strategy and if you would be interested in testing this new service.

San Francisco Bay Beta Test of Google Cars

 

Currently, this product is only available in the San Francisco Bay area.  We will find out when this will open up to other markets.   This is only for new cars and it requires a dealer to provide and inventory feed of their new cars.

 

Google Cars Inventory Model Results Page

 

When you Click on the first photo of the Toyota Camry in the red box above, you will be shown this page 

 

Google Cars Pricing Info

 

If you click on the "Google Price Info" link, you might get a chill down your spine, like TrueCar did for car dealers.  

 

The Google Price popup box is shown on the right.  If you click on the "Learn More" link, you can read about how these prices are determined.

 

The "regional price paid" data according to Google comes from data shared by dealers to the DMV in their state.   Here is what Google says:

 

Regional price paid tells you how much the vehicle you want tends to sell for in your area. It is calculated from real new car sales in your area over the past 90 days, as reported by dealers to the DMV.

 

Regional price paid is specific to the make, model, trim, packages, and options shown. It includes destination charge; it excludes taxes and fees. It may include incentives and other promotions running at that time that may have impacted the average price paid."

 

Google Cars VDP

 

When you you click on a specific vehicle, you will be taken to a VDP page that looks like this:

Google Cars Email Contact Options

 

And when you click to contact the dealer, you have three options.  Clicking on the "Email Dealer" choice reveals this screen.

Notice that the consumer can easily select other local dealers to quote on the same vehicle.  Today, I have no details on how this advertising product works and the costs associated with it.  Give me a few days.

Source - http://www.dealerelite.net/profiles/blog/show?id=5283893%3ABlogPost%3A305517&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post

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The 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) scheduled February 1-3, 2011 just prior to the 2011 NADA Convention has exceeded its pre-registration goals. Brian Pasch, CEO of PCG Digital Marketing, who is organizing the conference, attributed the pre-registration success to dealers focusing on education.

“In a recent survey conducted by PCG, 45% of car dealers said that their staff was not adequately trained to lead a competitive digital marketing and social media strategy for their dealership. With the outstanding lineup of speakers and educators at the DMSC, it is no surprise the dealer principals, managers, and eCommerce directors have registered.”

The Digital Marketing Strategies Conference is conveniently schedule prior to the popular NADA Convention, which is held this year in San Francisco. Attendees of the conference who are planning to attend NADA will be transported to San Francisco on Friday February 4th and will not miss any of the scheduled events at NADA.

Attendees of the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference will also benefit from the conference format. All meals are included in the registration fee so that attendees will have ample time to build lasting friendship over mealtime. Since the conference is being held in the Napa Valley, dinners will feature award-winning wines introduced by the winemaker/owners of the vineyards.

Conference Handbook Exceeds 150 Pages

Pasch added, “This year we have also created a 150 page digital marketing and social media handbook. The book is packaged with articles, resources, and tips from the speakers and educators at the conference. The handbook will be a great resource to review and leverage all year round since there are few books in print specifically targeting automotive digital marketing.”

Automotive educators and speakers include Jared Hamilton, Sean Wolfington, JR Rucker, Alex Snyder, Gary May, Matt Murray, Glenn Pasch, Christy Roman, Joe Webb, Scott Falcone, and Christine Rochelle.

 

Sponsors of the DMSC include Dealer.com, VinSolutions, TK Carsites, Smart Web Concepts, Presto Reviews, DealerFire, CAR-MERCIAL, and DealerTrend.

Registration for the 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference closes on January 28, 2011. Dealers interested in attend can visit http://www.digitalmarketingstrategies.org to register.

Hotel rooms can be booked at http://www.marriot.com since the event is being held at the Napa Valley Marriot Hotel.

ADM Members Invited to Superbowl Party


For dealers attending the 2011 NADA Convention in San Francisco, PCG extends an invitation to join their Superbowl Party, which is billed as the largest Superbowl Sunday party at the NADA, show. Dealers can register by contact Carrie Hemphill at 732.450.8200 ext 2.

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Many of the Google Places listing that I check for car dealers are NOT setup properly for their business. This impacts the number of times a dealership's Business Listing will appear in search results. For some dealers in metro areas, their Google Places listing will show over 15,000 a month. With this in mind, anything that could increase the visibility of your local business listing should be embraced.

Every Google Places listing DEFAULTS to a 20 mile service radius around the business address. This is one of the most important setting on your Google Places listing because it sets the geographic positioning of the consumers you serve. Car dealers routinely deliver cars to customers that are outside of a 20 mile radius of their business. With this is mind, dealers should inspect your service area settings in Google.

Google Places Special Geography


Dealers that have physical locations near bodies of water will find that a simple radius setting is not the most accurate map of their service area. In the screen shot below, Harris Auto Group in Canada is located on Victoria Island. If they left their Google Maps service area radius set at 20 miles, which is the default, they would not cover Victoria which is a major market for the island.

Google Maps Service Area Settings

Fortunately, Google Places will allow you to enter in specific town names to create a polygon that covers the areas that the dealership serves. In the photo above, you can see that the shaded area was created by inputting the towns in the "List of Areas Served".

Don't Abuse This Setting


I encourage dealers not to abuse this setting and show unrealistic service coverage maps. I have a feeling that Google may penalize anything that would be contrived as scamming the system. I would say that a 50 mile radius for most dealers is reasonable. So take a minute and look into your Google Places service area setting and see if it has been set too conservatively.

Also, while you are looking at your Google Places listing, make sure that it has:
  • Five great photos of customers taking delivery of cars or your work in the community. Kill the building photos.
  • Five great videos. Three customer testimonial videos, one welcome video, and one service video.
  • Proper categories that describe your business. There is a category for every OEM brand
  • Make sure one category you select is "Used Car Dealer"

If you have any questions on Google Places, just type in your question below.
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http://www.internetsales20group.com

Recently Google created a Tsunami of change by integrating Google Places into organic search results. Dealers called me to ask what I thought these changes would have to their Automotive SEO strategies. I was not quick to answer because I think that Google is still refining their balancing act of SEO, SEM, and Google Places.

With that said, I am feeling much better about the changes that are in play. I was worried that the new Google Places integration would start at the top of organic listings which would favor websites connected to a Google Places page. From what I can see, Google is still rewarding exact match domain names and highly optimized websites before the “mosh pit” (in green) is displayed.

In the example below, a broad search phrase like “Los Angeles Dealers” produces a list of car dealers that have Google Maps, but before those listings, three company websites appear.

Los Angeles Car Dealers

In the search results shown above, you can see that an “exact match” domain with good content, links, and relevance PRECEDES the massive block of results shown in green that are enhanced by Google Places data. You can also see the other two websites that rank above the Google Places block are not slackers at all: Automotive.com and Cars.com.

Google SERP Find Exact Matches First

I’ve said this before and will repeat it again, Google always tries to present, on a search results page (SERP), the best matching assets in its database. Google, Yahoo, and Bing all weight exact matching domains very high as long as the websites have relevant content. Redirected domains that are not hosted will never appear in search results so all those parked domains you may own are not helping you. It may be time to get those parked domains on a real content publishing strategy!

Don’t Forget The Stars

When Google integrated Google Places, the normal 8-10 organic listings were changed dramatically which created a “jump ball” once again in the search marketing Olympics.

I would like to remind all car dealers that they MUST develop a comprehensive Internet Reputation Management (IRM) strategy to increase participation of their clients to posted reviews. My recommendation is that a successful dealer should have TWICE the number of positive reviews “stars” of their nearest competitor. That may be harder in years to come but all dealers should have a few HUNDRED reviews posted from authentic customers.

Testing Search Results Start To Show A Trend

From recent testing that I have done, websites hosted on great domain names may actually have an edge over local car dealer websites. Take a look at the search listed below. The websites that Google felt were best matches and NOT in Google Places were listed first. Then the local dealers were listed.

Once again, the TOP websites above the integrated and enhanced Google Places organic listings are two heavyweight contenders UsedCars.com and Yahoo Autos. For the car industry, the bigger, more established inventory advertising websites could be getting more traffic because they are NOT in the green Google Places area and shown at the top of the page.

Miami Used Cars

This trend continues as you type in even broader searches, and you can see that websites that are EXACT matching or that have high SEO inbound links on targeted keywords, appear on Google Page One before the Google Places block. So, in essence, Automotive SEO strategies are still in tact and dealers that have EXACT matching microsites with great content are getting a boost.

The Future Automotive SEO

Since I am an advocate of Automotive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, you would expect me to defend this marketing strategy but I will be the first to say that the changes with Google Places is still a dynamic event. I’ll keep you posted on what I find and make recommendations to take advantage of opportunities I see.

About the Author

Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch is the CEO of the PCG Digital Marketing and an active writer for the automotive community.

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