Here is the thread on the Cars.com situation...
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:
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
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-
I’ve heard some ORM vendors advise that the first step to increasing positive reviews is to capture your own customer reviews in a “testimonial spotlight” page on the dealership website. I’m pleased to see the wave of dealers requesting feedback in tandem with CSI requests and yet perplexed by the notion of a first step, directing them to the dealers testimony review page in the buying moment or after the purchase. I’m all for requesting reviews from the customers I.P after they leave the dealership, but posting on the dealerships site as the first step? Forget the first step logic for a moment and lets resonate in reality that customers will be suspect of any company’s site testimonials in the coming days to measure credibility. They already are.
For the dealers who spend all day everyday pushing customers to post reviews on the dealerships site, what happens when Google starts the slap claiming the reviews are not valid. The dealers are not a 3rd party review authority. Isn’t it Google’s power to make sure your found as the authority based on you being a more credible, honest, and candid source for both customers and search engines?
Yelp and Google are far more credible than a dealerships website.
Consumers know you can control the content on your site. The overall consumer sentiment senses that the dealer website does not have bulletproof credibility like peer-to-peer reviews do on 3rd party review sites.
Some dealerships are only populating positive reviews with 0 negative. This is hardly believable, and not aligned with what consumers will start demanding of dealerships in the future. The public demands and respects what their peers say about a dealer on highly ranked review sites much more than what is being said about the dealership on a dealer’s website.
My Uncle John’s opinion and review is be much more believable than any article I can read in the Wall Street Journal or a dealerships testimonial page on the dealer website. In a world where small is big, authority review sites, bloggers, relatives and friends are more influential than the American institution or media establishment or for the sake of this example, the dealership.
I also think most of us want less overlap between CSI requests and requests for reviews on 3rd party sites. I see firsthand how customers get befuddled considering which customer feedback mechanism to use and dealers thwarted by which ones we push.
Validated content is genuine, without manipulation
There’s no perfect answer to any of this, however, our statistics show customers are more likely to post the most authentic, honest, natural sounding review, once they get home or back to work. Bottom line is search engine algorithms are running bots and give higher ranking for validated content. Validated content is genuine, without manipulation and soon enough the public and Google will deem a review as valid when the review positions (filtered/unfiltered) cannot be bought to hide the bad and lift the good, that they are unchangeable from the inception and post live in real time.
Furthermore, one of the largest missed opportunities is the complaint. From my analytics, dealerships who welcome complaints from follow up communication are amazed at the uptick of unsatisfied customers and welcome the opportunity to understand underlying issues and then resolve. High class problem, right? The good news with follow up emails after the customer visit is you avert some of the most visceral slander that once online pretty much damages the dealers bottom-line.
It's a great time to look at partial automation of reputation building. Send a video email after the car sale or R.O. with what I call “organic drip” reputation review requests. This means a natural, day-by-day follow-up program with your customer after they make a purchase. Automating the process pulling from your DMS nightly, building reviews on review sites can work in tandem with your CSI survey requests whether you present a customer survey during or after the purchase.
Schedule a 5 minute
Demo of eReputationBUILDER
We recently conducted a survey in which we asked Internet department personnel to share some key metrics. In one question, we asked:
How much total gross does your Internet department generate for every $1,000 spent on Internet leads from all sources (SEM, independent and third-party leads, classified site subscriptions, etc.) ?
Of the 183 responses, the answers broke down:
3X or less: 33%
7X-10X or greater: 20%
Don’t Know: 29%
These answers reveal there is quite a large disparity between auto dealers’ return on investment (ROI) on Internet spending, as well as a surprisingly large percentage that don’t even know their ROI. So I wanted to know: what should a dealership target for a reasonable Internet marketing ROI?
One of the experts we consulted for measuring this metric was David Kain, President of Kain Automotive. He suggested that 5X ROI was the absolute minimum that a dealership should strive for, and ideally Internet departments should be seeing 7X ROI on their Internet spend.
But how do you calculate your ROI? Basically, ROI is what you get for what you spend. Here is a simple formula:
(Gross Profit – Marketing Investment) / Marketing Investment = ROI
This formula represents three steps.
1) Marketing investment should be simple to figure out as it is the total cost of a campaign. For instance, if you spend $1,000 per month on a Pay-Per-Click campaign, $1,000 per month on independent leads and $1,000 per month on a subscription site, then your total marketing spend on Internet leads that month is $3,000. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to suggest here that the cost of overhead, while included in some ROI measurements, should not be included when figuring out ROI for Internet leads, regardless of source. So in this formula, don’t worry about including labor costs (for staff), web site maintenance costs, etc.
2) Gross profit is the next metric you’ll need to figure (my first GM used to say, “Volume is vanity. Gross is sanity.”). If you can pull the actual grosses on all Internet deals, that’s great. If not, take the number of sales and multiply it by your dealership’s average front and back combined gross profits. So if $3,000 in marketing spend delivers 10 sales at an average of $3000 combined gross, then your total Internet-related gross profit will be $30,000.
3) Next, you need to subtract the initial marketing investment ($3,000) from your gross profit ($30,000) for a total of $27,000.
4) Divide that number by your initial marketing investment ($27,000/$3,000) and in this scenario you end up with 9X ROI, an excellent result.
Why is it important to know your ROI? Any time you spend money on anything, whether on Internet leads or a marketing campaign, it is an investment. Like any investment, it should be measured, monitored and compared to other investments so you know where you should be spending your money.
Also, knowing the ROI for all your lead sources gives you leverage. How many Internet marketing budgets were slashed in 2009 and 2010? Perhaps some cuts were deserved, but do you know which ones? Cutting back on a lead source that returns a high ROI is only going to hurt the bottom line.
Of course, our question focused on the overall Internet marketing spend, not on the ROI of various lead sources. But applying this formula to your separate lead sources is highly recommended and gives a better measurement of success than just closing percentage or other metrics. After all, ROI is what goes to the bottom line.
I’d love to hear some feedback: how do you calculate your dealership’s ROI on your Internet leads spend? What do you consider a good ROI? In my next blog, I’m going to give some tips on how to drive your team to improve ROI.
AutoUSA Introduces Payment ProSM Powered by DriveItNow®, Payment-Qualified Website Leads for Auto Dealers
Fort Lauderdale, FL – July 31st, 2012 – AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions (www.autousadealers.com) today introduced Payment ProSM powered by DriveItNow®, a payment-based conversion tool for auto dealer websites. Payment ProSM is a service that provides online shoppers with instant, real car loan payments based on individual credit and inventory eligibility, generating pre-qualified, first-party leads from dealer websites.
With Payment ProSM, consumers click on a button showing real payments on any vehicle listing on a dealer’s website. A form appears that the shopper fills out, but no social security number or birth date is required. Based on the individual’s entered criteria, the system determines their credit eligibility without impacting the consumer’s credit score, instantly displays personalized monthly payment options, and delivers the dealer a dramatically-enhanced lead.
“Payment ProSM is good for the dealer because it shifts the shopper’s focus from what the lowest price is to what they can afford every month,” said Phil DuPree, President of AutoUSA. “The leads generated from these inquiries open the door for immediate engagement and more seamless negotiations.”
Payment ProSM offers auto dealers the following benefits:
- Converts more traffic on dealer websites because consumers want to know monthly payment options based on their credit.
- Generates the industry’s first dealer-website lead that includes the customer’s credit eligibility and desired payment from dealers’ own websites, resulting in high-closing prospects.
- Eliminates wasted time showing customers vehicles they can’t afford, as well as time spent negotiating.
- Puts dealers in charge of setting their own prices and financing terms, unlike lead services that force dealers into price wars in order to deliver the lowest price for the consumer while lowering gross profit margins.
- Shifts consumer focus to monthly affordability, giving dealers more flexibility in pricing and negotiations.
Payment ProSM is a new service powered by DriveItNow’s patent-pending technology. “We chose to partner with AutoUSA because of their tremendous industry reputation of bringing best-in-class tools to the market to increase Internet sales for automotive dealers,” said Tarry Shebesta, President of DriveItNow. “The launch of Payment ProSM shows they understand the value of producing high quality leads and the need for payment quoting.
Payment ProSM is available immediately for auto dealer websites and mobile sites. To learn more, visit http://www.paymentprodemo.com or contact your AutoUSA sales representative at 1-800-243-9935.
About AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions
AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions brings the best-in-class tools to increase Internet sales and lower costs for automotive dealerships. Leading products include Payment ProSM, a payment-based pre-qualification tool for dealer websites; ShowProSM incentive program, proven to turn more leads into shows; Leads&ListingsSM, providing the highest quality, new and used car email and phone leads from 100+ sites; PowerListingsSM 2.0, helping dealers increase traffic to—and leads from—their social media sites; and AVA Virtual Sales Assistant, helping dealerships manage more leads at a reduced cost. AutoUSA products are currently benefiting thousands of active dealers all across the U.S.
For more information, visit AutoUSA’s web site, subscribe to our blog at http://blog.autousadealers.com, follow us on Twitter @AutoUSALeads and “Like” us on Facebook at /AutoUSADealers
About DriveItNow (http://www.DriveItNow.com)
DriveItNow is a patent pending payment marketing technology service of Automobile Consumer Services, Inc. (ACS). ACS leads the industry with innovative proprietary technology, superior customer service, and over twenty years of auto financing and leasing experience.