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http://www.BradleyOnDemand.com/ 856-546-2440

Make Money Mondays with Sean V. Bradley - Know Your Used Car Inventory

In this week's Episode of Make Money Mondays Sean V. Bradley, President of Dealer Synergy, explains the importance of knowing your car inventory. Whether it is a new or preowned vehicle, you should know the features along with the benefits of each individual vehicle. Inventory is the #1 page on your dealership's website. You should know what all of your vehicles natural competitors are when working with a prospect. At the end of the day, the most important thing for you to do is qualify your prospects.

To visit all of our Make Money Mondays in one place visit: http://www.MakeMoneyMondays.net/

If you like Make Money Mondays, you will love Bradley On Demand: http://www.BradleyOnDemand.com/
856-546-2440

For more information about Dealer Synergy, visit http://www.DealerSynergy.com/

Sign up now for the next Internet Sales 20 Group!
http://internetsales20group.com

If you have any questions, call or text Sean on his cell 267-319-6776.

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Is Your Website Doing This?

What’s your website doing while you’re not looking?

This week on Think Tank Tuesday, I reveal the steps you should be taking to increase conversion and traffic on your landing pages, and it’s more than just a "Thank You" page. After watching this episode of Think Tank Tuesday, your website will be successful in no time!

Website: http://www.ppadv.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PotratzAdvertising

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Potratz

Instagram: @Potratz

Snapchat: PotratzAgency

 

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http://www.DealerSynergy.com 856-546-2440
http://www.JustAskForJeff.com

Check out this interview I did with my friend Jeff Cormier for Dealer Synergy. Jeff crushed it! Auto Pros need to pay attention to what he is doing. He literally has the absolute BEST website in the entire Automotive Sales industry for a showroom sales consultant! Take a look at his website www.JustAskForJeff.com . AND... it is still a work n progress!

But more than the awesome technology and great value he provides his clients like by being the ONLY CERTIFIED Car Seat Installer / Inspector in his county!! Jeff gives to the community he is a member of "Super Heros for Kids" in Ohio.

I invite you all to look at his website, read about Jeff Cormier. Get to know him and friend him on Facebook (And all other social media). This is a rising star in our industry and great things are going to be coming from him. Karen and I are 100% behind him and truly look forward to sharing in his success!

Also, let us know what you think of his website and if you have any other ideas what we could or should add to it to make it even better!

Thank you my friends-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAJkbvOn4S0

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http://salemove.com 

The SaleMove Magic

Real-Time Movement

Faster and more instant than Google’s real-time analytics, SaleMove enables you to see visitors the second they enter your website- just as if they walked into your dealership. Don’t just see what link your visitors are looking at, observe them browsing (it's like sitting right next to them)!

Audio / Video Chat

You have your showroom & the phone to speak with your customers- now add a third line of high-touch communication. Connect with your customers using Audio & Video right on your website (no downloads or installation required). There is always the option for website chat but A/V is proven to be 10X more effective!

Shared Browsing

Have you ever found yourself describing your website to a customer on the phone (“you see that link in the top left near the About Us section...click there”)? Imagine that each of you had your own cursor and you could simply browse the website together- wouldn't that be easier? Don’t just push your visitor a link, customize a car or browse your inventory together (patents pending).

Statistics & Reporting

Monitor individual and collective performance. Listen to call recordings, view chat transcripts and understand your website’s real-time activity. Make adjustments to your staffing & sales strategy using all of SaleMove’s robust reporting capabilities.

In-Browser Experience

Instead of opening a separate window (think of today’s live chat providers) that drives attention away from your virtual showroom, SaleMove is always completely in-browser and a part of your customers’ shopping experiences.

One Line Activation

Activate SaleMove with one line of code (easier than Google Analytics). We also integrate with several top dealership website providers & CRMs so getting you up and running is super fast!

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http://www.BradleyOnDemand.com 

Learn More About Websites for Your Dealership on This Edition of Make Money Mondays with Sean V. Bradley CSP. In this edition of Make Money Mondays, CEO of Dealer Synergy Sean V. Bradley discusses websites for your car dealership. Sean explains that your dealership MUST be optimized for use on mobile devices like tablets and cell phones - your website must be adaptive or responsive. Your website also needs to be optimized for speed and functionality using the Google Speed Test. Finally, to truly maximize your online efforts, you should have a custom website optimized for your local market, in addition to any websites supplied by your OEM. Keep the knowledge going, when you're done here check out his awesome training platform Bradleyondemand.com.

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Last month there was such strong interest in our mid-year report “Dealers Websites are #1 with Women Buyers” we have decided to follow it up with more nuggets regarding your site, engagement and women shoppers.

As competition rises, it’s the right time for dealerships to focus on areas of improvement, engagement, and delivering a quality experience to women customers. Today we are focusing on low cost, positive and quiet changes that can make a big difference in showcasing transparency to women.

1. Provide Email and Direct Number Details: Make it easy for your women prospects to locate and contact the people that they are working with. Email addresses, direct phone or even a cell number is ideal.

2.  Professional Photos of the Staff on the Website: By posting professional pictures of your staff with their names and titles, it is easy for customers to give a face to the voice they have spoken to. Or, at least, it will lower any anxiety or mystery about whom they will be working with during the car buying process

Did You Know?

The #1 online destination for women shoppers is your website? That’s right, dealer’s websites are the top on-line source women visit when in the car buying funnel. Yet, one-third of women report that their dealer’s website was NOT helpful. Making the access, usability, color, content and design appeal as user-friendly as possible is paramount to YOUR business success.


3. The New Standard: No AOL or Yahoo’s in emails: A Hotmail or AOL email address on the dealership business card does not cut it today. Simply put, it comes across as unprofessional and dated. Certainly an Apple, Nordstrom or Lulu Lemon Sales Advisor doesn’t hand out their business card with an “aol” or “yahoo” email. When giving cards to women clients, make sure the email is professional and customized according to your dealership name.  

4. Quick Access to the GSM or Sales Manager: Lastly, customer delays on hold can be inevitable when trying to reach the GSM, Sales manager or ISM. Still, it may be frustrating for women customers to wait and then interact with a receptionist because a voice mailbox is full.
Allowing customers to get through in seconds without long hold times can make a big difference to your women customers calling. Even if it means taking the call and saying hello just to set up a time to call them – it sends a message of transparency, interest and availability. 
 

For more "Small Changes in Your Digital Footprint Create Easier Access for Women," Click Here.

Want to Sell More Cars and Distinguish your Dealership to Women?  Click here

Did you receive a Free copy of the 2014 Women’s Car Buying Report? Click here.

Good Selling!

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http://www.internetsales20group.com 856-546-2440 

Dealer Profit Summit Tip - "The Top 3 Highest converting Lead Forms"

The Top 3 Lead Converting Forms are: 

1. e Price (Internet Selling Price) 

2. Confirm availability 

3. Virtual Finance Lead Form

So, are you taking advantage of this information for your website and dealership? If not call me and find out how you can! 

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This photo cracks me up because it looks as if the guy wants to make sure that you've noticed how good he looks in the reflection of the car!

What a stupid, selfish, conceited sounding question, right? "What do you think about me?"...

Yet this is what I see on the majority of dealership websites that I visit. 

A whole lot of "We're so awesome" and "Look at how pretty we are" or "We are the best"...

Okay, so you aren't using those words exactly, but you're using words that nobody cares about like these:

"We're a family-owned and operated facility with 35 years of experience" OR

"We have the best team of professional sales people ready to work with you..." OR

"Come visit our state-of-the-art facility to find out why we're the best choice for new and used cars in [location]"

Man oh man, I'm cringing just writing those phrases.

But why are they so bad?

BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS. 

And then after all of that crap, you have the nerve to put a "Rate us" page or link on your site.

"But enough about me, let's talk about you. What do YOU think about me?" 

Sounds more stupid the longer you think about it right? So let's talk about how to turn things around so that you can kick you dealership website up a notch.

First things first.

You MUST understand that every individual on the planet has a favorite word and letter. Their name and the letter 'i'. 

Why? Because nobody cares about you as much as they care about themselves. 

Now I'm not saying it's entirely bad to talk about yourself, but you need to focus on presenting yourself in a way that demonstrates maximum benefit to your customers. 

"Great, you are an award winning dealership. What does that mean for me?"

"Fantastic, you have the best leasing specialist in the entire state - that benefits me HOW?"

"Wonderful, you have a state-of-the-art facitility - how does that have a positive impact on me?"

The information you present on your website needs to be carefully thought out for maximum market penetration and benefit to your customers.

Think about the message you are conveying about your dealership to the largest traffic source you have. 

Are you presenting yourself as a truly customer-centric dealership, or are you like the rest of the pack?

In my next article, I'm going to talk about how you can take this concept and really ramp up your game. 

It's all about setting yourself apart from what others are doing, and I'm going to show you how to do that through your dealership website. 

Stay tuned...

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There is something going on with dealership websites that needs to stop ASAP!

It’s something that should be pretty obvious, but clearly isn’t.

Know what I’m talking about?

Most websites for car dealers look, feel and flow the same way as each other.

They all have the same messaging, calls-to-action, design concepts and lack the site traffic needed to make a big impact on gross or net profits.

The problem is that automotive consumers are much more web-savvy than they’ve ever been.

They have been conditioned to use the internet in a specific way based on the sites they visit on a regular basis.

Sites like Amazon, eBay, Facebook and other ecommerce and social sites.

Most dealer websites are not providing the experience that online users are already used to. They are playing catchup.

I think most dealers would agree that the objective of their website is to get more leads from their website. After all, more leads = more sales opportunities, right?

Well here’s a secret that will get your website converting traffic like a machine.

I must warn you, that this secret will require...WORK.

Nonetheless, it’s a tried and tested strategy that will separate your dealership from the vast majority of other dealers and help you dominate your market online.

If you look at the other websites out there that your consumers are visiting on a regular basis, what do they all have in common?

Information in the form of content.

You see, every day MILLIONS of automotive consumers are going online to research your products and services. You know what they’re finding? Your competitors.

Why? Because your competitors are providing more information on their websites than you are.

Why is it that I can go online and find more information about a $20 cell phone case than most consumers can about the second largest investment of their life?

Think about it!

You need to get more content on your website that covers a variety of topics.

Blog about the latest vehicles on your lot. Do video test drives. Talk about your products and services in a way that provides REAL value to your customers. Leave the pitch out.

Just focus on value, value, value and more value.

The cool thing about providing value in the form of content is that you’ll attract the right type of customers to your site.

All you need to do is identify the type of customer you wish to attract and then create content that speaks to them.

When you know who you’re speaking to, it gets that much easier to know what to ask them as well. All you have to do is line up the call-to-action with the content that you’ve created.

This strategy will give you an immediate increase in leads because you’ll be able to leverage your existing site traffic.

So here’s the breakdown on how to get started:

1.) Figure out what type of customer you want to speak to (vehicle sales, parts, services, finance etc.)

2.) Create content in the form of a blog, videos, images etc that speak to them about what they’re interested in

3.) Keep the pitch out of your content - just focus on providing REAL value to the customer

4.) Include a call-to-action that’s relevant to your content

Doing so will allow you to:

1.) Leverage your existing site traffic

2.) Attract new Qualified site traffic

3.) Increase leads from your website

Have fun with this, and feel free to comment with your questions if you’d like some help getting started.

 

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Palm Harbor, Fla. - ChatLead.com, Inc. / CarChat24, a leader in 24/7 Staffed Auto Dealer Chat Support, and Dealer Chat Software as a Service, announced today the appointment of Jason Good as Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Alliances. Good joins the team in a leadership role and will focus on the continued growth and positioning of CarChat24 in North America and emerging markets. Good will be located in the Palm Harbor, Florida head office; reporting to Shereef Moawad, President and CEO of ChatLead.com,Inc / CarChat24.

Good brings nearly 20 years of sales management leadership experience (12 in retail auto sales) to CarChat24 and most recently was the General Sales Manager of a 1,200 new car annual volume Mercedes-Benz store for the past 6 years. According to CarChat24’s CEO, Shereef Moawad, “Jason Good’s experience in the automotive sales business will be a real asset to CarChat24.” Additionally Shereef commented “We look forward to continued strong growth under Jason’s leadership and expansion of both our domestic and international footprint.”

When asked about his decision to join CarChat24 Good said “CarChat24 is a progressive, fast-paced and entrepreneurial company. I'm elated to be joining this growth company.” And with respect to the marketplace, “2014 is going to be an exciting year for Auto Dealer Chat with adoption expected to more than double 2013. This year, Car Dealers will embrace new and innovative chat technologies and staffed/managed automotive specific chat support service alternatives as a way to drive growth and profitability. Whether its desktop dealer chat software, mobile dealer chat solutions, or Staffed/Managed 24/7 dealer chat support solutions, CarChat24 is well-positioned to serve its customers and partners in North America."

Email Jason at Jason.Good@CarChat24.com, or Call Jason at 800-510-7567 ext 707. To learn more about Jason Good connect with Jason at linkedin.com/in/jasongoodcarchat24.

About CarChat24.com (http://carchat24.com)
CarChat24 provides 24/7 hosted Live Chat Support & Dealer Chat Software for new and used car dealership websites. CarChat24 helps dealers sell more vehicles by converting a higher percentage of their website visitors into quality leads. Since June of 2006, CarChat24 has been helping car dealers improve their sales and customer service on the Internet. Our mission is to empower car dealers with cutting edge live chat technology, and provide the professional staff and superior processes needed to obtain the best possible results. We are committed to helping our clients get the best return on investment from their websites. We strive to make our support service the very best and are always looking for innovative ways to give our dealers the edge over their competition. Follow CarChat24 on www.twitter.com/CarChat24 and fan CarChat24 on Facebook.com/CarChat24

For more information visit www.carchat24.com or call 1-800-510-7567

ChatLead.com, Inc/CarChat24
1592 Lago Vista Blvd.
Palm Harbor, Florida 34685
800-510-7567
www.CarChat24.com

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bigpc

In a world where everyone is in search of the magic bullet that will increase both sales and website traffic, what if I told you that all you had to do to start immediately performing at a higher level is to differentiate yourself from your competition?

To paraphrase Seth Godin, there are a lot of brown cows out there – but nobody notices brown cows. If you want to get noticed, you have to be a purple cow. A purple cow in a field full of brown cows is sure to get noticed.

Want to be a purple cow? Read on to learn how to stand out from your website’s competitors:

Know Yourself

The best brands in the world know themselves. They know their strengths, their weaknesses, their successes, their failures – and they know not only where they are now, but also where they’re going in the future. A successful brand is one with one foot planted firmly in the present that also knows where to place the other foot in the future. You only get to this point by taking a true audit of everything you do – right and wrong.

Know Your Competitors

What do they do right? Is there anything they’re offering that you aren’t? When thinking in terms of consumer experience, what can your competitors offer that you can’t?

Once you understand the reason behind why people aren’t choosing your company, it’s much easier to fix any holes in your website or product offerings that are holding you back.

Create a Differentiator or a USP

Great websites and great brands do things differently than others. They offer what’s called a “unique selling proposition” or USP.  Finding your USP requires serious introspection and keying on that one item or trait that separates you from your competition. If you don’t have one, create it.

Specialize

There is a time and place to be a jack-of-all trades, but the web isn’t one of them. In a place where consumers can find just about anything from the companies that specialize in these items, they aren’t going to want to purchase one item that you really excel and several others that are of a mediocre quality. Find what you’re good at it – additional offerings are just noise.

KISS

Keep it simple, stupid. There are two basic principles to the KISS method when it comes to online business…

The first is making your product or service easily understandable at a glance. If the average consumer needs to watch a three-minute video to understand what it is you do, you’re losing customers.

The second KISS method revolves around user experience. GoDaddy might make a ton of money selling domains and upgrades, but their checkout process – with all of its upgrades and add-on options – is maddening. KISS!

Invest in Your Brand

Too often, online business owners make good money, but fail to put enough of it back into their brands in order to grow. There are always things you can make better, whether it’s enhancing your product design, user experience or additional product offerings.

Identify Consumer Pain Points

The best products and services are those that make somebody’s life easier. No matter what niche you’re in, there are pain points that you must document in order to create the products or service offerings that will make your customer’s life easier. Solve the problem; cash the check.

Hire the Best People

At some point, your web-based business is going to need additional help. And when it comes to hiring, you need to ask yourself whether your candidates truly have the potential to bring needed value to your position. If not, they aren’t for you – the world doesn’t need more mediocre employees.

Retain Them

Keeping your employees happy has been shown to increase workplace productivity, as well as decrease stress and turnover. Once you find good employees, it’s always cheaper to retain them than to go through the process of finding others, training them, and hoping they stick around.

Make Bold Guarantees

“First page of Google in 90 Days!!!”

“100,000 Facebook Fans in 6 Months!!!”

These are the kinds of guarantees that get people’s attention. While you shouldn’t offer empty promises or guarantees you can’t meet, bold statements like these are undoubtedly powerful. Remember, though, if you can’t deliver, don’t say it.

Over Deliver

Following the above examples, what if, instead of just getting a single web page to the Top 10 results in Google, you got the client a second result in just 55 days? How about 150,000 Facebook fans in just five months? People never complain about someone who over-delivers on a promise. In fact, they may just share how happy they are with others.

Track Success and Failures

It’s easy to document the things you did well. What’s much harder – but much more important – is the ability to document your failures. Having a list of things you did wrong makes you more likely to learn from the mistake, rather than repeating it. In fact, mistakes are often the best thing that could happen to a business. Success doesn’t teach the way failure does.

Be Transparent

The days of private operation of a business are all but over. Let your customers take a peek behind the screen, and show them that you’re willing to share how you do things. Customers feel safer and more loyal to brands that they feel aren’t hiding anything.

Be Innovative

Go ahead; re-invent the wheel. This goes back to the purple cow idea. If you do something differently, you’re bound to get noticed. Apple revolutionized the way in which we listen to music. What’d it get them? A bump in revenue so large that they became one of the most successful companies on the planet.

Test, Test, Test

Great companies are always testing new ideas. Even if you’re just rolling out a specific feature to a certain segment in order to gather feedback, you should always be testing. You can’t be innovative if you’re afraid to fail, and you’ll never know if a feature will be a success unless you put it out in front of your market.

Don’t Skimp

It’s easy to grab a freelancer from Elance, Guru, or oDesk to do your SEO, content and social media. Does that make it the right way? Probably not. One small flub can seriously tarnish a business’s reputation. A few shortcuts in the SEO process could lead to huge penalties from Google or being de-indexed from the SERPs entirely.

The key here is accountability. Find people that have something to lose if they make huge blunders and they’re far less likely to make them. Cheaper isn’t always better.

Get the Referral

This is “Sales 101” stuff, but online business owners often forget it. Get the referral. It’s easier than ever to get a referral online. The sale doesn’t stop with the current customer. Ask for a Tweet or a Facebook status update in exchange for a freebie or discount. It’s that easy.

The web opens up new doors that we’ve never seen before. These doors have the potential to lead to huge successes or monumental losses. Those that are making the money are those that are willing to be different from their competitors in order to deliver a better product or service than those around them. Listen to your customers, respect them, and find ways to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Follow these rules and you’ll be counting your cash in no time.

Source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/17-ways-stand-websites-competitors/67977/

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Attention GM/Cobalt Dealers

 

I need your help!  There is strength in numbers. 

My name is Jeff and I work for a Buick / GMC Dealership in the Texas Panhandle and our dealership has used Cobalt for a number of years for our website management tool.  I noticed that when you go onto our web page, ( www.greglair.com ) click on the used vehicle detail page, and scroll down below the vehicle pictures and info, there is an accessories section with new accessories you may purchase separately. To my amazement, I scrolled below this and found three separate vehicles in my inventory made available to the customer under the tab "Similar Vehicles Available". Great idea in my opinion to give this option to the consumer as it keeps them actively looking at YOUR inventory and no one else's. The problem I had with this was that it is virtually hidden underneath the Accessories page. 

I just think that the three comparable vehicles should be directly under my vehicle details....not lost at the bottom of the page beneath the accessories. (In a lot of cases the customer is looking at an 04 Camry, and I'm pretty sure they dont want a Sierra Bed Mat for it!)

If you'll take a minute and send this email, I'm sure the fine folks at Cobalt will oblige.

cut and paste if you wish

 

Send the email to:   cobaltsupport@cobalt.com

 

Dear Cobalt,

Please move the comparable vehicles from underneath the accessories to ABOVE them and DIRECTLY below the vehicle details on our Cobalt website Vehicle Details Page.

Please add this email to the "Enhancement Request"

Thank you for being such a flexible and dealer-friendly website provider,

(Your name and dealership)

 

The support guy looked at this and agreed and said many others had brought this to their attention but that they were unable / unwilling to change it for me. He said he would add my feelings to an "Enhancement request" and hopefully enough people would bring about change. I feel they should do what's best for the dealerships interest and feel that simply moving the Accessories below the links is not a crazy request.

We are now looking at all sorts of options and so I'd like those who are way smarter than me to provide your feedback, thoughts, theorems, and postulates on the matter.

Jeff Sherrill

Greg Lair Buick / GMC

 

 

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The rise of content marketing and more importantly the focus that Google and Bing have put on website content engagement have changed the way we view the types of content we put on our websites. It’s no longer sufficient to focus all of your content on the basic search engine principles of keyword targeting. You have to have content on your domain that draws in the important social signals and time spent on site.

In other words, your websites have to be interesting to a wider range of people, not just those specifically looking for your products and services.

There are several types of content that go on websites, but the two we’re going to be talking about here are the two most important content additions. There is basic content that is relatively stagnant on your website; product descriptions and inventory items rarely have to change, for example. There are other types of regular content additions that somewhat influential as well such as press releases and service announcements. Those are the content types that we won’t be covering.

What we will be covering are often called different things depending on who is describing them, but I look at them as conversion content and conversation content. These are the pages that should be getting added to your website regularly and on an ongoing basis. If you can only focus on one major discipline when it comes to enhancing your website traffic, search rankings, and social significance, creating these two types of content would be the activity that I would wholeheartedly recommend at the top of the activity list.

 

Conversion Content

For those marketing a website, this is arguably the easiest to understand from a needs basis. This is the type of content that should have an immediate impact. It’s usually geographically targeted and almost always product focused, so there’s a clear understanding how it can help.

For example, a Honda dealer in Irvine, CA, should be ranking well in Google for the various Irvine searches with their homepage alone, but they may need to create a content page called, “2013 Honda Accord Santa Ana” to have a landing page geared towards those in neighboring Santa Ana.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and as a general rule anything that’s too easy is probably the wrong way to do it in the eyes of Google. In other words, automatically generating dozens, hundreds, even thousands of pages to hit the multitude of targets is the wrong way to do it. The practice is relatively common, so common that it often takes Google time to catch those who are doing it, but in the end they catch everyone. This type of blackhat conversion content creation leads to destruction (i.e. de-indexing or even a penalty).

Real conversion content creation is a manual effort, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be tedious or time-consuming. The page mentioned above should only take 10-20 minutes to create depending on what content management system is being used. It’s not rocket science nor does anyone need a PhD in SEO to make it happen. They simply need to create a page with lead generating tools on it that has visuals in the form of images and/or videos of the product and content describing it. The content itself doesn’t have to be long – a paragraph or two works though a little more would be better – and it can still be conversational.

There is no need to make the content keyword rich. As long as the title tag is set up properly and the content mentions the target keywords somewhere in there, that should be enough to start targeting the keyword appropriately. When you try too hard to get the keyword, you often make it harder to get.

 

Conversation Content

This is the type of content that I often have the hardest time convincing people to build. It goes against the nature of old-school marketing that has been embedded in most of us. In essence, conversational content has nothing to do with converting a visitor into a lead or a sale. It’s often whimsical, only loosely relevant, and seems to bring no value other than to entertain or educate.

Today, it’s the content that can have the biggest impact on search and social marketing. With conversation content, the goal is clear as day written in its name. You want conversations. You want people talking about the content on social media. You want people saving the content in their bookmarks. You want people talking to you about the content in the form of comments.

The image above was taken from a conversational piece of content titled “7 Charming Honda Vintage Ads”. There is very little chance that a Honda dealer is going to have any of the cars being advertised on the page. The page is not designed to sell anything, in fact. It’s designed to get shared. It’s designed for people to see it on social media sites, click through, and reminisce.

Most business website pages outside of the blog are not shareable. Sure, they might have social sharing buttons on them, but nobody is going to share an inventory details page of a 2009 Honda Civic. They aren’t going to share a service appointment page, a specials page, or an about us page. People share content that they find interesting.

Just as you want to be in the conversation with pages on your website, people want to share content on social media that can spark conversations. A page like this one will encourage people to share on their social networks because it’s interesting to see things such as vintage ads.

Social signals don’t just help with social media popularity. They don’t just help with the search rankings of a particular page. Their most important influence is that they help a domain rank better. The more pages that are on a domain that are getting shared well on social sites, the better chance they have of ranking for similar keyword terms as well. This dealership might not care about whether it’s ranked for “Vintage Honda Ads” but it certainly wants to rank for “Dallas Honda Dealers”. Social signals through conversation content pages help to this end tremendously.

* * *

As you continue to push the envelope and watch your digital marketing evolve, it’s important to keep in mind that things aren’t always obvious. They’re clear – that much is certain – but the techniques and strategies that have lower adoption rates such as creating the types of content in this article can be the differentiators between your own marketing and the marketing of your competitors. If you’re creating these types of pages and your competitors are not, you have the upper hand. It’s that simple.

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Chevy SS Website SEO Content

Back in the days when Yahoo was fighting against Alta Vista, when Bing was still called Microsoft Live, and when Google was trying to get the big Y to buy them, onsite content and meta tags were search. It was a day of keyword stuff, of hidden text, and of content scraping that helped porn sites rank for the term “toys” while male enhancement drugs could be found on searches for “big fun”. Google emerged as the leader in part because of their pure design, but also because they started looking offsite for signals about search rankings.

The days before Google’s innovation were the peak of onsite SEO. Google turned search on its head by focusing more on what other websites were saying about your website through links rather than anything you put on your site itself. PageRank changed search forever and helped to eliminate some of the poor spammy techniques that websites employed for the sake of getting search engine traffic. Of course, with any good thing comes the bad parts and spammers started learning how to manipulate offsite signals as well.

This persisted until about a year ago. It was at SXSW 2012 that Google’s Matt Cutts and Bing’s Duane Forrester told SEO guru Danny Sullivan that changes were in the works to help rein in offsite link spamming. A month and a half later on April 24th, search was changed forever with the introduction of the Penguin search algorithm update. It helped to eliminate a lot of the offsite spamming techniques, enough so to take some companies out of the SEO business (or out of business altogether).

The pre-PageRank days were the only ones when having the right website made more of a difference than it does today. With the rise of content marketing as a hub for SEO and social media marketing rather than a component of the two disciplines, having the strongest possible website content is essential in promoting a brand on search as well as social media sites like Facebook. You can’t just have a website and drive links to it anymore. Today, you have to “bring it” from a quality perspective. While it’s possible to have a dealer website that stays completely focused on the task of selling cars and services, it’s better to have one that’s diverse with information, articles, and other pieces of content that bring value to the visitors whether they want to buy something or not.

Google is smart. Bing may be smarter, albeit not at marketing themselves. They can tell the difference between SEO content and valuable content for the website visitors much better than most are will to admit. SEO spam is dying. Bulk is dying. Today, the search engines want to see effort. They want you to amaze people with the content you put on your website.

Link Building Basics 2013
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Educate

The vast majority of business websites out there tend to stay laser-focused on their goals. Whether they’re intended to sell a product or generate leads, it seems that all of the content placed on their websites works towards this end. While there’s something that can be said about the strategy, changes at Google, Bing, and social media sites makes it beneficial to post content that does nothing more than educate, entertain, or act as a resource for people without attempting to sell or generate a lead.

If you want to truly get ahead of your competitors this year, you should be willing to devote a little bit of time (or money if you choose to buy it) every month on content. This isn’t the type of content designed to get ranked in the search engines, but it can help your important pages get ranked. It’s not the kind of content that will generate leads through social media, though you have opportunities every time someone lands on your site. It’s the type of content that is truly giving – you’re motives should be business-oriented but the content should be able to stand alone.

First, let’s take a quick look at why this helps. We’ve covered it before but here’s a refresher:

 

Valuable Content Helps the Rest of Your Site

Google, Bing, and the social media sites love quality content. They can tell the difference between quality content that is beneficial to visitors and content that is designed specifically to generate leads and/or sales. They can tell by the content itself in many cases (particularly in the case of Google) but they can also tell through inbound links that are earned and social signals that are given.

When you have content that people are willing to share, whether by linking to it from their websites and blogs or by sharing it on social media, the search engines and social media sites (Facebook and Google+ in particular) give additional trust to the domain. This is the primary reason that we strongly encourage having a blog on the primary domain itself. That’s not to say that there are no benefits from having an offsite domain, but for this exercise the benefits yielded come from the domain’s interactions.

A post that is valuable to visitors can link to other pages within the domain, helping both the domain in general and specific pages rank better in Google. For Facebook and Google+, sharable content ads the trust factor. Most domains do not appear as well on social sites regardless of the content because they do not have an established history of trust. By posting content that people share, the social sites start to get “acquainted” with the domain. You can tell if your domain needs a trust boost by having someone post content from the site and then clicking it on Facebook. If a warning comes up that “you are about to leave Facebook and go to blah blah blah”, then your domain is not trusted yet. You can fix this. You just need more people sharing the content on your domain. This can be achieved by posting quality content that people are naturally willing to share.

This type of useful content helps both in search and social. Now, let’s look at the content types.

 

Content Worth Sharing

There are several different kinds of content that can play well for the search engines when it comes to building two of the primary SEO signals: inbound links and social shares. The general way of looking at it is to take your industry, your area, or both and apply your knowledge into the creation of content worth sharing. Here are three examples:

  • Entertain – Let’s say you have a Ford dealership. You can post a gallery of images of classic Mustangs, title it something like, “7 Epic Mustangs from the 60s and 70s”, and write up a 3-5 paragraph blurb about the storied history of the car. Many people love classic cars (and Mustangs in particular) and will be willing to share the page and the images on their social profiles as well as their blog or websites.
  • Educate – With what you know about your industry and location, you should be able to teach people things they didn’t know. Even if you don’t know for sure, the internet is there to help. For example, you could post something like, “The Storied History of the Seattle Space Needle in Pictures”. Gather up some images of the Space Needle from when it was built and during times of note, write up a quick paragraph or even a sentence describing each scene (make sure it’s unique – don’t copy and paste!), and post something that will be educational on your site today and into the future. This has excellent sharing potential from locals.
  • Resource – You’re the expert. Show it. There may not be a direct business reason to post a story titled, “How to SYNC Any Device in a Ford Fusion“, but the information can be helpful to those who run into challenges. They may share it. They may link to it. If they visit the page, they will likely stay on it for a while as they apply the advice. This component of the search algorithm isn’t discussed often but when a page is sticky, the domain gains trust in search.

These are very basic overviews of the ideas, but the key is to stay consistent. Some have asked me in the past why I keep it limited to two pieces of content. I don’t. If you can post every day, go for it! Twice a month is something that’s sustainable. In the business world, we often find ourselves starting a new project and abandoning it if it becomes too hard. Twice a month is enough to build up a nice library of content that can benefit your marketing immediately as well as over time.

The key is to stick to it. Schedule it. Make it happen. You’ll soon find you’re looking at your competitors in your rear-view mirror.

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Mythbusters

Call it human nature to mislead in order to promote a product. Call it deceitful selling. Call it ignorance. Call it whatever you want to call it, but the concept that has been being spread around the automotive industry that you don’t need content on your homepage is absolutely incorrect. In fact, the homepage is the most important page on your website from an SEO perspective. Building a website with a homepage that has no HTML text or links is like making a hamburger without a beef patty (even though ground turkey is acceptable and ground bison is actually superior in my opinion, but I’ll save that discussion for my food blog).

More than the sitemap, more than your navigation bar, the homepage content is the true gateway through which you can highlight the most important pages on your website for the search engines. On most websites on the internet  and nearly 100% of car dealer websites, the homepage is granted the highest level of authority by the search engines. The links within the content are given the most “juice”. Pages that are linked within the HTML of the homepage within context are considered to be the most important pages.

To have contextual internal linking within the context of your homepage content, you have to have homepage content. It’s that easy. Is it possible for a website to rank without content on the homepage? Of course. It’s also possible to eat a hamburger with buns, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and mustard. Just as must people who order a hamburger expect meat of some sort inside, the search engines expect their “hamburger”, the homepage of your website, to contain meat.

Does HTML content detract from lead generation? No. Your customers aren’t that naive. This isn’t the first website they’ve ever visited that has words on it. Many won’t even scroll down to see the content and will find what they really want to see (inventory, specials, or department pages) in a second or two.

It came to our attention at NADA that at least one website vendor is preaching the concept that the homepage content clutter factor of content is not beneficial for SEO. It may be more. If you hear that idea spoken, don’t buy it. Instead, ask them, “Where’s the beef?” Even a vegan burger has a soy patty. Your website needs homepage content just the same.

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Sean V Bradley Puts TradeInVelocity to the Test

This is the recording of a recent Google+ Hangout with Sean V Bradley, Barry Brodsky, and Carl Bauer taking an in-depth look at TradeInVelocity, a highly customizable vehicle trade-in tool for your dealership website.

In this video, Barry walks you through each different feature this tool offers, with Sean putting Barry and TiV to the test with "curve ball" questions that give you a chance to better understand the real impact of these features. 

Nobody can get to the bottom line of a tool like this than Sean, unveiling to you the power and importance of a vehicle trade-in tool that is customizable in many ways.

For instance, where other trade-in tools brand themselves on your site, TradeInVelocity allows you to either show the NADAguides badge, or none at all; allowing for a seamless integration into your website. Better than that though? You’ll never redirect your web-traffic to a lead-stealing competitor.

NADAguides are a nationally recognized publication utilized by association members… of which over 95% of all automobile dealerships are a part of. NADAguides supplies the most accurate ranges for trade-in vehicles…and with TradeInVelocity, you control your bottom line. Customize the displayed values to stay competitive in your local market.

No other trade-in valuation tool allows for this level of customization! Why leave the values in the hands of those who are only out to promote their brand? With TIV, you’ll never have to again.

TradeInVelocity also provides you with a simple set of analytics your dealership will user every month to maximize lead generation. Keep track of your leads, their sources, the top ten replacement vehicles desired by your incoming customers, and more.

No other trade-in valuation tool provides you with this rich data. No other tool provides you with this piece of mind.

Enjoy the video and feel free to mosey on over to the TiV website to learn more about the many great features you will find in this tool, but be sure to get with Sean V Bradley if you are interested in a demo so that you can take advantage of Dealer Synergy's special pricing

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There is a very distinguishable difference between SEO content and content that brings SEO value.

The easiest way to look at it is that SEO content is what you put on each page of your website to let both visitors and the search engines understand what the page is about, while content that brings SEO value isn't necessarily there to help the page rank but to help other pages on the site rank better. The easiest way to create content that has the ability to bring SEO value is to make sure that the content is engaging and that people will be willing to both link to and share the content itself.

This is Part III in the series about “Killing Birds With Content Stones”. Read Part I and Part II first.


It has to be real.

When most internet marketers think of using content for SEO, they think along the lines of using the appropriate keywords in the html content on the page to demonstrate the keywords for which they want the page to rank. This is, in many ways, harder than writing engaging content. There's a lot less science and practically no risk in writing engaging content. It's what Google and Bing want. As a result, giving it to them gives you little chance of triggering anything negative as a result, at least not from the search engines themselves.

 

With modern SEO, content has gone from being a tool to being the hub. If you use content marketing properly, you can enhance your SEO while still bringing value to the website and social media sites at the same time. Here's how:

How Engaging Content Works for SEO

If you are trained in search engine optimization, get one thing out of your head for the rest of this article. Keywords don't matter in engaging content. Our goals with writing engaging content have nothing to do with getting that page ranked for any particular keywords. It will rank because it's valuable and the keywords that it ranks for do not really matter. The goal is to get traffic, links, and social signals. These types of pages do not have to rank for the keywords that you want and they don't have to convert visitors.

 

It's hard to understand for many marketers. It's almost unnatural, to want to put out a piece of content that has no direct value from a search or conversion perspective, but it's the indirect value that can be so much more powerful when done right.

 

These engagement pages are designed to stay loosely on topic with the goals of the company or website, but only so much as to have a reason to exist. Using a car dealer as an example, the vast majority of the site might be geared towards selling cars, servicing cars, or highlighting the dealership, but the engagement content will only touch on the appropriate topics. It could be an article about the local area or even the state itself. At that point, it becomes an opportunity to highlight landing pages that are area specific.

 

When you create the page, it will be about a topic that allows you to work in links (or in many cases, a single link) to the target landing page. In the example below, the page is about iconic images in Wisconsin while the landing page it links to is specifically geared to rank for the term "Milwaukee Ford Dealers". Do what you can to make sure the link is naturally situated within the content.

 

The goal is to build a page that is engaging enough to be shared on social media to generate social signals for the domain as well as have the potential to be linked to by other websites that find the content interesting or useful.

Write What Your Visitors Would Want to Read

I've always thought it was easier to take a writer and train them on SEO than to take an SEO and train them to write well. Don't get me wrong - a strong SEO content writer is still valuable, just not as much as they have been in the past. Natural writing is prevailing in the search engines, so as long as someone knows how to properly describe what's going on with a particular page or the website/company as a whole, they should be able to piece together good SEO content.

 

Writing engaging content is harder and potentially more valuable from an SEO perspective. The example above was designed to appeal to people around the state itself. The subject should always tie in with the target landing page in some way. Since our landing page is targeting Milwaukee but the dealership isn't in Milwaukee, we posted about the entire state and worked in references to the bigger cities in the state - Milwaukee and Madison. Let's say our goal was not to target the brand and a city but rather a model and the local area. We might have posted something like "Most Used and Abused F-150's in Fond du Lac". A piece like that would require much more research and help from either the service department, locals in the community prompted by social media, or both. In that case, the landing page that we would create would likely be an inventory search page for F-150s or even a landing page highlighting the vehicle.

 

You know your area. You know your brand. You know your products. There's plenty of valuable content available to post about. It doesn't have to be an article or a list of images like the one above. It could be a video, an infographic, a review (written, not scraped or syndicated), or any of a dozen different types of content.

 

Always think about it from a sharing perspective. Would YOU be interested in sharing the content on social media sites if you didn't work there? Would you be willing to link to the page as a resource or piece of interest if you had a website about the subject? In the example above, the page could be sent to local newspaper websites (particularly if the images were unique to the business), a tourism site, or any website that had an interest in the state of Wisconsin. Schools, government agencies, travel sites - all make for a good potential link. They don't have to link to your target. Your page takes care of that for you. Your goal is to get links and social signals to the engaging content that links to your landing page. It's not as good as getting a direct link or social signals to the target itself, but the vast majority of landing pages do not have enough general interest to make them sharable. This is an alternative to direct links and if done right, it's the most effective way to move the needle in your search rankings.

 

In the next part, we will describe in detail how to get the most social media benefit from the same piece of content. Stay tuned.

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Build Pages. If You Can't, Change.

There as been a major shift in digital marketing that has been building up for a couple of years now. Content was once a tool used for search engine optimization and social media marketing, but today and in the foreseeable future content will be the most important (and easiest) way to advance in search and social. We discussed it in detail on ADM last month.

One of the advantages of working for an automotive SEO company is that we get to play with the vast majority of content management systems and back end tools that dealers use today. Some are very good at allowing page creation and management, including Vin Solutions, Dealer.com, and, of course, KPA Connect. Others are awful. If you're using a platform that has limitations on content creation, it's time to consider a change.

This isn't a pitch for our website product. It doesn't matter as much to me that you have our product or another product that allows you to easily create and distribute content from your website. It only matters that you have the ability to build two or three pages a month with content that comes from the dealership itself. Where to find and who can create this content is another discussion, but for now, it's imperative to gain the understanding of where content stands in the present and future of digital marketing.

Unique, high-quality content is the source of your digital marketing. It's where the magic can happen. You have to think along the lines of offering resources and points of interest for your local customers. Your standard website content cannot accomplish this. It requires the creation of content that people can find. Remember, it's not just about getting in front of the people who are interested in buying a car today. It's also about building your base, exposing your brand, and being at the top of mind for those who may be interested in buying a car in six months.

This is why "new" marketing trends like retargeting and video pre-roll require codes on your website to make them work. Getting these codes onto your potential customers' computers requires content. To make it happen, you must have a website platform that makes it easier.

Build pages. If you are limited with your backend, make a change. You have the potential to get a dramatic advantage over your competitors, but you simply cannot if you don't have a flexible system to make it happen.

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