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Are You a Planner or Do You Live in the Now?

Are you the type of person who plans every aspect of your life, months or even years in advance? Or are you the type of person that does everything on a whim? I've always considered myself the latter in my personal life because I like the thrill of spontaneous plans. However, I take a different approach when it comes to working in automotive advertising.

In automotive marketing, it is best to plan for the future months instead of working in the current month. There are plenty of reasons why this works best for the industry, but here are three that are key to remembering the importance of thinking ahead:

1. You can analyze your current marketing strategy and decide whether it is bringing you the results you desire or if you need to go back to the drawing board and adjust your approach.

2. It is more cost efficient when it comes to media buying. Many reps offer a discount for buying months in advance. Buying in advance also could open up more attractive placements considering how few spots have been reserved.

3. You will avoid making rash decisions that could end up costing you money. These are the end-of-the-month panic moments, the quick decision sales events that go awry, and the poorly crafted E-Blast that's riddled with mistakes and missing information.

When it comes to dinner plans or mall purchases, a little spontaneity is harmless. When it comes to achieving business goals though, you must put a schedule into place that manages your planning. Each of these points above helps explain why circling dates on the calendar three months down the road can get you where you'd like to be, but recognize it could take awhile for the results to show. If you are starting from scratch, your marketing strategy can take some time to lift off the ground. In addition to a little forward-thinking, you need to build a presence on Google, find the right media for your market, build a presence on social media, set up marketing automation sequences, and optimize your website. All of these outlets coincide with each other create the perfect marketing blend. Thankfully, the automotive industry is predictable when it comes to incentives and sales events so we can take that into consideration when planning ahead.

In general, you will never regret taking the time to carefully plan. Mapping out the future will leave you time in the current month to analyze the results of the past and will relieve you of the stress that comes with scrambling for ideas. A little less stress and more carefully executed projects? These results may just be enough reason to change my ways.

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To Chat, or Not to Chat?

Often I find myself having a recurring conversation with my dealers. The topic? Website Chat. Chat is essential to a dealership if they want to capitalize on all potential leads. Many argue, “It’s a waste of money…it’s a waste of time… and it requires too much attention.” This is where I beg to differ. The average chat provider charges about $250 a month. Even if your dealership only sells three cars in a month directly from chat leads, wouldn’t you say that it’s worth it? As far as managing the chat leads, it’s really not that tasking. Most chat providers allow you to have the leads sent directly to your Droid or iPhone. Let’s be honest, if you work in an automotive dealership, you’re most likely glued to your phone anyway.

Still not sold? Consider the traditional car shopping experience. A consumer visits your brick and mortar store and is immediately greeted by a salesperson to determine their needs and answer any questions they may have- right? So how would you expect a consumer to react if they came to your dealership and there was no one around to assist them? In today’s world, the shopping experience begins online. Your website is a virtual showroom, and live chat serves as your sales person.

With all of the money spent trying to get consumers to your website, what are you doing to engage the prospect once they’ve arrived? Usually they have come looking for information, so give it to them! Over time, shoppers have become increasingly needy and seek instant gratification. Even I want to be able to keep my shopping time to a minimum. I could be shopping for product at 7PM and by 7:15pm, I’m out walking my dog. Although responding to chat leads may take a few minutes, it’s certainly a worthwhile use of time if your goal is to move inventory and appease shoppers.

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Don’t Reinvent Yourself

How Often Should Your Advertising Messages Change?

► How Consistent Is Your Content?
► When Should You Update Website Sliders?
► How Long Should Campaigns Run?
► When Do You Need A New Commercial?

Do you have the type of personality that you feel you must always be changing your marketing strategy for it to work? To build your brand you need to convey a consistent message with content that is recognizable across multiple platforms. That's this week on Think Tank Tuesday.

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First Peek at Advertising on Instagram

On October 24, 2013, Instagram announced that they would become the next social media giant to offer up advertising space on their mobile platform. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s easy to understand the resentment towards the announcement. One of the biggest perks of the platform was that users could actually choose the content they were exposed to. You didn’t have to worry about an overabundance of promoted posts or news stories getting in the way of the information you were truly concerned with ¾ information pertaining to our friends and family.

On the business end, however, Instagram’s announcement provides branding opportunities for companies worldwide. According to Instagram’s website, there are currently 150 million active users with over 60% of that population lying outside of the United States. To date, there has been 16 billion photos shared, 1.2 billion daily likes, and an average of 55 million photos shared per day. There is no arguing that Instagram has become one the most popular social media sites to date, but how will users react when advertisements pop up in their newsfeeds?

Instagram users got their first taste of what can be expected from Instagram advertisements when the platform released its first official ad by Michael Kors. While the ad did receive mixed reviews amongst Instagram’s population, the results were visible within just a few hours. According to Mashable, “as of mid-morning Friday, the ad had more than 65,000 Like and more than 540 comments,” a statistic which speaks for itself. Over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see how consumers react to more businesses adopting advertising on Instagram, as well as how businesses incorporate Instagram into their existing digital marketing strategies. 

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Engaging Mobile Shoppers

Engaging Your Mobile Shoppers

► Keep Customers In The Store
► Share The Mobile Experience
► Eliminate "Be Back" Mentality
► Use Competition To Your Advantage

You learned last week in part one how to use mobile marketing to keep your customers on your website. This week I'll share how you keep those customers around once they are in your showroom. That's this week on Hard Facts.

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'Tis the Season for Service?

This year’s Black Friday chaos and record-breaking Cyber Monday sales created quite the stir around the Potratz lunch table. Sharing pictures of our weekend steals and comparing our shopping lists, my co-workers and I discussed 2013’s hottest items over our cups of soup and sandwiches. Remembering the Tickle Me Elmo craze and iPod madness of holiday’s past, we each pointed out our favorite “must haves,” but were sure to mention that the best gifts were the ones we didn’t even think to ask for. There will always be big-ticket items to market each holiday season, but retailers and dealers need to remember that those forgotten wants will also sell.  For dealers, this means promoting service.

When creating incentives for this upcoming holiday season, it’s important to focus both on sales and service. You might not find a mother looking to buy three new vehicles for her sons, but she could go home with Oil Change certificates as stocking stuffers. Promoting both vehicle specials and service specials provides gift options for all price-points. This season, take the time to create a menu of services that your dealership would be willing to offer for gift-hungry customers, bonus points go for creativity. Bundle together a fuel injection and throttle service for the ultimate Gas Saver or “Holiday Brake” Special for college students home on break. From snow tire deals to a detailing package, busy holiday shoppers will understand the value of these needed gifts, especially if they are being offered at a discounted rate. 

When it comes to planning these specials, be sure to keep your customer’s schedule in mind. For example, the day after Christmas finds many scheduling the “to do” items that they never have time for. Why not offer a free state inspection for those who need to get their vehicles renewed? Doing a little extra work in tailoring your specials will stand out in a sea of flashy “hot item” advertisements and it adds value to your dealership. As we’ve discussed in past blogs, service is what builds customer loyalty. Maybe when that lucky gift recipient brings in her oil change coupon, she realizes she’d like to browse the New Year models or get her tires rotated.  Service allows customers to interact directly with your sales team and technicians and opens up opportunities for future sales or services. Like a perfectly knotted bow, those small service specials can create lifelong customers and make the holidays merrier for dealers and customers alike.

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Two Tactics To Increase Conversions

Use These Two Tactics To Increase Conversions
► You Won't See This In Brick-and-Mortar
► Create A Hard-To-Ignore Call To Action
► Get Customers Taking Action Sooner
► Attract Those Looking To Buy Right Now

Today, I have two proven tactics for you to increase your conversions. One tactic appeals to those shopping to buy now and the other will bring in those with selective interests. That's this week on Think Tank Tuesday.

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How-To Reach Mobile Shoppers

Attracting Mobile Shoppers
► Over 80% Shop For Vehicles Online
► Numbers Are Decreasing For Desktop Users
► More Customers Are Turning To Mobile
► Tune Your Message To These Customers

Automotive shopping habits have evolved rapidly over the past 18 years. Customers quickly adapted to shopping on the internet and now those habits are changing again. Are you prepared to keep up? That's this week on Hard Facts.

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Increase Leads By Marketing To A Lifestyle

Don't Sell A Price, Sell A Lifestyle
► Target Marketing To Life Events
► Market To Many Stages Of Life
► Stop Selling By Price Alone
► Create Your Marketing Plan Today!

Different stages of life require unique marketing messages and  campaigns. With digital marketing, you can advertise to prospects with content that will increase your conversions. That's this week on Think Tank Tuesday.

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Do The Right Marketing For The Inventory You Have

You know there are cars on your lot that are going to sell faster than others. Take those that sit for long periods of time and market them directly to customers that want them. That's this week on Hard Facts.

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Consumer Focused Training

Customer Focused Training
► All Trainers Need To See This
► Specific Language To Avoid
► Develop Your Sales People
► Keep Your Focus On The Customer

If you are in a position to be leading and developing your sales force, I have some Hard Facts you won't want to miss. Learn to use the right language to keep the focus on the customer and create the best experience possible.

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SCHENECTADY, NY- On November 22, Paul Potratz, founder and COO of Potratz, and Cory Mosley, Principal of Mosley Automotive Training, will be hosting Closing Ratios: A 20% Increase in 7 Steps. Held at 2:33pm EST, the Friday webinar will showcase all that dealers need to know about closing ratios, the figure that determines how many leads are turned into sales. Every month, dealerships analyze their overall sales as a means to measure their progress. However, if a dealership wants to accurately gauge a sales team’s success and determine a plan to get a higher closing ratio, they must configure a few different numbers. Highlighting the formula needed to calculate a closing ratio as well as the seven steps necessary to increase this ration. The webinar will feature insight from Potratz and Mosley on how dealers can improve their bottom line and determine what part of their sales funnel needs adjusting.

Both Potratz and Mosley boast noteworthy careers in the automotive industry. Paul Potratz is COO of Potratz, the industry leader in automotive advertising and Cory Mosley is the Principal of Mosley Automotive Training, a nationally recognized automotive training and consulting company. Throughout their careers, both men have participated in all aspects of automotive sales and marketing, making them knowledgeable and reputable leaders in the industry. Together, they have crafted this webinar to equip attendees with the tools to improve customer loyalty and draw in additional sales with minimal effort.

For more information on Closing Ratios: A 20% Increase in 7 Steps, click here or to receive more tips from Paul, click here.

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Does Your Website Pass The Test?

Does Your Website Pass Or Fail?

► Test Your Website's Merit Today
► The Right Way To Do Product Reviews
► Purchase Justification Is Key
► Make Your Dealership's Website Stand Out

Use this week's Think Tank Tuesday video as a guide. Learn for yourself whether or not your website would pass or fail by the Potratz standard.

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Nan Mossey Leads DealersEdge Webinar

SCHENECTADY, NY- This month, DealersEdge featured a webinar on the “Tricks of the Trade” for search engine marketing. Nan Mossey, Director of Digital Marketing at Potratz, led the event which featured advanced insights on implementing and optimizing paid search campaigns. Many were in attendance as she covered detailed strategies on effectively using Google Adwords, Bing/Yahoo! and other search engine marketing services.

Mossey has over 20 years of experience in automotive marketing and is fully certified in all aspects of SEM including Google AdWords Certifications for Search, Display, and Analytics. She has administered several apprenticeship programs as head of Potratz’s digital marketing and has thus attributed to the certification of over 18 individual members of the Potratz team.

During the webinar, participants were supplied with proven tactics for improving campaigns and statistical data referencing industry trends in the world of digital advertising. Mossey presented attendees with the tools necessary for establishing campaigns and best practices for optimizing performance. Attendees gained exclusive insights on the ins-and-outs of display advertising and retargeting, keyword optimization, and bidding strategies along with many other vital areas in campaign implementation and management.

 “I really enjoyed getting a little bit more in-depth about aspects of search engine marketing that people had heard about, but had little exposure to," said Mossey regarding the webinar.

 The live webinar was one of several held by DealersEdge that featured the Schenectady advertising agency, which specializes in everything from digital and traditional advertising to website platforms.

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