Google AIS Custom Search

seo (114)

Why Selling Cars Isn't Your "Thing"

I know what you're thinking – who does this guy think he is? How does he know what my “thing” is. Good – I have your attention.

I find it absolutely fascinating just how many dealerships I've walked into over the past couple of months and found, you ready for this? Silence. No customers on the lot, sales people hanging out around reception, flirting, cracking jokes, texting and the list goes on. Everything opposite of what should be happening is happening.

I spent a few minutes with a client at a major franchise dealership just last week talking about this exact topic. He is at his whits end with how things are looking at his dealership but just doesn't know how to turn things around and foster a productive change at his store.

Are you, or someone you know feeling the same way? Let's bring things back to basics for a few minutes and look at a couple of ways to turn things around. Success is hanging in the balance.

Do You Dream?

Sounds cheesy I know. One of my kids favorite movies is Disney's “Tangled”. The story of Rapunzel who has been locked up in a tower her whole life and has a dream to check out the annual lantern festival on her 18th birthday. Haven't seen it yet? Sorry for the spoiler.

There's one scene in the movie where in Disney fashion, the characters break out into song about Having a dream. The essence of it is that each character had a dream at one point and for whatever reason it was taken from them. Now, back to you and I.

Do you have a dreams? Have they been taken from you due to the economy, dream stealers or a plethora of other excuses? Do you still know what you want for your dealership?

If you'd like to create positive, productive and profitable changes within your business, here are the first two steps.

  1. Define (or re-define) your dream

  2. Gain a burning desire for its achievement.

Moving on...

Willingness to Learn / Willingness to Take Action

Have you ever read any self-help “be successful” types of articles? They all seem to offer the “fail proof” way to achieve greater success. They always seems to start with putting the pen to paper and writing down goals. Goals are great, don't get me wrong. I just don't agree that they are a sustainable driving force to helping you accomplish the success you are seeking.

Don't believe me? How many people do you know that actually stick to their New Year resolutions? If setting goals gave us enough sustainable power to act, there would be no more New Year Resolutions – the world would be a better place filled with extremely thin, successful, wealthy, patient, traveling, money-saving people.

Let me submit that before putting pen to paper, one must determine the level of their willingness to learn and willingness to take action. Think about this for a second. You've clearly defined your dream and now have a burning desire. If your dream is to have a more successful dealership by selling more vehicles, take a moment to rate your willingness to learn and willingness to take action in order to make that dream happen.

If I asked you to give yourself a “Willingness” score, what would it be?

Take a minute, pull out a piece of paper and give yourself a “willingness to learn” score between 1 and 10 (1 being none, and 10 being high). What did you come up with? Now do the same for your “willingness to take action”. What? Two 10's? Really? That's amazing! Now where would your score go if I told you the only way to make this happen is to abstain from drinking coffee for one full month? Why the sudden decrease?

Here's why goal-setting isn't the first step to success. All of us have goals, most of us haven't really determined whether or not we have the willingness to make them happen. Often the only thing that stands in the way of achieving dreams is our willingness to learn new ways of doing things and our willingness to take necessary action. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality or would you prefer to just keep going as you are?


Stop with the shenanigans! Continuing to do business the same way with no willingness to learn or take action will just give you more of the same depressing results. If you aren't picking up what I'm putting down right now, then selling cars and being profitable just isn't your thing.

Now - Stop blaming the economy and other lame excuses for your lack of success. Achieving your definition of success is in your capable hands. Define your dream, determine your level of willingness, and enjoy the results. You deserve it.

Michael Cirillo is the Executive VP at AutoVelocity™ and works with dealerships to help them achieve greater success through their marketing efforts.

Join me on facebook


Read more…

How Important Is Price Really?

For those of you who know a little bit about me, you know that I  worked in the print media and advertising industry for nearly a decade and grew up around the industry my entire life. I want to spend a couple of minutes discussing some concepts that I am more than confident will help your dealership in attracting new and returning customers so that you can start seeing more (and better) results for your dealership immediately. That's right - I just said "IMMEDIATELY".

A little bit of background first:

Over the years, you've probably noticed that the ads you see in the newspaper or in magazines haven't really changed much. They consist of a bunch of pictures of vehicles and the prices associated with those vehicles; Starbursts with low finance rates, or bold letters promoting the BIGGEST SALE EVENT OF THE YEAR! Everything always seems to revolve around price.

There's no doubt that price is an important topic, but maybe not as important as you might think - especially if your aiming to get a fresh influx of new customers walking onto your lot.

To demonstrate, let me encourage you to drive down any auto mile wherever you are, and take a look at the signage that dealers are placing near the roadway with hopes that it will capture new business. What do you see? 

  • Employee Pricing Event

  • Red Tag Sale

  • Really Big Sale

  • Year End Clearance

  • Inventory Blowout - unbeatable pricing!

Everything revolves around price!

Not even in the market!

Have you ever considered what percentage of people in your area are even in the market to purchase a vehicle? Think about it. What good is busting your chops over showing people how low your finance rates are, or how low your prices are when majority of people aren't even in the market to buy? Don't believe me? Consider this example.

Have you ever found yourself thumbing through a consumer electronics flyer from the weekly paper? If you're like me, you do it all the time. I'm sort of a gadget geek. But what happens when you get to the appliance section of the flyer? You slam the thing shut or throw it away? Why do you think that is? 

Vehicles are much like appliances. When you have appliances that are working, purchasing new ones are the last thing on the totem pole of priorities aren't they? So it is with vehicles. When people have a vehicle that is working, they aren't really in the market. All the best pricing and finance rates in the world won't do a hill of beans for your efforts in attracting new business.

Plenty of Fish in the Sea...Just Not Where You're Looking

Have you ever heard that saying before? It's absolutely true. There are plenty of fish in the sea. The problem is that by focusing primarily on price, you and all of your competitors are fighting over a very small portion of in-market consumers. Have you ever wondered why your print ads aren't getting you the results you want? Have you considered why your website isn't producing the leads that you want it to? 

When you really take a look at it, Dealers that enter the arena prepared to battle over price may not realize that they are fighting over around 2-5% of the entire population. That's really the percentage of people that are in the market to buy a vehicle today. So much effort for so little potential! It's kind of depressing isn't it?

Let's use the odds in your favor. In order to start seeing immediate (measurable and duplicate-able) results for your marketing efforts, you may be required to change the way you think a little, and perhaps; change some of your current process to meet consumer expectation. All in the name of profitability.

What Drives Consumers to Buy?

If only 2-5% of consumers are in the market to purchase a vehicle today, have you considered how you could tap into the other 95-98% of the market that perhaps would be willing to purchase a vehicle but may not necessarily be in the smaller percentage that cares about price?

It's absolutely vital for every dealer that wants to start selling more vehicles, products and services to understand what drives consumer purchase decisions in order to offer something really unique and actually tap into a never ending pool of customers. Let's take a look at a couple of examples of what drive consumers to purchase.

1. Emotional needs / wants: We all have them and because of that,advertising how your products and services can fill an emotional need will actually help you penetrate a larger market and get your business in front of more interested people.

I'm a perfect example of this. A couple of years ago, when my wife and I received news that she was expecting our second son, one of the first things we discussed is how our small sedan would no longer fill our transportation needs (Emotional need #1 - necessity). Could you imagine two car seats, potentially two strollers not to mention half the house that you have to pack up when you have kids, all crammed into the back of a small sedan? We went from not being in the market to being in the market in a matter of days.

The more we thought about what we would need, other issues came up. Safety (emotional need #2), Comfort (emotional need #3), Room (emotional need #3), Vehicle features (emotional need #4) and so on. Price wasn't even on our mind yet because we were too busy formulating our list of needs.

Then came the emotional wants. Status (emotional want #1), luxury (emotional want #2), add-ons (emotional want #3) get the picture.

You see, not everyone is in the market to purchase another vehicle. Everyone however, is in the market of fulfilling their emotional needs and wants. While all of your competitors are engaged in the price battle over a small percentage of the market, you could be addressing the demand of a larger market and funneling those consumers into your dealership. You will never run into a short supply by focusing your energy on the things that everyone wants fulfilled – Their emotional needs.

When you have your approach set up correctly, you've strategically provided the right information and uncovered the emotions of your customers, the results will be like magic.

2. Reciprocity: Have you ever heard of the law of reciprocity? This is something that successful marketers have been using for decades and let me tell you, it works extremely well! Most cultures have this law hard-wired into the back of their minds. To simply define it, let me sum it up as I give you something and as a result, you give something in return.

Often I find dealers practicing this law, but in reverse. Customers often have to make a purchase before they can get the value added offer, when really it should be flipped the other way around. Give something of value to the customer first, build the relationship and they will reciprocate by making a purchase from you.


Whether you want to believe it or not, it doesn't really matter. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. If you truly want to increase the profitability of your dealership, stop focusing so much energy on pricing. Remove yourself from that never-ending uphill battle and re-target your efforts into fulfilling the emotional needs/wants of consumers. Provide value by offering the right information first and let the law of reciprocity take you all the way to the sale. 

Your success starts here.

Read more…

5 Keys to SEO with Google Penguin

The rules have changed in automotive SEO. In fact, they've changed for the entire search engine optimization world. It's no longer a function of quantity that determines rankings. More content, more links, more social signals - that's fine, but it won't help you as of April 24, 2012, the way it used to.

Today is the world of SEO quality over quantity. These changes have been anticipated for some time but only now are they really becoming apparent. Some dealers are dropping in rankings based upon their (or their vendor's) SEO efforts. As a result, others are moving up. Which side of the fence do you want to be on?

Here are some best practices to help you get on the right side of the fence. Click to enlarge.

5 Keys to SEO Under Penguin

Read more…

Does your dealership have its own blog? If your answer is no, then, I suggest you keep reading.....

The Importance of Blogging:Generation of Leads and Traffic

If you're reading this and your dealership does NOT have its own blog, consider this:

-B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads per month than those that don't

-Overall, companies that blog have 55% more website visitors

(Source: An Introduction to Business Blogging by Hubspot)

How Often Should You Blog

As evident in those statistics above, a blog can increase your website traffic, as well as your leads. However, it's not as simple as just creating a WordPress account or logging into Blogspot. A blog, just like social media, has to be kept up, maintained. In fact, companies that blog at least twenty times or more a month, see a SUBSTANTIAL increase in website traffic and leads. This is just one of the many benefits of having a blog. It gives you another avenue of customers to explore and reach. It helps to amplify your voice online for your dealership.

For your blog to be effective and useful, you must blog at least four/five times a week, or in between 16-20 times a month. There's no point in setting up your blog if you're only touching it every few weeks. That's what they call wasted real estate! The more you blog, the more likely you'll see an increase in your dealership's visibility online, and this is where SEO comes into play.

Blogging and SEO

All right, so you're blogging full-time and you should be showing up on the first page of Google in no time, right? Not so fast. With each post you create, there should be optimization taking place. You need to be do some research when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You need to know the keywords your customers are using when they head to Google to do research. Once you begin blogging more frequently and using the appropriate and industry-relative keywords in your posts (Optimizing), your online visibility will increase. 

The benefits are obvious. You'll see a bump in website traffic. You'll receive more leads. You'll become a trust named and dealership online your customers can trust, and therefore, someone they could recommend to their friends and family.

If your dealership doesn't have a blog, why not?

Read more…

(Source: Web Marketing Group)

Infographics are quite trendy these days throughout the marketing and tech community. It's not difficult to see why. Through infographics, marketers and researchers are now able to provide substantial information/statistics while still be able to appeal visually. But, what exactly is an infographic?

Put simply, an infographic is 50% informational (INFO-) and 50% visual (-GRAPHIC). It's that simple. An infographic is the result of both research and analysis on a specific topic. (i.e. car shoppers during the holidays) While some may knock the infographic as just being another fad or trend, you must remember this: More than half of us are Visual learners.

What Purpose do Infographics serve?

  • They build links. Chances are if someone finds your infographic useful, they'll share it and it link it back to your website, blog, etc. This helps immensely to increase your visibility. And, when people continue to link back to your website, you'll receive more traffic.
  • Possibility of Virality Is there anything more powerful than Word of Mouth? More specifically, is there anything more powerful than a "Viral campaign" in 2012? Yeah, I didn't think so. If you create a stunning infographic with substantial facts and stats, the more people will share it, and the more people share it, the better the chance of it going viral. It doesn't have to be shared by everyone on the internet. It can go viral in your field (automotive).
  • Branding If you create a visually attractive infographic embedded with logo on it, it will help to increase awareness of your brand in both your local area and a more national scale. As Web Marketing Group points out, "using infographics are scalable, shareable and brandable."

My Take on Infographics:

I think infographics are awesome--and, that they're here to stay. Being a writer, it's hard to admit, but the truth is that people don't read as much as they used to, meaning that they're more likely to click on your infographic than they are to click on your blog post. "Hey, look it's shiny!" Infographics are not only appealing visually, but they also enhance and inform your marketing strategy in regards to SEO, online visibility and brand awareness.

So, perhaps, the next time you plan on writing a blog post featuring different statistics, you might want to hold onto those stats and embed them into a nice little graphic for everyone to enjoy.

[Source: Web Marketing Group]

Read more…

Virality: The Value of Pinterest for Car Dealers

As Pinterest continues to rise in exposure and prominence in social media, many dealers have been asking me how to make it work for them. There are certain techniques that we, fortunately or unfortunately, save for clients, but here's one that you can use today to help improve the virality and SEO of your website.

It starts with being interesting. Nobody on Pinterest (and social media in general) wants to see the special you have on your 2011 program cars. They want to see something "cool" on social media. Pinterest can make the fun part of managing your dealer website actually have value for your online marketing efforts.

Here's the technique:

  1. Using your website content management system, create a page that looks something like this: 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge.
  2. Be sure to include unique content - a paragraph or two is fine.
  3. Don't forget your image credits! It's important that you link to the sources of the images. It's the right thing to do.
  4. Include links at the bottom that go to your website or other websites that you're trying to optimize.
  5. "Pin It" on Pinterest. Assuming you have a following (or want to build up a following) you'll want to have something awesome to show them such as the GTO.
  6. Share the Pin on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc.

The goal here is to help your website be part of a viral spread. It isn't the direct traffic that you receive from the Pin or the social media sites you place it on. It's the authority you receive in the eyes of the search engines from all of the links that are generated.

Pinterest links are no-followed. Don't let that hamper you. Social signals are a part of rankings, but more importantly your goal isn't to rank for that vehicle necessarily. Your goal is to build that page as an authoritative source. By doing so, the links at the bottom of the page will help you rank for the important keywords you want to improve.

It may be complicated, but give it a shot. Depending on which CMS you're using, this could be a weekly process that takes about 15 minutes.

Originally appeared on Driving Sales.

Read more…

This does not apply to just dealership sites this applies to all sites:  Keyword Selection.  The keywords you choose to use in your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns is the most important step. Most owners do not know how to pick a good list of Keywords.

When choosing your keywords quit thinking, about trying to rank for what you want and instead think as a viewer. What keywords best show what your site is really about? An example of a poor selection for a keyword is this: A site about pet supply retail, ranking for keywords dealing with pet health information without actually owning such information just to gain the additional traffic is very bad. This misled traffic will load up your site just long enough to realize that they was duped and will head back out of your site.

If your site is still very young or just created you should not go after the largest trafficked keywords. Yes, it would be nice to have those keywords but think logically. Can a brand new site actually rank over a veteran web site for such competitive words? I think not!

Once you know what type of keywords you are going after, zero in on the specifics. If you sell, only blue laptop cases do not go after the term laptop cases. With this selection, most viewers will again leave the site with only a handful that actually wanted a blue case convert to a sell. In cases like this, the more specific the keyword the better chance to convert your viewer and the more general the term viewers may in reality just be looking for information not to buy. When dealing with your keywords stay true to your site! As long as it is staying true to the site you should go after as many variations of the keyword as possible (I will cover the answer why in another article about Latent semantic Indexing or LSI). To help you find good keywords you can use both the Overture keyword selector tool and Google keyword selector tool.

Read more…
Bing Traffic Optimization

Jared Hamilton sent out a Tweet that caught my eye about the recent report from Compete that Bing powered search is now 29% of the search market share so I thought it was time to share a few insights into Automotive SEO with Bing and Yahoo. Car dealers need to have a digital marketing strategy for Bing and Yahoo that is independent of what they are doing in Google. Do you have a Bing and Yahoo strategy?

In general, Automotive SEO "basics" apply to Google, Yahoo, and Bing which includes strong page titles, URL names, and relevant content. However there are some big differences. Yahoo and Bing favor sub-domains that are keyword targeted more than Google. Having hundreds of SEO tests running a year, I'll share with you a two examples that demonstrate this sub-domain preference.

Toyota Sale Search

When you search Google for the phrase "Toyota Sale" you will see among the Page One results "" which confirms what I have witnessed thousands of times; Google favors exact match domains or near match domains.

Yahoo and Bing on the other-hand will often favor sub-domains more than exact matches when they are properly optimized. A search in Yahoo and Bing show similar results and shows the site on Page One. The Home Page title on this site is "Toyota Sale | Toyota For Sale". This sub-domain is NOT on Google Page One.

Toyota Sale

What this means is that you can get on Bing and Yahoo page one for important keywords using a sub-domain microsite strategy.

Jacksonville Hyundai Searches

When exact match domains are not available you can see that sub-domains can also play a major role in achieving visibility for short search phrases. The sub-domain is showing on Bing Page One. You will also see in the example below that Bing shows a domain with TWO dashes in the name "" which you will normal NOT see appear on Google Page One. Bing and Yahoo like these dashed domains!

Jacksonville hyundai

OEM Compliance With Sub-Domains

Most dealers also should know that OEM are more tolerant with sub-domain microsites that stand-alone microsites on a new domain. For example, is a service microsite but it is associated with the primary dealer domain and thus complies with BMW microsite regulations. For Toyota warranty information, Acton Toyota created which indexes nationally on Page One for a search on Toyota Warranty.

Toyota Warranty

In summary, there are more ways to gain Page One exposure on Yahoo and Bing than in Google and this means that the early bird will get the worm.

Automotive SEO Conference

Do you want to learn more about digital marketing?   Come out a few days early before NADA and attend the 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference February 1-3, 2011 which is right before the NADA Convention in San Francisco.

Register online at:

The conference has attracted some of the top speakers and educators in the automotive industry and if you are looking to lock in a successful digital marketing attack in your PMA in 2011, you need to be in attendance.

Read more…

"Internet Sales 20 Groups"

Mercadeo Digital

Algunas veces subestimamos el poder que tiene el mercadeo digital. Es interesantes saber que ya no solo existen dos o tres formas de mercadeo digital sino decenas de maneras de hacerlo y con resultados impresionantes. Una de las principales herramientas que podemos utilizar es "SEO, VSEO". El poder utilizar esta herramienta para atraer clientes y futuros compradores de nuestros servicios a nuestro sitio "web" hace del mercadeo digital unas de las cosas mas importantes para hacer negocios.

No hay duda de que el taller de "Internet Sales 20 Group" esta llenando todas las expectativas. Mucho se ha aprendido y mucho queda por aprenderse.

Se han eliminado los acentos para evitar errores de interpretacion de motores de busquedas.

Read more…
Have you seen that Google is experimenting with a new Page One SERP design? I saw this today as I searched for Chicago Dealers and I was blown away how much Page One real estate was used for Google Maps listings.

I color coded the SERP in sections to show that:

  • Google Adwords was split on top and right shown in pink.
  • Two organic listings were displayed above the new maps region, shown in green.
  • That 7 spots were taken up with exploded Google Maps listings, shown in red.
  • The remainder of the organics were shown under maps which were cut off on the screen capture.
Google Maps Explodes Search Page

Google Maps Changes SEO Strategies

I don't see this type of display for all searches and maybe this is a new design for broad commercial searches but this is a game changer. What do you think?

What I can see is that Google review stars are SIGNIFICANTLY MORE VISIBLE which means that automotive reputation management processes must really be locked down. What I also see is that if you are not in the top spots for organic search, you will get crushed by this new design and experience significantly less clicks.

What I also would expect is that the Google Ads on the right side will receive less clicks. There is too much activity front and center that brings the consumers eye to the maps region. So this will also be a game changer for Adwords bidding.

Homework: Get your Google Maps listings updated with photos, videos, coupons, and make sure you have the geo-targeting set correctly. If this is a look at the future, the more complete and compelling your Google Maps listing is, the more calls and clicks you will receive.

If you need help, start by asking questions below.
Read more…


This is an oldie but goodie :)

I want to hear all of your opinions...

What is TRULY Vital for a SUCCESSFUL Dealership Website...?

I have Dealership after Dealership ask me these questions:

* Who is the best dealership website company?

* What are the best features for a dealeship site?

* Should I have a Flash site or not and why...?

* How many websites should I have?

* What is onsite versus offsite SEO?

* How often should I update my website?

* What content is important for my website?

**** And on and on the questions go... Please understand these are NOT the ONLY questions... I am simply trying to start the conversation...

I would love to hear from all of you as to what makes the MOST POWERFUL and Successful Dealersgip Website Solution and WHY?

I look forward to your posts


Read more…