What are Your
online ads Missing?
Inventory Online (IOL) Marketing Suite is a
complete internet merchandising solution.
Call today to see what your ads are missing.
Five Must Do’s to
Reel Customers In
Mastering the Internet
ASP vs. In-House Servers: Sheehy Auto Stores
Which DMS Model is Best? page 16
Can your CRM be your ILM?
T ABLE OF CONTENTS
PRESIDENT AND CEO
VICE PRESIDENT AND
FEATURES EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Digital Dealer Cover Story cbanks@Dealer-communications.com
16 Roy Reutter
e-Business Director PUBLISHER
Sheehy Auto Stores 607-264-3359
COLUMNS CONTENT COORDINATOR
AAISP Notes mburkel@Dealer-communications.com
6 Will It Help Us Sell More Cars? ART DIRECTOR
Cliff Banks JOE BIRCH
Internet Sales ELIZABETH BIRCH
8 Five Must Do’s to Reel Customers In PRINT PRODUCTION
10 Mastering the Internet Sales Process
Tom Mohr COVER PHOTOS
Management Systems CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION
12 ASP vs. In-House Servers: Which DMS Model is Best? 314-432-7511
Mike Esposito www.Dealer-magazine.com
NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES
Web Sites adsales@Dealer-magazine.com
14 Design Your Site to Create More Sales 607-264-3359
Dealer magazine makes every attempt to ensure the
Technology Trends accuracy of all published works. However it cannot be
held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied
20 Can your CRM be your ILM? herein. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part
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4 News of Publishers.
A PUBLICATION OF
C O M M U N I C A T I O N S
DD 2 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
D IGITAL DEALER TECH NEWS
New automotive advertis-
ing network puts dealers
on top of search engines
and social networks ResponseLogix SmartFacts Auto/Mate eBook gives
The Automotive Advertising Network was analytics available in dealers a ‘10-step guide’
launched at the Digital Dealer Conference in June 2010
Orlando Florida last month. The Automotive for selecting, changing
Advertising Network (AAN) is the first dealer
ResponseLogix, Inc. announced the June
availability of SmartFacts 2.0 – powerful
powered advertising network that provides In an effort to help a growing number of
analytics to help optimize the performance
members with unlimited leads and online franchised auto dealers considering a change
of auto dealers’ Internet sales departments.
promotion of their inventory on national, in their dealer management system (DMS)
Using state-of-the-art cloud computing
regional and local web sites that are strategi- provider, Auto/Mate, the highest ranked
technology, SmartFacts data-driven insight is
cally positioned to appear on top of the most DMS in the 2009 NADA Annual Survey
now easily accessible online and allows deal-
popular search engines, social networks and of Dealership Satisfaction, is releasingThe
ership owners and managers to proactively
blogs. Dealer’s 10-Step Guide to Changing Your DMS
manage their internet sales teams and increase
The network was created by industry veter- eBook.
ans Brian Pasch, Sean Wolfington and David “We wanted to give dealers a quick-read
“SmartFacts 2.0 new graphics and enhanced
Boice to help dealers generate more leads for rundown of the best practices they should
data analytics help general managers create
less cost. The member dealers are using their consider, given a more dealers are looking to
internet car sales best practices by identifying,
collective power to compete with third party change providers,” says Mike Esposito, CEO
and then reinforcing or teaching the behaviors
lead providers who historically have had a big for Auto/Mate, one of the leading DMS pro-
that get the best results,” said Tom Mohr,
advantage on the search engines because of viders for franchised auto dealers. “The eBook
president and CEO of ResponseLogix. “By
their national footprint and corresponding is chock-full of practical insights and lessons
tracking data such as response times, number
search authority. learned from dealers who have successfully
of calls or e-mails the dealer management
Participating dealers pay a small member- made the switch, as well as insight from some
can compare actual results and individual
ship fee to join the Automotive Advertising top industry experts.”
sales people can see what they need to do to
Network ($995). And they receive: The eBook’s publication comes at a time
improve their own results.”
• Unlimited leads from ready-to-buy con- when many auto industry observers predict a
Detailed comparisons are provided for key
sumers who are actively searching for a vehicle greater number of dealers are contemplating
data points including: time saved in quot-
in their market. changing their DMS providers as a way to
ing and following-up with leads, percent of
• Promotion of dealership and inventory reduce operational costs and provide more
leads contacted, number of customers with
on CarDealerSale.com as well as regional and in-store efficiencies. In its bi-annual review of
renewed interest in purchasing a car, dealer-
local websites in their primary markets. DMS satisfaction among dealers last October,
ship response time to new and reactivated
• Promotion of dealership and inventory on NADA reports a 7 percent decline in dealers
leads, and tracking of consumer behavior to
the most popular social media sites with Live who are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with
communications from the dealership. Dealers
inventory posted on your Facebook Fan Page their current DMS providers and 19 percent
with multiple franchises will have the infor-
• Unlimited car inventory publishing on of dealers and general managers who plan to
mation available as individual reports for each
popular blog platforms and WordPress plug- switch their DMS vendors.
in for optimized inventory listings “The eBook is our effort to help dealers
“I am a huge advocate of data to help set
• Banner advertising on the AAN local understand how important it is to approach
goals and drive sales; SmartFacts highlights
websites. Also, AAN members will never a DMS change with a well-assembled team
our strengths, pinpoints our weaknesses and
see competitor ads on their Inventory list- and plan of attack,” Esposito says. “It’s not
provides us with a greater degree of account-
ing pages. the first search optimized, dealer uncommon for dealers to overlook or miss
ability,” said Andrew DiFeo, general manager
centric advertising platform. key steps that result in a DMS installation
of Hyundai of St. Augustine. “I can drill down
• Access to the networks automotive press that is more disruptive and painful than it
to the individual associate and provide spe-
release publishing system and unlimited press needs to be.”
cific performance coaching. There is a direct
release publishing on national and regional The Auto/Mate eBook, The Dealer’s
correlation between how many e-mails and
web sites. 10-Step Guide to Changing Your DMS, is
phone calls a sales rep makes and the number
www.automotiveadvertisingnetwork.com available for free downloads at the Auto/
of cars sold.”
Mate web site: http://www.automate.com/
DD 4 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
There’s a Reason Why More
Top 125 Dealers Choose Dealer.com...
“We have partnered with Dealer.com
because they provide us with the tools and
cutting edge knowledge to allow us to
connect with tens of thousands of customers
very competitively and effectively.”
Tammy Darvish, Vice President, DARCARS Auto Group
Ranked 19th, Automotive News Top 125
SEARCH MARKETING | DEALER WEBSITES | LEAD MANAGEMENT | PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS
888.785.5418 | www.dealer.com | email@example.com
2010 Top Rated Web 2009 Net Promoter® 2010 Diamond Award 2009 Automotive Search
Provider, DrivingSales.com Score Survey “Best Website Provider” Marketing Association
Top Awards for Websites, Top customer service Auto Dealer Monthly Most Comprehensive
SEO, and Internet ranking in the nation’s 2010 Dealers’ Search Marketing
Lead Management software industry Choice Awards Platform Award
D IGITAL Dealer AAISP NOTES
Will It Help Us Sell More Cars?
et ready for an explosion of new tech- know. It’s a shameless plug), instead of giving and ratings, and a ton of other information
nology and new applications. What’s them away, the conversation will be how you about your dealership or group.
driving all of this new innovation is can use an iPad to sell more cars. Savvy dealers already are all over this and
the battle between Google and Apple as they Again, the question is, how does all of this are using it to capture market share. It’s
race to bring new applications to the market. help us sell more cars? Fortunately, I think another tool to help you dominate search
Meanwhile, Facebook should be part of the we’re answering the right questions. results. Managing Google Maps, though, is a
discussion, also. A recent article speculated For example, there seems to be a backlash challenge and requires some work, according
that Facebook could become the new search against all of the hoopla surrounding social to several Internet directors I’ve talked with.
engine of choice for consumers. Although, I media in the automotive industry. Another trend at the Digital Dealer
doubt that will happen, Facebook clearly is During my conversations with people at Conference was the focus on integrating
intent on becoming an Internet juggernaut – the Digital Dealer Conference, the general your traditional and web-based advertising.
both in consumer and business applications. agreement appeared to be that the industry This still is pretty far off our radar screens as
Every day, there seems to be a new spin on is spending too much time focusing on social an industry, but it is one of the most critical
the competition. Already, there are articles networking – primarily, Facebook. areas on which you need to focus – using
about how the iPhone has lost its cool factor The one question that keeps coming up TV, radio (and even print) to drive traffic to
and could be supplanted by Google’s Android is, does it really help us sell more cars? The your web site and then making sure you have
phone in popularity (One article claimed the consensus appears to be no. I wrote about the content on your site that you’ve prom-
Android had overtaken the iPhone in sales this several months ago admitting I was a ised the consumer. Hint – we’re not talking
last month). “Social Networking Skeptic.” Despite that, about merely including your URL on your
Last month, Google unveiled its Google you have to be there. At what level? That can traditional advertising channels, or running
TV application. Apple’s TV offering pretty be debated. The trick is, find out who is doing your TV commercials on your site. It’s much
much has crashed and burned, but someone well with and decide whether their strategies more involved than that.
is going to get it right. At some point, we’ll will work for you. The challenge is keeping up with the tech-
be able to obtain whatever content when Roy Reutter, our cover feature in this issue, nology and how to apply it to selling and
we want it, where we want it and how we says the Sheehy group does the absolute basic servicing more cars. That’s one reason this
want it – whether it’s on an iPad, Android with Facebook. Meanwhile, Joe Orr, our cover magazine, Digital Dealer exists – along with
phone, laptop or TV. It has challenges, but feature in March, has found a Facebook for- our twice a year Digital Dealer Conferences
my money’s on Google. mula that works for Dick Hannah Honda. & Expositions. We want to help you stay
As these applications hit the market the Both approaches are right and are working. current with new technology as it bursts onto
challenge for our industry is keeping up with It’s going to depend on your strategy, the the scene.
the technology and how to apply it to selling culture of your store and whether you have
and servicing more cars. The other day, David the right person in place to generate sales
Metter, (he heads up MileOne Automotive’s using Facebook. Orr works hard at it and is
marketing initiatives) tweeted the following, focused on it.
“Just got an iPad. Can’t wait to figure out One area you need to be playing in right
which business apps exist. 1 yr from now, now is Google Maps. Google recently
they will be all over our Dealerships.” upgraded the analytics for its Maps applica-
Metter’s point is well taken. During the tion, which is in Google Places (formerly
most recent Digital Dealer Conference in known as Google Local Business Center). The
Orlando, companies were giving away iPads level of analytics and of what you can include
Vice President and
in drawings at their booths. At the next con- about your dealership is advertising on ste-
ference, in Las Vegas (October 12-14 – yes, I roids. It includes videos, customer reviews
DD 6 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
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D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
Five Must Do’s to Reel Customers In
s the tools needed to compete 2. Be where the customers are.
for Internet sales proliferate, it’s While marketing is Upwards of 80% of shoppers begin their
become more difficult for dealers vehicle search online. Make sure you are
to assess their digital marketing efforts, important and without accessible on the most visited sites, your
ensuring that they are best equipped to widely used local sites and niche sites.
outsmart the competition. New tools and it there would be no
features are regularly rolled out, enticing 3. Maximize inventory distribution and
dealers to upgrade their various services. customer, I have to presentation, minimize time to market.
Dealership personnel sometimes spend Stretch a net and provide compelling
just as much time fine tuning hardware
continue to stress vehicle content to set your inventory apart
needs as they do working with custom- the importance of and drive more interest.
ers to sell cars. While so much time and
effort is spent assessing the marketing communication because 4. Feature top converting web site
arsenal, it becomes apparent that, given content.
time limitations, basic elements of maxi- if there’s one sure way It’s not just about getting them to your
mizing online sales have taken a back seat. web site, it’s about getting them to engage
This could cost your dealership sales as to improve sales, it’s by and move forward.
the fundamentals are pushed aside and
given less consideration. I think others simply getting better at 5. Be an effective communicator to
have had the same thoughts and this was drive more appointments, more dealer-
evident as I looked through the agenda
working the leads driven ship visits and sales.
of the recent Digital Dealer Conference to the dealership.
in Orlando, Florida. Have a follow-up process in place that
While the focus of past Digital Dealer customer’s are more likely to respond
Conferences has generally been on all to, opens doors to customer interaction
aspects of online marketing, the latest dealership. A few more sales per month, quicker and more often than ever before,
schedule had a refreshing twist. It’s cer- while working with the same investment, and then helps manage the conversation
tainly important to continually learn translate positively and directly to the by “speaking the customer’s language” and
how to refine marketing efforts to drive bottom line. talks in terms of “benefit to the customer.”
customers to the dealership and the con- Remembering that it’s important to
ference thoroughly addressed this topic. make sure you have the basics covered, Rob Lange is the national sales training
However, what I arguably consider being I wanted to provide a simple checklist director for Kelley Blue Book.
the most important part of the sale, and to help shore up the foundation of your
was included in this conference, was online efforts. If you wish to discuss this arti-
more sessions on communicating with cle with other dealers, or with
the customer. 1. Understand the buying motivations the author, please go to the
While marketing is important and with- of today’s online car shopper. “Discussion Forums” at www.
out it there would be no customer, I have The premise of all of your online efforts Dealer-communications.com and
to continue to stress the importance of and communication is and should be enter the “Internet Sales” forum
communication because if there’s one sure knowing what influences customers to or e-mail him at rlange@Dealer-
way to improve sales, it’s by simply getting head in the direction of your dealership communications.com.
better at working the leads driven to the and not to a competitor.
DD 8 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
What are Your
online ads Missing?
Inventory Online (IOL) Marketing Suite is a
complete internet merchandising solution.
Call today to see what your ads are missing.
D IGITAL Dealer INTERNET SALES
Mastering the Internet Sales Process
re you completely buttoned down in process. Internet assistant or perhaps a BDC can take
your sales processes to manage the 12 9. If an appointment is set, e-mail and call on this role. Here’s a key point: it’s not realistic
key steps in Internet sales? for confirmation the day before. for the sales rep to get back that quickly given
At my company, for the past three years we 10. If the appointment doesn’t show up, test drives and other priorities. Get someone
have closely studied the Internet sales process. e-mail and call to follow up and seek to else to make that first contact. Then transi-
By observing our dealer customers across the answer more questions or confirm an new tion over to the sales rep for follow-up if the
country, we have begun to discern best prac- appointment date / time. first call results in a voice mail.
tices that consistently deliver superior results. 11. If your follow-up campaign yields a reac- If there is no phone number, e-mail the
Our goal is to support the industry’s search tivation, call / e-mail the reactivated cus- customer. Keep it short, to the point:
for best practice, and so we want to share tomer within 10 minutes and follow the “(CUSTOMER NAME), I just sent you an
what we learn. process towards an appointment. e-mail with some alternative vehicles for you to
Achieving optimal sales results is a func- 12. If an appointment shows up, have them consider. Would like to take you through these
tion of process execution and quality. There ask specifically for you and be there for the choices while they’re still available, so I can get
are 12 process steps, and in order to drive meet / greet / lot walk / test drive / sale. a better understanding of exactly what you’re
to outstanding results each step has to be in the market for. What’s your phone number?
executed. Not just that, each step must be Each of these steps merit more detail I can call you right now.
executed well. It’s that combination of process The 10 minute, multi-vehicle price quote Yours,
execution and quality that will differentiate is key. It differentiates you from the competi- John Doe
the winners from the losers. tion on responsiveness and service quality, Internet Sales Manager.”
while changing the discussion from “can you
So what are the key process steps? beat the other guy’s price” (an adversarial con-
1. Respond to an Internet lead with a multi- versation) to “do I want new or used, naviga-
vehicle price quote in 10 minutes. tion system or not, what can I afford,” etc (a
2. If there is a phone number in the lead, call consultative conversation). In achieving this sales results is a
the customer in 10 minutes. step, it is best to seek a technology solution
3. If there is no phone number in the lead, so you can deliver these personalized, multi- function of process
e-mail the customer in 10 minutes and vehicle quotes to the customer with quality,
request a phone number. every single time. execution and quality.
4. If the customer e-mails back their phone Make the phone call in 10 minutes! All
number, give them a call within 10 this talk about “call in less than two hours” is
minutes. simply off base. The consumer has expressed If the customer e-mails their phone
5. If you reach the customer, go through a their interest. They have engaged you, the number, call the customer right away -- no
nine-point call script leading to an appoint- dealer. Every minute you ignore them is a more than 10 minutes.
ment request. minute lost to that customer’s other priori- If you reach the customer, recognize that a
6. If you don’t reach the customer, leave a ties. Don’t let them move on! Engage them live conversation with a customer is precious.
compelling, short voice mail and begin 2X right away. Don’t waste the opportunity! Authoritatively
a day, five-day follow-up calling process. Of course, the issue is that it’s hard to and collaboratively, walk through the nine
7. If customer doesn’t e-mail you their phone do given dealership realities. To achieve key points that will tell you whether this is
number, go through nine-point script via this outcome requires structure and focus. a customer you want to do business with:
e-mail, and seek to win an appointment. Structurally, a smaller dealership may give 1. Formally introduce yourself and your
8. If you can’t win an appointment in five its receptionist the assignment of making dealership.
days, leave it to a compelling, transactional the initial call back right away on Internet 2. Present the reason for call.
automated follow-up e-mail campaign to leads, with a $10 bonus for every confirmed 3. Explain dealership’s selling process.
try to draw the customer into the purchase appointment. In a larger dealership, a separate 4. Go over the multi-vehicle price quote in
DD 10 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
detail including value selling the pre-owned confirmation, be sure to remind the customer
options. why it’s good for them to show up—“I have
5. Compare the features and benefits of the set aside the vehicle you requested and will keep
alternative vehicles shown in quote. it available for your visit. With the hot incentives
6. Discuss financing options, including com- the manufacturer has in place right now I want
pletion of a credit app. to be sure your vehicle is still on the lot.”
7. Confirm customer’s purchase time frame. If the appointment doesn’t show up, call
8. Confirm whether customer wants a and e-mail the customer two hours after the
trade-in. scheduled appointment time (no more, no
9. Set up an appointment for a test drive. less). Indicate: “Hi (CUSTOMER NAME),
this is _____ from ____. I put down in my
If you don’t reach the customer, leave a calendar that you were going to stop by for a
compelling voice mail that goes something
test drive. I might have gotten it wrong in my
calendar and so I want to check in with you. I AutoSoft,
“Hi this is John Doe, sales assistant from
DEALERSHIP calling regarding your request
still have your vehicle set aside. Are you available
later this afternoon to come by?” the Most Likely
for a quote on a _______. Our Internet sales
manager _________ sent you an e-mail a
Perhaps you’re in the e-mail follow-up
phase with a customer that never showed up. Recommended
few minutes ago with a number of alternative
vehicles, and he/she would like to go over them
What happens when the customer responds
to your follow-up with a buying signal? I call
DMS Delivers –
with you while the vehicles are still available. that a reactivation. Reactivations are more
Just call ___________ and ask for ________, precious than first-time leads!
Not Simply Software as
your Internet sales manager who can help you Call the customer in 10 minutes. Take the a Service, But Software
with all of your questions. Otherwise we’ll try same approach as noted above for a first-time With The Service!
back later.” contact. You’ll find that reactivated customers,
Then call twice a day – mid-morning and if responded to right away, will convert at a When asked in the recent
around 6:30 PM work best – for five consecu- much higher rate than first-time leads, and NADA 2009 Bi-Annual
tive days, seeking to make contact. If you therefore deserve your best attention. Survey of Dealership
reach the customer, walk through the nine Of course, it eventually all comes down to
key points. If you don’t, after five days of the customer arriving on the lot. You know
Satisfaction with Dealer
follow-up, let your automated e-mail follow- what to do then. System Providers’
up system take over. The realities of dealership life make execu- Products and Services
If the customer doesn’t e-mail you their tion of these 12 steps difficult. It’s especially
phone number, you’re left to e-mail com- difficult to execute these steps with quality.
munications. Seek to engage the customer The best dealerships are relentless in pursuit Our Users
Ranked US #1-
in an e-mail exchange that walks through the of perfection. They define their structure, hire,
nine key points. If you can elicit interaction, train, monitor, coach and reward in ways that
you’re much more likely to lead the customer support and advance process execution and
to an appointment. quality. It’s ultimately an act of leadership, and
If you can’t get to an appointment, it’s time if you commit yourself and your organization • Speed in Getting Changes
for e-mail follow-up. But make sure that your to continuous improvement, you will eventu- and Modifications Made
e-mail campaign is designed to not be pro- ally become masters of the Internet.
motional: ISP’s consider that spam. E-mail • Maintenance of Your
Daily Business with
follow-up must be transactional – asking Tom Mohr is CEO of ResponseLogix, and has
simple questions, such as, “14 days ago you worked closely with auto dealers for 25 years.
sent us a request for a Toyota Prius. Are you Prior to ResponseLogix, Mohr was president of • Problem and Concerns
still interested?” Then have action buttons Knight Ridder Digital, where he was on the being Fixed Correctly
that allow customers to reveal their interest board of Cars.com. the First Time You Call
vs. requiring them to send you back an e-mail.
This is best achieved through a technology If you wish to discuss this article with • Prompt Follow-up to
company that specializes in interactive follow- other dealers, or with the author, please Handle the Needs of
up marketing campaigns. go to the “Discussion Forums” at www. You and Your Staff
If you get an appointment, it’s best prac- Dealer-communications.com and enter
tice to both e-mail and call to confirm the “Internet Sales” forum or e-mail him
the appointment at least eight hours prior at tmohr@Dealer-communications.com. 877-427-4367
to the appointed date and time. In your
DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2010 DD 11
D IGITAL Dealer MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
ASP vs. In-House Servers: Which DMS
Model is Best?
he time has come. Your dealership’s reality, ASP is an evolution of a 40-plus year
DMS contract with a large, expensive old technology developed in the 1960s and
Contrary to what dealers
legacy provider is ending. Your search known then as “time sharing” applications. may hear from various
for a new DMS partner is beginning. Which Today, due to high-speed Internet connec-
DMS is best? tions and advances in server technology, ASP sales representatives,
The answer is: it depends what your needs solutions are more viable and a popular choice
are. One thing that’s certain is when it comes for businesses in many industries. neither the ASP nor the
to making such a critical management deci- The in-house client/server model, though
sion; there is little, if any, room for error. hardly old but perceived by some as un- in-house format is the
This article won’t go into detail about the trendy, is in reality, a tried and true technol-
process for choosing the right system (for ogy that is not going to disappear any time one, “best” technology.
a free 10-step guide, dealers can e-mail the soon. Many businesses prefer to keep their
author of this article). But assuming that a computer operations in-house for several
dealership has already analyzed their current reasons, including reliability, cost, control of the connection needs to be of high quality. If
DMS expenses and potential cost reductions, data, and more. the Internet connection is sluggish for some
assessed the market, created a “needs” list and The bottom line is, both formats offer reason, access to the dealer’s data may be slow.
drawn up a potential vendor prospect list, one dealerships what is needed: a low-cost, effec- In all cases access to the ASP is through a
of the first choices they may be faced with is tive DMS solution. The choice should not VPN (virtual private network) which in
whether to choose a DMS in an Application be made based on which technology is new essence gives the dealership a secure “pipe”
Service Provider (ASP) model, or in-house or trendy, but on which system best fits the through the Internet to the provider’s loca-
server model. dealership’s needs and wants. tion. However it is still through the Internet
With ASP, the DMS provider maintains a and as such the response time can be awful
hosted environment of servers at the provider’s 2) Purchase of hardware at times no matter what speed the connec-
location that houses all the software and data A perceived advantage of the ASP model tion (Did you try to get on the Internet the
a dealer uses. Dealers do not have to purchase is the minimum amount of hardware that day Michael Jackson died? The speed of the
or maintain servers has to be purchased to get the system up and Internet was at a crawl.)
With a DMS in-house server model, the running. In most cases the ASP provider will An in-house server, on the other hand,
dealership is required to purchase the server require the purchase of a VPN router that is runs at a consistently high speed and will
and in most cases the DMS vendor will main- compatible with the vendor’s network. This always have a much greater response time
tain the server. router can run from $2,000 to $3,000. then the ASP. If there are problems with the
Contrary to what dealers may hear from With the in-house server model, dealers Internet connection, it doesn’t affect access
various sales representatives, neither the ASP are required to purchase a server. Though to the dealer’s data at all.
nor the in-house format is the one, “best” legacy providers have been known to charge
technology. What is best for your dealership anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 for high 4) Dealership control of data
may depend on whether you have a single performance servers, today’s non-legacy DMS One potential problem with the ASP
store, multi-store franchise along with many vendors offer industry standard high per- model is the dealership does not maintain
other factors. formance servers that costs no more than control over its own data. No matter how
Following are the primary considerations $4,000–$6,000. As servers only need to be much a provider may assure the dealer it
when it comes to choosing between deploy- replaced every five to six years, the depreciated will never happen, in the event of a dispute
ing the DMS as an ASP or in-house server: cost is negligible. between dealership and vendor, it would be
possible for the dealership to be cut off from
1) ‘New’ technology vs. ‘old’ technology. 3) Speed its own data.
Advocates of ASP claim it’s a new tech- With a broadband connection, access to On the other hand, the in-house server
nology and the future of things to come. In the ASP servers can be very efficient. However model eliminates this concern. Dealerships
DD 12 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
maintain complete control of their data and access to their network from any laptop, any- Determining what’s right for you
network at all times. where. In reality, ASP access from a remote It’s up to each dealership to determine
location requires the installation of a Virtual which DMS system is right for their needs.
5) Back-up of data Private Network (VPN) on a laptop. Remote Both in-house and ASP models have their
Generally accepted backup procedure is to access to the DMS is accomplished the same advantages. In many cases either one would
have a full copy of your data backed up off site way with an in-house server model. be a good choice. Ultimately, a DMS vendor
every night. With the ASP, since the data is that offers both in-house server and ASP
housed in servers at the provider’s location it 9) In the event of catastrophe… solutions provides the most flexibility. It
is therefore off the dealership site, however the It rarely happens, but ask any dealer who give the dealer the most security, in that,
dealer needs to ensure that the provider backs has been through it. It’s a nightmare. Whether if the deployment by one method is not
up its hosted site to another location just in a mudslide, tornado or hurricane, the last satisfactory to the dealership then it is an
case there is an issue at the primary hosting thing a dealer needs to worry about is the easy change over to the other deployment
facility. With the in-house server model, the DMS. An advantage of ASP is that if disas- method. As a dealership grows and its needs
dealership can choose to either manually back ter strikes, all the data is safely off site. All change, it is good to know that your DMS
up onto tapes every night, or have the DMS the dealership needs to do is re-establish an provider offers both solutions so you can
provider do an automatic remote back up. A Internet connection. However, if there have maintain your relationship with that pro-
remote backup is where the in house server been widespread telecommunications out- vider yet change the method of deployment
automatically transmits all of the data every ages in the area as will happen in catastrophic of the DMS.
night to a remote facility controlled by the situations, it may be impossible to quickly
DMS provider. re-establish the VPN connection to the ASP. Mike Esposito is president & CEO of Auto/
In addition the connection issue is out of the Mate Dealership Systems, makers of AMPS
6) ‘Less’ vs. ‘more’ maintenance control of the dealership in that their Internet (Automotive Management Productivity Suite),
ASP providers tout the fact their model Service Provider may be swamped with other a comprehensive DMS with more than 20 inte-
eliminates the need to maintain a server, saves clients who are in the same situation as the grated modules to service every dealership need.
space and takes all the DMS maintenance off dealership.
the dealership’s hands. But since in-house When disaster strikes a dealership with an
solutions can run on a server the size of your in-house server, the server may be lost. This
typical tower PC, it doesn’t take much addi- is why the data should always be backed up If you wish to discuss this article with
tional space, and in-house vendors can also remotely, and why most DMS providers do other dealers, or with the author, please
provide all the needed maintenance remotely. this automatically. In the event of catastro- go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.
phe, the dealership can call the vendor who Dealer-communications.com and enter
7) Upgrades to the software should be able to ship out a new server with the “DMS” forum or e-mail him at mes-
In both cases updated software will be all the updated information intact, overnight, posito@Dealer-communications.com.
needed to be loaded on the server whether if necessary.
the server is hosted at the ASP site or is in
the dealership. In the case of the ASP, the
vendor will load all of the software updates
on their servers and will then notify the users
when it has been done. In the past (and still
currently with some DMS vendors) software
updates were handled by sending the dealer-
ship CDs with the update information and
the dealership personnel had to load them on
the server. Currently most DMS vendors who
supply an in house server will automatically
load the software updates remotely on to the
in house server and then notify the dealership
that it has been done.
8) Remote access to network
Many dealers are under the assumption
that with ASP, they will be able to have full
DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2010 DD 13
D IGITAL Dealer WEB SITES
Design Your Site to Create More Sales
ou probably • Provide more relevant content. need to use other web sites. Work with your
already know Consumers want to do their vehicle research web site provider to ensure you are providing
some of the in one central place. Provide them with details the following to improve the overall shopping
basics of good web such as current incentives, pricing, inventory, experience and increase your sales:
design, but do you photos, vehicle locations, service scheduling, • Timely inventory updates – give your
know the reasons why those standards are and recall information. customers the most accurate vehicle informa-
in place? Are you using the most up-to-date • Modularize your content. Sectioning off tion possible.
best practices? information helps users comprehend infor- • Quick and targeted response to leads–
While the aesthetics of design are subjective mation and recall more of the details later. gather important details on your customers
and up to each individual’s perception, there • Use specific language to describe your such as keywords, referral information and
is actually a science behind the functionality dealership and your inventory. Broader terms vehicles searched. Tailor your response to
of beautiful and effective web sites. Many can easily be misinterpreted, but precise these attributes.
researchers have studied the way consumers details paint a clearer picture of how your • Accurate data–ensure you post correct
interpret content on web sites. By applying business operates and what you have to offer vehicle information including availability,
their findings and best practices to your own your customers. pricing, features and equipment. This will
web site, you can better serve your customers guarantee a satisfied customer when they visit
and grow your business. Fit within the limitations of shopping your dealership.
behavior • Engaging content–provide videos and
Develop your web site with these three Your customers can only process so much social media links to engage your customers
objectives in mind: information at one time. This means that and create an ongoing relationship.
1. Help your car shoppers meet their goals. when you organize content on your web site, • Mobile/iPad options–savvy consumers
2. Fit within the limitations of shopping you need to make it easy to digest and hard are shopping on their phones. Utilize mobile
behavior. to forget. technology to appeal to this group and cap-
3. Improve the overall shopping experience. ture more sales. It’s important to stay ahead
Here are a few tips on how to keep the of the curve on new technology.
If you follow these guiding principles, you content simple and easy to remember: Following these simple rules for design and
will make your customers happy, and in the • Include a brief introductory paragraph. developing quality content will allow you
process, generate more sales. Readers will better understand what that page to connect with your shoppers, satisfy their
is about and remain engaged. needs and increase your revenue. Work with
Help your shoppers meet their goals • Keep elements, such as images and videos your provider to convert your web site into a
The biggest hurdle when designing your small so that your pages don’t take too long to highly effective selling tool by implementing
web site is determining your goals and how load. Longer load times increase the chances these best practices.
they align with those of your site’s visitors. that users will forget what they just viewed
The purpose of your web site is to sell vehicles while waiting for the next page to load. Avoid Joe High is a group general manager with
and generate service appointments and parts’ auto playing a video, when loading a page, to Dominion Dealer Solutions, managing the
requests by providing your shoppers with the prevent disturbing others. Dealerskins and XIGroup businesses. High
information and tools they need to make • Offer ways to compare multiple vehicles started at XIGroup in 2001, working his way
informed buying decisions. on your web site. Consumers are looking for up from the customer service department to
When a car shopper visits your web site, detailed vehicle information and don’t want project/operations manager. In November 2007
that person may be at any stage of the buying to use multiple web sites. Make it easy for he became XIGroup’s general manager and in
process from early research to ready to pur- your customers to remain on your web site to March 2010 was promoted to his current role
chase the vehicle. Each shopper is unique and learn about many types of vehicles. You don’t overseeing Dealerskins and XIGroup.
will require different information to make a want to lose customers to a competitor’s site.
final buying decision. Your web site should • Improve the overall shopping experience. If you wish to discuss this article with
provide all the information they need to make Your customers live in a digital world and other dealers, or with the author, please
that decision. have many online resources available to them go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.
Here are some simple web site suggestions when shopping for a vehicle. Therefore, it’s Dealer-communications.com and enter
that are useful to consumers in any phase of vital for you to create the best shopping expe- the “Technology” forum or e-mail him
the shopping process: rience for your customers and remove the at jhigh@Dealer-communications.com.
DD 14 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
Just another way to spread
the good news.
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Sheehy Auto Stores
Social media? Prove to me it sells cars, says Roy Reutter. Mobile marketing? Not doing
much with it, he says. Instead, Reutter, who is the director of e-business for the Sheehy
Auto Stores, prefers to spend time focusing on the tools that actually help to sell more cars.
It’s that attitude instilled by the group’s president, Vince Sheehy, which has enabled the
46-year-old company to grow into one of the top groups in the country. In fact, not much
has changed since we last talked in 2006 with Reutter. The organization is using the same
processes it did then and continues to operate with a steadfast focus on using what works.
One thing has changed, however. The Internet now accounts for nearly 35% of all of
Sheehy’s vehicle sales, which is a big increase from 2006.
DD 16 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
When we last talked with you, it was 2006. not have any hesitation in doing new things Yes, they have a place, although our focus
What has changed in those four years? and experimenting. And they aren’t opposed is more on our developing leads from our
Well, a few things have changed. Our to social networking, but they don’t really own web site, because those are the leads that
advertising budget has changed dramatically. spend a lot of time on it, because they haven’t close better.
In 2003-2004 the amount we spent on digi- seen it generate many sales. However, we still
tal marketing was about 6% of our overall have a lot of other things we do that sells cars. However, when it comes to third-party clas-
advertising budget. By November 2006, it sified sites such as Cars.com and AutoTrader.
was about 16% of the overall budget. And I remember sitting in one of your sessions com, they play a major part in our sales.
now, it is close to 35% of the budget. at the first Digital Dealer Conference in
Nashville, and you were showing an Excel Your advertising spend has changed. What
What do you attribute that increase to? spreadsheet with elaborate reporting. has changed about your process?
To quote our president, Vince Sheehy, And that was several years ago. Have you We still have the same process except it
“The Internet has changed everything.” tweaked your reports? has become much faster today. We’re able
I’m looking at it right now. It has really to get our inventory online much faster
What sort of things are you spending that grown to where I am able to identify things now. Pictures and video are done faster. Our
money on? very quickly. Let’s say I’m concerned about response time to the customer is now within
Of course, there are many things, but the our traffic, I can look at the spreadsheet and minutes, not hours. The speed that technol-
most significant is search engine marketing. determine the source of traffic, what hap- ogy allows us to operate is one of the major
We also spend money on developing our web pened and what changed. differences and what has changed the most.
Right now I am seeing that one of our We like to focus on the speed of the
Is that the pay-per-click? stores is down in lead volume. And they response time, but the speed with which
Yes. shouldn’t be, but I can look at it and see why we can accomplish tasks today has changed
it is down. So I am able to identify the issues the game significantly also. If a dealership
When did you start ramping up your SEM quickly. It addresses where we are now, where or group focuses on leveraging those effi-
initiatives? we were in the past, what the projections ciencies, is that an advantage?
We slowly increased it until January this are and if we are on target for hitting our Certainly. For example, if someone is trad-
year, and then we decided to jump in a big projections. ing in a car today, we will get it online before
way. It is not like it is a crazy amount, but it they are out of the building.
is double what we had spent earlier. I can look at the spreadsheet and instantly
see where we are off and where we are selling. Being able to put our inventory online
Now some people would argue that pay- much faster means we can sell the vehicle
per-click has seen its best days. Obviously, Do you have someone that manages the faster. It’s helped with inventory turn. Today,
you think differently. search engine marketing and pay-for-clicks we don’t wait until the vehicle comes out of
We certainly like the metrics. I know how for you? the service shop and detail to put it online.
many clicks, e-mails and phone calls we get Yes, our web host, Dealer.com, actually
and that’s solid concrete tracking information. does it. There is no possible way I could How do you handle the leads? Is it through
If you tell me social networking is replacing manage that for 16-17 stores effectively. a business development center?
it, I will say you are crazy. Each of our stores has a dedicated Internet
One of the knocks against PPC is that the department.
Are you doing anything with social dealer often ends up competing against
networking? himself because of Tier Two (ad asso- So, the rumors of the Internet department’s
We do the absolute basic. Until someone ciations) and Tier One (manufacturers) death are exaggerated?
can show me that it drives car sales, that’s involvement. You know, if people are saying that, they
where it will stay. Maybe in a year or two That is a good point – it does happen. But may mean the entire dealership is involved
it will be more than it is now. We have a ultimately, if you can dominate a page, then in Internet sales. In that case, it makes sense.
Facebook page, but it is mostly a fan page. you’re in good shape. I’m not sure there is a Otherwise, I don’t know what they are mean-
We don’t spend a lot of time doing it. way to solve that. I just try to benefit from it. ing when they say the department is dead.
We have some really smart people that Do you still buy from third-party lead How do you manage between the show-
work here in our Internet department that do providers? room and the Internet?
DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2010 DD 17
Our CRM tool, Reynolds’ Contact You talked a little bit about how technol- What has been the craziest thing that was
Manager, enables us to track leads separately. ogy has gotten better. I assume you use asked through chat by a consumer?
We’re able to funnel them to the appropriate Blackberry phones or something along
department. those lines? Someone offered us $300 to make sure we
Yes, we do use Blackberry phones, mostly got their credit application approved. That
What is the process you use to respond for lead notification so we can respond one was crazy. It’s not every day someone
to leads? Is it same for all of your stores? quickly. It is not our practice to respond to tries to bribe you.
We follow the same process for all of the customers on our Blackberries. We just want
stores. We have been doing it for 7-8 years our Internet salespeople to know the leads I see the Race to 4,000 videos and
and it is a process that works. I’m looking are there. We use our CRM tools to do the promotion.
at our Alexandria dealership right now and proper response, and we want to respond Yes, we do that every year. We have a
it has 38 vehicles sold through the Internet quickly with videos. You can’t do that all on Sheehy 4,000 Sales Event where we donate
department waiting for delivery today. a Blackberry. You can respond, but you need a portion of each sale to Race for the Cure.
to do it right. We have donated over $500,000 to Race for
The key for the Internet department is the Cure since we started. This year our goal is
preparation. The web site has to be right – Are you doing any mobile marketing? $80,000 to $100,000. We’ve been doing it for
including inventory, specials and pricing. The Very little. I don’t believe the market is years for the community. Everyone wins. We
phones have to be manned properly and we there yet for automotive. We set up several have great deals on vehicles and we sell a lot
have to respond to leads quickly and correctly. test mobile sites that generate about 1% to of cars and raise money for Race for the Cure.
There is a lot that goes into selling cars in the 2% of our overall traffic. We have done zero
Internet department. when it comes to text marketing. In your opinion, what are the most impor-
tant things for stores to be focused on
The Internet department handles the pro- I see you have chat on your web site. today?
cess from beginning to end? Yes, I am a big chat fan. It is a way for the I think to keep it real simple is important.
Correct. They handle it from start to finish. customer to communicate with us silently. Technology has enhanced the process but we
We know that a lot of people shop during still need to do the basics.
As your marketing budget has grown for the day while they are at work. So instead of
the Internet department, have you added going on a phone, chat is a very quiet way for But really, it goes back to a lot of common
significantly to the staff? them to communicate with us. There are a lot sense things, and back to how we interact with
That is another area that has changed. of features for chat that I am still exploring, the customers. It comes down to answering
We use to have one to two people in each and probably will employ some of them in the customers’ questions and respecting the
store. Now we have three to four people. At the near future. people on the other end of the computer or
least 25% of our entire group’s staff is in the the phone. They have questions they need to
Internet department today. How is your chat set-up? Do you have have answered, we answer them.
someone managing your chat for you?
What’s the optimum for the number of We currently have a company that takes Technology enables us to show the vehicle
leads per month? care of our chat. faster, and provide the customer with a better
For me it is about 100 per month. In view of what the vehicle looks like, and its
the past people talked about it being 80 I see you have a Live Chat button on your condition. This enables them to make a deci-
leads per person. But with technology and service page. Do you service chat live with sion better and faster.
a more-skilled staff we handle more leads customers also?
while responding faster and more effectively. We put the chats everywhere. We’ve gotten better about the people we
hire. We definitely look for people who have
Has the consumer changed at all? Does that then go to a service-related some Internet type savvy. They know how
The consumer has changed in a way that person? to do things online and how to work on a
the Internet has changed. A lot of people – Yes, they just take the service appointment computer. That has also spread to many of
instead of shying away from the Internet – are and send an e-mail to our service department. our showroom sales staff.
adapting to it. It is just a convenient way for customers to
communicate with us. A lot of people say you have to look for
They understand they have more choices people with experience. I don’t specifically
and can get information faster. They under- Do you evaluate the type of questions that look for people with car sales experience.
stand they don’t have don’t have to travel from are asked in chat the most? We have to have people that are not afraid
showroom to showroom getting information. Yes, along with the lead comes the tran- of technology or learning new skills. I
They can get an Internet quote in two min- script, which has both ends of the conversa- look at our staff today and they are very
utes. It is all about convenience and speed of tion. So we are up to speed with what went equipped to conduct business in an Internet
doing business. on and we can tweak the scripts if need be. environment.
DD 18 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
What kind of turnover do you have in the How is the interaction between you and They probably are a little bit less than they
Internet department? the general managers today? Many stores used to be. And that’s probably been driven
We have very little. The little we do have still say that is a problem. by the fact the competition has gotten better
comes from promoting people within. We I am very proud of our general managers, and manufacturer programs are changing.
just had two Internet managers promoted – every single one of them. They see the big pic-
one to finance manager and one to used car ture. They understand how Internet budgets Are you involved in driving business to
manager. It happens often. I’m happy to see line up. And they do a great job staying on your service department using the web?
our people move up. It is part of development top of new technology. It has never been a major part of our busi-
and it’s good for the group as a whole. ness, but we are getting more involved with it.
I also have to say the same about our presi- We are doing more with service appointments
Where do you find people? dent. Vince started this thing back in 2002 and parts availability online.
The best source to find people is internally. and was way ahead of the curve. He under-
That is where we want to start. We believe in stood the Internet was going to transform It is interesting to see how you have
developing our staff. We have taken several the business and he gave us the tools and changed.
people from our detail shop and our inventory resources to succeed. I went back and read the article last night
management staff. from 2006 and there are some changes. But
What do you consider to be important to then the process hasn’t changed a bit. Some
We do post on Craig’s List as well and your management success? “experts” criticize dealers who are employing
CareerBuilder. I spend most of my time in the stores. the same processes as they did years ago. That
Almost 75% of my time is spent in stores, amuses me because that’s not our experience. I
How do your Internet sales compare with not a corporate office. I believe this is a critical haven’t seen or witnessed a better process than
the group’s overall sales? element for a director to continue to educate what we’ve been doing. Our people believe in
It used to 10% of overall sales. Then it went everyone on an almost daily basis on all that the process because they are selling more cars.
to 15% to 20%. Now Internet sales are 38% is Internet. Not just the Internet managers Until it doesn’t work anymore, we’re going to
to 40% of our total sales. but the sales managers and GMs. keep using our process.
Year to date, we are at exactly 38%. We’ve How do your grosses compare to when we
sold 6,084 units and the Internet sold 2,297. last talked to you in 2006?
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DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2010 DD 19
D IGITAL Dealer TECHNOLOGY TRENDS
Can your CRM be your ILM?
recently moderated a roundtable of that it is also a lot less money; he was looking tools and even my DealerStar DMS handles
Internet and BDC managers at the 8th seriously at a product that would do all his that. Just enter the leads into your leads/pros-
Digital Dealer Conference in Orlando, ILM objectives for only $200 a month for pect database with a source of “Internet” or by
Florida and one of the objectives of the attend- both dealerships. Try getting CRM for that the type of lead provider, such as, “AutobyTel.”
ees was to find a good ILM, DRM, ERP and price! But what if he needs CRM too for data You can then track them like any other lead to
CRM software. mining his service customers? Will he end up obtain closing ratios, gross profit by provider,
For many of us “old timers” out there – some with another database to maintain and another appointment tracking, etc.
of these acronyms puzzle us. ILM stands for monthly payment? If you want more DRM features like auto-
Internet Lead Management software. DRM According to one of my roundtable partici- matic responses, price quotes, instant notifi-
is Digital Response Management, and ERP pants, Corbin Wade, the e-commerce director cations, respond time analysis – then you’ll
(Enterprise Resource Planning) is another for Wade Auto Centers, “Less is more when need more than what most CRM or DMS
name for a DMS. it comes to software programs. The less you providers have.
Some of the providers of combined CRM/ have to manage and keep updated the more After looking at SmartQuotes from one of
ILM software exhibiting at the conference were time you have to focus on your main goal — the exhibitors, Responselogix, I had to wonder
AVV Web Control, Izmocars, AutoRaptor, selling cars.” But he added, “CRM tools are if you’d still need an Internet department, but
CAR-Research XRM, DealerUps, and iMagi- a must in our group. They offer a way for us they feel you can reduce Internet sales manager
cLab. Most feel that they are not only ILM as dealers to manage, retain, interact, and win turnover by freeing time for more sales calls.
providers but also a CRM solution for dealers. customers every day.” With SmartQuotes, you set up how you want
So the question I asked my dealer friend Autobase claims to be a “true CRM” prod- to send a quote to a customer and it does it
Tommy (who was shopping for an ILM,) uct. Steve Lausch, the marketing manager at all for you — 24/7. They work with about 30
“What is the difference between CRM and Autobase says, “Rather than simply having a CRM companies and two members of my
ILM?” He gave me a simple explanation (thank CRM component to manage its leads, a true roundtable use it – mostly because of how
you, Tommy,) “ILM is normally missing ser- ILM functions as part of the dealer’s overall great the follow-up works.
vice department information like last service CRM strategy. It naturally lives within and If you’re like my roundtable members and
date and future service appointments.” I found flows from a strong CRM solution, delivering trying to define CRM, ILM, and DRM – then
the many benefits of a single marketing data- maybe it is time to make a wish list and then
base for every customer who has ever touched the next time you’re shopping, see if one of
the dealership. We’ve seen it too many times: the great exhibitors at the 9th Digital Dealer
CRM can’t be successfully tacked onto ILM.” Conference in Las Vegas October 12-14 can
Stan Thomas of DealerUps expanded on provide most everything on your list.
Advertiser ............................. pg # this, saying, “ILM is a tool of just one depart-
ActivEngage ..............................23 ment that handles internet leads whereas CRM Sandi Jerome is a former controller, CFO, system
encompasses a whole multitude of dealership administrator, F&I, assistant GM, and fixed
departments and processes, from Internet, operations manager with over 20 years experience
AutoUSA....................................24 sales floor, phone ups, BDC/CRC, F&I, and in the automotive industry. She is the owner of
BZ Results ....................................3 Service. CRM takes all singular departments, Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting.
like ILM and brings them together as a group.
Car Research .............................19
CRM has the ability to cross reference the cus- If you wish to discuss this article with
Dealer.com ..................................5 tomers or clients from department to depart- other dealers, or with the author, please
DealerPeak (Widestorm) .........13 ment and store all data in one location.” go to the “Discussion Forums” at www.
The answer to the question of whether or Dealer-communications.com and enter
not your CRM can also be your ILM is to the “Technology” forum or e-mail her at
IMN Loyalty Driver ...................15 define ILM for your dealership. If you’re look- sjerome@Dealer-communications.com.
NADA Used Car Guide ...............7 ing for CRM of your leads, then most CRM
DD 20 June 2010 DigitalDealer-magazine.com
An e-Marketing Update
t’s hard to believe that virtually no one referral web sites, search engine optimization, update vehicle specials without going through
understood the concept of e-marketing search engine marketing, e-mail and text mar- the web site company.
just 15 years ago. In 2010 the digital keting, social marketing such as Facebook, • Robust SEO that will be built into the
transformation of every aspect of advertising, MySpace and Twitter. Another developing website to insure the highest possible level of
marketing and communication is mind-bog- sub-category is mobile-marketing. The lion’s recall in consumer searches.
gling. I asked CBC’s e-marketing expert Greg share of dealer digital spends is apportioned • The ease in navigation. Less is definitely
Johnson for a current overview of ‘advertising to web site development and SEO, but of more when it comes to navigation by e-chal-
in the e-lane’ and for his thoughts on the course it varies greatly depending on the lenged consumers. You want to make your
future growth of digital marketing. geographic location and size of the market. site easy enough for a beginner to access basic
Dealer magazine: Greg, what percentage of Dealer magazine: I know it’s hard to
total advertising budget are most dealers believe, but there are still quite a few deal- Dealer magazine: What are some of the
spending on e-marketing this year? ers out there who have not gotten aboard basic elements every web site should have?
There are some dealers in smaller markets the e-train. Where do you jump on? What I call basic ‘phonebook’ info. You
spending very little on e-media, but I would My first recommendation would be to should consider incorporating your address
say most of the dealers we work with are get a good understanding of the investment and phone number with your logo so people
spending anywhere from 20% to 30% of necessary, the potential benefits and the don’t have to click on drop-down boxes just
their total budget on e-related advertising. importance of merging e-efforts with tra- to get basic contact info. Remember, many
ditional advertising. I know Dealer/Digital people are using searches on the Internet
Dealer magazine: That’s more than double Dealer magazine puts on the Digital Dealer in place of traditional phonebooks. Make
of what was being spent just five years ago. Conference twice a year. It’s a great forum for it easy.
The growth has been exponential, and attending workshops and meeting up with If you’re featuring vehicle specials, you
we see it continuing to take a larger share of some of the top consultants and experts in should have at least a thumbnail picture
budgets in the coming decade. Dealers might the Internet world, specifically engaged in of the vehicle (with click to enlarge and
be spending as much as 40-50% of their the automobile business. details) along with either a price offer or an
budgets by the end of this decade. Now keep invitation to get an instant price quote or
in mind that I’m including total e-spends Dealer magazine: Assuming a dealer is Internet quote.
including web site development, mainte- considering changing web site companies,
nance, e-mail marketing, SEO, SEM, and what tips would you pass along? Dealer magazine: What does it cost to get
social networking. Greg: First of all, make sure you go with a a well-designed web site these days?
web site development company who special- Most of the automotive web site compa-
Dealer magazine: Where did this budget izes in the automobile business. There are nies have moved away from charging large
come from? a number of great companies out there. A development fees up-front in favor of amor-
Most of the spend has come directly from general web site developer will not have the tizing costs over a longer contract. Typically,
print. Prior to 1975, almost 60% of dealer ad tools and experience necessary to compete you can pay anywhere from $1,000 a month
budgets went to print. In the ‘80s, through in the current state-of-the-art automotive to $5,000 a month, depending on the com-
the mid-nineties, almost half of the print Internet field. plexity, which includes a reasonable amount
budgets slid into broadcast. Then, begin- I would talk with at least three different of maintenance.
ning in the late ‘90s, dealers gradually shift companies before making a decision. Ask Most web site companies also offer SEM
dollars from other categories into digital. dealer friends for their opinions including programs, which can often be packaged with
Today, digital marketing has replaced most those in your 20 group. Some of the things the site fees. Of course that is an entirely dif-
of traditional print such as newspaper ads, you want to discuss are: ferent category of expense based on market
yellow pages and the like. • How your web site will merge with your size, keywords and bidding aggressiveness
existing computer system, so that consumer for those words.
Dealer magazine: Where is the e-money searches will bring up pages of inventory on
being spent? your site, as opposed to a third party site. Dealer magazine: What about web site
There are six basic sub-categories: web • Easy-to-use self-administration areas videos?
site development and maintenance, digital on your web site that will allow authorized
advertising such as banner ads and third-party personnel at the dealership to upload and continued to P-22
DigitalDealer-magazine.com June 2010 DD 21