How to Optimize the Forms on Your Website

You likely spend a lot of time, effort and money driving people to your dealership’s website in the effort to convert them from browsers to customers. Engagement however, often starts with them filling out a form which for many potential customers, is annoying and cumbersome.  Our advice – make sure that the forms on your website are optimized for lead generation.

Make them attractive

Try changing the colour of your forms. Use blue, green and orange to inspire trust or to motivate. Also focus on positioning your forms where they will be seen. Don’t hide them in the corner but place them where they are easily seen.

Form fields

More is less. How often have you opened a form only to close it because there were just too many fields to fill out?  Your customers will react no differently.  Try to collect only the information that you absolutely need. For example, if you want to sign people up for a newsletter, you really only need their email.  For longer forms like credit apps, you will need to use more fields, but still, only ask for what you really need to process the app.

Conditional logic

Using this neat feature in your forms will allow customers to skip out on questions that are not relevant to them. For example, if someone answers “no” to a given question on the form, other non-relevant fields will automatically disappear.  This feature is great for surveys as well.

Abandoned forms

The reality is some forms get abandoned. Always make sure to review these partially submitted forms to gain insight into what stage the form is typically being abandoned. You might discover that one of your fields is creating a roadblock to completion so it’s best to review and revise.

AB Testing

Try making at least two versions of the same form and then compare the submissions that each one generates. One will generally reap better results, so keep that one from that pair and repeat this process again when you want to improve further.  A B testing is common practice when you want to see which of two possible options will procure better results.

Forms can be a pain, but they don’t have to be. Follow these simple guidelines and you will be well on your way to turning your forms into serious lead generating machines!

For more on this topic, check out “Six Building Blocks of a High-Converting Lead Generation Form” by Ashley Walsh – MarketingProfs

How to Create an Online Giveaway

Let’s face it, we all love free stuff. That’s why online giveaways work.  Besides stirring up excitement, online giveaways are a great opportunity for your dealership to increase traffic, boost social media engagement and pull in more revenue.

Here’s the catch. They need to be planned and executed properly to be successful. Follow the rules below and you will be well on your way to reaping the rewards of a successful online giveaway.

Define your goal

Before getting started you need to determine what your goal is. This will help lay the groundwork for other parts of your strategy.  Here are some common goals:

  • Gain new email subscribers to your newsletter or email marketing list
  • Increase social media engagement
  • More social media followers

Choose a prize

Try to choose a prize that is relevant to your dealership. This is important because you want to ensure that the leads you are collecting are qualified. For example an outdoor equipment store would get the best results from giving away camping gear or something related.

Make the prize match the entry

Try to make the entry requirements match the prize that you are giving away. For example, if you are giving away a free oil change, don’t ask participants to fill out long forms or submit photos. On the other hand, you can ask more from a person who is entering a giveaway for a vehicle.

Consider bundling prizes

People tend to be attracted to prizes that include multiple items. Consider doing this especially when the overall value of the prize is of “lower value”.

Consider offering multiple prizes

People know that the odds of winning the grand prize are pretty low. To avoid having people skip out on your contest, try offering multiple smaller prizes in addition to the main prize.

Contest duration

According to research conducted by, the ideal duration for your contest is either 25 or 60 days. 25 days is an excellent starting point to ensure people stay engaged and to maximize the number of entries you receive.

Create a landing page

Make sure your contest landing page is eye catching and informative.  Use enticing images and clearly define the prize(s) and rules of the contest.

Collect the right information

Make sure you are asking for information that will help you transition entrants into your sales funnel. If you don’t have enough information you won’t be able to effectively communicate with them later. Also don’t ask for information that you won’t realistically use later.

Make a big announcement

When announcing the winner(s) be sure to gain brand exposure by taking photos with the winner(s) and posting on social media. This will also serve to show non winners that your contest was legitimate and increase the chances of them entering the next one.

Choose a platform

There are platforms out there that make running your giveaway a lot easier. Two options are Gleam and Rafflecopter.

Now that you are armed with some solid online giveaway guidelines, try creating your own contest. You might be surprised by how effective a giveaway can be at generating the results that you want.

For the full details on this topic please see “How to Do an Online Giveaway That Doesn’t Suck” by Neil Patel – QUICKSPROUT

The Missing Ingredient in Your Emails

Have you ever read an email or a newsletter that really captured your attention? One that made you want to keep reading and even take action? Chances are you experienced an emotional trigger.  If you add this missing ingredient to your emails, newsletters and campaigns, you too could capture your customer’s attention in the same way.

Emotional Triggers

The right trigger to use depends on the goal – driving website traffic, promoting a sale, brand awareness, etc. Try to pick the trigger most appropriate for the situation.  For example, guilt could be triggered in an email campaign designed to entice a reader to finally get that nagging repair fixed.

  1. Belonging: Make the reader feel like a part of something bigger than themselves.
  2. Hope: Create a sense of expectation.
  3. Guilt: Help the reader understand that they have the opportunity to make something right.
  4. Vanity: Flatter the reader with praise over their intelligence or smart decision making.
  5. Fear: Inform the reader of what they are in danger of if they don’t take action.
  6. Lust: Tug the heartstrings of the reader by waving a carrot of desire in front of them.
  7. Greed: Appeal to the reader’s want for wealth or power.

Structuring Your Message

For the emotional trigger to be effective, your message should be structured in a way that it includes these other elements:

Personalized details: Help make the communication more conversational and use their name if you can.

Real world problem: Present a solvable problem.

Emotional trigger: Pick the best option from above.

Solution: Present the solution to the problem.

Call to action: Encourage the reader to take action. For example “Click here to learn more”.

Subject line: Make it engaging and relevant to the topic of the email.

Perfecting the use of this strategy requires a little practice. Try different approaches/triggers and take note of what works best in each situation.

For more on this topic see “7 Emotional Triggers to Hook Your Subscribers” Janice Kersh –

5 fundamentals for video success

More dealerships than ever are using video as a tool in their dealership. However, just like with any other tool, know-how is required to achieve results. Done properly, video is an amazingly effective sales tool and the ideal way to deliver a highly targeted and personalized message. Regardless of your dealerships level of experience, here are 5 fundamentals to consider before making your next video.


It’s pretty easy to get carried away when creating a video. For this reason it’s best to keep it simple. Hone in on a single objective or purpose for the video and stick with it.  Here are some video types to consider:

Awareness – promoting your dealership as a brand

Engagement – first touch point with an internet lead

Retention – a potential alternative to the classic courtesy call

Product – vehicle demonstrations

Support – service tips or tricky tech features explained


Establish who your intended audience is. Doing so will help you shape the content and messaging so that it speaks to that audience. For example, if you are creating an engagement video, keep it short and personalized. Think under a minute. A product demonstration, on the other hand can be longer. The audience for this video is expecting you to cover details and demonstrate some of the features, all of which takes time. Regardless of the video type, always keep the content on point and as engaging as possible.

Production quality

Try to match the production value to the video type. If you are shooting a short customer engagement video, any modern phone will be more than adequate. Consider boosting the production quality for awareness videos, longer videos and any video that has high replay value. This may mean investing in equipment or hiring outside help.


After creating your video, the next step is to decide where you want it to be viewed and by who. Consider the video type, audience, production quality and length. A 4 minute product demonstration video would be well suited for YouTube but not necessarily Twitter where the audience is accustomed to short sound bites.


A key aspect to any video content strategy is measurement. Tracking your metrics will allow you to make changes to your strategy and tailor the content to your audience’s preferences.  Here are some metrics to keep an eye on:

Impressions – the number of opportunities a person has had to view your video

Views – the number of times the video has been watched

Play rate – a measure of how enticing the video is (views divided by impressions)

Engagement rate - provides insight into how much of the video is being watched

What are you waiting for? Get out there and make some videos!

For further details on this topic and more, see Five Questions to Answer When Creating A Video Campaign by Chris Bondhus –

Technology vs Process

If technology and process went head-to-head in a battle which one would win? Would it be technology because of its ability to increase your efficiency and capability? Or would it be process because of its adaptability and repeatability? If you answered neither, you would be right. In fact, technology and process have to work together for either one of them to be effective.

Technology or process first?

In most cases it’s a good idea to implement your process first. Process defines what needs to be done, how it will be done and who will do it. For example, most dealerships have (or should have) a lead handling process that defines how a lead will be handled, from start to sale. It’s this process that defines the requirements of your technology.

Tips for getting the most out of process

Align with your goals: Make sure that your process is set up to achieve a specific goal. For example, your lead handling process is in place to turn leads into sales.

Keep it simple: In the end, a simple process is always easier to execute and leaves less chance of error. Remember, if you abandon the process you risk abandoning the sale.

Document it: A process that lives in your head will be lost if you ever leave the dealership. A key part of creating and implementing a process is documenting it so that it can be reviewed, passed on and revised.

Tips for getting the most out of technology

Align with your process: Look to your process to determine what kind of features or functions you need from your technology

Do your homework: Ask a lot of questions when shopping for your technology. Most importantly ask your potential vendor if their technology can carry out your process.

Avoid overbuying: Some product demos will leave you dazzled with advanced features and functions that you will supposedly “grow into”. Buy what you need today to avoid carrying the added cost of unused features.

Start 2017 the right way by making sure your processes and technology are aligned and ready to achieve your goals.

Need some guidance on honing in or creating a process? We can help.

For more information call us at 855-984-3360

Or email

Why People Love Brands

What makes someone LOVE a brand? And more importantly, how do you become a brand that someone LOVEs? This question was the focus of a recent study conducted by Accenture Interactive. This wide sweeping study was conducted over 18 months and involved over 27,000 participants living in the US, UK and Brazil.

Participants were surveyed on four industries which included Retail, Hospitality, Automotive and Banking. The results of the study revealed five key dimensions that best characterize a customer’s feelings towards a brand. Together these dimensions make up the “Love Index Score”.

5 dimensions of the “Love Index Score”

Fun – holds people’s attention in an entertaining way

Relevant – provides clear and customized information

Engaging – identifies with individual needs and wants

Social – Connects people with each other

Helpful – is efficient, easy, and adapts over time

Dimensions for Automotive

Although there are 5 dimensions, the study revealed that some dimensions were more relevant to customers depending on the industry. These are the dimensions that customers favoured the most within the automotive industry:

Relevant – keep your website and other online content up to date and easy to understand. Provide options to allow your customer to communicate or buy from you how they want

Engaging – be prepared to do business online and beyond traditional business hours

Helpful – make buying and servicing a car easy. This means looking into individual processes within the dealership to constantly improve the ease of the customer experience


Just because certain dimensions are most relevant to an industry today, doesn’t mean that they will be tomorrow. Disruptors in any given industry usually come in and add a new dimension that changes the rules of the game. Look at Netflix as an example. They completely changed their industry. How did they do it? They gave customers an experience that is fun, engaging and helpful. Something that really wasn’t there previously and it’s what now sets them apart.

Is it possible that getting ahead of the competition is less about doing something better and more about doing something that isn’t being done at all? Wise words by General George S. Patton “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking”.

Check out the full details of this fascinating study by Accenture Interactive:

Why Customer Obsessed Dealerships Will Succeed

We have entered the Age of the Customer. It may sound like another catchy phrase coined by business pundits, and it might be, but there are some really important takeaways to be had. Up until recently organizations, government institutions and businesses held most of the power in the form of information. This is no longer the case. Consumers now have access to as much information as they care to have and it’s all right at their fingertips; Product specs, prices, availability, reviews, etc. – it’s there for the taking. Being successful in this environment means coming to terms with our new reality and adapting to a new model that is “customer obsessed”.

The ingredients of a customer obsessed business

  1. Structure – The business needs to be structured in way that allows emphasis and focus to be placed on your customer. This could mean creating a new customer focused role within the business or shifting the focus of an existing role towards the customer.
  2. Culture – This is the starting point. Before any business can be customer obsessed, the concept needs to be woven into the fabric of the company. It needs to start at the top and trickle down through the entire organization.
  3. Talent – The easiest way to create the culture you want is by hiring people that are already people focused. Look at new ways to hire new talent and make sure you really identify the skill set your organization is looking for.
  4. Metrics – As the saying goes, “you can’t change what you don’t measure”. The metrics that you use should focus on all parts of the customer journey. This includes research, online requests for information, chat logs, etc.
  5. Process – All of the processes within your business need to be simplified to ensure they improve the customer experience.
  6. Technology – This means ensuring that business technology is in place. Business technology is focused on winning new customers and maintaining relationships with existing ones.

Ready to transform your dealership to customer obsessed organization? Learn more on this topic by checking out this very informative article by Katrina Read –

Digital Analytics for Non-Techies

The topic of digital analytics used to fall in the category of “nice to know”. That’s no longer the case. Today virtually everyone can benefit from even a basic understanding of how digital analytics work and how they can work for you.

At its core, analytics is really just the discovery of useful patterns and insights. What does that mean? Digital analytics give you the ability to see and understand how customers interact with your dealership online. With these insights, you can make changes to the customer experience and more importantly, track the impact of those changes. The end result is a better customer experience and more sales.

Let’s start with some of the basics.

The Data

Quantitative data (the what): number of visitors to your website, number of leads generated, number of cars sold.

Qualitative (the why): why they visited your site, why they filled out the form, why they purchased a vehicle from you. This data is collected via feedback forms, surveys and reviews.


This basically means splitting your large pile of data into smaller groupings, or “segments”.

  • By channel (email, website, paid, search, social, etc.)
  • By device (laptop, tablet, phone)
  • By geography (town, city, province/state)
  • By customer (new vs existing)


Macro (your main objective): number of vehicles sold, number of repair orders filed

Micro: number of lead forms submitted, number of live chats completed. These micro conversions play a big role in driving macro conversions and where you should focus your efforts.

Attribution “giving credit”

If you ever see the term “last interaction attribution”, it means that all credit for the conversion (sale) is “attributed” to the last click that the customer made. There are a number of models that can be used to assign credit. The benefit of attribution is the ability to determine the factors that influenced the sale and their potential cost. Using a model like “linear attribution” will allow you to understand and give credit to all stops along the purchase journey (I.e. paid search, social networks, email, and direct channels—would share equal credit (25% each) for the sale).

Building your plan

Here are some of the basics that should be included when you start building your plan. It’s important to start simple– a crawl, walk, run mentality really helps here.

Objective: sell more cars, service more vehicles. These are your macro conversions from earlier.

Strategies and tactics: How you plan to reach your objective. This could entail using vehicle detail pages, lead forms, content, promotions, etc.

Key performance indicators (KPIs): A key performance indicator is something that measures your performance. For your dealership, this could be the number of vehicle detail pages viewed, lead submissions or social media engagements. Your KPIs may change over time as you learn more about your customers and enter new channels.

Segments: Creating segments will allow you to use different strategies for different groupings. For example, you may use “likes” as a KPI for your “social segment” while your “website segment” uses a different set of KPIs.

Context: You need to be able to compare your performance against some form of benchmark. This could mean comparing yourself to similar dealerships in similar markets, measuring performance based on past results, or setting a baseline internally.

Remember that digital analytics is a cycle that includes observing, measuring, revising and measuring again. It’s also part science and part art. At the end of the day analytics are only useful if you make changes, so run experiments and get creative.

I strongly suggest reviewing your Google Analytics regularly. Remember have fun with it – it’s only analytics!

If you’re looking to see what story your analytics tell, our Digital Performance Team can help. Our specialists can analyze your data and provide suggestions on improvements for your dealership. Click here to contact them today.

How to Generate More Sales Leads

Every business wants more sales leads. Your dealership is no exception. While your first instinct might be to go out and buy some third party leads, check out your other options first.

These are the top 4 channels for generating more sales leads:

  1. Email marketing – You likely have access to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of email addresses. Put them to good use by building email campaigns. Try a blend of promotion and content based (see below) material to see what gives you the most traction.
  2. Content marketing – The focus is on providing content that is valuable to your target audience without necessarily asking them to buy. The idea is to slowly expose a potential customer to your brand. Your success with content marketing will hinge of the quality and relevancy of your content.
  3. Social media marketing – Generating leads through social media has a lot to do with building the trust of your subscribers/followers. Check out this blog post for details.
  4. Landing page/website optimization – Make sure you are sending people to the right landing pages, keep the experience consistent and keep your content to the point. Your website should also feature simple forms and clearly marked methods of contacting you.

Entire books have been written on each of these channels. With that being said, identifying where to focus your attention can sometimes be half the battle. If all these channels are truly new to you, pick one to focus on and build up from there.

For more on this topic, including 3 other channels, check out “The Most Effective Digital Lead Generation Channels” – MarketingProfs

How to Connect With Millennials Through Email

Remember that article you read about millennials not buying cars? It turns out that really isn’t the case. Millennials, who are defined as those born between 1980 and 1995, purchased 4 million cars in 2015 according to JD Power (U.S). In fact they were second only to the boomers in number of new cars purchased. Let’s face it, millennials are here to stay and will soon be your primary customer. Here are some insights and tips to help you connect with millennials through email.

Do millennials even use email?

Yes! According to Adobe, millennials spend an average of 6 hours per day checking email. Here’s the catch. Their attention span is short, they want control over what they receive and they demand value.

Capture their attention

Start with your subject line. Make sure it’s between three and seven words and offers insight to the content of the email. Emojis can also be used in the subject line strategically. Only use them if you feel like your recipient will appreciate them and if it fits your overall culture and brand.

Keep it short

Keep your messaging short and punchy. Make a bullet list of the main points you want to make before crafting the email. Use headings and sub headings to allow your reader to skim. They will dive into the content that captures their attention the most. Remember, most of your emails will be read on a phone and will require scrolling.

Give them control

The best way to gain the loyalty of a millennial is to give them control. This means letting them chose the type of content they want to receive. Use opt-ins and opt-outs to allow them to specify their preferences. Ask what they would like to see more of or what they are interested in learning about.

Offer value

Millennials love absorbing information. They will even read a slightly longer email if they feel they are gaining value from it. To do this, focus on the section above. Offer value by focusing on preferences and feedback. Also pay attention to your open rate, CTR (click through rate) and who is biting on your call to action. Offer more of what works and ditch the other stuff.

For more information and ideas on this topic check out this article by Marketing Land “How to make your email marketing engaging to millennials