6 Tools to Improve Your Dealership’s Digital Presence

Having the right tools can make even the toughest job seem easy. There are countless apps for your laptop, tablet and smart phone. Here is a short list of tools that will improve your dealership’s digital presence.

Analytics tools

Google Analytics – If you have any desire to improve your search engine optimization or marketing efforts, Google Analytics is a must have. Some of the key features include custom dashboards, the ability to track individual campaigns and segment your customer base. Even if you don’t plan on using all of the available features, you can use it to see what people are searching for on your site and offer them more of the content that they are most attracted to.

Hootsuite – Dial in your social media strategy by tracking metrics for all of your platforms. See what posts are stirring up the most conversation and identify content to avoid going forward. Hootsuite also connects with Google Analytics offering an additional layer of insight.

Media tools

iMovie / PowerDirector – Intro and walk-around videos can really capture your customers attention and help get the conversation started. Both iMovie (Apple) and PowerDirector (Apple &Android) offer impressive editing capabilities that will have you producing videos in mere minutes.

Organizational tools

Evernote / OneNote – Ever get the urge to capture a really great idea? Both apps allows you to make notes, lists and much more. The really great part is the ability to sync all of your devices so that the great idea you had in the grocery store will show up on your laptop or tablet when you get home.

Content tools

Feedly – Follow several blogs? Feedly lets you search for and create categorized lists of your favourite blogs and websites. All new content will automatically be at your fingertips, no searching required.

Overcast – Looking for new ideas and insights beyond your favourite blogs? Podcasts could be that source you are missing. Tap in to thousands of regularly released podcasts on a huge array of topics and industries.

This list is by no means exhaustive and is really intended as a thought starter. Try these tools and take the opportunity to search for others. You may be surprised with how the right suite of tools can boost your performance and make life easier.

Building Trust Through Social Media

So you’ve built up substantial following on Facebook and other social media platforms. Now it’s time to earn their trust by providing them with the right kind of content.

Here are some tips to boost the trust factor of your dealership’s social media presence.

Share – Come across an interesting or useful article? Share it. How about maintenance tips and simple How-To’s? Sharing these items will show your customers that you are in it for more than the sale.

Be a part of the discussion – Find interesting ways of engaging people and always be looking for opportunities to join in on an existing conversation. An easy way to start a conversation is to tap into someone else’s content and add your own commentary or perspective.

Balance self-promotion – It’s perfectly fine to promote your products and services on social media. People expect it. Just make sure that you are striking a balance between promotional and non-promotional posts or content. When you do end up promoting something, people will be a lot more receptive.

Take ownership – We all get negative feedback from time to time. Taking ownership of the situation is a great way to show others that you are easy to do business with. This will give onlookers peace of mind.

Be quick – This is especially important if your customer asks a question or makes a comment that warrants a response. Jump in as quickly as possible and respond. Even if the situation isn’t a quick fix, get the ball rolling and show others that you are attentive. Remember, it’s OK to take the issue offline after you have publicly taken ownership of the underlined feedback.

Share your fun side – Most dealerships have a quirky fun side to them, yours included. Find a creative way to share this side of your business with people on social media. It will add a human aspect to your business and add a refreshing spin to your online presence.

Explore this topic further by checking out this article “How to Use Social Media to Build Brand Trust” (Convinceandconvert.com)

The Value of a Quality Email Response

A quality email response is twice as likely to result in a sale as a poorly crafted response. Pretty shocking right? Or is it? The average automotive customer spends hours online comparing makes/models, reading reviews and watching videos. All of this is presented to them in a polished and instant format. When a consumer fills out an online form and submits it to a dealership, there is an unspoken expectation that has already been established. The key to maintaining that expectation is to reply with a quality email response.

Ingredients of a quality response

Crafting a quality response doesn’t mean creating a template and using it over and over again. It’s more important to focus on including the key elements below, but in a way that allows for your own unique spin to shine through.

Timeliness – The faster you can get back to your customer, the better. Aim 15 minutes or less for best results.

Strong introduction – Your introduction should be simple but include enough information that the customers knows why you are contacting them. This means including their vehicle of interest and thanking them for sending the inquiry.

Vehicle value proposition – People often become attached to certain attributes of the vehicle that they like. Build upon this by highlighting some of those attributes. For example, fuel economy, towing capacity, performance attributes, cargo, etc.

The price – This is one of the main reasons a customer will submit a lead in the first place. Avoid disappointing them by making sure to include some form of price or price range. Not including one may cross you completely off their list.

Question – A well thought out question is a great way to show that you care and it also encourages a response.

Dealer value proposition – A short line or two on what makes you different from the store down the road will add value to your response. This goes back to your unique spin and leaves the customer with a positive impression.

Signature – Make sure you include all of the information necessary for a customer to easily contact you or find your dealership.

Subject line – Your subject line should be simple and include information that will catch their attention such as the vehicle model and the name of your dealership.

Video – If you really want to impress your customer, consider an introduction or walk around video.

Lead submission forms are a bridge to purchase. They’re also often the first interaction that a customer will have with your dealership. Try including these response elements to improve your engagement ratio and overall close rate. To keep things fresh, remember to change up your wording regularly and be creative. But remember – always check spelling and grammar before sending.

For more information on quality email responses and the scientific methodology behind them, check out our free white paper.

Reduce Pain Points to Improve Customer Experience

We all love a great customer experience.  It’s why we choose to repeat some purchases and not others and it’s why we pick one business over another. When it comes to your dealership, customers have plenty of options which means they need a little more attention. How can you improve customer experience at your dealership? Start by looking at the pain points that exist in the everyday interactions you have with them. Here are some tips to get you started:

Audit Your Existing Customer Experience

Establish a baseline by diving into the customer feedback that you have available to you to uncover potential pain points. Here are some suggestions:

Surveys – Pick a timeframe (the last 3 to 4 months is a good starting point) and collect as many responses as possible. Not surveying your customers?  Get started!

Chat logs – Customers are increasingly using chat to interact with dealerships and the logs that you save can hold a gold mine of information.

Observation – Old fashioned observation is one of your best sources of information. The next time you interact with a customer, pay close attention to their body language, tone and what they are saying. Your customers are constantly giving you feedback, even when they’re not talking.

Social media – Pay attention to the conversations on social media. If you don’t have enough of a presence, try checking out other dealerships. Their pain points could be similar to yours.

Reviews – Look closely at what people are saying about your dealership in your reviews.

Ask questions – There’s nothing wrong with asking your customers how you could have improved their experience. If anything it will enhance your relationship with them.

Identify Pain Points

The next and probably biggest step you can make towards correcting pain points, is to identify them. If you did a good job gathering feedback in the previous step, the pain points shouldn’t be hard to identify.

Make a list – Document anything that may look like an opportunity for improvement (a bullet list is fine).

Categorize – Make categories that make sense to you. For example, where the pain points exist in the purchase process, online vs. offline, pre-sale vs. post-sale.

Prioritize – Ranking your pain points by priority will give you a good idea of where to focus your limited resources. Your priority may be determined by number of occurrences or by impact to your bottom line.

Eliminate Pain Points

Eliminating pain points doesn’t have to be complicated. Some are easy fixes, like updating an out of date phone number on your website, while others may require a little more effort. Remember – put yourself in the shoes of your customer as much as possible and take advantage of the feedback and advice of your co-workers.

Improving customer experience is journey rather than a project with a start and a finish. In fact, what may be a great customer experience today can easily become outdated and cumbersome with time. Keep the discussion going in your dealership and you will be on the path to a great customer experience!

Making Sense of People Based Marketing

Love sticky ideas? Here’s one for you. What if marketing became a lot less about impressions, clicks and cookies and more about observing real people doing what they do. That’s what People Based Marketing is all about. Well, sort of.

The Basics on People Based Marketing

The idea came about as a result of a natural shift in consumer behavior. People used to carry out most of their online activity on their laptop or desktop which made it fairly easy for marketers to track their activity via cookies. Fast forward several years we see a strong shift towards mobile, but not just mobile. In reality consumers are using their phones, apps, tablets, laptops and offline means to complete a transaction. In the context of your dealership, this could mean watching a video on mobile, reading reviews on a tablet, submitting a lead on a laptop and then walking into your dealership to buy the vehicle. What does this mean for marketers? It means that techniques like tracking cookies to show you the customers purchase path just became a lot less effective. It also means new opportunities for you.

Getting Started

Executing People Based Marketing requires a shift in mindset. It’s about being where your customers are so that you can observe how they do things (both online and offline). The end result should be the ability to offer a personalized experience that benefits both you and your customers. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Create groupings of customers. The exercise of identifying these groupings will help you think about your customers as unique individuals with unique needs and wants. Here are some potential groupings:

  • Return customers vs new customers
  • High value purchasers vs low value purchasers
  • Interacted with you online vs those that didn’t
  • Purchased a truck vs purchases a car
  • Geographic location (even neighbourhood)
  • Purchases every 3 years vs 8 years


Start collecting as much information and data as possible. Use sources such as Facebook, your CRM/ Lead Management Tool and your DMS. Also take advantage of the opportunity to observe your customers while they are in your dealership. See how they interact with the various departments and people within your dealership.  The information that you gather in this stage can be tied back to the groupings that you establish


People respond to messaging that resonates with them. By delivering a personalized experience to your customers (and potential customers) you are really telling them that you understand them and people really like to be understood. The extent to which you customize your messaging and experience is up to you. Have fun with it and try different approaches.


Remember that customers are interacting with your dealership in many different ways, both online and offline. Pay close attention to potential transition points where a person may switch from one device to another or even online to offline. For example, if someone sends you an inquiry online, don’t automatically pick up the phone and call them.  Communicate with them via their preferred method and don’t forget to think about ways to improve their experience by tailoring it to them.

As you can see, People Based Marketing is more of a philosophy than a hard and fast set of rules. Get creative and give it a try!

A New Spin on Lead Handling – Qualifying Your Leads

You’ve probably noticed that some of your internet leads quickly turn into a sale, while others simply don’t reply. One reason for this has to do with where your prospective customers are in the buying cycle. Some customers are ready to buy now, while others are still gathering information. You can improve the effectiveness of your lead handling strategy by asking some qualifying questions. Shedding light on where the customer is in the buying cycle will allow you to tailor your communications and get them through the door when the time is right.

Get more ideas on qualifying your leads in this insightful article https://blog.kissmetrics.com/biggest-customer-acquisition-mistake/ (Kiss Metrics)

5 Questions to Ask at Your Next Sales Meeting

“The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer”

(Thomas J. Watson)

The digital environment that you work in is a complex one. There’s plenty of moving parts and even more metrics to measure those moving parts. It’s easy to get swept away in the numbers and miss out on getting a clear picture of how your dealership is performing. Here’s some questions to help you break through the clutter and get your finger back on the pulse.

Where Are Our Leads Coming From?

Are they coming from your website? Google ads? Third party websites? Tracking where your leads come from gives you an understanding of where your customers are spending their time and gives you an idea of where to focus more effort and marketing dollars. Don’t have a strategy yet? No problem. Start tracking now and develop a plan as you start seeing insights from your data.

Where Are Our Calls Coming From?

Just like with leads, you probably know how many calls you received today or this week but not necessarily WHERE they came from. By tracking your call sources you can start channeling your resources to those ads, websites and campaigns that are generating the most calls for you. For an added layer of insight, think about recording your calls. You can learn a lot about your customer’s habits, wants and needs by listening to them.

What Are Our Conversion Rates?

When you think of conversion, don’t just think about sales. A great start would be to track the prospect to lead conversion rate. To do this you can look at the number of visitors to your website and then gauge how many of them fill out one of your forms. From there you can track form entries (lead submissions) to sales. You can track additional conversions once you have the basics down.

How Are Our Campaigns Performing?

Are you currently running a campaign (or several) at your dealership? If you answered yes, you need to know how they are performing. A good first step is to set a basic goal for the campaign – positive return on investment. Track how much money (time is also money) was spent on the campaign and then determine how much money was brought in. If you spent more than you made, it’s time to ditch that campaign.

What experiments are we trying?

The lifeblood of any successful business is innovation. In the digital environment this is doubly important. Make sure to experiment on a regular basis and then track the progress. An experiment could be a new campaign idea, a new product/service, or maybe a new process. You will never discover the next big idea if you don’t try new things.

Now that you have some ideas on questions to ask, make sure that you give your team adequate time to provide this information and make sure that it’s provided to you on a regular basis. Giving one or more team members ownership of the data is a good way to promote accountability.