What We Learned From 2017 – Surprising Online Trends

Success in online marketing depends not only on your ability to keep up with the latest trends and news but to also look back and review what has worked in the past to predict future success. Each year it’s important to take some time to reflect on some of the most  surprising trends and think how you can expand an element of them into a longer term strategy.

So what were the most surprising online marketing trends of 2017?

Brands used memes to communicate with their audiences

Brands using memes were a response to how people use social media with their friends and in their personal lives. Using memes took the focus away from being so serious and instead toward being more relatable. Even big brands started using reaction images and gifs. Imagine how fun it would be introducing a cars new features using these tools!

Multichannel experiences

It’s no longer enough to promote using just one channel. Posting on a company website is a good start but that should be where you’re driving people, not just where you’re posting info. That’s why 2017 saw brands working on pushing their brand everywhere. Although being everywhere is important you must still remember that you must use the right content for the right platform.

Live streaming took off

Brands are capitalizing on the opportunity to give their audience more of a real time experience. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook have done more to emphasize live streaming video options and brands are looking for any opportunity they have to take advantage of them. It’s a new entertaining resource where you can converse and give updates in real time and give responses.

Mobile experiences are now priority

In 2017 marketers saw a boost in the number of brands relying on mobile.  Make your content tailored for mobile when your brainstorming what to create in the first place. Thinking about how your content is being consumed is going to be very important as you try to build your brand over social media or online.

Marketing + Social Media Management

Marketing management is getting bigger and bigger but also easier and easier. Let us explain. There’s so much sharing, posting and platforms it can get overwhelming remembering everything you want to communicate. All of this posting is also in addition to your full time job, who has the time? There’s good news though.

With the demand for marketing and social media there’s a vast resource of apps and companies that specialize in spreading your message across the web. It has become less of a luxury to have someone develop and manage you content, now it’s simply something that is mandatory for success.

How will these trends hold up? Are they long-term additions to marketing, or are they passing fads that will fade? We think these are here to stay and hope to be a part of the next wave of successful marketing ventures in 2018.

Top 4 Customer Retention Mistakes For Dealerships

Make sure you are not making these 4 mistakes or you are missing out on sales. We keep seeing this over and over and hope this helps you avoid losing your customers to another dealership.

Top 4 Customer Retention Mistakes For Dealerships

Trying to market to a large part of your database

Try segmenting your list of customers and appealing to each one in a different way. With so many different customers and cars it just doesn’t make sense contacting customers in the same way.

Holding 1 or 2 sales a year and thinking that’s enough

This is not often enough for sales events. Also it puts too much of an emphasis on sales if you’re not reaching out in any other way. It’s important to reach out to people with something auto related or something happening in the community. It can be anything just as long as you have something other than only sales related news to talk about.

Calling the same customers repeatedly

Sometimes no means no. You might already be on good terms with a customer and they may be already checking back with you regularly to see what’s going on. So don’t spoil that relationship by being a nuisance.

Waiting for the last week of the month to push up sales

The idea has been that when you’re trying to bump up sales you should invite everyone in your database, have balloons everywhere, call all your customers repeatedly and do it all in a short window of time at the end of month.

This way of doing it, how it’s always been done is frankly not necessary. What happens in the in between period? Also, customers are more than savvy than ever before they know about how dealers have end of month coming up and know exactly what you’re trying to do.

Retaining customers that have already purchased or serviced with you should be an on-going marketing retention strategy. Why? because 1% of the customers in your database are back in market every single month. These are low hanging fruit.


Does Anyone Care About The Customer’s Experience Anymore?

Recently I went to the doctor with my kids and had the worst experience ever. Not only did we have to wait a long time with a room full of people but when it was finally our turn we got treated like as if the doctor was doing us some big favor. The service was awful, their attitude was awful and they did not care.

This reminded me of a few weeks ago when I was speaking to someone who recently visited a showroom. He had decided to go somewhere else because the dealership n his words “was a zoo over there”. He said there was so much happening, people were everywhere and it left a bad taste in his mouth.

If you were to interviewed the customers there that day I’m almost certain that there would be many who were disappointed in the lack of service.

Dealerships are very much aware that bad reviews online can hurt their business which directly derives from bad customer service. Why then are so many still conducting events that are not manageable?

The idea that a sales event has to be a zoo tells me you do not understand how your customers experience will directly effect your business. With so much competition out there, the way you treat your customer could be the difference.

The importance of Customer Service:

  • Higher customer referral rates and customer satisfaction
  • Easier customer acquisition
  • Improves customer retention and increases customer satisfaction
  • Reduces customers from buying elsewhere
  • Creates a competitive advantage and differentiation.

James Allen, Frederick F. Reichheld, and Barney Hamilton wrote a piece for the Harvard Business School and looked at what sets the top 8% companies apart from the rest.

They found the leaders in customer experience where doing the following:

a) Designing the right experience-focused value propositions

The companies delivering a outstanding customer experience divide customers into segments and design experience-focused value propositions for each one. They tailor and design customer experiences for different customers.

b) Delivering value to the customer

The best companies deliver these value propositions by focusing the entire company on delivering them. For instance, the marketing team and sales team are in line across the whole customer experience; they know and deliver a consistent value proposition.

c) Developing the capabilities to deliver again and again

The 8% of companies have systems in place to deliver a consistent customer experience over and over again. When you can consistently deliver you will have customers consistently return.

The leaders also know how to keep innovating and improving the experience.

Customer experience strategy must start with knowing what your customer needs and wants.

Getting More Showroom Traffic

If  you have sales promotions going on and you need more showroom traffic, it’s time to get your sales staff  more involved. Here’s a few tips on how to effectively do that.

Tip #1 – Get on the Phone

Calls are a numbers game. You gotta make enough calls to close on appointments. Print a list to call for each salesperson with 15 names per sheet. The goal is to call 2 sheets an hour. If you have 8 sales people you can make 240 calls in one hour. Suggestion; at the beginning of a shift sales staff have to make their calls before they can take any ups. If you need a template, let me know, I’ll send you one.

Tip #2 – How to Book Appointments

What a salesperson says while on the call makes all the difference. Often, salespeople  give way too much information on the phone. We want to limit the reason we are calling and go straight to scheduling a time for them to come in. Don’t ask, give choices.

Script:Hi Bill, it’s James from xyz dealer. The owner asked me to give you a call to see if you still own (vehicle year) (vehicle model). Great! we currently have buyers for your (vehicle model). We’d love to take a look at your vehicle and see if we can get you into a newer model for similar payments ” I’m available on Wednesday at 2pm or Saturday at 11 am what day works best for you?

Tip#3 – Awareness of Promotions

Make sure that anyone answering the calls in the dealership including reception knows of the active Promotions and who to transfer calls to. Just knowing what to expect makes a huge difference. Nothing is worse then a customer calling in and saying about a sale you’re advertising and then having staff have no idea what they’re talking about.


What It Takes To Make It In Sales?

Being in sales is not for everyone, some just seem to have the natural skills to be a top performer while others don’t. While this may be true, there are certain pillars that a professional salesperson needs to always be conscious of. It’s these 3 pillars that are going to give your career in sales it’s longevity.

Believe In Your Product

I’ve sold cars, cosmetics, accessories, shoes and coffee but I never knew or understood that if I wasn’t 100% sold on what I was selling, customers could see it on my face and in the tone of my voice. If you’re going to “sell” and convince someone else that they should invest their money into your product, you better believe in it first.

Help People Get What They Need

I always thought selling was about pushing a product. Turns out people hate that. In the sales world we often hear about “qualifying” a customer. That doesn’t mean sell them on what  you think they need. It means listen and be honest, your product may or may not be suited to their needs. It’s okay if it’s not. Inform your customer, be sincere, answer their questions and you never know how it will impact your business in their decisions in the future.

Build Strong Relationships

No matter the industry you’re in, there are products similar to yours being offered. So what’s going to set you apart as a salesperson? It’s who you are. People will always remember the impression you make when you meet with them and how you make them feel. Build good relationships based on honesty, laughter, empathy and the “selling” part will be a lot easier when a customer trusts in who you are.

What pillars do you live by as a professional salesperson? Let me know in the comments section below.

Why Advice Is The Best Way To Reach Modern Consumers

When we’re deciding on major purchases or a big decision, like which car to buy, of course we consult friends and family. However, it’s also important to tap into the wealth of helpful information available on the internet. The bigger the decision the more research is put into making one.

It’s very important when marketing to understand what consumers are turning to the internet for and how to influence their decisions with your own brand of advice.

There Are No Small Decisions

Of course no one wants to buy a car that’s not right for them, only to find this out after purchase. Consumers also don’t want to visit a new place for lunch just to be disappointing by the food. What we can learn from this example is that no decision is too small to do research on first and giving your opinion on a new SUV is just as important to giving advice on what car chargers work best. Insert yourself into more conversations to grow your overall influence on consumers

Over the past two years, searches for the term “best” grew over 66% on mobile in Canada. People are looking for the best of everything and your valuable advice could sway there decisions.

Make Your Brand An Advisor

Research shows that people are turning to the web and actively searching for advice across categories, even for small stuff. By making your brand easy to discover and understanding when and where people are searching for guidance, you can ensure you’re there with the right advice whenever you’re needed. We as marketers can be allies in the learning process, bringing real information and tips to educate potential customers. It’s about communicating by putting an emphasis on advice, not sales.



Why Video Marketing is Here to Stay

There was a book written by Jonah Berger called Contagious – Why things catch on. In his book he talks about Social Transition, one of the parts of Social Transition is word of mouth, something every business knows can make or break you. Studies show that word of mouth is behind 20% to 50% of our purchasing decisions. It’s no wonder why online ratings are so valued.

So the question becomes, how to spread good word of mouth about your business. Besides having a good product and outstanding service, there is a way to reach thousands of people, through video.

Many industries have been talking about it for years and every year statistics are showing us that it’s not going away. With live streaming and a camera in every cell phone, there is no shortage of methods to produce video.

With everyone producing more and more video it’s important to spend money in this area because with video the best quality and content is going to stand out. You can try to skimp on video but run into problems like, no one being able to hear you because you don’t have a mic, the angle is off and you’re face is too close or way too far and without a plan you are just rambling on.

Video is no longer the future, it’s here now, it’s happening and those that get on board are profiting.

Don’t believe me? Here are recent stats on video:

  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images
  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users
  • 62 % of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that published a poor quality video.
  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more
  • Businesses using video grow company revenue 49% faster year over year than those that don’t

For these reasons there is no question that video is here to stay. Get on board now so you can grow your business using online resources as ASAP.

How To Thrive During Slow Season

Regardless of the business you are in, there is always peak season and slow season throughout the year.

For all of us that go from crazy busy to hearing crickets wondering where did everybody go? I have a few tips on how to get through those months without going bankrupt.

1.     DON’T BLOW ALL YOUR MONEY: It’s easy to spend when the funds are rolling in and you feel like you are on top of the world but WAIT, don’t do it. You need a safety net of at least 6 months to make it through slow months. You know, when relatives die or get sick, you get injured or half your team quits on you. Whatever the case, anything can happen and you need to be prepared.

2.     KEEP MOMENTUM: Before you got your business up and running you worked long days and hustled to make a name for your company. Never stop that momentum. Keep hungry and lead by example. You are the head of the train, if you put the breaks on, the rest of the train comes to a halt. Now I’m not saying don’t delegate work. I’m just saying don’t get lazy and stop trying to move your company forward. Focus particularly on the revenue generating tasks, that’s what needs to always be a priority.

3.     KEEP AN OPEN MIND: As business owners we get bombarded with calls from companies wanting to sell us their product or service. It’s so easy, especially when you are busy and just hang up. Is that really the best thing to do considering how tech is changing how we do business? If you always say no, you’ll always be a late adopter. Don’t let your competitors get in on the action before you. Have an open mind and listen carefully. You never know what you might discover.

4.     BRAND YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS: Branding is not just about a consistent look. Branding is what people think about your company. If you don’t have a strong brand than you are out of sight out of mind. It’s never too late to get started and sometimes you have to slow down to get it together before you can take off again. Take a look into your messaging throughout the year. Is it consistent or all over the place? You may be confusing your market by sending out too many inconsistent messages

5.     TRAIN YOUR TEAM: If you take care of your team, they’ll take care of your customers. Make sure that you are always training your team with new skills and giving them information that is helpful to them. You will feel like you have a team that can do the job but also represent your company the same way you do. Also, the more your team can learn from you, the more they can cross train other colleagues. It’s important your team members have as many skills as possible so you’re not overly dependent on one member for a responsibility. This is a great time to skill up and make training a habit.

6.     KEEP SOCIAL: Customers may not be walking into your store but that doesn’t mean you just wait until things pick up. This is a time to stay relevant using social media. Use Facebook, LinkedIn pages, groups, as well as your own personal accounts to connect with people. Inquire about how you can help people, not just in business but possibly in other initiatives. Any way you can start a conversation is a good idea. This also applies to everyone in the company. Just because someone is not in a sales role doesn’t mean they can’t reach out to someone on social media by sharing, liking something or using comments on social posts from your company.

7. CREATE CONTENT: You’ve heard the saying “content is king” so if you aren’t creating content what does that make you? Look, the internet has billions of people navigating through it daily. You can’t be found without putting out content, lots of content. Further to that there is so much content out there, you want to create content that actually stands out. How do you that? Start with speaking your truth and your experiences. This connects with people on a much higher level. There are so many platforms to get your content out, so use as many as you can.  Here is a tip, write a blog and turn that same content into a video, podcast and make it part of your newsletter as well. That’s how you multiply your reach by taking content and spreading it everywhere.

Just remember, you can’t fail if you never give up. You will be much further ahead of your competitors who stand still waiting for things to come and not using time effectively.

If you need help with any of this, we’re always open to a conversation.

4 Ways Dealerships Can Get Started With Video Marketing

Click the link below to listen to the podcast for this article:

As we all know, today consumers are buying cars in a different way. Prior to the internet, there was a clear exchange between the consumer and sales representatives.  The consumer understood that in order to get the information they required to make a decision on their purchase, they would have to call or go into a store and speak with a salesperson.  That exchange is no longer valid. Why? Because now, it’s all online. All of this new information is there to be consumed.

Statistically, 54% of purchasers don’t fill out a form or call and book an appointment  before they go into a dealership.  They don’t need to anymore. When they are ready, they simply go in with the confidence that somebody will be there to help them.

With that said, where does this leave the salesperson? Like many people in sales you, often find yourself wondering where the customers are, who you can sell to that day, and how can you get around not having to pick up the phone and cold call anyone.

If your sales staff feel this way, I can completely relate, and they are not alone.  That’s why, the very first initiative I put my money towards for my own company was video. What better way to reach the masses with your message then with video. I personally found success in the videos I created and till this day, I continue to use them to prospect my target market.  I want to show you how you can do the same thing.

So what’s the point of all this? I’m sure you will have some members on your team tell you that they’ve been in sales for over 25 years successfully without video or social media. To that I say, you won’t be for the next 25 years if you don’t learn to adapt to the changes in the market place today.  People are getting older and those under 30’s will grow up to be your customers.

Like I’ve been saying, video will add to the consumers experience online while they are in that research phase, and if the information is useful to them, and you provide a strong call to action, it may actually lead them to come and see you. Many sales people have found success by branding themselves this way, including myself.

Let me share with you 4 Tips on what you can do, to get started with video at your dealership.

1. Education – I believe it starts here. If video marketing is new to you then I suggest you align yourself with the right video production company so that you can learn the ropes first. This will get your feet wet, allow you to ask questions, and also go through the process without investing too much time or money into equipment.

2. Train your staff – Now, I’ll warn you that you will probably get some push back here.  Some people simply don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, and that’s okay. There will be some late adopters but you will also have some people who unexpectedly shine in front of the camera.  Work with these select few to pave the way.  Once the others see how much attention they are getting, they might change their mind.

3. Create a dealership culture – You see, even if you were to work with a production company and create the most extraordinary video, it would still be just that… a video.  Even Steven Spielberg has to utilize Social Media, movie theaters and advertising in order to make it successful.  So, if you’re team at the dealership doesn’t get involved by liking, commenting and sharing the video then you have a culture problem, not a video marketing problem.

4Strategy – How do you build a culture around ambiguity? Well, that’s where strategy  comes into play. This is were you have to implement change, and it starts from the top down.  Lead by example.  Get involved, get in front of the camera. After all, you don’t want to ask your team to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself, right? So strategize! What do you want to become known for? What message your are trying to drive? What types of videos will support that? The strategy is what will feed the process in the dealership and provide clarity to your team so that everyone knows and understands what role they play.

Lastly, I want to close by saying that it isn’t easy to make changes.  I know, and I understand. But, don’t let challenges hold you back. This is an opportunity to advance.  So many of your competitors are not doing this yet because of their excuses. I encourage you to start taking action today.


5 Ways Dealerships Can Gain Leads Through Video Marketing

Click the link below to listen to the podcast for this article:
      1. Develop An Engaging Video

Please don’t produce another terrible commercial and post it on YouTube. The world doesn’t need any more of these. What people always want more of is entertainment. So, spend some time on developing a great idea that promotes your business and engages your customers. Once you’ve uploaded the video, you can get the ball rolling on making it go viral by using services like StumbleUpon to drive traffic to your video for pennies per viewer. Use this to link back to specific landing pages on your dealerships website. 

      1. Use Strong Branding For Your Dealership

Customers love authentic dealerships. They like it when a dealership has a strong and clear message, and that message is consistent across all of their marketing platforms. So, don’t try and be everything to everyone. Customers want the experts and the dealership that they connect with.  

      1. Don’t Forget To Use Links & Calls To Action

The best lead capturing strategy involves directing customers to other touch points of your dealership’s marketing. Now that you have their attention with a great video, what are you going to do with it? Use a great video to direct customers to your website or even social media pages so you can connect with them and people they know. You can use videos to get the results you want. 

      1. Use Your Video On The Right Platform

Think about it like this: you have a great viral quality video, but if you’re sharing it on an application that only kids use, don’t be surprised when leads are not generated. With platforms like YouTube and Facebook you’ll have a variety of tools that other platforms can’t provide when it comes to finding your demographics.

      1. Use Data To Make Your Next Video Generate Even More Leads

After your first amazing video goes live the real work is just beginning. Monitor the results and feedback from viewers to find out what people liked and didn’t like. With video it’s so easy. You have page views, likes, shares and even specific comments telling you what worked! Us this to your advantage.