I? I'd love to hear what you do to market your brand in an effective way.
OUR Whitepaper is below. Some feedback and discussion would be appreciated.
Email Marketing Best Practices
If you’re anything like me, you may spend well over an hour a day reading emails. Email has easily replaced the phone as the primary form of communication on a daily basis. It is one of the most powerful vehicles there is in terms of communicating with friends, colleagues, clients, and vendors. You can leverage this power in an effort to strengthen your customer base and increase your bottom-line.
In this article, I will discuss what I believe to be “Best Practices” in email marketing. Everything mentioned are practices that can easily be implemented by the Arrow ® Email Marketing department at re:member group.
re:member group Arrow® Email Best Practices
Determine Your Format. Most sources say that HTML emails are the best selection for emails. This allows for a concise format, where you can hyperlink and include images to deliver the most relevant, succinct message. While HTML emails are preferred, text emails can be designed in a favorable format. Ideally, you will want to use both and a tool that can determine which version to send the customer, based on the client they are using.
Create attractive emails. Use plenty of space around text, use unique colors for links, use images that are pleasing to the eye and match the general style of your email. Email sections should be clearly defined and recipients should clearly know what they’re looking at. Have your graphic designer come up with attractive banners and images that are pleasing to the eye.
Brand your email It should be easily know who your email is from. The email should match your product brand, colors, etc. Usually your emails should match your website, and vice-versa.
Call-to-action Give your recipients a task, whether it’s reading an article, buying a product, or taking a survey. That item should have another call to action, and so on. Don’t let your recipients get bored.
Personalize. If you were trying to get someone’s attention you knew, you wouldn’t simply shout “HEY!”. You would say “Hey John!”. The power of personalization can also be used in emails. If you capture this information, you can use it effectively in the subject line, such as “John Smith, check out our newest product”. Emails should always include whatever personal information whenever appropriate, if you’re capturing it properly. If a member has points, include that. If a member has an account number, include that as well. Remember customers are marketed to for a matter of hours every day. Commercials, billboards, you name it, it’s all very general. Email gives you the ability to target a customer is a very personal way.
The one-second subject line Make your subject lines easy to read at a glance. Don’t make them too many characters, as most clients will cut off your subject lines at a determined amount (depending on the client). It should be poignant and relevant, such as “10 Tips for Saving Gas Mileage”, or something relevant to your customer base. Consider personalizing the “From” field. If you have the ability to do this, it can be a powerful thing. An email from “Tim at re:member group” can be more powerful and more interesting to a reader than “re:member group”. This gives your message a more personal touch, and it recommended if your message is appropriate.
Be CAN-SPAM compliant. Each email should have your physical address, a working phone number, and an easily-accessible link to unsubscribe from your email database. Unsubscribe requests should be processed as soon as possible, no more than 1-week from when the request was made.
Don’t underestimate the power of Social Media. Give your recipients an easy way to share your message over Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, etc. In the evolving world of social media marketing, more and more users are moving toward Social Media networks as their primary form of communication. While email looks alive and well for the foreseeable future, many recipients appreciate the opportunity to have a message communicated with them on their preferred Social Media platform. In addition, as soon as your message is shared, your recipients “friends” now have an opportunity to view the message, expanding the potential number of viewers to an exponential level. Make sure you have an up-to-date applicable Social Media page and update it frequently.
Determine how often you wish to send emails while staying relevant to your customers. Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” or specific metric that you can use to determine this. The answer can only be determined by you and may vary depending on the customer.
Tipping point Labs puts it best: “Only you can determine how often you send out your email newsletters before your opt-out rates skyrocket. I can tell you if you’re providing your audience with valuable content that directly addresses their issues on a daily basis, you can send out an email newsletter every single day and still retain the highest quality email database. If your content is too widely targeted, chances are you’re trying to speak to everyone while reaching no one, and your opt-out rates will be really high. So, I suggest you create some digital profiles or buyer personas, and then segment your email database using those buyer personas.
Now, determine how much high quality, relevant content you can create for each of those audiences, and distribute it as frequently as you can. At that point, the people that opt-out are probably people you didn’t want to communicate with anyway. So, how often can you distribute an email newsletter before your opt-out rates skyrocket? Only you can actually answer that question, but it has nothing to do with your audience, and everything to do your content. “
In other words, email frequency depends largely on your subscriber’s preferences and attention-span. How often can you create TRULY relevant messages?
As a guitar lover, I get weekly messages from Gibson Guitar. It’s always a welcome email to see, and I’m always eager to open it and see what the latest offering is. This week was their new “Aaron Lewis Southern Jumbo” guitar. A single product, two images, and two paragraphs of text. View the email here. Sometimes the email includes articles from Rolling Stone, Top-Ten albums lists, etc. The point is, the email is simple, to the point, and plays on my interests. I always find it interesting, and now when it lands in my mailbox, I don’t even read the subject line. I just open it up, and I’m never disappointed.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays While the day of sending (as it relates to response and open rates) varies by company and industry, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are widely believed to be the best days for sending. On Mondays, people are generally getting ready for the work week, while Fridays tend to be the days people are looking forward to the weekend.
Throttle Your Emails One way to avoid SPAM filters is to avoid that “batch-and-blast” method of sending emails. Throttle your emails based on the general sending of emails depending on the day, emulating the typical sending behavior of any company during a typical business day. While the exact numbers are proprietary, an example would be to send most emails in the morning, which is the general sending trend of most companies. This will give SPAM filters the impression that you aren’t just SPAMMING recipients – you are just another company sending emails.
Use Feedback Loops Feedback loops are essentially notifications from major ISPs that recipients have clicked the “SPAM” button, indicating the recipient considers your message SPAM. Removing these recipients from your email database will lessen the amount of times your ISP considers your message SPAM, increasing the possibility they will deliver your message to the Inbox.
Repeat, consistent emails are key. Make sure to balance out sending relevant messages and being as consistent as possible with your messages. If you decide to send emails once a week, bi-weekly or monthly, stay on task and send emails along this schedule to remain familiar with your recipients. Don’t send emails on a weekly basis and then go silent for a period of time. Make sure to stay in the forefront of your customers’ minds.
Use Time Release Campaigns A welcome message should always go out within 24 hours of a recipient enrolling in your program. This confirmation of their enrollment can include a member number, a thank you message, tips and tricks, etc. Don’t let your time-release campaigns stop there. Set up messages to go out in a pre-determined time frame after a member enrolls. For example, after a week, you could send the member a points-earning special. Two weeks later, a 15% off coupon. Three weeks later, a “unique opportunity” to take an action. The time frames and actions would vary, but this is an opportunity to get a member “cemented” in your product and stay in communication.
Use Action-Based Messaging. Set up unique messages to be sent based on specific “clicks” by recipients. For instance, if you have a product line or offering that a member clicks on, have another message ready to send based on that same product line. If you sell furniture, and a member clicks on your special for a table, send them an email for specials on chairs. If you sell books, and a member clicks on a sci-fi novel, send them an email about your clearance on your L Ron Hubbard collection. If you sell music, and a member clicks on a James Taylor album, send them your latest folk-music selections.
Conclusion While the fine points of email marketing can be difficult to determine, the “30,000 foot view” is this: 1) Get to know your customers, 2) Give them a hook to open the email, and 3) Give them what they want. If you can accomplish this, you will find your email marketing program ROI to be more than acceptable.
For example, there are those that believe if you have a decent Facebook Page, then your dealership has covered the Social Media Marketing gamut (wrong)... Then on the other extreme, there are those that profess a need to have the dealership's name secured as a profile on 300+ social media type networks, with content then published to every single one of those sites on a regular basis... and ONLY then will you have it covered for your dealership (wrong again). What I have learned while creating and assisting in the creation of automotive social media marketing (SMM) strategies for car companies, dealer groups, single-point dealers and automotive vendors is that an effective Automotive SMM Strategy is both comprehensive and clearly defined around a combination of software tools, workflow processes, content creation, customer engagement, targeted social networks, dealership brand protection, monitoring and the roles and responsibilities of those assigned to execute the tasks which support the strategy... As well as those who are designated to monitor, supervise and evaluate their execution of those tasks as an ongoing dealership management function.
The purpose of this ADM Professional Community Forum discussion is to serve as a "Living Document" based on the specific objectives around defining what a comprehensive "Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy" for a car dealer should either include or consider.
In order to keep this discussion focused and confined to a manageable space, and specific to the marketing role of social media, let's save Dealership Reputation Management for its own separate discussion.
I will start this off by listing the functional areas that I have personally seen included up to the current point in time and hope to get your input and feedback on describing areas that should also be included in the practice of social media marketing for car dealers and car companies.
Dealership Account and Profile Management – Combination of services, tools and apps that enable automotive marketers to manage/create their accounts and dealership profiles across multiple social media platforms (see http://Knowem.com). Services and systems selected should allow dealers to create, develop, refine and publish information and content into their profiles across multiple social media properties and networks (e.g., your Facebook brand page, YouTube brand channel, LinkedIn Groups, Pinterest account, Slideshare, etc.).
Marketing Communications (MarCom) Management – Suppliers and systems to be considered as part of a dealer's social media strategy should provide a comprehensive bundle of services and tools to create status updates and messaging, designate distribution points and automate the scheduling and posting of these messages/updates across various social sites. Both the practice of, and the tools used should facilitate the management of filtering and flagging (e.g., to remove profanity, block repeat offenders and competitor shills, etc.). MarCom management services or software features should include real-time message tracking with reach and engagement analytics. A great example of a system of tools that create a software based platform for professional automotive marketers is Wildfire, which is a platform I became familiar with while using it at Tier10 Marketing and which has recently been acquired by Google. Here is a video that describes what the Wildfire platform is about:
Campaign Management – Dealers should seek service providers and software systems that provide the ability to create, quickly deploy, track and measure business promotional campaigns. Selected service providers and software systems should provide campaign management related applications across multiple social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Slideshare and Pinterest. As part of an effective social media marketing strategy, car dealers should seek out both service providers and software apps that contain prebuilt campaign and promotion templates that support a wide variety of campaign types, including coupons, service loyalty rewards, equity targeting, vehicle exchange programs, sweepstakes, contests, charitable fund raising, pick a favorite, brand history quizzes, etc.
Social Media Advertising (SMA) Management – As part of an effective social media strategy for car dealers, any suppliers or software platforms considered should provide and enables dealer based professional marketers to manage the full range of paid advertising functions across multiple social networks, including profile demographic research, ad campaign budget planning, actual advertising space purchases, campaign optimization and automated rotation and testing of multi-variate creative content. Software systems and solution providers should provide real-time ad performance tracking and analytics because they are a critically important part of making social media advertising as effective as possible from an ROI perspective. Although known for their auto industry leading Google Search Engine Advertising (SEA) campaign management and bid optimization technology, the Marin Software system is an amazingly effective software platform for optimizing visitor to dealer-contact conversion rates and the ROI dealers receive from their Facebook Advertising campaigns. As an example of what dealers should seek in their SMM strategy relevant to SMA campaign management, here is a video from Marin:
Content Creation - An effective social media marketing (SMM) strategy must include either internal resources or outside suppliers for creating assets suitable for publishing and distribution in multiple formats, include text, image and video. An example of a cost effective professionally written article creation resource for car dealers that I have personally used for many dealers is http://www.textbroker.com/ . When looking at the landscape of social media based networks, the site infrastructure is the framework and the content added to that framework by car dealers is the substance that makes social media marketing effective on any level. The analogy wold be that the social media network (ie: Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, etc.) is the engine, and the content uploaded, posted and published by the dealer is the fuel that powers the engine. SMM software, apps and platforms considered by car dealers must have the capability of handling, storing and cataloging content so that it can be readily distributed to targeted social media accounts and channels, then re-purposed and reused for future opportunities, and easily referenced by dealership employees. Since the late 1990's I have used dozens of strategies, tactics and workflow processes to create high-value unique, dealer owned and copyrighted article and website content for car dealers. I have never had more success with a content management platform or creation resource for text based article content than while using TextBroker.com for the past two years. Here is a video testimonial specific to the auto industry from a business owner who used TextBroker.com for his automotive website and content creation needs:
Blogger Relations Program (BRP) - Rob Petersen is the founder of BarnRaisers, a digital and social media solutions company that uses relevant content, community, proven relationship marketing principles to generate ROI. According to Rob, creating a blogger relations program is not beyond the capability of most businesses, including car dealerships. The following 5 steps have been adapted from what Rob defines as the critical components for a dealership's blogger relations program. I have also posted a PDF document from Rob's company (BarnRaisers) which assembles together over 160 social media marketing ROI case studies as examples of how so many companies are leveraging their SMM strategy to grow revenue, reduce costs and increase net profits. The comment with the file download is at autodigitalmarketing.com/Comment:420983Included in the following action items are more reasons why every dealership with a content marketing component within their overall social media marketing strategy should have a Blogger Relations Program:
IDENTIFY BLOGGERS WHO SHARE YOUR DEALERSHIP'S VALUES: Go to a blog search engine like Technorati, Alltop or Topsy, for Tweets that feature blogs. Twitter is actually defined as a micro-blogging site. In the search query box, type in keyword(s) for your dealership's franchise brands, vehicle models of local market area. Technorati can be searched by either blog or post and offers something called a Technorati Authority Ranking. This is the number of other sites who have linked with a particular blog in the last six months. Here’s how it works, let’s say you are a Ford dealership, type in “Ford” or "Ford Mustang" or "Ford Truck" and you’d be astounded by the number of Ford vehicle related blogs and the connection opportunities you could have using a documented blogger relations program.
UNDERSTAND POTENTIAL BLOGGER'S AUDIENCE: Go to Alexa. Type in the url of the blog you are interested. You’ll get the rank (global and US), keywords, demographics and even see the sites (by name) that link to the the blog in question.
LOOK AT THEIR BLOG OR WEBSITE TRAFFIC: Go to Compete (who Rob Petersen endorses on his blog's side bar as a marketing affiliate). Enter their blog's url... You’ll get a graph of website traffic for the last year and whether it is increasing or decreasing.
EXAMINE EACH BLOGGER'S SOCIAL FOLLOWINGS: After you compile a dozen to two dozen potential bloggers for your dealership to connect with, spend some time reading their blogs and get to know the person writing them. Be sure to check their social network profiles, usually listed on their blog (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Start to look at the quantitative numbers with the qualitative assessment of how they align with your dealership's core values and branding objectives.
CONNECT, ENGAGE AND BE GENUINE: Start by writing comments on their most recent posts. Let each blogger you are interested in know that your dealership has a program for building relationships with relevant blog authors. If you come across as being genuine and sincere, most bloggers will eagerly and quickly respond. Writing such comments also establishes links to your dealership's blog as well as initiating a relationship.
Video Asset Management (VAM) - Although this Automotive Social Media Marketing strategic category could be partially addressed by the "Content Creation" section, Video is a specialized area that should be specifically addressed in detail when creating your dealership's SMM strategy. The management of video assets distributed by automotive retailers across multiple social media channels presents unique challenges. However, the effectiveness as measured on many levels, including ROI is so great that Video Asset Management MUST become a key component of your SMM strategy. Within the auto industry there has been an emergence of three primary VAM tactical execution models: 1. Dealer DIY Video Creation and Distribution - The "Do It Yourself" approach to VAM should be part of any dealer's SMM strategy at some level. This is a human resource intensive tactical execution approach requiring specific dealership employees to be assigned the daily, weekly, monthly tasks of recording, editing, uploading and distributing videos shot onsite at the dealership. There is a wealth of evidence, including the success of the ADM Video Marketing Editor, Ken Beam at Douglas Motors VW and Infiniti. With over 125,000 video views and hundreds of vehicles sold as a result of Ken Beam's dedication to video marketing, it is worth checking out the Douglas VW YouTube Channel. In addition to Ken beam, there are hundreds of highly effective and successful video marketing specialists working at dealerships across North America. Elise Kephart, Tim Jennings and many others have embraced VAM tactics done onsite at dealerships endorsed by notable automotive consultants such as Jim Ziegler, Ralph Paglia and Brian Pasch. Here is a YouTube video from Jason Lancaster where he describes what he learned from Tim Jennings about dealers being capable of doing their own video marketing:
2. Automated Inventory Videos - These are "pseudo videos" created by panning across and zooming in on multiple still images taken for the online vehicle inventory listings, frequently supplied by photography service providers such as Dealer Specialties. The hey day for these types of automated video creation from still image programs may have passed as consumers have become far too savvy to be satisfied by "fake videos". My guidance would be to resist this sort of technology trickery which no longer fools anyone and hold out for newer systems such as what George Nenni from Dealer Specialties described as being in advanced pilot program development. New programs will make use of established networks of dealer inventory photographers to train and equip them to quickly and efficiently create actual video recordings of vehicles in dealership inventory. Regardless of how your dealership executes Cehicle Presentation Videos (VPV) they have been proven so effective that no SMM strategy can be considered complete without addressing the need for a tactical blueprint around creating a steady supply of fresh VPV's on a daily basis. As a point of reference, here is an inventory "Pan and Zoom" video created using an automated system that relies on dealer's website inventory photos:
3. Video SEO Service Providers - The third major category of VAM tactics that dealers should consider including within their overall SMM strategy are the full service Video SEO service providers such as Car-Mercial. I use Car-Mercial as a Video SEO Service Provider example because I have spent enough time working directly with AJ LeBlanc (owner) and his team of Video Marketing pros to know that their services and product offers a tremendous ROI value to dealers. Much of this value comes in the form of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) listing real estate for the videos they create and host on behalf of their dealer clients, and the traffic this drives into dealership showrooms, websites and incoming phone calls. However, the Video SEO Service Provider approach should not be relied upon as the sole means of establishing a dealer's SMM video strategy. This type of service relies on the provider creating and publishing relevant keyword optimized videos across networks and channels controlled by the supplier, which does not include the social media video accounts owned and controlled by the dealer. As effective as this approach has proven to be, dealers need to supplement outsourced Video SEO services with some level of video creation and publishing to social media accounts, profiles and channels that are branded, owned and controlled by the dealership. With that said, high value and low cost service providers such as Car-Mercial can effectively handle the "heavy lifting" of a dealer's VAM strategy, thereby reducing the work load on internal resources substantially... Certainly, the workload reduction is far more than the equivalent labor hours that could be purchased by the dealer with the cost of the outsourced Video SEO services. Here is a video from my friends at Car-Mercial, who I admire, respect, endorse and recommend to dealers:
How to make Dealer DIY Video Creation and Distribution more efficient and cost effective... When it comes to dealers handling their own uploading, posting, tracking, titling, writing those all important text based descriptions and keyword tagging of video content to social media channels, there is an incredibly effective tool that I have used for several years. This video asset management tool allows dealers to upload their videos to one website based application, which then uploads through proprietary API based integration channels to dozens of accounts and profiles established, owned and controlled by the dealer (possibly by using Knowem). The marketing objective being the syndicating of dealer video content across multiple sites, networks and channels. The tool is called "OneLoad" and is provided by a company named "TubeMogul". The web based OneLoad VAM application is sophisticated enough to allow automotive marketing professionals to dramatically streamline the titling, tagging of keywords and creating text based descriptions for each video hosting site used. As a side note, TubeMogul also provides Online Video Advertising (OVA) campaign creation, management and placements across thousands of websites... But, that is not social media marketing! One of the many reasons I recommend TubeMogul's OneLoad for dealership use is the API based integration with so many social media video channels and the highly accurate reporting metrics provided. OneLoad consolidates your videos and reporting data across multiple dealership video hosting accounts such as YouTube, Facebook, Viddler, Vimeo, Veoh, MetaCafe, MySpace, Graspr, BlipTV, DailyMotion, StreetFire, CarDomain, Yahoo, Zoopy and others. OneLoad will also automatically post a description of your video and a link to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Imagine uploading a customer testimonial video or a very special used car video walk-around ONCE and having it published across dozens of video hosting sites, each with a search engine indexed URL containing your dealership's name, into accounts and profiles owned and branded with your dealership's logo, name, address, phone and live URL links. Here is what my personal TubeMogul OneLoad video campaign dashboard looks like (click on the image to see larger resolution): To give you an idea of how much efficiency your dealership could gain using TubeMogul's OneLoad, while writing this section of the article, I uploaded a video to multiple social media accounts and profiles I had set up in the application. Here is a snapshot of the upload screen showing only the social media accounts I have set up (OneLoad handles many more) and the pending actions... You can click on the image to see a larger resolution view: What does TubeMogul's OneLoad cost? Here is a link to their pricing matrix: www.oneload.com/solutions/features My guidance to dealers is to not waste your time with the free "amateur" version of OneLoad, it is frustrating due to the constraints placed on it, such as saving your log ins and passwords, which in my opinion is one of the best aspects of OneLoad. The TubeMogul OneLoad "Business Account", which is what dealers need, is an annual licensing fee of $900, which breaks down to $75 a month. Stay away from monthly billing, the premium you pay versus annual billing is 100%! Trust "Digital Ralph" on this one, TubeMogul OneLoad when used on a regular basis within your dealership's Social Media Marketing Video Distribution tactical execution is the best $900 a year you will ever spend! BTW, I have no financial interest in TubeMogul (wish I did) and my only relationship with them is that I am one of their many raving fan customers. There are so many benefits to dealers incorporating TubeMogul OneLoad into their VAM strategy that you really need to visit this link and scroll down. However, I want to mention one very important consideration when considering a tool such as TubeMogul's OneLoad, although I know of no other that does what this app does, consider this: If you ever have to take a video down, for whatever reason, you can use TubeMogul OneLoad to take a video down from all the various places it was published with a single click... This could be a lifesaver under certain rare circumstances, such a getting a letter from a customer's attorney saying they did not give you permission to use their likeness in a customer testimonial video. Or how about certain specialty used vehicles? Publish your VPV to dozens of sites, sell the vehicle to some potash magnate in Russia for all the money, and with a single click, take the video down from all the sites where it was posted. Just one of many things to consider... The following video is from an independent social media consultant explaining how to use TubeMogul's OneLoad Video Asset Management (VAM) system:
Social Data Management – When a dealer is considering their social media marketing strategy, the issues and opportunities around data extraction, collection and management have the potential of creating significant competitive advantage to those automotive retailers who do it right. The auto industry's emerging discovery of “big data” capabilities, an example being Dataium, can capture social audience data in a unified repository. This can then be used by sophisticated automotive marketers to target the right messaging to the right automotive consumers in a far more cost effective manner than direct mail, customize promotional campaigns, and analyze and segment consumers based on dealership purchase history, owned vehicle data, demographics and social media profile based non-automotive interests. Although the following video clip is a little far outside of being automotive specific, the discussion really offers some great insight into the future of "Big Data" and social media marketing strategy. Check it out with an open mind:
Mobile Marketing Support – As automotive consumers and dealership business customers increasingly access vehicle purchase and servicing information through mobile devices, it is important for car dealers to incorporate within their SMM strategy the use of suppliers and software platforms that provide native support for mobile content and the management of social media based assets that are accessible across a full range of mobile and tablet devices. This includes mobile device optimized templates that enable automotive marketing professionals to design content in one place, app or platform and deploy that content to any device via social media, email, mobile app push, etc. Good examples of dealer mobile app and system suppliers that incorporate strong mobile marketing support and social media integration include Dealer AppVantage with their YouTube integration. Another strong example is GroupCars and their recently announced AutoAmigo offering through Univision.
Measurement and Analytics (Metrics) – At the heart of every effective social media marketing strategy are service providers, software, platforms and solutions that provide dealers with robust analytical capability. Whether a software platform or a service provider, this should include dealer management dashboards and automated reporting that provides multi-level detail, as well as traffic referral and conversion tracking. It is imperative that these analytics enable professional automotive marketers to conduct both dealership specific and auto industry benchmarking, both of which are vital to assessing the meaning and implications of these measurements from an ROI perspective. Having used several social media marketing platforms that based their value proposition squarely upon their measurement, reporting and real-time analytics capabilities, the one system that has always impressed me as being the most useful for car dealers is from Hubspot... Their thought leadership around inbound marketing is embedded within their software platform and is being used by quite a few automotive marketing professionals both within dealer service providers and by pros working for dealers and groups as marketing directors. Here is a short video describing Hubspot's software system for use as an example of a metrics and reporting platform within a dealership or auto group's social media marketing strategy:
National, Regional and Local Deployment Support – Whether your organization retails or wholesales cars and related services on a national, regional or local basis, you will need a social media app, solution or services provider that enables both geographically defined content deployments and consumer targeting. In many dealership cases, this should include support for multiple languages, including the targeting of messages and content, along with the ability to set region-based visibility permissions. In recent months I have found myself spending a lot of time on behalf of my dealer clients on blocking out fans, subscribers, followers and comment posting from a variety of countries and locations that were simply irrelevant to the dealer's specific market area. In other cases, for example a high line and exotic vehicle dealer in Los Angeles, we needed to target major metros such as New York, Miami, Dallas and Chicago because they sell so many exotic high end cars into those markets. Keep in mind that in order to best leverage your )for example) Facebook Page Fan base, you will want to target that database and their friends with paid advertising campaigns and promotional offers... If your Facebook Page's Fan Base includes a lot of people from areas not served by your dealership, this clutters up the database rendering it far less useful for use in targeting Facebook based advertising campaigns, which are highly effective when the dealer's Fan Base is primarily local customers.
Social Network Support – The SMM strategy your dealership develops should include software and (if applicable) a SMM services provider that supports all the major social networks. What are these most significant networks for car dealers? I would include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Slideshare, Pinterest, Blogger and Wordpress at a minimum. The best SMM software and services suppliers will continue to add new social network integration and support as they gain favor and broad usage in the marketplace by automotive consumers and those that influence them. A good example of this type of support from a software platform provider is Hootsuite, which I reference and include an embedded video about in the "Platform and Infrastructure" section below. For an example of a Social media Marketing Full Service Provider to the auto industry who I have seen continuously expand the social networks they integrate with and support, I will cite the team at SocialDealer which is headquartered in Chicago and led by Phil Penton and a team of very sharp automotive marketing veterans. Phil was one of the driving forces behind the development and growth of HomeNet up to their acquisition by AutoTrader. Here is a video that briefly introduces Social Dealer:
Security, Compliance, and Accountability – Equally important compared to the above outlined marketing and analytics capabilities are critical monitoring and functions that ensure security, compliance and accountability of your SMM efforts. You should ensure that your strategy includes the use of technology that provides access controls, role-based permissions and customizable workflows. In terms of security and compliance, an effective social media marketing strategy should incorporate the use of a platform that provides a fully secure data environment, including data encryption and an audit trail.
Dealer Usability – It’s highly likely that your dealership's team members who will be using any SMM platform, software or solution will not be developers or programmers, so the technology you incorporate in your SMM strategy should be easy to learn and use. Deployment should be fast and simple, and your dealership's agencies and other external partners should be able to customize content using the SMM applications, software or platforms you elect to use.
Customer Referral Generation and Tracking - When it comes to selling and servicing vehicles, most dealerships thrive on business referrals from their customer base. (see Roosevelt Gist's comment below this post) These existing customer generated referrals of new business opportunities should be an established part of any automotive retailer's social media marketing strategy. From what I have seen on my own, and the research provided by car companies such as Toyota and Ford, the opportunity for dealers to leverage social media networks to enhance and promote the willingness of their most satisfied customers referring new customers from the ranks of their friends, relatives, coworkers and casual acquaintances is substantial. For example, check out this video from Toyota Motor Sales created for their dealers to become more aware of the power of customer and product referrals:
One of the more structured dealership customer referral and tracking systems I have seen developed and used by dealers is the Social Referrals Program offered by the SocialDealer team. Here is a video of Tony Nilles from SocialDealer explaining how the program works, which is very informative and useful in considering what your SMM Strategy should incorporate for generating more referral based business:
Platform and Infrastructure – I have often said that social media marketing has the potential of being a "black hole" of time and resource consumption for car dealers. After years of experience, I cannot imagine any semblance of positive ROI from dealership employee resource investments without the use of multiple software systems and SMM platforms. Basic requirements of a good SMM software platform include SaaS/cloud architecture, high scalability and ready availability from any web connected device including PC, mobile and tablets. SMM software and platform providers should be making frequent updates to ensure that their systems stay current with rapidly changing, evolving and expanding network of automotive relevant social networks. A few good examples of this proliferation are Pinterest, Instagram and Slideshare... Each of these networks are remarkably effective for dealers using them the right way and your strategy around SMM will benefit from leveraging software tools that make it easy for you or your supplier to incorporate these emerging networks into your SMM daily activities. A great example of a software supplier that provides dealers with easy to use and constantly improving and expanding capabilities is Hootsuite Pro. Here is a video showing the recent upgrades to Hootsuite Pro's SMM dashboard and platform that introduced Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube dealership account integration and how to set it up in your Hootsuite Pro Account, which costs dealers a whopping $5.99 a month... That is not a typo, your cost for Hootsuite Pro is less than six dollars a month:
Dealership Services and Vendor Support – The right amount of service and support from dealership selected vendors and software suppliers is critically important to the success of any SMM strategy. Whether selecting software tools and systems to be used by dealer employed professionals or selecting a full-service social media marketing provider, dealers should select from only those suppliers that have a proven methodology and process for quickly on-boarding and training dealership personnel, including technical support offered via web, phone and email. Very important to this selection process is to focus on suppliers that offer comprehensive in-dealership training and consulting services. Most, if not all retail automotive organizations will benefit from bringing in outside experts who will help you get the most out of your SMM strategy. Having done this myself on many occasions with multiple dealers and auto groups since 2007, I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that you bring in experienced automotive social media marketing strategists and implementation experts, which seems to be a critical control point in setting the stage for dealer success. There are quite a few experienced and effective social media marketing consultants available for car dealers to choose from, many of them are directly connected to more full scale digital marketing organizations. A great example I would like to cite, both because of their integrity and effectiveness for car dealers is the the KPA Internet Marketing Social Media Team led by J. D. Rucker... I am sure J.D. will get a chuckle out of this mention because he and I have squared off on debates around social media marketing strategies and tactics on several occasions starting back in September 2009. But, when it comes to providing effective SMM Strategy consulting services for car dealers, I am always impressed with what J. D. Rucker and the KPA Social Media Marketing Team is able to get done with their dealer clients. Here is a video of the inimitable J.D. Rucker seeking to educate dealers on posting images onto their social media accounts and profiles:
In the interest of both fairness and ensuring dealers have an adequate selection of Social Media Marketing Consulting and Training resources, I would also like to mention that ADM has a consulting provider directory that lists only those digital marketing consultants that we have been able to verify as being effective with a dealer through direct contact. The ADM Consultant Directory is at: ADM/Consultant-Directory which also contains a comprehensive "Consultant Selection Guide" for car dealers to use when considering which consulting resources to invest in. Of special note, I would like to also recommend the following companies who are consistent contributors of content to the ADM Professional Community and which also provide dealer verified effective Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy consulting, training and implementation services:
PCG Digital Marketing Consulting Services (Brian Pasch)
Potratz Advertising (Paul Potratz)
ADP Digital Marketing Consulting (Jim Jensen)
Kruse Kontrol, Inc. (Kathi Kruse)
Persuasive Concepts (David Johnson)
Automotive Media Partners, LLC (Ralph Paglia)
Information Resources Used to Prepare this Article: In addition to my own first hand and direct experience in creating or assisting in the creation and implementation of automotive social media strategies for Ford, Toyota, Honda, ADP Social Media, Tier10 Marketing, Team Velocity Marketing, several large dealer groups and well over 300 individual dealerships I have been paid to serve, I used information, narratives and descriptions provided by the teams at YouTube, Hubspot, Knowem, Marin, Facebook and especially the white papers published by Wildfire, a Google owned social media marketing services and technology supplier.
The Wildfire research team provided me with a comprehensive checklist document written by an independent social media consultant who designed it as a tool for selecting SMM software applications and platforms. I highly recommend that you download this PDF and use it when evaluating BOTH the software systems available for your dealership to use in the implementation and execution of your SMM strategy, AND the services offered by SMM "Full Service" providers to the auto industry. The SMM application evaluation checklist document that I use was created by:
Patrick U. Di Chiro THUNDER FACTORY / Di Chiro Patrick@ThunderFactory.com www.ThunderFactory.com www.DiChiro.com/blog www.Twitter.com/DiChiro
Although the Wildfire provided SMM App Evaluation PDF file is available to ADM Members for download, please show professional respect for Wildfire and Patrick Di Chiro by using the link below, where you enter your name and business information. Wildfire provides you immediate access to download this very useful SMM systems and process evaluation guide and tactical requirements checklist:
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING APP EVALUATION GUIDE*
See Wildfire's Social Marketing Suite in Action!
Discover how your dealership can grow, engage, and drive profits from your audience on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
Special Request for ADM Professional Community Members:
Did I miss anything?
What do you believe should be included in an effective Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy that is not incorporated into the items I have described above?
Please post your comments, recommendations, criticisms, agreement or otherwise and let's create a useful ADM Forum reference point for dealers who seek to better understand what an effective social media marketing strategy should include...
This Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy Requirements Summary was prepared by: Ralph Paglia, President - Automotive Media Partners, LLC
To make it easier for ADM Members to make quick reference to this Forum page, a "Shortcut" URL has been assigned:
* If for any reason you either object to providing your info to Wildfire or are unable to get the download to work, ADM Professional Community registered members can download the PDF file, which is included in the three resource file attachments below.
Additional Files posted in a comment below for download and use by ADM Members:
trucks for a new car, truck or SUV that meets the program fuel efficiency requirements.
The program will have a government administration initiative that has been named C.A.R.S. or Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) and will be run by the NHTSA, which will issue payments through NHTSA registered car dealers.
Car buyers get the benefit of $3,500 or $4,500 paid to dealers who scrap their trade-in.
Rules for dealer participation in the program will be issued by the NHTSA within 30 days of June 24, 2009.
President Obama signed into law a program NHTSA is calling the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). This is a government program that helps you purchase a new, more fuel efficient vehicle when you trade in a less fuel efficient vehicle. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more details.
Under the CARS program, NHTSA is charged with rules for program implementation in 30 days. You may want to contact your local dealer in mid-July.
REGISTER YOUR EMAIL WITH NHTSA FOR UPDATES
When you complete the form by clicking on the linked text above, you should receive a similar confirmation to what I received below:
"Your information has been submitted. Thanks!
A confirmation email is on its way to firstname.lastname@example.org and should arrive shortly.
Note: To ensure proper delivery of our emails, take a moment now and add us - email@example.com - to your address book, trusted sender list, or company white list.
5 Important Things to Know
Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
You don't need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
Check the http://CARS.gov site frequently for the most recent updates from the government.
What Does The Deal Look Like?
You can click on the chart above to open a full size view in a new window
The following questions (bold) and answers (italics) are based on the relevant provisions within the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009.
What is the Car Allowance Rebate System?
The Car Allowance Rebate System is a new program from the government that will help you pay for a new, more fuel efficient car or truck from a participating dealer when you trade in a less fuel efficient car or truck.
How do I know if a dealer is participating in the program?
The law requires dealers to be registered to participate in the program. We are moving as quickly as possible to register interested dealers. As dealers are registered, we will list them on this website. We will continue to update this list during the life of the program. Meanwhile, you may wish to contact dealers in your area to ask whether they plan to participate in the program.
What is NHTSA doing to implement the program?
As required under the law, NHTSA will publish rules for the program in 30 days. We are currently working closely with manufacturers, dealers, and disposal facilities to get a workable, effective program up and running.
Do I need to get a voucher or sign up for this program?
No. You do not need a voucher and you are not required to sign up or enroll in this program. Participating new car dealers will apply a credit, reducing the price you pay at the time of your purchase or lease, provided the vehicle you buy or lease and the vehicle you trade in meet the program requirements. The dealer will then obtain reimbursement from the government.
How do I know if my car or truck is an eligible trade-in vehicle?
There are several requirements (but you also have to meet certain conditions for the car or truck you wish to buy). Your dealer can help you determine whether you have an eligible trade in vehicle. Your trade-in vehicle must have been manufactured less than 25 years before the date you trade it in have a “new” combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less, be in drivable condition, and have been continuously insured and registered to the same owner for the full year preceding the trade-in. PLEASE NOTE: Work Trucks (i.e., very large pickup trucks and cargo vans) have different requirements.
How do I find out when my vehicle was manufactured?
The month and year of manufacture (e.g., 1-96 (January 1996)) appear on the safety standard certification label that is located on the frame or edge of the driver’s door in most vehicles.
How do I find out the combined city/highway fuel economy rating of my trade-in vehicle?
Go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm and click on the model year of your vehicle, the make, and then the model. Under the words "ESTIMATED NEW EPA MPG" in the red banner, there is a red number with the word "COMBINED" under it. That is the new combined city/highway fuel economy for your vehicle. You may then enter the make, model, and model year of a new vehicle you may want to buy and see its combined MPG for comparison.
Does the program apply if I want to lease a vehicle, or must I purchase a vehicle?
Under the program, you may purchase a new vehicle or lease a new vehicle, provided the lease period for the new vehicle is at least five years.
Is there a cap on the price of the vehicle I can buy or lease under the program?
Yes. The manufacturer's suggested retail price cannot exceed $45,000.
Does the program apply if I want to buy a used car?
No. The program does not apply to the purchase of used vehicles.
What is the amount of the credit?
The amount of the credit is $3,500 or $4,500, and generally depends on the type of vehicle you purchase and the difference in fuel economy between the purchased vehicle and the trade-in vehicle. Different requirements apply for work trucks.
In addition to the credit, will I get the full value of my trade-in vehicle?
No. The law requires your trade-in vehicle to be destroyed. Therefore, the value you negotiate with the dealer for your trade-in vehicle is not likely to exceed its scrap value. The law requires the dealer to disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in vehicle.
I don’t drive an American car but I would like to trade in my old car for a newer, more fuel efficient one. Is this program only for American cars?
No. You may trade in or buy a domestic or a foreign vehicle.
I have a truck and I cannot find its fuel economy rating. Is it an eligible trade-in vehicle?
Maybe. Some trucks, such as work trucks, were never rated for fuel economy. For these trucks, age is the only criterion for determining whether they are eligible trade-in vehicles. If you have one of these trucks, it must be from model year 2001 or earlier, but also the date of manufacture must be less than 25 years from the date you trade it in, to be an eligible trade-in vehicle. Other restrictions may also apply.
I just traded in my old car for a new vehicle last month. Will I get some money back?
No. The program does not apply retroactively.
As a service to ADM Professionals, we uploaded the
ACTUAL CASH FOR CLUNKERS LEGISLATION
in a PDF document for you to download
and print a hard copy, frame for posterity,
or even have it available in a binder or
other hand-out format at your dealership:
ADP Digital Advertising is offering a "Turn Key" Cash For Clunkers Digital Marketing Program ofr dealers who would like to drive more showroom and website traffic, phone calls and leads by leveraging public interest in the Cash For Clunkers CARS government funded automotive sales stimulus program. You can simply fill out the lead form at www.SEMdealer.com, or if a Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealer use the form at www.FLMDigital.com or call the ADP Digital Advertising team at 888-243-2935. The promotional program ADP is offering includes three packages:
1. CFC Headquarters Digital Advertising Campaign Package - $10,000 a month
This package includes a Cash For Clunkers dealership VIDEO microsite with a Cash For Clunkers keyword enriched domain name, locally formatted SEO services, AdTracker toll-free number, lead form sourcing ID, $2500 a month in paid Search Engine Advertising and $5000 a month in Behavioral Targeted display advertising, $2500 a month in Website Placements of Display Advertising (includes Kelley Blue Book), animated Flash based advertising creatives, Double-Click hosting with Floodlight and Spotlight tracking and reporting of both Post-Click and Post-Impression Key Buying Activities (KBA), along with Omniture SiteCatalyst reporting and tracking application for a full suite of metrics.
A 3 month ADP Digital Advertising agreement is used for this package.
2. CFC Participating Dealer Digital Advertising Campaign Package - $5295 a month
This package includes a CFC dealership VIDEO microsite with a Cash For Clunkers keyword enriched domain name, AdTracker toll-free number, lead form sourcing ID, $1500 a month in paid Search Engine Advertising, $2500 a month in Behavioral Targeted display advertising, $1000 a month in Kelley Blue Book website advertising, animated Flash based advertising creatives, Double-Click hosting with Floodlight and Spotlight tracking and reporting of both Post-Click and Post-Impression Key Buying Activities (KBA), A 3 month ADP Digital Advertising agreement is used.
3. CFC Dealer Microsite - $595 a month
Includes a CFC dealership VIDEO microsite with locally formatted SEO services, AdTracker toll-free number, lead form sourcing ID and Google Analytics installed for reporting and tracking. This package requires 12 month ADP Digital Advertising agreement for microsite only, with the option to change the microsite's theme after the CFC program expires to any of the 35 microsite designs at www.DealerMicrosites.com ..
Here are a few images of the ADP Digital Advertising Cash For Clunker Dealer Advertisements, you can click on each image to open a window with the animated Flash advertisements running in full glory as they do on a web site:
s a private party, as a speculator titling multiple vehicles in each of my daughter's, brother's, sister's, cousins, dog's and nanny's names... etc., etc.. If you consider trade-ins to be a purchase, i have probably bought several thousand vehicles and sold several thousand more than that... TODAY, I used the Internet to buy a used 2002 Ford Expedition XLT 4x4 via ebay motors. But, now that I have put a $500 deposit down on the Expedition over the phone with Adora Fryant at Audi of Chandler, AZ and then went through the process of explaining to my wife how i was able to buy a used truck without driving it, using the Internet... I came to realize that not only did i pay about $1,000 too much for the Expedition, but i am thrilled and delighted with the purchase because of how well Audi of Chandler has managed their reputation in my market, and through their direct and personal dealings with me and my wife in the past. Heck, they are not even an ADP Digital Marketing customer! I lost out on their RFP proposal process for Penske Automotive Dealer Web Sites less than 3 weeks ago! yet, i felt good about pulling the trigger on making the Expedition purchase because of Audi of Chandler's reputatuion and how well they prepared their ebay motors listing, along with the prompt, direct, no-nonsense response from Adora Fryant after I submitted my offer on the Expedition. Here's a video clip they had on their ebay motors listing and on their web site at http://www.audichandler.com/detail-2002-ford-expedition-xlt-3539317.html:
Here's what went down and some insight into the mind of a car buyer... Which i am. Starting about 30 days ago I realized my Impala lease was coming to the end of its 2 year term and I would have to turn it in to GMAC. So I called GMAC and asked them if there were any incentives for me to buy another new GM product... (DOH). Now, despite the fact that i looked up and found that there is anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 in lease end termination GMAC incentove to switch to a purchase, probably to keep GM lessees from leasing Toyotas and Hondas, the GMAC representative told me in no uncertain terms that "NO, JUST TURN IN THE VEHICLE"... This, despite my 800+ Credit Score, 7 figure income, and the fact that all my GMAC lease payments were made exactly on time via a bank draft automated payment system for the entire term of the lease... I though perhaps I had just caught GMAC's worst rep., so i waited 2 days and called back again... This time, the person with the obvious ESL issues kept repeating herself and saying "Mr. Paglia, your only obligation is to deliver the 2007 Impala to the nearest authorized GM dealership... Which GM dealership would you prefer to drop it off at?"... When i quizzically asked, "don't you even care if I continue to be a GM and GMAC customer?... After all, I have purchased, financed and leased 4 GM vehicles in the past 3 years for me and my family?"... The STUNNING response I got back from the GMAC representative was "No, Mr. Paglia we truly do not care what vehicle you choose to replace the Impala with... Is there anything else i can assist you with?"... IT WAS $#@!*&% UNBELIEVABLE!!! I did everything I could, including begging the GMAC representatives to tell me about the wonderful incentives that GM had put into effect for people coming off of GMAC leases so that GM dealers could switch them into conventional GMAC financing... But, GMAC insisted on daying everything they could to actually convince me to buy anything EXCEPT a GM product... I was shocked, dismayed.. Then I watched CNN and sat there with my mouth open watching Rick Wagoner absolutely FUMBLE the questions from the congressional committee reviewing the GM led request for $25 Billion in loans to save GM and Chrysler (Ford is OK)... I remember thinking to myself as Wagoner lips flapped and he basically said "ah... ah... ah... well all our financial models are based on current market conditions leveling,,, blah, blah, blah..." and for the first time in a long time I said to myself... "SHEEET, I COULD DO A HECK OF A LOT BETTER THAN THAT TESTIFYING IN FRONT OF CONGRESS..." And, you know what? I COULD!!! For example, I would have told that A-Hole congrssman "Sir, I will tell you EXACTLY what we are going to do with that money... We are going to save over a million American jobs, and these are going to be jobs that generate billions in tax revenue and social security contributions, while at the same time generating enough operating income to support GM's pension obligations so that the Federal Government's Pension Guaranty Insurance will not have to pay out 5 times as much as we are asking to borrow in the event of GM's default on its Pension Fund obligations... On top of that, we are going to use this bridge loan to get us past the financial morass that YOU and YOUR congressional colleagues have created by letting the financial community run amok for the past 10 years creating a house of cards that has now collapsed and left most Americans without the ability to buy a newcar or a new home... Sir, i submit that extending preferential financing to assist GM to survive and prosper so that millions of jobs are saved and America's manufacturing base can be preserved will be amongst the most noble and courageous acts of politics to emerge from this noble institution within the entire scope of the current financial crisis..." "Are there any other questions I can answer?".
So, that's when I decided to buy a used car... From a dealer with a great reputation, and doing as much online as i could reasonably get away with... MORE TO COME (Momma's calling).
OK, I am back from the Phoenix Botanical Gardens Luminaria Tour with the extended family here for holiday... Anyways, so here i was, due to drop the Impala and now thinking I want to pay cash for a big-ass 4x4 people haulin' urban assault vehicle... What to get? A used Suburban? Nah, Rick Wagoner mealy mouthed lame excuse for a response to congress, combined with the DUAL incompetent GMAC rep's combined with a phone call from David Blankinship at my former employer (Courtesy Chevrolet) which he never followed up on, after i send him an email saying I HAVE TO BUY A NEW CAR RIGHT NOW... Heck, I even filled out a complete online credit app. that was automatically submitted and generated an electronic approval!!!! Still, no damned follow-up... Can you believe how hard it is to get someone to sell you a car in this economony?!?!?!? And, i have $20K in disposable cash in my checking account, an 800+ Credit Score, over 30 paid satis auto loans, 50% equity in my home, and I CANNOT GET GMAC OR COURTESY CHEVROLET TO FOLLOW UP AND SELL ME A GOD DAMNED GM PRODUCT!!!
So... I call my old BDC manager Joel Matteson who is now a Sales Manager at Chapman Chevrolet in Tempe and leave him a message that i need to buy a car... Holy Car Grail, Joel actually calls me back... He is great, tells me no problem, I can drop my Impala off at Chapman and he will find a deal on a used SUV for me and call me right back... DOH! No call back... 24 hours later... No call back... No email asking me to wait, hang in there, i'm checking, whatever... I think he also complained to me about how hard it is to sell cars right now... Huh!?!?!?! Seems like everyone's too busy to sell cars right now... Except for Audi of Chandler ( a Penske Automotive dealership).
So there I am sorting through used Expeditions on ebay motors... I decide I want to the 2002 model year body style, 'cause i like it better than the newer body style... I want a 5.4 Triton 'cause I know they are tougher than post-nuclear blast cockroaches... But, finding a 4x4 in AZ is tough... I start bidding on about a dozen different Expeditions between Dallas, LA, Las vegas, denver and Phoenix... Then i see a used 2002 Ford Expedition XLT 4x4 with low miles for the year... Crappy color, but oh well... And I go to the ebay motors detail page... Hmmm... Nice listing, about a dozen or so pic's, one of those faked out videos made from the stills... BUT, I notice the vehicle is from Audi of Chandler, where my wife and I came THIS CLOSE to buying a new Audi A5 last March, right before SHE opted for the Cadillac CTS (when you turn it on, does your car return the favor... yeeesh).
However, the people at Audi Chandler were so darned nice, accomodating and transparent in their dealings with us last March, i am looking at the Carfax report on their used Expedition, and it shows one local owner, AND a steady history of detailed service and whatever warranty and customer repairs had been done (cruise control replaced)... So, what the heck... It is listed for $7,995 on ebay motors, and the KBB ranges from $5,300 to $9600... I enter an offer of $6,000 because if it was anyone else i would have low-balled the ebay motors offer at around $4,000 to $5,000... But, this is a one owner, 12K a year 4x4 in what appears to be flawless condition being sold by a dealer THAT I KNOW HAS AN IMMACULATE REPUTATION!!!
Guess what happens? First, I get an automated email from Audi Chandler that was built smart enough with merge codes to regurgitate everything back to me that i had submitted, which is good when hot-to-trot buyers like me are making offers on a dozen vehicles at the same time... Then, I do not think it was 15 minutes after i submitted the offer that my cell phone rings and it is Adora Fryant from Audi of Chandler (not David from Courtesy, not Joel from Chapman and certainly not someone from GMAC, who all had a head start). Adora identifies me, clarifies my offer of $6,000 plus T, T and L... and then says, "Thank you very muchfor your generous offer Mr. Paglia, we would like to go ahead and accept it... When would you like to take delivery of the Expedition.." She then offers to pick me up at Chapman when i drop off the Impala, reviews the docs i need to take delivery and we schedule an appointment for Monday at 10:30AM... She then asks me if I want to put a $500 deposit on my credit card to secure the vehicle from prior sale.... Sure, why not, this is a dealer with an impeccable reputation!!! Now, for all you car dogs out there... I know I am paying anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 more than what this car will wholesale for... You know what? It is not that i do not care, it is worth paying a little more when buying a cheaper used truck to buy a one-owner Carfax clean local vehicle from a REPUTABLE DEALER that i already know treats people exceptionally well... So, yeah, maybe I am getting grossed... But i am happy to do business this way!
Comments and evaluations welcome!
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