Automotive Digital Marketing

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So we have so many people adjusting to this new technology called twitter. An application that allows you to make statements in a 140 character block. They actually limit what you can say per post. Why? Well, men have been doing this for years. We listen just enough to find out if we are interested and then if not we cut you off. Same with a lot of things. Our country as a whole is impatient and wants information and answers quickly. So why is twitter so hot? Well, people can pick and choose what they read and it’s quick. Headlines to top stories with links that people can pick and choose if they are interested. Dealers everywhere are using twitter to drive traffic, promote sales, promote service coupons, etc….
No, I am not selling twitter now it’s actually free. What I want to bring to your attention is the success that twitter is having is the same reason why chat is so great. Based on a JD Powers study 80% of the people leave your website without contacting you by phone or email. That’s not good because you goal is to have those people so interested that they call or email, right? So with a country so busy with lots of questions, taking in information at incredible speeds wouldn’t you think chat is a solution for your shoppers to get the information they are seeking.

I speak to dealers all the time that say “I just don’t want all these people asking me questions.” Well here is a message to owners of dealerships….Companies are starting to brand themselves by being the source of information for the community. Forget your billboards, newspaper ads, and any other short lived very expensive advertising. Become the source of information for your shoppers and target markets. You may actually learn more that way also. So instead of shutting off communication between the dealer and there shoppers why wouldn’t you open it up. We say people buy from people they like, right? Well one common theme I see while reading transcripts is that people are less defensive for whatever reason using chat. So, if they are less defensive and you are informative and likable who do you think gets that shoppers business?

So how is twitter going to change the dealer world forever? People are now expecting things to be even easier than ever and if you are not making it easy you will seem like you intend on keeping it hard for a reason. It’s not the day anymore where you are the only guy selling that car. Someone can go online and buy from another dealer in a different state. More dealers are internet savvy and cutting edge while you are still offering form leads, marking in big red letters CALL ME “RYAN” FOR INTERNET PRICE. The world is changing but are you? This is a time where you need to be watching the technology and saying how in the world can we use this to sell more cars.

I sold 3rd party leads before and I sold some leads for as much as 26.95 each. Yes they were better than most but they weren’t from your website and they didn’t come to you live ready to ask questions. They were email leads that you still had to call and leave messages for and hope they called me back. Chat can cost less than $200 bucks. Heck there is free chat out there. Dealers are selling cars off of it and using this as an opportunity. You would be amazed by the results you get from just adding it to your site. People have questions, they want answers, can’t pick up the phone, and don’t really want all the sales stuff and they can’t talk to you but the guy up the street with chat, he is already in a conversation with them while you got an email lead with a bad phone number. Odds are you’re out!

Am I selling you my product? Nope, well I will if you are interested. I am selling an idea…..Idea of technology, ideas that will grow your business and help you sell more. Ideas that make you step back from your situation and enter into your shoppers shoes. Check your competitors websites and see what they are doing. The morale of the story is I don’t care what chat you use (That’s a lie) just use some chat.

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Tags: Chat, Conversation, Instant messaging, On the Web, Online Communities, Online chat, Twitter, social networks


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Comment by Megan Janas on August 29, 2009 at 4:56pm
Yes, Permission is a must! Because of the example you sited, there is a lack of understanding in the marketplace about text messaging. With time, adaption and knowledge will spread to the general public. With that will come the ease of transition to text messaging. The basics of text messaging a customer directly is that this is a new and different experience. (Research concludes those that are receiving text messaging not only like it, they are remembering about the service and are electing to return.) Text messaging in general changes people's habits. And not over time, this is almost an instantaneous transition. Something snaps in the consumer's head that gets them to think about "this" customer experience. Businesses need to get out of the box when it comes to customer service. A fresh appraoch shocks the customer into action.
Now back up with me for one minute. Let's put the text messaging idea on hold. How much of a difference would it make to have a customer's place in line displayed on a screen in the waiting room? Currently, a waiting experience at a service center is terrrible! I would, personally, rather go to the dentist than fall into the abyss of a service center waiting lounge! You never know which end is up, how long you will be there, who was there before you and people are constantly making interruptions that make your wait even longer. With our service, you can place a display screen in your customer lounge and show customers their place in line. The customer can choose to receive a text message or not: the text service syncs with the display. If a customer chooses to opt-in to receive messaging, they will be periodically infomed about the ready time of their vehicle. This is what helps to get customers in the door: text messaging or not, this is a different and informed experience.
Yes, we are ahead of the curve; and for good reason. Early adaption leads to customer loyalty. The secret buzz in the mobile community is for a business to claim a steak in the marketplace now, so that you will not scramble to catch up once the marketplace is innundated.
Lastly, the billboard idea is good (and yeah, not in the car) But how far can that go? Search the inventory, hit or miss: maybe 10% will call for info, 1-2% may buy. I am attesting to offering customers a different experience in the place where they most frequent: the service center. As time continues and they are in the market for a new car, they will go to your dealership. This process can make a huge difference for a dealership. Bottom line: Better communication, more informed customer = more Dealership revenue.
Comment by Ryan Lucia on July 16, 2009 at 1:34pm

Your example is fine but how did you get that person in the dealership and how did you get permission to add text as an option? I just showed my associate pastor how to text and he got charged some outrageous amount because he went crazy with it afterward. I appreciate text but I also know that probably 30% of people don't use it and you have to have them already in reach to offer it.

Twitter is a great branding tool and a great way to build a reputation within your market. Advanced searches allows you to follow people in your area. Text and mobile are the future but much like chat 5 years ago it's a bit ahead of it's time. My theory is whats better then putting a big ol billboard up with your mobile address so people can search your inventory while in traffic at 5am here in the great ATL. I am not condoning playing in the net while driving I am suggesting that they look when they get home :)

Comment by Megan Janas on July 13, 2009 at 9:21pm
Hi Ryan,

Interesting post. I agree with you, certain social media features can help dealerships; like Twitter. But then again, it's simply just not enough. There are better resources to engage a customer on a personal level- and the only way to do that is through direct mobile messaging. I'll admit, I'm a little biast when it comes to mobile technology. But I understand the industry from a different perspective. Twitter is great for social interaction. But businesses aren't in the game to be social- they are in it to make money. More businesses are simply abandoning Twitter because it is not generating the return they need. So what is the alternative? A mobile company. Why? Because they are the ones who understand what it takes to put together mobile campaigns that will generate repeat business and increase revenue.
Take our company, for example; We believe that giving the customer a better waiting experience in the service department could mean obtaining a life-long customer. By sending the customer periodic, automated text updates as to the ready status of their vehicle- gives them a different experience. It makes the waiting process easier and more efficient. If you like this service, you'll come back. Boom! Instant revenue generation. Now, you'll also know this customer better than you ever could on Twitter. You can send this customer rewards for repeat visits, reminders for services, coupons for added discounts- the possibilities are endless! Therefore, dealerships get a mobile company to handle the business side of mobile.

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