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This is a post I wrote for my blog AutomotiveMarketing.ca . The audience is mostly Canadian and a majority are unaware of sites like DealerRater.

Just last month my girlfriend and I made a last minute decision to drive to Manhattan for the weekend. Without months to plan the trip we needed to book a hotel quickly. After spending only one night scouring Hotels.com, Trip Advisor, Travelocity, and another dozen sites, we settled on a destination. The hotel turned out to be great and the user review sites really helped us make the right decision in choosing our crash pad for the 3-day excursion.

Enter the car dealership. When I was on the sales floor I quickly understood that referrals and word of mouth were a big part of our business. Dealers should realize that it is just as important to be aware of what potential customers are reading and writing about their dealership. If you want to do a quick test, try typing “Toronto Toyota” in a Google search and make note of the dealers that appear beside the map (7 pack in geek terms). You will see that beside the phone number, the reviews of these dealerships are showcased. Such powerful reviews are just one click away from your potential customers. Ratings can be posted directly on your Google Place page or extracted from various review sites such as DealerRater. Want to see a dealer that has hit it right out of the Rogers Center on to Front Street? Try typing “Toyota dealer MA”. The last time I checked this dealer, Acton Toyota, it had 1,019 reviews associated with their dealership listing, with the vast majority of reviews coming directly fromDealerRater. Since Google Maps is so visible, it is critical for a dealership to have their page loaded with positive reviews from their customer base.

What the heck is DealerRater? –

Founded in 2002, DealerRater® established the first car dealer review website worldwide. As a social network and user review website, DealerRater.com features more than 30,000 US and International car dealers, 190,000 user reviews and over 1,000,000 classified ads. The site attracts more than 3 million consumers every year who visit the site to search for car dealerships, read current reviews, write their own descriptive reviews, and find car deals – all for free. Car dealers are rated on the criteria of customer service, quality of work, friendliness, price and overall experience. In addition, both consumers and car dealerships may post free auto classified ads. DealerRater’s users may request vehicle quotes and the company’s Certified Dealers receive free vehicle leads.

Source – DealerRater.com

How do I make DealerRater work for me?

With more than 250,000 people joining the DealerRater user community each month, DealerRater is quickly becoming an important online resource for anyone seeking third-party information on car dealerships. The site is equally important to today’s car dealers for a number of reasons. DealerRater helps Dealers stay in touch with customer feedback and also gives Dealers access to an ever expanding market of potential customers. In addition, the content on DealerRater’s site is jam-packed with customer reviews and classified ads, all of which appear in organic Google Search results. As a result, as a dealer you are able to expand your online presence and achieve higher search engine ranking across the Web with the help of DealerRater’s user-generated site content.

But what about negative customer reviews that may pop up from time to time? Through DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, DealerRater offers qualified dealers the opportunity to actively monitor and respond to customer reviews and save relationships. Certified Dealers can take advantage of a two-week reconciliation period to communicate with unsatisfied customers through a privatewebsite panel before negative reviews are publicly posted. Given this key feature of DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, as a Certified Dealer you can actively manage your online reputation and address customer feedback, enabling you to retain more customers and generate increased business.

Automotive Marketing

Dealer Panel

Another interesting feature DealerRater offers its Certified Dealers involves complete integration with the popular social networking site, Facebook. This recent addition offered by DealerRater allows a Dealer’s most recent positive user reviews to automatically feed to a custom tab on the Dealer’s Facebook Page, which is updated real time. A Dealer’s classified ads also can feed to a custom tab on the Dealer’s Facebook Page, and are updated daily. As a result, as a Certified Dealer, you can draw leads directly from your Facebook fan page.Additional Program Highlights

  • Positive Review Testimonial Feed – As a Certified Dealer, your most recent 10 positive reviews feed to your website and automatically update as new reviews are added, enabling you to gain instant website client testimonials that are labeled “Powered By DealerRater.com”.
  • Unlimited Vehicle Leads - Certified Dealers receive instant email alerts for all leads generated for their brand in their state. Leads can be fed directly into a CRM system.
  • Employee Review Pages - Certified Dealers have “MyReviews Pages” for your employees to showcase their respective reviews.
  • Unlimited Auto Classified Ads -As a Certified Dealer, you can place an unlimited number of auto classified ads on DealerRater’s website. Ads also appear on AutoSpies.com and in organic Google search results. DealerRater provides inventory upload management from your Dealer Management System to the DealerRater database. Dealers can list vehicles with multiple photos and Dealer notes to generate leads on specific vehicles in your inventory.

There are a number of user- based review sites all over the Web that dealerships can utilize. DealerRater has created a model that works for both the buyer and the seller. Stop storing those thank you cards on your desk and start getting those positive reviews in front of potential customers.

By: Ryan Thompson

Ryan is an active on-line marketer, blogger, and Canadian Account Manager for Car Chat 24

Views: 20

Tags: DealerRater, management, online, reputation

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 19, 2010 at 1:32am
Ryan, thanks for a great article! My team at ADP Digital Marketing has collaborated with DealerRater for the past 2 years and we make daily use of leveraging DealerRater's "Certified Dealer" suite of tools that you described. The end result is that we help dealers turn what was initially seen as a negative (consumer ratings and reviews), into a positive competitive advantage for the benefit of our dealer clients.

Seeing you reference your Canadian dealerships prompted me to respond, because ironically enough, we had to convince Chip at DealerRater to display Canadian dealers, just like DR shows USA based dealers... In order to make this happen, I worked with my ADP colleagues in Canada to orchestrate the creation of an updated Canadian dealership database. We then provided the dealership listing database prepared by ADP Canada to DealerRater at no charge. DealerRater then used the database ADP supplied to create the Canadian dealer directory you see today on their website.

This allowed ADP to deliver our complete suite of ADP/BZ Social Media Reputation Management solutions to Canadian dealers.

The fact is that most dealers have vastly more highly satisfied customers than those who are not... Every car dealer should be highly proactive with implementing processes designed to compel customers to post reviews. As much as we love DealerRater, dealers need to get their positive reviews posted on multiple review sites, such as MerchantCircle, Yelp, Google Maps, Edmunds, InsiderPages, MyDealerReport, PrestoReviews, CarFolks and others. I recommend starting with every dealer review and ratings site you see showing up in Google Maps and Google SERP's.

So why do we use DealerRater so much? Because DealerRater makes it easy for Certified Dealers to leverage their reviews using syndication apps, RSS feeds and HTML widgets to get each Certified Dealer's positive ratings and reviews in front of more car buyers and service customers... Which generates business.

The only other system of managing a dealer's reputation using consumer reviews and ratings I have seen that I like better, is Scott Falcone's PrestoReviews... Why? Nothing else out there involves such a positive improvement to a dealer's business processes in regards to generating more overwhelmingly positive customer reviews and ratings within a fairly short time period than the technology, system and dealership processes required than Prestoreviews.

Want to see something that is driving more business into a dealership right now? Go to Google and search for "World Hyundai Matteson", which is Scott's dealership, that's right, PrestoReviews was created and is owned by a car dealer... But, don't hold that against them! Here's the link to the Google SERP:
http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&...

Every single organic listing on that "Dealer Page One" SERP is owned or controlled by World Hyundai... This is also the case with Dealerships who are ADP Social Media Pro Package clients... Anyways, look for the listing "WorldHyundaiReviews.com" and go to their reviews page. Almost 2,000 Customer Reviews the last time I checked... Scroll down and check out the links to individual web pages showing all the reviews from customers in a particular town or city... The videos... Anyways, I work with these types of User Generated Content (UGC) websites, including dozens of business ratings and review sites every day, and I have become a big fan of PrestoReviews.

A big reason why I like PrestoReviews is because of Scott Falcone's determination and commitment to building out a system, and continuously improving it every time he sees something working, that is entirely focused on providing car dealers with the means of showcasing their overwhelming majority of highly satisfied sales and service customers. Many of the other dealer reviews and rating sites have sought to capitalize on a handful of pissed off customers to power their SEO and "stir the pot" as a means of driving traffic that financially rewards the website owners with advertising revenue. DealerRater does NOT exploit negative dealer reviews and is very unbiased and fair in their management of a very serious role... Providing a voice to consumers.

In contrast, Scott Falcone's PrestoReviews is built from the ground up to serve the dealer... It does require that the dealer be conscientious and willing to implement vehicle sales delivery processes and service processes that leverage the PrestoReviews system, but in many ways I see those process requirements as being one of the best things Prestoreviews does for car dealerships.

Anyways, I just wanted to take this opportunity to mention PrestoReviews, because as much as my team relies upon DealerRater, and will continue to do so, we see the multiple reviews and ratings site optimization strategy that Scott Falcone has with PrestoReviews as being both GREAT for the dealer, and very much in alignment with the ADP Social Media "Hub and Spoke" content creation and distribution strategy. Because at the end of each business day, how many customer reviews has your dealership received? With Prestoreviews, you will know the answer to that question every day... Whether you were on the Internet or not!

Dealers should realize that customer reviews and the ratings they post for a dealership are nothing more or less than USER GENERATED CONTENT! And what's really important is not getting rid of a few bad ones, it is how do we get hundreds and hundreds of positive reviews that are genuine and credible? Then, once we get that content being created every day, how do we syndicate and distribute it so that the maximum number of automotive consumers throughout the dealer's extended market area see it.

DealerRater works very well, but take a look at what Scott Falcone has created at Prestoreviews!

Important Links:
DealerRater Certified Dealer Program
PrestoReviews Reputation Management System
ADP/BZ Social Media Reputation Management

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