#Lexus helps #CDK with Epic Fail

Today is a snow day in the ATL.  Slippery roads, hazardous travel conditions.  Most would agree that communicating to our customers any change in our business hours that would impact their plans for the day is important.  The GM let me know at 5 am that Service would be closed and Sales would open noon.
Fairly quickly ( by 5:18 ) I have a graphic and info up and out on Facebook and Google, Twitter. snowday-lexus.jpg

But when it comes to editing or adding to our #CDK website, thats a no go son.  Not happening, no, nope and forget about it.  #Lexus has this website update that is hanging up any changes I may want to make.
However small.

Like this one.. letting customers know hour change in hours.

Why is an OEM preventing a local dealer from doing business ?  And do you think there is someone I can call at 5 am in the morning ?

CDK has really dropped the ball on this one and it will lead today to some of our customers out driving in bad weather to find our service dept, closed.

Digital Vendors

If it looks like a scene from a horror movie……. RUN !

Dealing with vendors in the digital space is difficult .  Finding a partner that understands your goals, the market, your stores environment and the limitations of your budget is scary.  Scary because most seem to put their goals first.  Although, you cannot see or hear that while they are smiling in front of you.
If you do find a good vendor, it’s not long before they are gobbled up by a bigger company.  One that crushes the relationship you had. And the performance.
More than anything it is the ways in which digital advertising is misunderstood and misrepresented.
The real suffering begins when you discover that you have a vendor that is not what they make themselves out to be.  Either in performance, or billing or involvement.  It can take time to get to that realization too.  But when it comes and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach, there is not much worse ways to feel.  Why? Because you have wasted money and car deals.  Simple as that.
We should always start off with looking at a potential vendor and thinking, “am I going to regret this in six months?”  We have to do our own due diligence and put forth the effort to investigate.  Ask the right questions.  Call references. Inquire of our peers.  Ignore the fancy PowerPoint and attractive good smelling reps and dig in.  Dig into what KPI’s are important to you and make sure they understand.  That you will not accept nor tolerate some report that starts with impressions and skips over conversions.  Will you own and have access to your Adwords account?  If not, thank them for the coffee mug they brought you and send them on their way.  Have a wing man, (errrr person ) someone to listen, look and feel if this vendor is right for you.
In the end, it’s just one piece of the intricate clock work that is today’s dealership and it’s operations.  Getting the right piece is the challenge.



A powerful new Google Update

This week Google introduced “posts” for Google Business Pages.
Meaning a business can now create content that will be highlighted
by Google. Promotions, Events, Updates, Sales, you name it.
There are some limitations in the # of words and in image size.
But you can include some links.
Basically, we can now leverge Google to publish directly to the searching public.
I did two experiments, see them below. ( they are just screen caps, not live) To see them live, search Butler Nissan or Butler Toyota.




Fun with Facebook Ads


It goes without saying but still needs to said.
Facebook ads are a great value.
Easy to deploy, control, track and make a local
advertising impact quickly.
Are car sales local, right?
I have found that putting them together with the
help of sales managers and GM’s is crucial.
Getting buy-in and that granular level
input makes for more effective campaigns.
Meaning, better results. Results that resonate
down to the lowest level. The potential customer
out in their own world, entering ours and buying
a car. ( or bringing their “out of the OEM’s
free maintenance period in for service”)

Planning and executing is fairly straight forward.
Decide what you want to accomplish, what action
or result you need is the place to start. It can
be phone calls, test drives, website visits to
the VLP, etc. Then what vehicles to build campaigns
around. Typically, I like to stick with what we have
a good stocking level on. But you can use old age units,
demos or out of rental vehicles.
Deciding the offer can be a bit tricky. Facebook ads
should be part of an overall advertising strategy.
I prefer to stay away from price/payment type ads on
Facebook. Using Facebook’s excellent targeting sets,
it is better to use them for awareness, to generate
interest. New incentives or programs can work well
and get your message to market quickly.
Three basic components you will need are a creative,
a headline and a message.

BMW of Macon
The creative or image can be tough for a lot of dealerships
unless you have a Photoshop person hanging around.
I have started to lean on the OEM’s “OHH” images to use.
They pump them out quite regularly and more and
more they for formatting them specifically for
you to use on Facebook. Facebook has rules for
the image you use. Basically, it is the opposite
of what you liked to do with newspaper ads. Basically
minimal text. So, keep any text short sweet and strong.
The headline needs to be engaging, interesting and match
the creative. The message is for after you have caught
someone’s attention, bringing them in closer to your
calls to action.
I use two tools when creating Facebook ads.
Bitly URL shortener gives me some basic tracking
but specifically, a short descriptive link that looks
good within the ad.
Adparlor.com’s Admock will give you previews of how your
ad will look. Allowing adjustments and tweaks to fine tune
your ad. Also, you can download the ad and send it to
GM’s for them to have a look.
Deploying ads is a whole different process for me and one
I cannot cover in this morning’s cup of coffee.
Thanks for reading! Rock the hell on.

The BLUF strategy – A new language for the internet age

Employing the BLUF strategy with Internet Shoppers


Our ultimate goal with internet shoppers is to turn them into
internet customers. Car Owners, born out of the the Internet
As an industry we have struggled to keep up with shoppers.
Car peeps stick to their ways. Unflinching, never really changing.
There have been changes in the technology we use. But do not cofuse that with
any improvement in communicating with shoppers.
The phone, then email of course and on to chat and video. But what we have
had to say through these different mediums vary little from 10
years ago. “Getting them in” is our underlying theme. It forms
the base of all we have to say.
Shoppers “ain’ hearing that”.
Or tolerating it.
In fact, more and more are bypassing any form of contact with a dealership just
for that reason. They know that when dealing with an automotive
salesperson out side the showroom, the will get nothing more
than lip service. No value, no insight, to them a waste of time.
I challenge you to prove this wrong. You can do so, by reviewing
emails, listening to phone conversations. Are shoppers hearing
anything of true value to them ?
Do we even know what is or is not valuable to an internet shopper?

So lets get into the BLUF strategy. What it is and how to apply it.
BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front
I do not mean bottom line pricing up front. Although price has it’s
BLUF is a mentality to take when attempting a conversation with
an internet customer.
And it is simple.
Look at what you are about say to a customer,
then tear away all the fluff, the sugar coating, the crap that the
manufacture wants you to say and put what is left in simple
very easy to read or hear terms. Keep it to just one or two
items or points. If you have more than that. Save it for the
next attempt.
This is more than just dumbing down your message. It is putting
what the shoppers needs/wants to know in a bit sized easy to consume
manner. Easy to consume, digest and make a decision to move on
to some next steps.
You see, shoppers aint got time for all that stuff about you or your brand
or the dealership. That will come in time. When they want to know.
Not when you want to shove it in their brain. Trying to do so just
clutters and distracts and it gets flushed, if it gets through at all.
BLUF shows the shopper you get them. That you understand that
their time is valuable. That the research they have done so far
has made a difference. After all, it got them to you.
The work today’s shopper does before ending up on the phone or in a lead
form to you is tremendous. You will either be a speed bump or a
a road sign. Either way the shopper will go through you, around
you or not acknowledge you at all.
But we are car folks right ? We want to jump in front of shoppers.
Slow them down. Distract them. Balloons, woo hoo how pretty and shiny.
Seen those “running of the bulls” clips ? Yep, get the hell out of their way.
Run with them. Jumping out in front is not a good idea.
To run with shoppers today, you have to be fast, informative and offer value
to them. That value comes in serving them up stripped down information.
Straight and to the point.
And that is how to put it to a shopper.


BLUF is fairly easy. Just take your current messaging and apply BLUF to it. Bring
to the top the essence of what you are trying to communicate and leave it at
that. Not fancy, no frills.

BLUF last for 72 Hours.
Day 1 – Vehicle vehicle vehicle multiple times and ways
Day 2 – Trade trade trade multiple times and ways
Day 3 Finance finance finance multiple times and ways

Then….. start your fluffy, “we are the best” blah blah follow up.

Got it? Good ! Now get to work.