The world wide web has replaced car row as the place to shop for a vehicle. The consolidation of brick and mortar facilities could have been accelerated by a shrinking economy and government dictates; nevertheless, the writing has been on the virtual wall for some time. Technology has constantly served as the catalyst for change and the Internet has proven to be the platform to introduce the next evolution of the auto business.
The world wide web has matured as an efficient facts resource to replace the real world auto dealership as the place of option for automobile shoppers to gather the info they will need to choose a vehicle and a dealership -- in that order! World wide web based social networking is the virtual version of a Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, Community Event, Fraternity, etc., linked together by a technology that serves as a central communication and distribution tool.
The significance of relationship based selling in the real world is supported in each sales training manual based on the observation that folks like to do company with folks that they like. The logic to Sell yourself, sell the dealership, sell the vehicle and then justify the price is an accepted wisdom that is based on the 1 constant that has survived in both the real world and the world wide web -- Human Nature! Web based social networks represent an on the internet community of like-minded customers who have a strong influence on their on the internet friends. Auto dealers should invest and involve in these online communities as men and women not as an auto dealer.
They should prioritize the interests of their new on the net friends just before, throughout and after their buying cycle to earn their trust and consideration when they have a will need for a new vehicle or to service their present 1. After all, what are friends for!
Once a will need has surfaced it is critical that the transition from casual conversations to focused selling processes is transparent and comprehensive to move the consumer seamlessly through their on the internet shopping experience. Technology can communicate the details required by both the consumer and the dealer to move forward into a transaction. Nevertheless, the processes need to construct on the personality and relationship built on the social networking website that surfaced the chance. The distinctive differentiator between the dealers down the street selling the exact same product is not the price, but the folks that began the dialogue built on an earned relationship and trust.
Viral marketing is a natural extension of social networking that distributes a message in such a way that it will be forwarded by the recipient in a geometric progression enhanced by its valued content, special creative, entertaining production or some top quality that will motivate the initial consumer to share it with their spheres of influence. The exponential growth of this kind of online distribution channel affords an incredibly cost successful media to distribute the initial message to a diverse audience that might or may possibly not be interested in the content, but even a little percentage of conversions represent a superior short term and quantifiable R.O.I. to conventional advertising media. The buzz produced by the extended on the net community also develops long term branding recognition that enhances the reach and frequency of the message with less measurable results but comparable value in developing top of the mind awareness for future consumers.
By extension, social media as it is applied for the purpose of advertising for the retail auto industry is a channel for distribution of both viral and targeted marketing messages by way of controlled blogging forums as well as expanded spheres of influence via on the web communities such as Twitter, Face book, LinkedIn, Naymz, YouTube, etc.
These on the web social networking communities have distinctive profiles that attract unique types of users. Twitter and Face book, for example, are more universal and personal in nature while Naymz and LinkedIn are much more professional and focused on organization to enterprise networking with YouTube making use of video to express the message. These on the web communities will be component of your extended social media channel, even so, far more specialized networks targeted to the auto industry should be the core channels based on their applicable content, audience and related links.
It need to also be noted that recent market studies confirm that the efficiency defined by Twitter - in that they limit their postings to 140 words - has served to differentiate them from other websites with a superior growth curve to prove it. Conversion rates from Twitter users who access on the internet banner ads or comparable commercial messages are twice those of social networkers who do not have Twitter in their on-line profiles. The revelation is that quite a few on the net networkers are overwhelmed by the fragmented on-line communities that they participate in and limited time demands them to seek out far more efficient methods to manage their on the internet and real world lives.
New platforms that link these diverse online communities into 1 central access point now exist that supply efficiencies beyond those provided by any single web site. Power.Com -- for example -- functions as a layer or residence page that represents this one stop social networking web site philosophy. Newly developed marketing platforms serving the auto business, like ronsmap.com, integrate social media with their vehicle listings with localized search engine functions -- believe Google Local! ronsmap is a game changing on-line vehicle buying/selling internet site for both consumers and dealers that makes automobile purchasing fast, comprehensive, transparent and live. Their proprietary technology gives consumers unparalleled buying and negotiating power over the automobile purchasing/selling processes which includes the opportunity to accommodate For Sale By Owner listings. It gives auto dealers with unprecedented levels of sales intelligence on consumer leads and it enables automotive advertising agencies to promote and engage consumers via social networks.
The capability to offer both B2B and B2C advertising messages supported by relevant social networking forums is an efficient combination of company and pleasure that will attract today's time challenged customers. Of course, business opportunities should be subordinate to supplying relevancy and fascinating content to the end users -- the automobile shoppers -- nevertheless, the convenience of providing a locally targeted inner circle of connected real world friends via an on-line communication tool is an example of the leveraged and efficient resources that are emerging on the Web. Advertising to consumers in social networking communities requires resources, tools and skill sets to compliment and supplement auto dealers existing on the internet selling efforts and ronsmap provides all of these elements in a price efficient scalable manner although delivering market intelligence that enables the auto dealer to maximize their conversion rates and preserve gross profit in their on the web negotiations.
Finally, numerous dealers have learned the value of integrating customer generated content onto their sites through blogging forums and other strategies to present past and present customer experiences to possible future clients. These dealer sponsored social networking platforms are frequently suspect and dealers tend to filter negative comments on their own web site which limits participation by clients and adversely impacts the confidence of visitors in the value of the content. A much more proven platform has been for auto dealers to support third party micro-web sites that distance the dealer from the on the web community. The website can then expand on the messages it presents to consist of problems of interest to possible clients. Links to community organizations and related data resources supported by the dealer do not need a sales message, which would likely alienate the on the web community. The value of developing relationships with the web site visitors on the widespread ground of your shared support for the activities coordinated on the internet site will plant the seed that will grow when they are looking for a friend in the car enterprise.
The agenda of participants in social media and social networking does not include commercial messages as it is primarily an on the web platform to construct relationships and share details. On the contrary, any commercial abuse of a social media website will alienate users and produce negative backlash. That said, as previously stated, human nature has survived from the real world to the virtual world and folks still prefer to do enterprise with friends -- real or virtual. As lengthy as the sales message is secondary to supplying valued content or is placed in the context of a relationship focused community with shared interests then the capacity to develop sales is both measurable and assured.
Viral marketing and social media have price benefits over conventional media -- such as radio, TV, print, direct mail, etc. -- as well as on the net investments in search engine marketing, (SEM) -- such as pay per click and banner advertisements -- since there is no direct costs.
They are similar in their R.O.I. and value to World wide web based search engine optimization, (SEO), with comparable indirect costs in that they are labor intensive. Even so, properly leveraged reciprocal links and automated content supplied by RSS feeds from related on the net sources can be integrated to reduce the labor for both content and distribution enhancing the R.O.I. even after the price of labor is considered.
An extra distinctive value of social media is the increasing importance of relevancy and consumer generated content in consumer preference in their selection of web sites as a resource for info. Improvement in conversion and bounce rates, time on page and a number of other website analytics can be directly attributed to improved relevancy and consumer content -- as is provided by social media when correctly integrated with a web site.
Much more considerably, is the resulting impact it is having on search engines such as Google in adjusting the algorithms that establish both page rankings and even costs associated with their pay per click programs. Also, the continuously changing messages provided by user generated content on the posting website improves its SEO. The significance of relevancy has been firmly established by both consumers and the search engines insuring that its impact on Net use will boost as really should your focus on it.
A less obvious but equally valued aspect of the use of social media to extend your marketing plans is the evolution of the use of the World wide web by customers to be much more of a pull/push media vs. the old world advertising logic of push/pull. The World wide web has allowed consumers the freedom to gather data from a variety of on-line resources to prevent the sales hype and self serving messages employed by advertisers in other media.
The recognized preference for consumers to rely on referrals and shared personal experiences from third party sources and 'friends' has been enhanced by the World wide web and, more specifically, social media which has been shown to supply a stronger influence on consumers than both conventional and other techniques of World wide web based advertising efforts. Leveraged resources in the auto industry social networking arena offer customers, auto dealers and vendors with the inside story on the auto business. These site supply shared content by direct and indirect links with other established social media networks as well as specialized auto business networking communities in consumer/dealer/consultant/vendor facing forums.
It is important to note that the messages and even the portals themselves are established as open forums with minimum self serving or obviously commercial elements. Of course, the underlying purpose of many of these websites is to improve the SEO and relevancy of the auto dealer participants and all of the contributing members. Nonetheless, social media rely on relationship based communications. If a internet site is perceived by consumers as being self serving or commercial it will be shunned by consumers.
The demand by customers for transparency on an auto dealer's web site is coupled with the auto dealer's will need to convert these virtual customers to real world selling opportunities for vehicle sales and service. The following on the internet processes are created to replicate and integrate with established real world selling systems without offending the on the web shoppers by delivering the info that they want, when they want it -- which is instantly!
1) Meeting and Greeting: Meeting and greeting is step 1 in both the real and the virtual world. If a customer walks into a showroom he expects to either come across the data he wants or to be directed to where he can locate it. Conversion tools, such as Argistics AutoTransaXion and Auto Site Plus, allow a pro-active engagement with an invitation to answer a customer's questions.
AutoTransaXion links with the dealer's DMS and CRM to integrate with established real world selling systems. A lot more uniquely, their two way video customer interaction platform replicates the human experience' for relationship based communications. An additional chat application with a special added value is AutoWebsitePlus.Com. It replaces the video function discovered in AutoTransaXion with a 15 language translation application that enables an English speaking sales staff to directly communicate with Spanish, German, Italian, etc. speaking consumers. Specialized R.O.I. analytics include S.E.M. and S.E.O. quantified and qualified reports to monitor and manage all of your on the internet advertising and marketing investments that are driven to your web page.
Both AutoTransaXion and Auto Internet site Plus also provide a staffed solution to supplement -- or even replace -- an auto dealer's sales or net staff in processing world wide web leads sourced from the internet site. Justified cuts in expenses by auto dealers struggling to adjust fixed and semi-variable expenses to be in synch with reduced profit margins and sales volume has forced a lot of dealers to decrease the efficiency of their selling processes on both their real and virtual showrooms. The capability to add a remote staff to instantly respond and method on-line sales and service opportunities in a consistent manner can either supplement existing staff or extend the on the web showroom hours to a 24/7 schedule.
2) Initial T.O. + qualifying + feature/benefit presentations: AutoTransaXion and Auto Internet site Plus both offer a real time interaction which can be utilized to accommodate an initial T.O. and to initiate an interview to qualify the customer's requirements. Once their requirements are determined, the application continues in a push/pull manner to present information on a selection of vehicles.
3) Inventory walk and test drive: The use of videos in conjunction with embedded links to relevant details, such as Car Fax reports, combined with a list of comparable vehicles based on the customer's wants, can replicate the consumer experience in the real world. SiSTeR Technologies Video CarLot is an automated video production service that can convert an auto dealer's on the web pictures into a professional video with human voice as well as the capacity to integrate existing video content into the stitched pictures provided on the dealer's site. In addition, multiple schema layers linked to a dedicated micro-website -- vShock -- gives an extended advertising platform for comparable inventory on the dealer's web site. This procedure will narrow down the inventory to a short list of feasible vehicles to permit the on the web selling process to continue into relevant negotiations and in some cases even to an actual on the internet transaction. This application also integrates a lead conversion form that is directly sourced back to the video posted on the dealer's web site, third party advertising web sites and even on the search engines as a distinctive URL linked to the video posted on You Tube via a dedicated API that delivers the vehicle with integrated meta tags and search words tied to the vehicle as well as links back to the posting dealer's web page in synch with their established S.E.O. programs. (vSEO)
4) Trade-in evaluation and negotiations: AutoTransaXion and Auto Website Plus push/pull capabilities include the ability to request pictures and details on a trade-in that will provide sufficient details for a dealer to establish an actual appraised value subject to confirmation at the time of delivery. Similarly, since the applications are linked with the auto dealer's DMS, the 1st pencil can be delivered at the point of very first contact with actual negotiations in a similar fashion to established real world selling processes.
5) On the internet transactions and delivery: AutoTransaXion and Auto Internet site Plus can complete a negotiation and method all customer and vehicle information directly into an auto dealer's DMS and CRM with the ability to push all forms required to consummate a sale. The dealership can then deliver the vehicle along with the appropriate paperwork. The delivery can be scheduled at the dealership to prevent proper of rescission rules that exist in numerous states. It need to be noted that even if an appointment is made at the dealership the method will be greatly enhanced by the on the net communications that preceded it.
6) Follow up for sold and un-sold units: Database advertising for sold and unsold clients has existed for several years, even so, matrix based automated solutions have been extremely limited. Bulldog Advertising Technologies and their integrated Consumer Cleanse supply a custom follow up to any customer that has been entered into a dealer's database. The messages can be delivered via email or direct mail with a personalized message drawn from the initial contact.
The unique feature of Bulldog is their capability to choose comparable vehicles for the ongoing consideration of unsold customers. The contact can consist of current price details which includes factory incentives, interest rates and payments to address issues that could have prevented the initial sale.
In addition, Consumer Cleanse uses third party resources to determine if a customer has already bought a vehicle -- even if from a various dealership -- so the message can be converted to a service provide rather than a sales message that will be ignored by the customer. Sold consumers are also included in the process with service provides and customer satisfaction messages to supplement the dealer's existing CRM functions.
7) Inventory management and ongoing on the web marketing: It is an accepted wisdom that dealers make their funds on Employed Cars when they purchase them, not when they sell them. Inventory management systems like AAX, vAuto, eCarList and FirstLook supply applications that use historical sales data as well as present online postings in varying ratios of relevancy to assist in the appraisal method. Extended and integrated marketing platforms also seamlessly place the newly acquired inventory onto the dealer's site and third party advertising sites. Since time is funds the quicker the vehicles are placed on the virtual inventory and on the internet advertising plan the sooner they are sold and the profit is turned into another vehicle.
FirstLook has the distinctive capability to apply their proprietary algorithm to design the copy of the on-line ads for the vehicles utilizing their Consumer Optimization method to prioritize the features and benefits for each vehicle to precisely match proven customer preferences. This automated production method increases conversion and profits from the posted ads and extra features and functionality are planned to further enhance the ads. (Can you say VIDEO!)
All of the issues discussed in this article can be referenced to the key differentiator between conventional advertising/marketing and the newly maturing position being reserved for social networking. For example, customer reviews exist in most retail verticals on the World Wide Web and the auto industry is no exception. Although the importance of this component of quite a few social networking web site can't be over emphasized, it is only one bullet in the gun of auto dealer's that are continuously expanding their investment in reputation management and branding by means of the use of their social networking/marketing plans.
Web 2. has turn out to be an established buzz for today's automotive advertising agencies but User Generated Content, (UGC), has earned a position in their vocabulary in a selection of forms. Social Media -- for example -- references communication technology provided in a public forum that permits users to interact and contribute shared content via a selection of tools which includes forums, blogs, Weblogs, networking communities, wikis and radio podcasts -- like my own blog talk radio shows on AdAgencyOnline.Net.
Social Marketing describes a grouping of social media tools that supply direct personal relationships with a targeted group of buyers. Social Networking Websites contain well recognized on-line communities like Face Book, Twitter, Bebo, MySpace and newly maturing centralized aggregator internet sites like ronsmap.com that allow men and women to connect with old and new on-line friends via personal profiles that define their shared interests in both the real and the virtual world on an individual basis as well as with groups that they have in typical.
The growing acceptance and recognition of these a variety of and related facets of the new phenomenon of Social Networking is built on established company and advertising advertising principals enhanced by the new language of today's Web and technology driven auto business. They all recognize the significance of relationship selling and branding to supplement and compliment -- not replace -- conventional calls to action and direct selling messages.
The search engines are also playing a growing role in the acceptance of UGC and the significance of reputation management with the development of new tools -- like Google's Sidewiki -- that supplies website visitors with a text box to post their opinion of an auto dealer's site to future visitors. They have an added self serving agenda to eventually sell this information and details to possible on-line advertisers since the application also tracks the user's history on the Web but it raises the significance and urgency of protecting auto dealer's on the internet reputation to a new level!
Automotive advertising agencies are learning and applying the rules established by the search engines but dictated by the on the web consumer who ultimately is the only driver on the World wide web Super Highway that matters. In summation, monetizing social networking and applying it into selling processes that blur the line between the real and the virtual world is the objective and role of today's automotive advertising agencies.
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Automotive Advertising Agencies Monetize Social Networking by Integrating it Into Real World Procedure