Breaking News! The Future Of America’s Auto Industry Is Changing With Ford

The opening quarter of 2018 has been an eventful one for the auto industry. First, continued concerns about Tesla factories and worker hardships flooded the web, along with newer issues related to its (literally) driverless cars. In March, the horrific accident involving Uber’s self-driving vehicle showed us that perhaps autonomy isn’t where we all thought it was. Then there were a few scary weekends in which U.S. auto stocks fell after talks of tariffs and a global recession.

Such stories dwarfed normally important industry news, pushing otherwise front-page headlines onto the third page, such as GM’s switch to quarterly reporting and a wave of subscription and rental services offered to dealers.

Now that those viral-friendly pieces have seemingly come and gone, it’s time to focus on what we feel is the biggest automotive story of the year: Ford’s aggressive plans for the future, including the elimination of nearly every sedan in its lineup.

Breaking Ford News

“What?! Did I Miss Something?”

If you haven’t yet heard about Ford’s five-yearish plan, then yes, you’ve missed something. Announced within the official Ford 1Q Financial Statement, the automaker’s strategic framework is as follows:

  • By 2020, Ford will cut ties with all sedans and cars not named “Mustang” or “Focus.”
  • The new Focus Active crossover will be the only holdover.
  • Approximately 90% of the Ford portfolio will be made from pickups, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.
  • By 2022, Ford will produce 16 electric-hybrid models, including the F-150, Escape, and upcoming Bronco.
  • Ford will focus extensively on developing a so-called “viable autonomous technology business” to offer ride-hailing and the delivery of goods.
  • The company will also scale its Transportation Mobility Cloud product and Ford Credit program.
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Top Car Dealer Digital Marketing Must-Haves for 2017

We’re still in the first month of the New Year, which means it’s a better time than ever to re-evaluate your Digital Marketing strategy. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of digital marketing must-haves that every car dealer should be employing. Take a look to see how you check out; if you need any help, let us know, and we’ll get you on the road to more sales faster than a Bugatti.

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Don’t Use Stock Photos

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many dealerships out there are still using stock photos on their SRP and VDP pages. Stock photos aren’t hard to spot. They look bland and could be the deciding factor for potential customers who are comparing your lot to your competitors’. It’s not a bad idea to have a photographer on call. After all, professional photos of the interior and exterior of all your cars could give you a leg up on your competition.

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Better Your Ads With Sitelinks & The New Tracking Feature in Google Analytics

Google has said that sitelinks are believed to boost the average click through rate on an ad by 10 – 20% (+20 – 50% when it is a branded search). If you are running paid advertising, hopefully you are taking advantage of these sitelinks. Consider them just as important as anything else – URL, title, and the description.

Ensure that you’re linking to the most important or frequently viewed pages that your customers visit. Even if the CTR is low, you may still find that these pages are very useful for your customers; for example, your Hours & Directions page.

google-analytics

Choose at least six sitelinks for desktop and four sitelinks for mobile. Sitelinks allow 25 characters for the link text alone; however, studies have shown that shorter sitelinks seem to perform better. Try to keep your link text at 18 – 20 characters for desktop and 12 – 15 characters for mobile.

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5 Digital Marketing Goals for Auto Dealers for The New Year

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  1. Update all department goals.

Don’t strive to hit the same milestones. Make sure you’re increasing your goals in every department. Whether it be offering a larger incentive to your team for better customer service feedback, or increasing the number of reviews you want to obtain every month. Increase your goals in all areas – Service Center, Finance, New and Used Sales, Collision Center, Parts Center, Receptionist, Internet Manager, etc.

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Secrets to Building a Successful Relationship with Your PPC Partner

“Partnership has proven itself one of the most powerful business tools for dealing with fast changing markets, technologies and customers. Partnering is becoming the weapon of choice for today’s successful competitors.” – Curtis E. Shakian

Paid Search Partner

It’s no secret that including paid search in your auto dealer marketing strategy can generate more leads. Whether you use pay-per-click (PPC) or another kind of search engine marketing (SEM), odds are that you’ve brought in a partner agency or consultant to help. We’re sharing our secrets to help you build a successful relationship with your paid search partner or agency.

Share data and dealership reports.

No one knows your dealership better than you. Share your monthly sales reports with your partners and talk through your successes and also areas where your dealership has opportunity. Perhaps your used car sales are in a slump; a good paid search agency partner will take those insights and tailor their campaigns to address your goals and needs.

If you have a different company managing your automotive SEO, be sure to ask your paid search partner to share keyword reports each month. Since Google transitioned to secure search back in 2013, Google AdWords is the only place SEO marketers can tap into valuable keyword data which relates specifically to your dealership.

Define goals and set clear expectations. One of the most important parts of any business partnership is setting expectations. Understand what your agency will be delivering and when you can expect it each month. On the contrary, it’s just as important to be clear with your partner as to what they can also expect from you. If weekly meetings will be difficult, it may be better to communicate via email regularly and meet with your paid search agency on a monthly basis to review your progress and paid search campaign metrics.

Goals are the driving force to any paid search strategy. Is your overall goal to simply generate more leads? Do you need to focus on your used car inventory? Is there a new model you’re pushing this month? Answering some of those questions will help your partner better understand your objectives and guide them in building your paid search campaigns.

Be patient.

Like many other components of your auto dealer marketing strategy, paid search is data driven. It may take some time to gather the insights needed to evaluate campaign changes or overall performance. Luckily, unlike automotive SEO implementations, results of your paid search efforts can be seen in a week or two and can sometimes be instantaneous.

Keep in mind that pushing your partner to make too many paid search campaign changes at once may make it more difficult for them to isolate which changes lead to which effect. A good partner agency should be responsive, however, it’s important to avoid randomizing their work.

Communicate frequently.

Whether you have a new model releasing or are offering stellar lease deals next month, your dealership is constantly changing. Ensure you’re communicating those changes with your partner on a regular basis to ensure they can leverage business changes in your search engine marketing. In turn, you should promote an open dialogue on the ongoing status of your campaigns with your paid search partner. Both you and your partner should feel comfortable addressing any vital issues or account changes throughout the month as needed.

These secrets can be applicable to other business relationships for partners working on your auto dealer marketing. With as powerful a business tool that partnerships can be, are there any other secrets you’re willing to share to your success?