“Hey Alexa, order me more shampoo. Also, can you get me a trade number on customer Smith, make sure that our inventory is up to date online, improve my service drive experience, skyrocket our profitability, and find out why John didn’t show up today? Thanks, Alexa!”

 

Anyone else tired of hearing that Amazon, Apple, and Google should be the gold standard measuring stick for any business objective or industry? It’s gotten out of hand. Your dealership, your business model, your corporate culture, the customer experience, your online presence, e-commerce strategy, and just about anything that you can think of. Did you know, the utopia that is the Amazon, Apple, & Google trifecta has the answer to all business problems you could ever imagine? If you can be just like them, you’ll win at everything forever. 

 

Forgive me for the snarky hyperbole, but let’s face some cold hard truths. Buying a car will never be like buying a pair of socks. We’re not in the business of competing to serve up the most relevant search results for “how do I make potato soup?” or get more likes than the Instagram egg. Our products have usage lifecycles that last about the length of 6 iPhone releases (and stay relevant long after your phone is a paperweight).

 

Yet, this myth persists. The idea that because customers can have Alexa buy them shampoo online, have Siri give them directions to a concert, or download the latest single with 1 click, that buying a car should be just like that or at least close. While we can certainly learn about consumer behavior from these interactions, I am here today to say that buying a car should not be more like these interactions. It can be BETTER.

 

Consultants, industry gurus, and keynote speakers are trying to convince dealers to be more like these companies when their business model and products are just not relevant to the purchase journey of an automobile. I am a firm believer that businesses should look at other industries to learn valuable lessons and strategies, and this is undoubtedly the case with elements of what the Silicon Valley giants can apply to the auto industry. However, let’s take a step to evaluate what auto dealers can do to be the best at their own game, before trying to change the rules to be like another. 

 

The sequel to this dialog (Part 2 of a 5-part exploration) will be a look into 3 industries that are NOT solely tech-focused that the auto industry can benchmark and spare you from trying to emulate the tech worlds hype inducing myopic approach to business in the 21st century. So, don’t install those nap pods into your employee lunchroom just yet and put away the customer self-serve Kombucha tap. Here are some highlights on what you have to look forward to:

 

  1. Real Estate – The two most expensive things most people will ever buy: #1 Their house and #2 their car. People shop for a new home or apartment in the same fashion that they shop for a new car. They already have an idea of what they want, they research where to get it, and they study how much it will cost them. In the case of home purchases, the majority also need financing just like a car. The similarities to the auto industry are uncanny. Inventory listings, display pages, search radiuses, quality photography, and how most have an “agent” to purchase something. We’ll explore how what is real estate doing differently than we are that works and what can we learn from companies like Zillow or Realtor.com.
  2. Hospitality – No industry knows how to better deal with the public than the hospitality industry. Indeed, there are highs and lows in terms of customer service examples. However, companies like Disney, Montage Resorts, and Virgin are all pioneers in taking the customer experience to a more positive and fulfilling place that creates zealous brand advocates worldwide. Like it or not, most customers view buying their next car about as positively as getting their next root canal. We’ve got our work cut out for us. I will dive into what we, at the dealership level, can implement from customer service innovators like Richard Branson and Bob Iger, not necessarily the tech disruption stalwarts like Jeff Bezos or the late Steve Jobs.
  3. Grocery Retail – Another industry that is in the thick of disruption from tech, many retail grocery stores are suffering from tightening margins and online competition. The popularity of meal and grocery sites such as Blue Apron and Peapod.com have grown in popularity. However, there is still fight left in the retail sector. Especially for those who can deliver a more involving customer experience, better produce, and a unique approach. Some have not clung to tradition but have embraced the disruption of competition by one-upping them at their own game.

 

I look forward to hearing from those of you interested in this topic and encourage you to comment if you have ideas for industries or examples of business that I can include that are truly outside of the “tech” box. I would have just included them all in one great post. However, I had to follow my own advice. I took a page from another industry that suggests sequels are a guaranteed way to keep people coming back. I wonder what industry that could be…

Conversion rate (internet marketing) concept. Businessman (marketer) draw growing graph of rise conversion rate.

It’s a well-known fact the best leads aren’t the ones that are bought, but those that convert on your website. These leads close faster, close at a higher rate, and close for higher gross than any other online lead. The problem is that websites are consistently converting less than 1% of their traffic into leads. Some are higher, some lower, but rarely does anyone convert at higher than 2%. Below are a few design tips that I have seen drive website conversion rates as high as 10%.

These guide consumers to where you want them to go and pique their curiosity. By eliminating choice, they drive consumers to do what you want them to do on your site, submit a lead; giving your sales team one more chance at bat with an in-market car shopper! 

 

1. Where Do We Go from Here?– Imagine driving towards a destination, in the dark with no road signs, and your GPS stops working. Sadly, that’s very similar to the experience many dealers currently offer their online customers on their homepages. 

 

90% of visitors to your site are looking for one of three things: new inventory, used inventory or service. Doesn’t it make simple logical sense to have these 

areas clearly marked at the top of your homepage? I always recommend 3 large CTA’s on your homepage, one for each of these options. If you have additional profit drivers you can add simple CTA’s for those as well (no more than 6), but again, 90% of clicks are going to new, used, and service. These should be the first 3 CTA’s on your homepage. They should be above the fold, and they should clearly indicate where they will take a consumer.  

 

Your homepage, above the fold, is the map you are providing to consumers. “Here’s how you get to the destination you came here to find.” Somewhat counterintuitively, you want to eliminate choice for the consumer. You want to direct the consumer where you (the dealer) want them to go, to your product.  

 

Another point to keep in mind for your homepage is that few consumers will scroll down on your page at all and less than 5% will ever make it to the bottom of your homepage. This means that the content found below the fold (anything you must scroll down the page to see), isn’t really for consumers. Sure, you should put some specials on sliders, and a small fraction of consumers will interact with those. Truthfully though, almost all the below the fold content is strictly for SEO purposes. You should ensure that your website provider provides quality SEO content on your homepage, but that is a topic for another article.

 

Think of the lowest common denominator and structure your website so that the dumbest person in the world can easily find their way. If you make it simple for customers, more of them will find their way to where you want them to go AND have a better customer experience along the way.

 

2. Don’t Create Friction in the Search Process– The key to continuing consumer engagement once they do click on a CTA is to deliver relevant results. Just as Google focuses on relevance, the same concept applies to your site.

 

Once a shopper clicks on a CTA, many dealer sites take them to an irrelevant page. Most are set to deliver SRPs in a specific order. In most cases, all new or used vehicles and price, high to low. The problem is that this page is often irrelevant to the consumer. 

 

Let’s say I’m shopping at a Toyota store because I am interested in a base model new Camry. I come to your site, click new inventory, and am given an SRP with all your new vehicles priced high to low. This result is irrelevant for me, requiring me to either scroll through hundreds of other vehicles to arrive at the ones I am interested in or take additional steps to filter through inventory.

 

What if you delivered relevant results instead? This really isn’t that difficult. After a consumer clicks new inventory, rather than delivering them an SRP with every vehicle you have, first take them to a page where they can filter their results. This can be done by price, body style, model, etc. This simple change will result in a lowering of your bounce rate on SRP’s (sometimes by as much as 30-40%), which means that a higher percentage of consumers interact with your inventory. This will also lead to an increase in lead volume. 

 

One more thing on this point, when it comes to your SRP and VDP pages the same principal about limiting your CTAs applies. Don’t overwhelm your potential car buyers with 30 options. Keep it simple, limit to 3 CTAs with a focus on results that you want. Generally speaking, these are a lead form, click to call, and either digital retailing or a credit application.

 

3. What’s the Ultimate Goal? – The ultimate goal of any dealer’s website is to interact with the customer. The only way to convert a customer into a sale is to gain interaction. If you structure your site correctly, more customers will engage with you, leading to more sales.

 

It’s ironic that many of the things that we did in the 90s still work today. The bottom line is that – especially today – consumers need to be incentivized into giving up their information. The number one reason that consumers do not submit a lead is that they believe it will provide no benefit to them. Consumers don’t see the need to “check availability,” feeling that if the vehicle is on your site, it should be on your lot. Dealers must provide the “why” behind lead conversion. The most compelling “why” I have seen is offering a pricing concession in return for lead submission. This can be achieved by clearly indicating to a consumer that a lower price is available if they simply submit a lead. 

 

Today’s consumers are conditioned for instant gratification. Many dealer websites promise a price reduction in return for a lead but don’t deliver; instead, they  return a message, “a salesperson will call you with our price shortly.” All this does is upset consumers. Imagine you are shopping for a TV. You see a button that says, “get the best possible price on this tv instantly!” You click it, you give your name and phone number, and then a page pops up saying, “we will call you soon with your price.” That method isn’t likely to make you a fan of that business. The same principle applies here. Give a CTA that incentivizes consumers to submit a lead, and then deliver on your promise of a lower price, instantly.

 

It really doesn’t matter how much savings you offer; so long as it is provided instantly and fulfills any promise made in your CTA.

 

4. First to Make Contact Wins – In the end, typically the first dealership to contact the customer, to interact, build rapport, and set a sales appointment wins the sale. The faster a dealership can get a customer on the phone; the more likely that customer will still be on the dealership’s website and looking to buy a vehicle. There are a multitude of tools available to achieve fast connections with your consumers. However, you also have to examine your internal dealership policies. Take the time to test your lead process yourself. Go to your site, submit a lead, and see how long it takes for you to receive a response. Five minutes? Ten? Longer? Ask yourself, if I had submitted this lead on my site and my competitors who would have contacted me first? If the answer is your competitor, you have a problem! At that point, you need to identify if the problem is people, process, or product. 

 

When I work with dealers on this issue, the answer is almost always process or product.

 

The highest converting dealer websites are winning by creating a pathway that fulfills the customer’s desire for immediate gratification by delivering relevant results. They provide clear calls-to-action and respond promptly via phone and email to initiate the right kind of engagement to drive a sale.

 

Dealers who encourage customer engagement by providing precisely what they are looking for find they engage via form submissions more often and, ultimately, are more willing to work with the dealership. Customers are more likely to continue engagement either via phone or in person. And that’s how you increase time on site, decrease bounce rates and sell more cars.

Facebook Ads - Fusionzone automotiveOver the years, Google has firmly established itself as the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to search ads. After all, it is, without a doubt, the most used search engine. And, because of that, enjoys the monetary benefits from many ads. 

In the automotive industry, to gain valuable traffic from in-market consumers, dealers compete with manufacturers and third-party lead providers for key search terms. The manufacturers and third-party listing services have a much bigger search engine marketing budget than most dealers, so it can be difficult for dealers to compete. 

Ah, but what about Facebook?

For early adopters, Facebook was the buried treasure that others had yet to find. But has since grown enormously and businesses enjoy the targeted reach, branding opportunities and leads that a correctly configured Facebook ad campaign can bring. 

And now it could be getting even better. 

According to Search Engine Journal, Facebook has quietly begun testing search ads for its advertisers. What does that mean? Instead of being limited to distance, demographics, and interests, you will shortly be able to target Facebook users by their searches a la Google. 

While the data set that Facebook uses for targeting is massive, it can be hit or miss. However, similar to Google search keywords, a Facebook user searching “used cars Dallas, Texas,” or “used Chevrolets Dallas, Texas,” is likely to be much lower funnel, and much more relevant for you to target with ads. And quite possibly not even part of the targeting your dealership uses. Not every buyer is the same, and their interests vary. BUT that doesn’t mean qualified buyers don’t exist outside of your dealership’s usual targeting demographics. 

The benefit to you is that not many dealerships are yet using this feature. It could translate into an advantage over the competition. Also, you may be able to pick the low-hanging fruit, which falls outside the demographics you were previously targeting. There is nothing more powerful than targeting users by search intent. 

Unlike, Google, Facebook search results are primarily powered by the information on a dealership’s Facebook page. This information is NOT as complicated as most websites. Dealerships who properly optimize the information on their Facebook page; and who run targeted search ads on Facebook (when it is widely available); could easily enjoy a good return on investment

I’m not at all advocating that dealerships abandon Google AdWords. Instead, that dealerships utilize this new Facebook targeting method in conjunction with their existing Facebook and Google Ad campaigns. They may be able to quickly ramp up the results of search ad budgets.

 

One critical best practice that helps drive more traffic to your website is to continuously create new content. Google crawls websites to find relevant content to provide more accurate results to searchers. However, it is sometimes hard to come up with content ideas that will be of interest to your audience.

 

Pounding your head against a desk, trying to think of good content ideas simply makes it more frustrating. Ever heard of writer’s block? It’s the same thing. Even bestselling authors experience it.

 

But the best thing about providing new content on the dealership side is that there are so many possibilities. The trick is to ensure that it is content your consumers want to read or watch.

 

Sure, you can create all of the “Why is a radiator flush important?” or new model reviews and all sorts of other information. Don’t get me wrong, these topics are a great start. However, you want your website to stand out. The problem is that many of these topics are already employed by your competition. At least those dealers who are actually trying.

 

So, how do you know what type of content will set your dealership apart from your competition? Listen to your customers and prospects!

Your prospective and existing customers will give you a roadmap showing you all the relevant topics you should create content around. And the way to discover the information they want to know is to listen to the questions your customers most frequently ask.

Your customers are your most valuable source of content inspiration that you have. And in many cases, the questions you are receiving are also questions that other consumers are searching for.

 

An article in Search Engine Journal shared a couple of good ways to identify the best questions to ask.

  1. Call Tracking: Many dealerships employ a vendor for call tracking. These services also record conversations which management and employees can access and listen to. These recording can provide a wealth of content ideas. And they are easy to identify. You know, the ones where you roll your eyes and cry out, “Not this question again!” These are the EXACT topics which make the best content ideas!
  1. Your CRM: Your dealership likely gets a constant stream of questions from consumers that are in contact with you. Whether those communications are via website leads, chat conversations or some other source, they should all go into your CRM.

 

Take a look at your CRM conversations, and you should be able to find some handy repetitive questions.

  1. Your Employees: If you have a BDC, Internet Manager, or someone in your dealership responsible for handling customer communications, ask them for the top 5 questions they continuously have to answer. If they created a template because they are so tired of answering them, that’s an even better indicator that content on that topic is needed.

 

Providing fresh, new, relevant content consistently, helps you answer those questions consumers most want answered. It also helps you attract more eyeballs to your website through relevant search results. Your website becomes an information source to your existing customers. And, prospective customers are more likely to find you simply because you have answered the questions they want to be answered.

 

Also, that is what search engines will recognize. It is also why they will deliver your content to searchers first and how you will get more people on your website. This can only result in more sales and service revenue.

 

Stop banging your head against the wall in search of content ideas and start listening to the questions people ask. As a result, you should attract more customers, increase your organic search page rank, convert more site visitors into customers, and increase customer retention.

In a quick review of dealership’s websites, I find that many are almost entirely sales focused and tend to neglect the one department that brings the most significant percentage of profit… service. Go ahead. Take a look at a few dealership websites. Service tends to be the red-headed stepchild; often neglected and forgotten. Yet it accounts for 50% or more of a dealership’s revenue.

 

In fact, just 10%, or even less of most dealer websites are dedicated to service, according to an article in Automotive News. Sounds like a bit of an imbalance, doesn’t it?

 

One dealer decided to change that. Feldman Automotive Group increased service-related content on almost all of its websites and, since late 2018, has seen visitor traffic increase by 60%. Perhaps more importantly, customer pay revenue increased by 32% in the first 3 months of 2019!

 

Service-related content is frequently searched for by consumers, yet many dealerships neglect to provide any information at all about this section of their business. In many cases, service coupons and specials are either outdated or non-existent. Keep in mind that any consumers who look at your dealership’s website for service information – and then find none – will simply continue to search and, in many cases, will find that information provided by an independent repair facility such as Jiffy Lube. And they are aggressive, transparent, and current in their pricing and services – which consumers seem to like.

 

In this highly competitive market, it makes sense to produce more service-related content for your website. Be sure to keep your service coupons current, be transparent, and provide information and pricing for your most popular service packages and what they include. Consider having a service director shoot a quick video about why customers should service at your dealership – what the benefits are of getting their vehicle serviced at a franchise dealer versus an independent, for example.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a customer come in for routine maintenance and not just warranty service? If you fail to provide the reasons why a customer should choose you over an independent, the consumer may well choose price and convenience, even if your dealership is competitive.

 

Most dealerships share the reasons why a consumer should buy a car from them. That’s a no-brainer. But too few share why consumers should service their car there as well. In my opinion, the ultimate outcome of neglecting service content and information on your website is just one thing – lost revenue.

 

Hey, it has been proven to work. If Feldman can increase customer pay by 32%; surely it’s worth putting at least a little time and effort into creating that service content. Think about creating blogs (both written and video) with topics such as how to pair your iPhone to the in-vehicle entertainment system, as well as specific services you offer and why they are essential. It is also great to highlight your service personnel, their achievements and training, along with the same message of quality, customer service, professionalism, and convenience that you probably already market in your sales messages.

 

Now, while adding service content to your website is great, taking it one step further is even better. Personally, I recommend specialized service websites as they are a great way to bring more customers into your automotive service and maintenance facility. These sites should be optimized with unique content about all things vehicle maintenance, repair, and service. Let your potential and existing customers know that they can count on you to not only sell them a great vehicle but to keep it in excellent condition. If you drive traffic to your service website, it will also drive more traffic to your main website, meaning you’ll have more people viewing your inventory, so it’s a win-win!

If you up your digital footprint as far as vehicle service is concerned, you should see an increase in service revenue and customer pay ROs. These customers can quickly become loyal brand advocates who you can win over as lifetime customers and also capture future sales from referrals.

 

Make your service department easy to find by providing the type of content consumers are looking for. Become the resource they turn to for information and your efforts could soon result in precisely what your business wants… more profit and more customers.

 

Everyone wants to be number one when it comes to search engine results. Many dealers are fighting an uphill battle because they’re competing with not only their manufacturer but also massive third-party sites. This competition has the benefit of working on a single website that can use its authority to push dealerships out of relevant search terms. In essence, they’re just doing one thing: creating relevant content. It sounds simple because it is simple.

When dealers think “content,” most think about creating fresh new content. They overlook the vast amount of content that is already on their site. Every VDP on your website is a piece of content; as are any blog articles, model research pages, community pages, and videos.

Two of the most important factors for ranking are relevancy and authority. The more authoritative and relevant your content is, the higher your odds are to rank. In a basic description, when you type a query into Google, it compares your search against any content it deems relevant. It will then go through that list to find which sites have the most authority and lists them on the page. Of course, it’s a simplistic explanation as there are many factors, but that’s the gist. If you can nail those two factors, you can do well in SEO.

Google is looking for websites that make sense. When you want to create content, it should also make sense why you would want to read it. There’s no hidden trick to generating traffic. If you read a title to a content piece on your site and think “I want to know more,” then you are on the right track.

DCH Paramus Honda is an excellent example of how to build great content. On a Performance Review call, the dealer and I were discussing content ideas to generate traffic. We weren’t happy with a lot of the usual “blog-type” content that was being produced. You know the type; the “top 10 Honda vehicle trunk space”-articles that no one reads and doesn’t impact your traffic. We started asking, “What would I search and read if I needed help?”

After some keyword research, we found that one of the most common search terms in his area was about the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). You know, that light on your dashboard that looks like an exclamation point inside of a bucket. Most of the time, it prompts you to break out the manual to figure out what it means.  

We created a short article but kept it simple. We explain what the TPMS does, how to turn it off, and what to do when it won’t go away. We created a nice simple layout with images assisting our explanation and called it a day. Remember, we want to be as relevant to the search query as possible.

Unsurprisingly, the page took off.

Now, DCH Paramus is the top search result in the nation for “how to reset Honda TPMS.” No location modifier necessary. Google has even rewarded Paramus Honda with a rich snippet, which is commonly referred to as “position 0.” It virtually guarantees a searcher will explore their site first.

What does this look like in terms of traffic? Roughly about a 1027% increase. Yes, there’s no period in that number. One thousand twenty-seven percent. The page has built up an incredible amount of authority and hasn’t been dethroned in over a year.

Screen Shot 2019-04-26 at 1.10.47 PM.png

 

Earlier, an argument was made to use your current content on your site rather than creating brand-new content. And then I just went and wrote about adding new content. For shame. But the next example will show you the power of using your current website content and how it can transform your organic presence.

Every time you add content to your site, you are running the risk of two pages competing for similar keywords. When that happens, Google will have to pick between the two when ranking, and it can often leave a search engine puzzled and go with a different result over yours. Search engines want to serve up a page that best matches the search term.

To avoid this “keyword cannibalization,” each page on your site should fulfill a unique purpose. You should create as few pages about your inventory, fixed-ops, financing, anything, as possible to increase the odds that a single page will rank well and build authority as a search engine’s go-to source for queries.

Almost every dealership that comes onto our platform has its models, service department, finance pages, and company pages already built out. However, they often leave them at a paltry two hundred to three hundred words on a page with sparse details. They’re often just a pencil banner and content. Not exactly the most exciting read.

Fixed ops is often the biggest loser in this category, with multiple pages serving the same purpose and none of them being comprehensive. We got to thinking — what if instead of adding several individual pages on a menu, we condensed it into one super-hub that served as a launch point for all the other, more specific, content pages.

It would contain links to your service team, collision center, tips and tricks, and where to schedule an appointment. It would be clean and dynamic, and funnel clients directly to the source of their query. Remember, we want to capture as many questions as possible for relevancy and doing so on one mega-page will help accumulate authority.

Unsurprisingly, the page, once again, took off.

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 3.02.54 PM.png

Paramus’s Service Center page grew a massive 86.15% in organic traffic and over 565% as a landing page (which means traffic straight from a search engine). It now maintains that large increase and grows roughly 4.5% each month. It was a hit.

It cannot be understated how important it is to refresh and re-use current content on your website. Search engines crawl thousands of pages on an average dealers site due to different inventory configurations. Most sites have around fifty existing pages without including inventory pages. They’re a gold mine for improving your organic presence. Too often we brush them aside in lieu of something new.

So be sure to ask your current SEO provider what their plans are for re-using and updating existing content on your sites just as often as you drum up ideas for new content. By mixing the two, you’re guaranteed to succeed.

Next Generation Tools Enable Dealers To Contact Customers In Under 6 Seconds, Converting Leads Into Sales
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calf., January 7, 2018 – fusionZONE Automotive, LLC, the automotive industry’s highest-performing dealer website solution, today announced the launch of two lead generation tools, FastRing and FastPrice. These tools enable dealers to instantly generate competitive pricing on a prospective customer’s screen and contact them in under 6 seconds, converting more leads into sales.

 

“Consumers spend more and more time shopping online for a vehicle and expect to get the information they want in real time,” said Brett Sutherlin, FusionZONE Founder. “The days of car dealers withholding prices from potential customers are in the past. When the consumer requests pricing online, they want that information FAST! Unfortunately, many potential customers will leave a dealership website because they had to wait too long, or never received the information at all and went elsewhere,” Sutherlin continued.

 

FastPrice gives customers a “no haggle” price in just two clicks. The customer chooses a vehicle, clicks the “get today’s best price button,” and fills out a simple contact form. Behind the scenes, FastPrice crunches the numbers according to the dealer’s pricing structure, displays the best price instantly on the screen, and sends the dealer the lead.

 

FastPrice can be customized and programmed to give additional options to the information the consumer requested. For example, many dealerships use FastPrice to display new car alternatives or even a Certified or Pre-Owned option in addition to the information and price requested.

 

Dealers using FastPrice see a lift in leads of 100 to 400 percent, which in turn results in more sales. Capital Toyota in Chattanooga, TN, went from averaging 60 leads per month to approximately 432 leads per month, and new and used vehicle sales soared from about 180 a month to over 250.

 

FastPrice and FastRing are highly effective stand-alone products but also work exceptionally well together to make a positive first impression, increase website conversion rates and stop shoppers in their tracks.

 

“We live in a world of fast; fast cars, fast food, faster checkout. Consumers don’t want to wait; they want everything now. In this new car buying era, internet shoppers are no different. You have to grab your customers before they leave your website or a third-party website that features your vehicles, and certainly before they get distracted by another crazy cat video,” said Sutherlin.

 

According to a recent MIT study, the average consumer leaves a website within 30-45 seconds after requesting more information. With FastPrice they get that information immediately. Then, with FastRing they can still be on the dealer’s website when the salesperson receives the lead and calls the customer — all within 6 seconds. FastRing instantly connects the dealership to the customer while they are still browsing the website, dramatically reducing the likelihood of them visiting a competitor site.

 

“With FastRing you are in contact with a lead before the customer has time to click away or even check their email. FastRing connects you with a lead instantly, faster than your competition could ever dream off. First impressions are ones that last and fast impressions are ones that sell,” Sutherlin added.

 

FastRing integrates with 3rd party applications creating instant connections from any lead source. It includes an extensive administration portal with 24/7 access to call data including call recordings and real-time statistics.

 

FastRing and FastPrice will are launching at the 2019 NADA show, January 25-27, 2019, at booth 7935W. For more information, view this video https://tinyurl.com/y7637fc9.

 

To schedule a booth visit, /or a demo, visit: https://www.fzautomotive.com/nada/

 

About fusionZONE Automotive, LLC

 

fusionZONE Automotive offers automotive dealers the nation’s fastest, most cutting-edge customized and responsive websites. With the sole objective of driving website conversions and leads, fusionZONE Automotive websites help dealers sell more cars.

 

fusionZONE also offers complete, progressive digital marketing solutions, streamlining the digital process for dealerships of all sizes.

 

fusionZONE Automotive websites are designed to not only garner as much traffic as possible for dealer clients, but also to actively convert that traffic into leads and sales.

 

fusionZONE is based in Pacific Palisades, CA Lakeland, FL and Seattle, WA.

 

Media Contact:

(424) 330-2356

marketing@fzautomotive.com


In this blog, I’d like to talk a little bit about American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and your websites, quickly covering some emerging issues and simple corrective actions you can take.
If you are an auto dealer in Florida or New York, your website is likely under scrutiny by lawyers representing potential customers. They review your site to see if it is accessible to potential customers with disabilities, as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. In 2018, there were over 2,200 ADA compliance lawsuits filed – with almost 1,600 of them being in New York alone. The challenge of accessibility for dealers is made harder by a lack of agreement on the definition of “ADA Compliant” in the courts. Also, sites with large inventories and technical details, such as VIN numbers, are particularly difficult to make accessible.
As a dealer, what are you to do? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed a set of standards – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – which are now on their second version. Dealer websites should meet at least WCAG 2.1 Level A accessibility guidelines at a minimum and should strive to meet Level AA guidelines where practical. These guidelines focus on four areas known as POUR:
 

  • Perceivable – the tags and directions on the site should be evident and give the user a sense for what the form, button or link does.
  • Operable – the site should be navigable with a keyboard or a mouse.
  • Understandable – any messages and directions should be written clearly.
  • Robust – the design should work with most browsers and assistive technologies.

The W3C has a quick review checklist for accessibility to assess your current website for accessibility against WCAG requirements. As a dealer, you should take a few minutes and check your sites, identify any obvious areas of weakness, and work with your website provider and digital marketing agency to bring the site in line with the WCAG 2.1 A Standards.
When fusionZONE builds a website, we start with an approach that is designed to meet WCAG 2.1 A Standards:
 

  • All images uploaded to an FZ dealer’s site can be configured with an ‘alt’ text by the user.
  • FZ’s new web platform removes the need to use PDFs, as the responsive web platform was designed and built using text-based formats and is compatible with leading assistive technologies.
  • FZ provides the tools necessary to ensure our dealer’s websites have every opportunity to remain compliant with this standard. However, please note that brand compliance standards impact the ability of the solution to always meet optimal standards right out of the box– think colors and red-green color blindness, for instance.
  • FZ gives users (dealers) the tools and options to choose colors, sizing and font settings and the ability to implement color schemes to align with the dealer’s brand, where possible. A dealer maintains ultimate control over its website visitors’ web experience, and as such, can sometimes override brand and compliance guidelines.
  • FZ website tools enable a dealer to frame-in a video on their website and to also include related videos on their Vehicle Details Page (VDP). In both cases, if the video includes an audio description (text captions, etc.), the video and supporting elements will render correctly on the dealer’s FZ website.
  • We offer Audioeye (www.audioeye.com) as an add-on which provides voice navigation and other accessibility options.

Will this prevent an enterprising lawyer from suing your dealership? No. Will using a fusionZONE website, focusing on accessibility in design and applying available accessibility tools reduce your exposure and risk? Yes.
 

Se Habla español?


Many dealerships reap the benefits of employing staff that speak fluent Spanish for the simple reason that an increasing number of Spanish speakers frequent today’s dealerships for both sales and service. Language barriers can be a problem when it comes to service recommendation upsells or relaying the value of a vehicle, its features and, ultimately, a deal the customer can understand.
If you cannot communicate fluently with a significant demographic portion of your market area, your dealership could be losing a considerable amount of money in revenue from service declines and lost sales.
It’s one thing to have a Spanish speaking employee who can converse with customers in a way they understand. But what about engaging them when they aren’t at the dealership? How do you do that? Via your website!
According to the 2016 Census, Hispanics comprised 17 percent of the population of the United States; that is around 55 million people. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2060, Hispanics will make up 28 percent of the population. As a result, there will soon be 119 million U.S. residents of Hispanic descent, some of whom will speak English as a second language and perhaps need assistance from a Spanish-speaking employee.
Today’s car buyers conduct a majority of their research online, and that is sure to increase. If Hispanic-speaking customers cannot understand the messages on your website, it’s the same as if they are standing in your showroom unable to comprehend your salesperson. However, in this case, you may never have the opportunity to correct that situation.
If you have a large Hispanic market and do not already have one, it is time to consider a website built from the ground up dedicated solely to the Spanish language.
There are plenty of website providers that offer Spanish language websites to their dealer clients. However, be careful who you chose, as many just rely on Google’s translation tool when the customer has their browser set to Spanish. If you’ve ever tried to translate anything with this tool, you will have probably found that it does the job to some degree, but it’s not perfect. Also, if you chose to use Google-translated websites, the content isn’t indexed, so you essentially gain no benefit.
There is a better way: a SECOND website built organically from the ground up in Spanish. You can then deliver your messages directly to your customers in their native language with proper syntax and grammar. These customers will better understand you and, as a bonus, feel that your dealership cares about them and their ethnicity, and can genuinely assist them for all their sales and service needs.
Aside from those benefits, which are huge and can earn more sales and service business, there are considerable SEO benefits as well. First, as a second site, Google will fully index it. Whereas it does not index a site that is simply translated by the Google translation tool. How big of a deal is this? I’ve seen instances where a dealer’s SPANISH website outranks their primary ENGLISH website in search results! As an additional bonus, Spanish language websites aren’t under the scrutiny and policies of the manufacturer when they are true secondary websites, so you do not have to worry about compliance issues with your OEM.
It’s well worth looking into. A secondary website dedicated to the Spanish language produces extra website traffic, more leads and, ultimately, more sales.


In this modern age of transparency, dealers can get somewhat confused on the subject of pricing. Should they provide upfront pricing on their website, or ask customers to engage with their site first before receiving the dealership’s best price?
 
The industry is pretty divided on this topic, with consultants, trainers and others on both sides of the fence. On one side are those who feel that providing the best price on the dealer’s website without asking the customer for any engagement (no call-to-action), will cause the consumer to appreciate the transparency and choose that dealer. On the other side are those who feel that providing pricing without first requiring some form of engagement can, in fact, hurt sales.
 
First Theory: Provide Price Upfront – Those who have this opinion believe that today’s consumers are accustomed to fast information access. Consumers want immediate gratification and results, the same as they get from Google searches or browsing most other retailer’s websites. They can then take that information and make buying decisions. Those dealers perceived as the most helpful and transparent will win the business – especially with a significant purchase such as a new vehicle.
 
Second Theory: Get the consumer to engage before you show price, such as with an automated pricing tool on the site. Those in the industry who subscribe to this opinion feel that if you provide pricing upfront, shoppers will merely use it to price shop other dealers until they find the lowest price. By giving pricing information up front, without some form of engagement first, the dealer risks consumers price shopping without having a chance to first consider that dealer’s unique selling propositions including customer experience, amenities and other benefits such as free loaner cars, car washes, etc. Getting a consumer to engage first, perhaps with a quick price tool on the site, can increase leads and provide more opportunity to sell the vehicle than full pricing transparency.
 
Depending on the dealership’s thought processes either could work. But, is there a “right” way that all dealers should follow to convert the most consumers and/or sell the most cars via their website?
 
What do you think is the best theory? Let me know with your comments below. I think this will prove to be a lively discussion!