local listings management

If you’re on a quest to improve your search engine placement and ranking, then you are aware of local directory listings and how they may affect your SEO.  There are many different providers of local listings and it can be cumbersome to manage.  

Years ago, updating your local listings was a technique to gain links.  Presently, it still helps with link building, but the primary value is improving your business’ local presence.  Optimizing your local listing is more than having a consistent name, address, and phone too.  It’s about total business consistency across all local listings directories.

This article aims to address how local listings management helps with your local search engine optimization strategy.  

Why Is Local SEO Important?

We can’t discuss local SEO without briefly explaining SEO. Search engine optimization is the science behind creating content and updating your website to be found when people use search engines.  Local SEO takes that same concept and applies it to being found within a local search. 

Local SEO is important because so many internet users perform local based searches multiple times per day.  If you’re selling new and used cars, and providing vehicle maintenance like oil changes, tire services, and brakes then local SEO is imperative for your online success. 

Featured Snippets, FAQ’s, and Answer Boxes 

Have you asked a specific question on Google and noticed they provided a direct answer within the search results?  Depending on the question, the answer could be in an answer box, or you could get a list of frequently asked questions that support your search query.  These types of featured snippets are pulled from your website, and your Google Business profile.  

Some businesses would gripe about being featured because it answers the question and the user wouldn’t actually click on the website.  However, if your business has a physical location that provides a specific service like brake repairs, equipment sales, or used car sales then this is a prime area to be in.  Why?  Because those searches usually have a direct action related to it.  The search query, “Nissan dealership near me” will likely lead to a directions request if performed on a mobile device. Someone searching “Toyota brake repair” on a computer is probably going to make an appointment. 

Effective management of your local listings can improve your chances of being in a featured snippet.  According to Entreprenuer.com, featured snippets will get you more website traffic.

Virtual Assistants and Voice Search

Another trend affecting local SEO is how users are actually searching.  Virtual assistants have caused an increase in voice searches and they are designed to query their respective platforms.  This means Google Home will search Google My Business when a local search is done.  Siri will search Google as well for certain queries, while also displaying Apple Maps for any directions requests.  Amazon’s Alexa will search Bing to answer queries.  If someone conducts a local search using any device, with any of those platforms, you want to make sure your company information is updated and consistent.  

Company Information and Updates

Name, address, and phone number, aka NAP,  are the top 3 bits of company information needed for local SEO.  An optimized business listing will provide NAP and other data like hours of operation, payment types accepted, available parking, services, products, and even the latest news and/or events.

Google Business and other local listings allow businesses to share posts.  These posts can be company news, coming events, blog posts, and even direct links to call or book now.  It’s important to include a consistent local listings posting plan as part of your local SEO strategy.

Check and Fix Your Local Listings Easily

Having updated and maintained business listings are a key component to local SEO. It is vitally important for lead generation if you are a car dealership, equipment sales company, or repair shop. Consider the statistics that Millenials spend over 17 hours shopping online before they even visit a dealership. Most vehicle owners will search for a location for vehicle maintenance too.  There are hundreds of local listings where the search could happen including Google, Bing, Apple, Yelp, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, and more.  

Do you know the status of your business listings?  Is your name, address, and phone number consistent in every directory?  We have a local listings management tool called FastListing. Simply input your NAP, along with your email address and we’ll send you a report with your business listings status. 

commercial transportation business

Do you want to take your commercial transportation business to the next level? If so, you will need to advertise!

But what are the best ways to promote a truck or tractor dealership? The experienced marketers at fusionZONE are here to provide you with all the info you need to know!

The Best Ways to Market Your Commercial Transportation Business

At fusionZONE, we recommend using the following techniques to promote your dealership:

Add Your Logo to Your Vehicles

Whether you sell heavy equipment or trucks, your products spend quite a lot of time on the road. You can turn that mileage into marketing exposure by adding your dealership branding to your vehicles.

It is best to put the logo on or near the vehicle’s rear bumper. This placement will ensure it is visible to other motorists without obstructing or annoying the operator.

Some of your buyers might be willing to put a larger, more noticeable branding on their vehicle in exchange for a discount on their purchase. Suggest this idea during the negotiation process to see if they are interested.

Build an Optimized Website

When people search online for a truck or tractor dealer in your city, will they find your business? If not, you need to create an SEO-friendly website for your equipment dealership as soon as possible.

Generally speaking, your website should contain the following elements:

  • Content focused around keywords like “truck dealer,” “tractor dealer” or “heavy equipment for sale”
  • Easy-to-use menus and navigation tools
  • A responsive design that works well on mobile devices
  • Product listings with a real-time connection to your dealership’s inventory
  • A callback widget, like FastRing, that can connect you to buyers while they are still on your website
  • A deal builder, like FastLane Leads, that allows shoppers to find financing and value their trade-in online, and
  • A page detailing all your company’s latest deals and promotions

With these elements in place, your website will attract hundreds, or even thousands, of visitors every month. Many of them will become clients.

Launch a Google Ads Campaign

PPC (pay-per-click) marketing via Google Ads is one of the most effective ways a truck or tractor dealer can sell heavy equipment online.

This popular advertising method offers the following benefits:

  • Rapid Results: Google Ads campaigns can begin generating leads and driving sales for your company in as little as two days.
  • Detailed Data: Google Ads provides you with tons of data you can use to guide your marketing strategies.
  • Easy Targeting: Google Ads makes it easy to ensure your PPC ads only show for users who are likely to purchase your equipment.

According to Google, businesses generate an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they invest in PPC advertising. Campaigns created and managed by marketing experts can make even more!

Put simply, if you want to sell heavy equipment online, you can’t go wrong with PPC marketing.

Promote Your Business on Social Media

About 40 percent of consumers say they often use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to discover new brands, services, and products. If you are not using these apps to market your commercial transportation business, you are likely missing out on a lot of sales.

You can promote your dealership on social media using these tactics:

  • Post videos showcasing the key features of your products.
  • Share content created by your followers or your employees.
  • Go live to answer common questions shoppers have about your dealership and its tractors and/or trucks.
  • Host competitions and giveaways for your followers.
  • Share articles that discuss the latest news from the commercial transportation industry.

When marketing your business on social media, remember to be friendly, courteous, and upbeat. If you can execute this strategy correctly, you’ll soon begin to see an uptick in web traffic.

Need Help Promoting Your Commercial Transportation Business? Contact the Experts at fusionZONE Today!

Are you a tractor or truck dealer who needs help marketing their business? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at fusionZONE! Our experienced marketers will be more than happy to build you a new website, create your Google Ads campaigns, and manage your social media accounts. Our graphics department can even help you design a logo to put on your vehicles!

Contact us to speak with a member of our team. We look forward to working with you!

Do you run a construction equipment dealership? If so, it is vital for you to understand where the market is heading in 2022 and beyond. Fortunately, the fusionZONE team is here to provide you with an overview of some key industry trends. Let’s dive in!

Overall Equipment Market Growth

The worldwide construction equipment market shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Analysts at Mordor Intelligence valued the industry at $161 billion in 2020. They expect it to reach $228 billion by 2026.

The increasing focus on infrastructure throughout the globe is the primary driver of this growth. However, the development of advanced automation in the manufacturing and construction processes will aid with the upward push.

Industrial Sector to Lead Growth

Analysts generally segment the construction equipment market into three categories. They are:

  1. Commercial
  2. Industrial
  3. Residential

Most observers expect the commercial and residential segments to enjoy slow but steady growth in the coming years. The industrial sector, on the other hand, is set to explode.

Experts believe foreign direct investments in international manufacturing plants and rising global industrialization will drive the progressive growth in the industrial sector.

Cranes Likely to be the Largest Segment

Analysts at Mordor Intelligence expect cranes to be the largest segment in the construction equipment market in 2022 and beyond. The demand will come from commercial and residential building developments across North America and massive infrastructure projects in Europe and Africa.

Observers believe the motor grader, loader and backhoe, and telescopic handler segments will also perform well in the medium-term.

Shift to Low-Emissions Equipment

Analysts expect just about every industry in the world to shift toward low-emissions vehicles and equipment in the coming years. The construction equipment market will follow this trend.

By 2030, most construction equipment manufacturers will have reduced or eliminated their traditional hydraulic and mechanical models. They will instead focus on producing electric and hybrid alternatives.

Smarter Heavy Equipment

The construction equipment market isn’t just becoming greener. It is also getting smarter. Manufacturers in the industry already produce vehicles that offer tons of high-tech features like:

  • Augmented reality screens
  • 3D grading control systems
  • Telematics, and
  • Remote control systems

Market analysts do not expect the high-tech movement to stop any time soon. Indeed, many think the growing demand for advanced construction equipment will incentivize manufacturers to produce even smarter tools in the coming years.

How an Experienced Equipment Marketing Company Can Help You Take Advantage of Industry Trends

Do you want to take advantage of these market trends? If so, all you need to do is hire a knowledgeable equipment marketing company to assist you with the following projects:

Build a High-Converting Equipment Dealer Website

The market is set to grow quickly in the next few years. If you want your business to expand along with it, you need to make it as easy as possible for interested customers to buy or rent your equipment.

Your marketing company can help you achieve this goal by building you a high-converting equipment dealer website with a real-time connection to your inventory.

When your new website is complete, customers will be able to buy or rent your equipment online with just a few clicks. They won’t need to call your office to check inventory or pricing.

Once clients experience the ease and convenience of doing business with your dealership, they’ll never go anywhere else!

Optimize Your New Website for Search

The demand for cranes and electric construction equipment is set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Many of the companies who need these tools will search for them online.

If you want your company to grow, it is vital that the people who conduct these searches find your new equipment dealer website. We can make this happen by optimizing your site for search using the following techniques:

  • Selecting keywords and posting relevant content
  • Ensuring the website works well on mobile devices
  • Adding title tags and meta descriptions to each page
  • Ensuring the site loads quickly and is easy to use

When done well, search engine optimization can drive thousands of new visitors to your website each month.

Create and Manage a Google Ads Campaign

If you want to ensure you take full advantage of the upcoming growth in the industry, your equipment marketing company can also help you create and manage a Google Ads campaign.

Your marketing team can target your PPC ads at trending segments, such as low-emissions vehicles and high-tech equipment. They can then pivot your campaigns in the future if market forces change.

A well-managed Google Ads campaign can generate results in as little as 48 hours.

fusionZONE: Your Trusted Equipment Marketing Company

Are you ready to expand your business with the help of an equipment marketing company? If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out to fusionZONE. We’ve been helping dealerships like yours drive sales and generate leads online for years!

Contact us to speak with one of our representatives. We look forward to hearing from you!

Your equipment dealership has lots of moving parts. In an average week, you and your team must manage stock levels, generate spec sheets, track invoices, schedule maintenance, and much more. The long list of tasks to complete can quickly become overwhelming. At least, it can if you don’t have Karmak Fusion.

What Is Karmak Fusion?

Karmak Fusion is an end-to-end Microsoft Windows dealer management system (or DMS). It offers all the data, alerts, and tools you need to run your business efficiently and profitably. Here are just a few of the modules and integrations included in the Karmak DMS:

Fusion Parts

Fusion Parts provides equipment dealerships like yours with all the tools needed to maximize profits, control stock, and make real-time, data-driven inventory decisions. Once you load your inventory into its backend (Unity API), it allows you to:

  • Accurately identify fast- and slow-moving parts
  • Substitute parts to prevent lost sales
  • Increase traffic and move stock with promotional pricing
  • Transfer units between warehouses without errors
  • Speed up customer service for backordered inventory, and
  • Expedite the stock receiving process with barcode receiving

Fusion Parts even comes with Karmak’s Deliver-It application. This tool can help you monitor the efficiency of your delivery team. It also gives you the ability to capture delivery signatures and pictures.

Fusion Sales

Karmak Fusion doesn’t just let you manage your dealership’s inventory in a smooth and efficient way, it can also help you make more deals and increase your revenue.  Karmak’s Fusion Sales program gives you the ability to:

  • Send quotes to clients on OEM forms
  • Deliver and invoice units in installments
  • Analyze the profit on each line item in a deal
  • Easily manage the client’s after sales service
  • View real-time inventory costs, and
  • Review snapshots of unit ownership changes

The Fusion Sales system even allows you to view detailed salesperson commission records for each line item in a deal. With the Karmak software, there’s no need for any manual calculations.

Fusion Service

Your commitment to your clients doesn’t end when the deal closes. You also need to help them maintain and repair their equipment. This Karmak Fusion module helps you do just that.  With Fusion Service, you can:

  • Track the proficiency and productivity of your technicians
  • Monitor your service team’s calendar
  • Notify customers about necessary preventative maintenance
  • Manage deferred unit repairs, and
  • Check client credit before opening a repair order

The capabilities offered by this module of the Karmak DMS can help you keep your customers happy and generate additional revenue for your dealership.

Fusion Accounting

The Fusion Accounting module makes keeping track of your equipment dealership’s finances a breeze by giving you the ability to:

  • Track your organization’s fixed assets and post depreciation
  • Monitor purchase orders and automatically pay vendors
  • Outsource collections to a third-party company
  • Manage multi-location clients from a single parent account, and
  • Reconcile your inventory with your accounts

With Fusion Accounting, all transactions are carried out in real-time, meaning you always have access to the most up-to-date information about your dealership’s finances. No need to wait for a quarterly report from your CPA.

fusionZONE + Karmak

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Karmak Fusion is its ability to integrate with fusionZONE.  When you load your data into the Unity API backend, the skilled developers at fusionZONE can build a high-converting website with a real-time connection to your inventory in as little as a few weeks.

Once your new website is complete, your customers will have the ability to search for and purchase equipment online, without needing to call your office to check inventory levels. That is a surefire way to boost sales!  The seamless integration makes the process simple. It involves no time-consuming data entry. All you need to do is contact the fusionZONE team and let them work their magic!

While talking to a representative, don’t forget to ask about other fusionZONE digital marketing services, like:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Google Ads management
  • Reputation management
  • Video advertising, and
  • Social media marketing

With Karmak and fusionZONE behind you, there’s no limit to what your dealership can achieve!  Once you have the Karmak DMS up and running, get in touch with the fusionZONE team by calling (424) 232-0728 or filling in this contact form. Before long, you’ll have a new website your customers are sure to love!

What is Karmak?

If you work in the automotive or commercial transportation industries, you have likely heard of Karmak. However, you might not know what the company does or how it can help take your automotive/equipment dealership to the next level. We’re here to provide you with all the information you need to know.

Karmak: An Overview

Karmak is a business management solutions provider for the commercial transportation and automotive equipment industries. It helps businesses manage inventory, boost sales, and improve their accounting practices.

They were founded on December 31, 1981. Since then, the company has grown tremendously. Here are a few of the highlights of its 40 years in business:

  • 1982: Karmak signs an OEM agreement with Digital Equipment Corporation.
  • 1987: Inc names Karmak one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the United States.
  • 1997: Karmak acquires Rinfo, Inc. and its INFO5 dealer management system.
  • 2001: Karmak introduces Director Series, its first Windows-based parts and service management system.
  • 2003: Karmak launches ProfitMaster Sales.
  • 2007: Karmak introduces ProfitMaster Service.
  • 2011: Karmak launches Fusion, its flagship Windows-based solution for the heavy-duty industry.
  • 2012: Karmak introduces Deliver-It, a mobile app that provides a real-time view of the delivery process.
  • 2016: Karmak acquires ADAM Systems, a DMS for the automotive and powersports industries.
  • 2019: Karmak launches Unity, an API framework that helps clients leverage third-party programs.

Karmak now has over 250 employees. It provides first-in-class business management solutions and DMS services to more than 600 commercial transportation companies and equipment dealers across North America.

Karmak holds a wide range of strategic partnerships with companies like Mack, Daimler, Wabash National, Thermo King, Peterbilt, and fusionZONE.

How to Use Karmak to Take Your Company to the Next Level

Karmak can help to optimize and grow equipment dealerships like yours in a variety of different ways. For example, its Fusion Parts solution provides you with the tools you need to maintain tighter control over your inventory and make data-driven purchasing decisions.

Fusion Parts also comes with the Deliver-It application. This feature gives you the ability to monitor the efficiency of your company’s delivery drivers and their routes. It can even help you to reduce your liability by capturing delivery signatures and images.

The Fusion Sales solution helps to close more deals and increase revenue. It allows you to easily generate spec sheets with unlimited characteristics and track sales rates that are tied to individual units.

A Fusion Accounting suite gives you the ability to track vendors, compile invoice summaries, and reconcile your inventory with your books. All transactions are done in real-time, so your accounting team will always have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information.

The programs are easy to use and you should have little trouble fitting them into your existing workflow. Take advantage of their  knowledge center, support team, and e-learning hub to provide you with advice and guidance. It can even provide an on-site trainer to assist you with the onboarding process.

How fusionZONE Can Help Karmak Customers Drive More Sales

what is karmak

As a Karmak customer, you won’t just have access to its extensive suite of business management solutions. You will also be able to team up with the experienced developers at fusionZONE to build a high-converting website for your dealership.  Your Karmak DMS integrates seamlessly into fusionZONE’s websites. Your dealership will have a custom-built website with a real-time connection to your inventory!

This integration will give your dealership’s customers the ability to look for parts directly on your website, without needing to call to check inventory.

fusionZONE’s list of services doesn’t stop at web development. Our digital marketing team can also help you drive sales and generate leads for your equipment dealership by assisting you with:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • Google Ads management
  • Video advertising, and
  • Reputation management

In short, we can help your equipment dealership thrive online.  Please do not hesitate to give us a call at (424) 232-0728 or complete the contact form. Our friendly team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Schedule An Appointment

Coversion Rate Optimization

A 15-Minute Check Can Create More Opportunities and Sales!

Feeling like your web presence just isn’t clicking the way it used to? Not getting enough business? Worried about the competition?

Many of our customers come to us with the same questions. If you’re searching for answers, a fresh website is a great place to start.

Often, the solution is usually much simpler and is a better use of your time than a massive overhaul: your SRP and VDP probably just need to be revisited. With some minor changes, you could see a massive boost to your lead generation!

In this article, we’re going to share our secret sauce for generating high-quality leads. These are easy to do yourself without bringing in support teams.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a way of increasing the number of users who perform an intended action on a website, which can be buying a product, signing up for a service, or clicking ‘add to cart’.

Why Should You Care About CRO?

Because that’s how you sell more cars! Your operational management team’s goal is crafting your floor team into a conveyor belt that turns customers into sales. Why wouldn’t you want your website to operate on the same principle?

There is a ton that goes into a successful website and CRO is among the most important items. CRO is about the long game. You’ll find it well worth your effort.

How Do You Calculate Conversion Rates?

Conversion rate can be calculated by using this formula:

(leads generated ÷ website traffic) * 100 = Your conversion rate %!

So if your website gets an average of 200 leads and 5000 sessions (using Google Analytics as a tracker) per month, your conversion rate would be:

(200 ÷ 5000) * 100 = 4% Conversion Rate

 

What Counts as a Conversion?

This is the part that we believe some people overlook. In our humble opinion, you should only be reviewing anything that can be converted into a sale.

This means calls, website chats, and lead generation forms (inventory, finance, trade-ins, service requests, etc.) that lead to sales.

This does not mean form starts (but not finished!) or landing page views.

Landing page views and form engagement are incredibly important to building an audience profile, but they do not count as conversions.

How Do You Track Your Conversions?

There are several tools available to you that you can use to track your conversion, such as

  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Your website CMS

Ask your website provider how they track conversions and if you need assistance setting them up. They might already be tracking them as far as you know!

If you are using a 3rd-party provider for your financing applications, get in touch with your support representative and they will most likely know how to connect all of your conversion tracking tools to your analytics platform of choice.

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

Now that you understand what CRO is and how to track it, what do you do if you find out your results are poor? Do you need to change everything up or make minor adjustments?

The answer is the most important response in all of web design. Ready?

It depends.

That’s not very helpful, we know! Let’s dive in and get to a more actionable solution.

The commonly accepted average conversion rate for web leads in the automotive vertical is around 1.5%.

This number will fluctuate. Don’t panic if you’re at 1.51% and a new study comes out that says the floor is 1.75%.

Why? Ultimately, this number is useless for you. This may be surprising due to all the sales pitches from digital marketing companies. But it’s the truth.

The reason why it’s not very useful is because your conversion rate depends on several factors completely out of your control. These can be:

  • Location: Rural vs. Urban
  • Region of the Country: (the southeast of the U.S. is far more hospitable to a Get Best Price button than the northeast)
  • OEM: A Honda dealer will receive more leads than most Acura dealers. If you can afford an NSX, you probably aren’t likely to put in a lead online.

If you’re a Chevrolet dealer near Atlanta, GA, you would not be as shocked to learn that your website operates on a 10% conversion rate on web leads. If you said that you’re an Acura dealer in the northeast and you are pulling a 6%, we’d be more impressed.

Keep this in mind!

 

Your Website is Your Digital Showroom

Here are some tricks and strategies to help you improve your website conversions.

SRPs and VDPs: Keep It Simple!

First things first, a clean, simple website will usually outperform one that is a visual nightmare. If things start to look busy to you, the website owner, they are likely twice as confusing for a customer. Good UI/UX (user interface/user experience) is crucial!

In short: simplicity wins.

 

Call to Action

Automotive Dealer Inventory Calls to Actions

 

Your call-to-action (or CTA) should be readable and clickable on both mobile and desktop. These are the most important items on your site besides your inventory!

On your SRPs, keep your calls to action minimal. Remember, this is the first time a customer is viewing this inventory. Reduce your CTAs to the absolute minimum.

Customers can become paralyzed by choice and will ultimately decide to move on. If you keep your CTAs simple, it’s easier for a customer to focus on finding a vehicle with the right price and less on all myriad of options and considerations they could be making.

CTAs should also create a sense of urgency.  “Check Availability” is one of the least performing CTAs you could possibly use. Most customers know that if they see the vehicle on the site, you most likely have one in stock. And if you don’t, they definitely know you can get them one.

If you’re adding a third or more CTAs, ask yourself: “Is this absolutely necessary to have right here on this page?” If it’s not, dump it. Your customers will appreciate it.

Price is a larger determining factor for a customer’s inclination to submit a lead. “Get Our Best Price” is still one of the best lead-submission generating lines around.

If you have digital retailing tools, focus more on utility. “Get Financed” or “Start Checkout” do not really cut it in our experience. You’re more likely to pique someone’s interest with “Build Your Deal” (as they aren’t feeling the pressure to finish right here, right now).

Images

Another important piece is ensuring your vehicles have images of the vehicle. The vehicle could do well to swap out the stock photo for an actual image. Seeing the vehicle is one of the largest deciding factors to whether or not someone submits a lead!

Pricing

It may seem obvious, but you could have a website designed by Amazon themselves and if your truck is $3,000 more expensive on your site than a competitor’s down the road, customer are not likely to give you their information. They’re calling the other listing.

Make sure your pricing is competitive. We recommend tweaking the following:

  1. Showing discounts before or after the Best Price lead is submitted.
  2. Deciding whether to use Best Price at all.
  3. When compliant, using a red strikethrough to indicate a greater price beyond the Best Price.

If you change your pricing, be sure to change your CTA verbiage as well to match. You do not want to claim there is a better price beyond a CTA only to show nothing!

Forms

This one also seems relatively simple, but it’s missed all the time. Make your customers do the least amount of work possible. That means lowering how many forms you require them to submit or filling out the least amount of information on them. This applies to your service forms, credit applications, SRP/VDP Best price forms; all of them. If you don’t like filling them out yourself, your customers won’t like them either.

Requiring a name, address, phone number, and email address is often too much. If you’re struggling to generate incoming leads, only require name, address, and your preference between email or phone number. Another possibility is to let your customers choose which of the two they prefer. Requiring both can be overkill.

Think Outside the SRP

Reviews also play a huge part into a customer’s likelihood that they submit a lead.

There are two factors that goes into this: average rating and number of reviews. If you have a 5.0 rating on Google, that’s great! If there are only two reviews, that’s less great.

Think of everyone’s favorite ecommerce site: Amazon.

Amazon Shopping Review Features

 

Obviously, you shouldn’t copy everything from Amazon. We created a three-part feature on that mindset, after-all.  But there are some features that are worth mentioning.

Amazon lets you sort through their inventory from highest to lowest reviews.

Anecdotally, most people who use Amazon swear by shopping with this filter. It’s human nature to not to be first to take the plunge on a brand-new

Ask yourself: why would a customer take a chance on your dealership if you’re sporting a 3.0 average and only 20 reviews? Quality and quantity count.

Customer service very much translates into the digital world. Keep this in mind and get happy customers to leave you glowing reviews online.

Videos – More Important Than Ever

A massive change from 2020 to 2021 is the necessity to have video content on your website. Due to COVID-19, shoppers became accustomed to shopping online at a rate that has never been seen before.

No longer will your text descriptions and feature lists suffice!

Now, you’ll need to showcase your inventory with video walkarounds and feature overviews so that customers can have the showroom experience right from the comfort of their couch.

Our recommendations for improving your video walkarounds can be found in this article made by fusionZONE Automotive. The key points you should take from it are:

  1.  Schedule your videos in advance
  2. Take your time and be thorough / be detailed
  3. Have a way for your customers to follow-up for more information

Don’t feel pressured to make a video for every vehicle on your lot tomorrow. Do them in chunks, week by week, and make it a habit Before you know it, it’ll be a natural part of your process and you’ll reap the benefits of a higher time on site and more conversions!

Test, Test, and Test Some More

One of the best pieces of advices is to take it slow and change only a few small things at a time. A/B split-testing can help save you a lot of headaches in the future! Believe us, it’s the worst feeling changing a website’s layout only to find it performs worse than before and getting a third of the leads. For example, you could change one vehicle’s layout, then see if it’s working over the course of a month, then apply it to the rest.

We hope you find these tips and tricks useful! For more exclusive strategies on how to boost your online presence, subscribe to our newsletter! We’ll send the latest issues directly to you so you can stay ahead of the curve.

If you’re reading this, you have an email address. And if you have email, you’ve undoubtedly received more messages from every company you have ever purchased an item from about their plans to address COVID-19.

Top automotive manufacturers from around the globe have also announced various offers struggling customers and strategic initiatives give back to the community. We’re going to save you the trouble of digging into each one yourself!

Below is a synopsis of what a few automotive manufacturer responses to the virus have been. Hopefully, the virus is on its way out, but as more information becomes available, we’ll be sure to have future blog posts detailing what you need to know.

 

Toyota

Toyota has suspended operations at all automobile factories in North America until at least May 1st. For service, Toyota has been following state guidelines for essential business and have made no announcements as to shutting their service centers down nationwide.

For owners of Toyota products, they have created several specials to help those in need. Some examples are the Payment Relief program, 90-day Payment Deferral, and Lease-End support. This directly helps those who have been let go from their position or furloughed.

For new and Certified Used sales, Toyota is offering a 90-day deferment pricing plan.  This plan also includes ToyotaCare, which is the no-cost maintenance plan that lasts for 2 years or 25,000 miles.

They have made a considerable donation to the United Way, a non-profit that provides food, water, and other essential items.

You can read more about Toyota’s official plan here.

 

Honda

Honda has also announced that they will be announcing a deferred payment or payment extension program. For most customers, all you need to do is contact Honda Financial Services to take advantage.

All Honda service stations are still open, but Honda directs its consumer base to check with state and local government’s declarations of essential needs.

While COVID-19 has dominated the news cycles, Honda still has their Honda Dream Garage Spring event, which includes offers for lease, financing, and other special programs. Specifically, to help during COVID-19, Honda is offering a 90-day deferred payment program and $500 new-vehicle credit to first responders and healthcare workers.

Shop Simple is Honda’s online purchasing option that is only available in Portland, OR and Nashville, TN. It currently is not available for the rest of the country, but Honda has made a commitment to an expanded roll-out as soon as possible.

And finally, Honda is also contributing $1 million to food banks and meal programs, donating personal protective equipment and creating protective face shields via 3-D printers.

If you would like to read more about Honda’s Coronavirus efforts, check out this link.

 

Kia 

Kia has suspended all service technician training, expanded their vehicle sanitization process, and are extending sanitation requirements to include any vehicle brought in for service.

For financing, Kia offers a 120-day payment deferment on 0% APR contracts with an under-75-month commitment.

Current customers also have the option of deferment as well. Kia owners can request a 30-day payment extension up to three times.

Customers who were under the Kia Promise warranty coverage program were granted an extension that lasts until June 30th, 2020.

For their workers around the country, Kia has delivered 15,000 face shields to their manufacturing plants. They have used their West Point, GA factory to assemble medical grade masks for healthcare workers in the US. Kia’s contributions also included a $1 million donation to several non-profit partners to combat homelessness, children, and families.

Their press release on the manner can be found here with several other helpful links on the page.

 

Nissan 

For qualified shoppers, Nissan has rolled out their payment plans to combat stagnant wages. They are offering a 3-month deferred payment plan with up to 2 months of payment relief for 11 of their 2020 models.

Current owners can use a similar program for payment extensions for purchases and leases. This program is currently flexible as it is dependent on your current situation.

Nissan is complying with local and state ordinances which includes their operations and corporate teams working remotely since March 16th. This stay-at-home mandate includes a total shutdown of US manufacturing facilities until mid-May.

Just like many of the other brands, Nissan is committed to using their vast manufacturing infrastructure to produce medical protective masks to help those on the front lines.

More information regarding Nissan’s COVID-19 response can be read here.

 

Acura

Acura offers several financial assistance options for those in need. They are offering a 90-day deferment plan on select new vehicles if financed by Acura Financial Services.

First responders and healthcare professionals receive $750 toward Cap Cost Reduction or Down Payment Assistance on any 2020 or newer Acura vehicle.

For customers looking to purchase, $500 bonus cash offers exist toward the lease or purchase of a 2020 Acura. Finally, there are select certified pre-owned specials for the TLX and RDX models, making Acura one of the few OEMs to extend their offers to pre-owned.

Acura is imploring all of their customers to make use of home delivery and pickup options for service.

More information on Acura’s COVID-19 response can be found on this page.

 

Hyundai

Hyundai is one of the few providers who are pushing an online purchasing tool through their Click To Buy program. This allows customers to run through the entire shopping experience online without the need of entering the store. Dealers must opt into this program.

For current customers, Hyundai is offering payment deferment plans for those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Those who need assistance are being directed to use Hyundai Motor Financing instead.

They have also expanded their warranty program. If your current warranty expires between March and June of 2020, it will automatically extend until June 30th, 2020.

Hyundai is one of the few OEMs that have also mentioned what they are doing to help the dealerships themselves. They created assistance programs aimed to keep locally owned stores open without laying off employees. Specialized sanitation equipment is being delivered to stores. Interestingly, Hyundai also has a deferred floorplan interest program to accommodate dealers who finance their inventory with Hyundai Motor Finance.

For Hyundai, the standout example of their commitment to giving back to their community is their $4 million donation to Hope on Wheels. This charity focuses on providing testing coverage for children’s hospitals around the US. To help medical professionals, they have expanded their existing offers for First Responders to include hospital employees and other healthcare workers.

All of this information and more can be found here for Hyundai.

 

We hope that you have found this summary guide useful! Please continue to stay safe and follow CDC and local recommendations for COVID-19. Don’t forget to check back often for more updates for all things digital and automotive.

Don’t Let The Phones Keep Ringing

A strong online presence usually means a higher call volume. This means you need to work the phones better than ever.  Questions you should be asking:

  • When a customer calls the dealership, where does that call go?  Make sure your associates in-store are prepared to respond accordingly.
  • If your BDC is currently working from home, are calls routed to their personal phones?
  • What happens if a customer has service needs? Can you accommodate them at their home, or can a technician offer some tips?
  • Is your team set to text prospects?

The digital workforce depends on phones. Make sure your sales department has one or more active sales routing options to capture people’s interest and turn them into sales.
 
For those customers shopping from home, invite them to speak with a member of the sales team to discuss buying and delivery options on new and pre-owned inventory.
 
Get Some FaceTime

Consider taking to video. Do all you can to help simulate the car-buying experience from a virtual setting. 
Don’t shy away from being creative. Here are some ideas to think about:

  • Use your service scheduling tool to make FaceTime appointments to discuss inventory and delivery options.
  • Record more vehicle walk-throughs and feature demos on video. (Video test drives are not recommended.)
  • Consider going live on a social media platform to open a Q&A on financing options, test drive deliveries, at-home vehicle service, or other ways your dealership is adapting to current concerns.

Be aware, the purpose of these calls may vary greatly right now, based on circumstance. These calls could range from the “discovery/information-gathering” phase, where prospects are early in the buying process, to the “buy now” phase, where customers are looking for convenience and immediacy for vehicle purchase and delivery.
 
Buyers still value face-to-face interaction. If you can’t get in front of them all in person, be creative and use technology.

 

Get the Message Out

How is your dealership responding to the COVID-19 outbreak?  The first step is to communication. Consumers want reassurance you’re taking the coronavirus threat seriously and prioritizing their safety.  Let your customers know and start with the basics.  

Ways to Communicate

How do you get the message out? Whether it’s texting, FaceTime, or social media, people are as connected and plugged in with technology as ever before. You should embrace this.

Think website first, with a landing page and/or pop-over informing customers of dealership updates specific to COVID-19. Use email to directly broadcast your message to a wider group.

Customers also frequent social media. Spread the word and exist where your audience is. Consider using a hashtag to index coronavirus updates:

  • #DealershipNameCOVID19Updates
  • #AlertNotAnxious
  • #ShopAtHome
  • #ShopDistancing

Be sure to also update your Google My Business Page and your website’s hours of operation. If they’re different from the usual operating hours, make that known. If there’s no change, acknowledge its business as usual, while also pointing out precautionary measures taken.

If you are changing operations or services, provide clear steps for customers to take so they can remain in contact with you. You may even be surprised to see how customers respond to humanized communication.

Ideally, you should spread the word in as many ways as you can. At a minimum:

  • Confirm if/how operating hours are affected by COVID-19.
  • Share updates with customers via your website, social media, and email.

You don’t have to be a virologist to communicate with your customers about how you are facing challenges head-first. Keep your customers informed with upbeat, clear, and concise updates. 

Safety First

What safety measures are you taking in response to COVID-19? 

  • Is hand sanitizer available where hand-to-hand contact may occur?
  • Has hand-washing become a focal point for employees?
  • How frequently is the dealership deep cleaned everyday?

All additional measures count.

Think Outside the Box

Make your dealership stand out from the rest. How? Here are some ideas on how to accommodate your customers while public transportation is a minimum:

  • Home delivery on vehicle purchases.
  • At-home car detailing and deep cleaning.
  • Complete the F&I process at home or online.

 

Consider the circumstances and try to relieve the burden for your customers, as best as you can.