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Vehicles Made in U.S. Seen as Important by Dealership Leads

Posted on: August 14th, 2012 by credit

Have you encountered automotive dealership leads asking you about where a particular vehicle was made? Did one of them backed out from purchasing it because it is not made in the U.S.? If so, there is some good explanation to that. A recent study from AutoTrader.com Trend Engine revealed that vehicles made in the U.S. are seen as more important by car shoppers than vehicles made by U.S. manufacturers.

According to the July 2012 Shopper Insights Report, 41 percent of car shoppers say that it is important to purchase vehicles built in the U.S., while only 28 percent say that it is important to purchase from a U.S.-based company or automaker. Those car shoppers that comprise the 41 percent believe that purchasing vehicles made in America supports American jobs and the country’s economy and keeps American dollar at home.

Vehicles referred as “made in” America in the study includes vehicles that were physically built in the U.S. by U.S. workers, but not necessarily made by U.S. manufacturers. These car models can include foreign models. On the other hand, vehicles referred as “made by” U.S automakers are not necessarily made in the U.S. These vehicles can be built outside the country.

The report also revealed that more than half of the car shoppers surveyed perceive vehicles made by a foreign manufacturer in the U.S. as American-made. Only 43 percent see vehicles made by U.S. automakers outside the country as American-made. The top models made in the U.S. ranked by AutoTrader.com are 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, 2013 Ford Escape, 2013 Dodge Dart, 2013 SRT Viper, 2013 Buick Enclave, 2012 Volkswagen Passat, 2012 Kia Optima, 2012 BMW X3, 2012 Honda Odyssey, and 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class.

There are two possible insights that can be learned from the study: that most car shoppers now prefer vehicles made in the U.S. and that they are more likely to buy such vehicles now. However, dealers cannot still operate with just these two possibilities, especially the latter. There are still many factors that car shoppers consider during the car buying process. Whether the vehicle is made in the U.S. or made by an American manufacturer is just one of the factors they consider.

Nevertheless, the insights and ideas that the study bring the industry are still considered as important for dealerships especially in their generation of automotive dealership leads and sales operations. It doesn’t mean, though, that dealers must only sell cars made in the U.S. from now on. It is just important for dealers to watch the trends in the industry closely as they rapidly shift.

Article Posting, Social Media, Blogs Among Most Popular Content Marketing Tactics, Study Says

Posted on: August 13th, 2012 by credit

A study completed by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in 2011 revealed interesting shifts in the way industries perceive and use content marketing for the growth of their businesses.

According to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing report, with more than a thousand of marketers surveyed from various industries across the globe, article posting (79%), social media (74%), and blogs (65%) remain the three most popular content marketing tactics employed by B2B marketers. Meanwhile, blogs, videos, and white papers increased in usage. That means, more businesses have employed these content marketing tactics in 2011 compared to 2010.

In terms of effectiveness, in-person events, webinars, case studies, and research reports were rated by the respondents as the most effective tactics. However, the results also showed that marketers have more confidence now in the effectiveness of blogs, which has the biggest growth of 45%, case studies, videos, and webinars.

The study also measured the challenges that marketers face with content marketing. The top challenges cited are producing the kind of content that engages prospects/customers, producing enough content, and budget to produce content. Some of the respondents explained these issues further saying that it takes time to engage prospects and that they need to find time to create content. Some also cited the problem in human resources that there’s not enough people to work the content. Others find it difficult to produce “emotionally compelling” content.

Zooming in to the automotive industry, dealers also experience the same challenges in providing content for their own web pages and blogs. In effect, many of them do not see these channels as effective in producing internet leads. For dealers content marketing challenges, here are some tips:

  • If you find it difficult to produce compelling content, write about relevant topics that you think are interesting and useful for online car shoppers. Examples of such content are car reviews, car financing information and advice, car buying tips, automotive news, and the like. Keep in mind, though, that there is no easier way to do this. Providing relevant, fresh, unique, and useful content as frequently as daily requires hard work.
  • Allot more funds for content marketing. Be part of the 60% who said in the survey that they will increase their budget for content marketing for the next 12 months. If you have more funds, you can hire more people to work the content for you, solving the human resource problem.

Keep in mind that in reality, the effectiveness of a marketing strategy is all about what and what not works for you. There is still a possibility that article posting, social media, and blogs will not work for you. Take the time to experiment on other tactics and consistently measure results to see what works best for you—that means generating more internet leads and experiencing sales boost.

Blogging? Yes, It Generates Leads

Posted on: August 10th, 2012 by credit

In general, blogging is the modern way to write journals now. People, especially teens, write about and post on their blogs their thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, and other things. However, for businesses, blogging is a marketing or lead generation strategy and it has been increasingly valued by businesses.

Why Dealers Should Blog

Something to think about: If your competitors blog and they have been experiencing great results from that particular effort alone, wouldn’t you feel the pressure to keep pace? Broadly speaking, blogging has been thriving as a lead generation technique. Here are some convincing facts:

According to the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report by HubSpot, inbound marketing, which includes blogging, cost 61% lower than outbound marketing. Blogs is indicated as the least costly lead source. The report also said that businesses have been allocating more funds for inbound marketing (12 percentage points higher than the average budget allocated for outbound marketing) since last year. These mean that businesses are getting more inclined to inbound marketing, perceiving blogs as the most cost-effective lead source.

The report also showed that 60% of the businesses surveyed are posting on their blogs at least weekly. The results of the report imply that the more frequent you blog, the more customers you’ll acquire. In a separate study by the same group, businesses that are blogging at least 20 times a month have driven traffic 5 times more. Those who posted a total of over 200 articles on their blogs got more leads (about 3.5 times) more than those who only have lower than 20 blog posts.

The study also found that companies deem their blogs as crucial to their businesses. Company blogs are also more valued now, with 8 percentage points difference from the results of the same study three years ago.

How Dealers Should Blog

Given the facts above, be reminded that the success in blogging does not come overnight. You need to be patient and diligent in your campaign before you finally see the results. Remember also that the two main products a dealership offers are vehicles and auto financing. There has been a shift in car shoppers’ behavior: They are more dependent on auto loans now to purchase a car. Thus, it isn’t that hard to find auto loan leads now. However, attracting them and turning them into sales are more challenging.

In automotive blogging, provide only unique (not copies from other websites), fresh (new content as often as daily), and helpful content. You can write about news, tips, related reports or studies, vehicle reviews, and other helpful information to catch the interest of online car shoppers. Use strategic keywords in your articles. By using a keyword research tool, find out what related keywords are most searched by internet users. Use these keywords in your articles so they will drive traffic and attract more auto loan leads.

Reminders When Hiring Auto Lead Providers

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 by credit

Many dealers often forget how to look closely at auto lead providers when hiring one. As a dealer and a businessman yourself, you should understand that hiring a lead provider is also like choosing your business partner. Auto lead providers take care of a dealership’s marketing efforts and strategies and lead management systems—things that largely make up a dealership’s operation. Therefore, it is necessary that you are always reminded of how to evaluate auto lead providers in the process of hiring one.

Lead Provider’s Legitimacy

First thing to make sure is that you are hiring a legitimate provider. Look up a lead company in BBB’s online database or ask for recommendations from other businesses. Research about the lead provider’s background, including its performance and experience. It is better to hire a provider that has been generating leads for dealerships for more than a couple of years already. Although experience does not really define a lead provider’s performance or professionalism, having more experience still means understanding the industry better. If you only want to generate special finance leads, make sure that the lead provider you will be hiring has an experience in handling such leads.

Delivery Time of Leads

The lead provider must be able to send you the leads they acquire as quickly as possible. Why is this important? Frankly, your prospects do not have all the time to wait for your response. If your response takes too long, they would either listen to your competitor’s offer or simply lose their interest in yours. These would be the last things that you want to happen with your leads. Therefore, make sure that the lead provider you’ll be hiring understands how important it is to send you leads even as soon as the prospects dropped their information in.

Lead Quality and Lead Generation Techniques

Some dealers do not realize it but lead generation techniques have something to do with lead quality. How? Say, your lead provider generates leads for you by using SEO techniques—but they use them abusively. Definitely, your lead provider would not generate quality leads or potential customers who are really serious about buying a car. Why? Some leads could be those who were just deceived by ads and were forced to sign up. Ask your lead provider about how they execute their lead generation techniques.

Comparison of Quotes

Have at least three bids from different auto leads providers and compare them from each other before finally shaking hands with your new business partner. Don’t be too focused on how many leads a company could give you. Rather, look at the conversion rate; the higher the rate, the better. Such leads usually cost more; however, it is better to spend on expensive leads that are most likely to convert into sales than on a lot of leads which conversion is even uncertain.

Characteristics of a Good Automotive Lead

Posted on: August 8th, 2012 by credit

 

Today, car dealerships are having a hard time selling their cars. This is not surprising because the world is experiencing hard financial times. People are not earning enough and they would rather spend their salaries in other things. However, despite the crisis, there are still people out there who are interested in buying cars.

Car dealerships must not rely on walk-in customers alone, or else they will never be able to meet their monthly or yearly sales quotas. They need to be proactive in looking for customers who are willing to buy cars. This is where the use of an automotive lead comes in.

An automotive lead contains information about people who have bought a car in the past and/or have shown interest in buying a car in the recent months. This information includes the person’s name, age, gender, where he or she lives and sometimes his or her financial history. In order to be of use for the car dealership, an automotive lead has to have certain characteristics so it will translate into a successful sale.

High Price: Value For Money

Car dealerships must realize that good automotive leads do not come cheap. Nevertheless, they should not be intimidated by the high price of auto leads that come from reputable lead generator companies. They should view these leads as an investment that can translate into sales that can help them meet their sales quotas. Some car dealerships might be tempted to buy inexpensive auto leads but if these do not help them make a sale, then the car company just wasted valuable resources in buying them.

Diversity is Good

Car dealerships must also realize that there are different kinds of automotive leads available today. It will not be surprising if they prefer to get customers who have good credit history and have enough money to finance their cars. However, they should also look into people who have no credit history who are also interested in buying cars. It might sound risky but often, this group has the capability to finance their cars but they have not established their credit rating yet. They should also include people who have a bad credit history into the mix. Having a bad credit history does not necessarily mean that a person is not capable of financing a car especially if he or she is finding ways to improve his or her credit score.

Real Time, All the Time

Most importantly, a good automotive lead should be generated in real time. These leads come from consumers who are actively searching for a car that they are willing to buy. This will allow the car dealer to be in contact with the person right away, and the transaction and sale will proceed faster. Remember, an auto lead from a year ago will not be useful for the dealership.

 
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