79% use Internet to gather vehicle buying information

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2 Conversations and customer opinions about car dealerships are being shared everyday on the Internet through social networks and customer review websites. The key to building customer loyalty that drives brand advocacy includes asking for and monitoring online reviews, as well as a comprehensive, local-focused social posting strategy to drive influence. Dealers can no longer ignore the need for a strategic approach that includes both reputation and social media management. 79% use Internet to gather vehicle buying information J.D. Power and Associates, 2012 New AutoShopper Study The Digital Landscape In order to appreciate why managing your online reputation is critical to your dealership s success, you must understand the changes that have taken place and continue to evolve in the digital landscape. 62% of used car buyers and 47% of new car buyers indicate Internet is the primary source that led them to dealership where they purchased a car. R.L. Polk, 2013 Automotive Buyer Influence Study Multiple studies show the Internet plays a growing role in the vehicle buying process. New car shoppers are increasingly using the Internet as part of their vehicle research and are using multiple devices in the process. 96% PC/Laptop 30% Tablet 28% Smartphone Rocketfuel, The Digital Automotive Landscape Q DriveDominion.com 2

3 Google is still the dominant search engine of choice for 70% of online shoppers. In order to deliver the most relevant information, Google gives preference to fresh content, which is driving consumers to social networking and customer review sites where they can access experiential information about the purchase intentions. Google evaluates every user activity including , searches and chat to deliver pertinent information customized to each user s need and interests. Due to changes to the search process, shoppers now have even more opportunities to end up somewhere other than your website. By generating fresh content, which includes social posts and customer reviews, and driving interaction on your website, a dealership can, with a commitment of time and resources, drive better SEO results, build customer loyalty and grow brand advocates. DriveDominion.com 3

4 Increased Influence of the Internet during the Shopping Process The 2013 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study reveals that while the amount of time consumers spend shopping for a new car has decreased dramatically in the last two years, they are spending roughly the same percentage of their shopping time online. Car buyers spend 50% of the shopping process online AutoTrader.com/ Polk Automotive Influence Study Throughout the process, consumers are gaining insight from dealer websites, OEM sites, and third-party sites including review sites and social networks. Buyers are spending the most time on third-party sites, so dealers need to make sure their brand is prominently and accurately displayed where car shoppers are shopping. Word of mouth has traditionally been one of the strongest forms of promotion. Social networking and review and ratings sites significantly broaden the power and reach of this type of promotion. With the rise in social content, dealers must change the way they market online. New Vehicle Buyers There are 6.8 billion people on the planet; 4 billion use a mobile phone; 3.5 billion use a toothbrush. Used Vehicle Buyers 60secondmarketer.com DriveDominion.com 4

5 Are Your Customers Numophobiacs? Consumers are always connected. Pew Research reports that more than two-thirds of U.S. cell phone owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts or calls even when they don t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. In addition, 44% have slept with the phone next to their bed because they want to make sure they don t miss any calls, text messages or other updates during the night. Numophobia: the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The Automotive Purchase Process has Changed While for most people, the car buying process starts with an online search, shoppers have become gradually more interested in sourcing experiences and preferences from other shoppers who made similar purchases. They want the opinions of other shoppers to help them make decisions, spending more time on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and review and rating sites, like Yelp and DealerRater. DealerRater A significant number of people are using social media as a resource when shopping for a new vehicle. Information is helping consumers determine which brands and models to consider and which dealerships to consider purchasing from. The recommendation of others is often more valuable to consumers than traditional marketing. DriveDominion.com 5

6 A study conducted by ebay Motors found that the majority of car buyers now go online to begin the car buying process and more than half are strongly influenced by what their friends have to say on Facebook, etc. The Internet has become a thriving interactive community where consumer reviews and ratings influence the shopping decision for the majority of online shoppers. 92% of all consumers report word of mouth recommendation is leading reason they buy product or services. Nielsen & Roper Reports It is clear that the opinion of others plays an important role in the purchase process. As consumers spend more time on portals, search engines and social networks and less time on individual websites, dealerships must make themselves more visible and accessible on these sites Social media posts, likes, fans, followers and +1 s all influence organic results. A large number of likes on a dealer s Facebook page have been known to carry more SEO weight than other highly-linked and well-established sites. It s more important than ever before for dealers to engage in the social web, interact with customers online, and develop a solid social and reputation strategy. 5 Ways to Enable Great Social Media Partnerships: 1 Combine social advertising with great posting 2 Employ innovative apps to enable better content sourcing 3 Include all employees in content creation 4 Centralize content curation to build value over time 5 Categorize posts to keep a good balance (product, brand, lifestyle, local) 66% 78% 58% 38% CAR SHOPPERS 78% always research a car before purchasing 66% compare prices online 58% read online reviews 38% get recommendations from family & friends DriveDominion.com 6

7 4 Key Steps to Creating a Solid Reputation and Social Management Strategy Step 1: Take Control of Your Online Profiles The first step in a solid reputation management program is to optimize all your online profiles on social networks, review and rating sites and other online communities. This is a prime opportunity to provide shoppers with a local value proposition. Every site online that contains your dealership s name, including directory listings represents an opportunity to spread the message you want to tell about your business. 85% of online shoppers seach local businesses online. Local Consumer Review Study 2012, Searchengineland.com Step 2: Track Customer-Generated Content With the explosion of online social content, dealers need the ability to collect and analyze reviews and social mentions from across the entire Internet. You can t fix a problem if you are not aware of it. Without the proper tools to aggregate and track these reviews, capturing this information can be burdensome. Dealers will want to keep eyes on the top 15 review and networking sites, where 90% of all reviews are posted, as well as any relevant local review sites where their shoppers are likely to visit. Comprehensive tracking also allows dealers to keep track of what the competition is doing. 3 out of 5 online users search for a local business on a Smartphone. Localeze Search Study DriveDominion.com 7

8 PROVEN RESULTS: Midway Chevrolet Cadillac Drives Quantity and Quality of Online Reviews with Dominion Prime Response Brent Cacaro, Internet Manager at Midway Chevrolet Cadillac, knew he needed to monitor his dealership s online reputation, but had no plan to implement a process to generate and track online reviews. That is, until he discovered Prime Response Reputation Management, Dominion s comprehensive reputation and social management platform that lets dealers understand, respond and influence what is being said about their dealership online. WE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE With Prime Response, Midway Chevrolet is now intentional about securing reviews to set their dealership apart from the competition online, using a proven process to drive both the quantity and quality of reviews. The automated process is easy and provides quick results. We simply inform each sales and service customer that they will soon receive a survey from us. Prime Response executes the surveys and leads all happy customers to post their sentiment online and flags dissatisfied customers so we can quickly reach out and rectify their situation, Cacaro states. This builds our star ratings on key sites in big ways. 142% increase in online reviews 4.7 star rating With so many customers looking dealerships up online before they come in, this tool has proven to be very beneficial and a true asset. Brent Cacaro, Internet Manager Prime Response has become a true competitive advantage for Midway Chevrolet Cadillac. Since implementing Prime Response, Midway Chevrolet Cadillac has witnessed a 142% increase in online reviews and has secured a 4.7 star rating. With so many customers looking dealerships up online before they come in, this tool has proven to be very beneficial and a true asset, Cacaro adds. CLICK HERE For More Information DriveDominion.com 8

9 Step 3: Develop Brand Advocates and Influence the Discussion How do you motivate happy customers to share their experience? It starts with good customer service and a strong customer loyalty strategy. Reach out to customers at the right time, after they have purchased or been in for service. Ask them to share their experience by posting feedback on specific review sites where their positive comments can influence other consumers and their fresh content can positively improve your dealership s SEO ranking. Make it easy for customers to leave feedback by making a custom URL readily accessible, like: Consumer reviews are trusted nearly 12 times more than descriptions that come from manufacturers or retailers. emarketer, 2010 Turn your loyal customers into brand advocates and they will get the good news out about your dealership. A good reputation management program will help to influence buying decisions by directing happy customers to the specific review sites where their fresh feedback is needed most. 62% of online shoppers claim that as few as 1 to 3 bad reviews are enough to deter them from a purchase. Lightspeed Research DriveDominion.com 9

10 PROVEN RESULTS: Motor Werks Cadillac Masters Online Review Process with Dominion Prime Response C.J. Romig, General Sales Manager at Motor Werks Cadillac had a reputation management process in place and spent hours each week pouring over review sites and responding to customers, in order to stay on top of what was being said online about his dealership. Looking for a more efficient and solution, Romig discovered Prime Response Reputation Management, Dominion s integrated platform for social and reputation management. Prime Response provides Motor Werks Cadillac with a fresh approach to online reputation management with do-it-yourself and fully managed options to build protect and promote a dealership s brand. Since implementing Prime Response, Motor Werks Cadillac routinely sends to both sales and service customers following every transaction in order to generate reviews. Romig found that the increasing numbers of positive reviews also began to have a positive effect on his dealership s SEO. Motor Werks Cadillac s Google + page consistently appears alongside the other top review sites. Now not a week goes by when someone tells me that the only reason they came into my dealership is because of a review they saw online, states Romig. Now not a week goes by when someone tells me that the only reason they came into my dealership is because of a review they saw online. C.J. Romig, General Sales Manager Prime Response lets Romig check up on his dealership from anywhere, allowing him to immediately connect with his customers. He also works closely with his dedicated Reputation Specialist, who serves as an extension of his dealership, providing critical information and support. 60% increase in online reviews 4.9 average rating out of 5 stars Since implementing Prime Response, Motor Werks Cadillac has increased online review by 60% and now has an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars. In addition, any negative review that is placed online can be addressed immediately without affecting the overall score. Prime Response provides a serious competitive advantage for Motor Werks Cadillac. My customers talk about how our reviews are so much better than other dealers in the area, and that we have so many more reviews as well. Prime Response keeps our current customers happy and brings in new customers, knowing this is the level of service we provide, Romig claims. CLICK HERE For More Information DriveDominion.com 10

11 Step 4: Build and Maintain an Interactive Social Presence A comprehensive reputation management program can t be fully realized without a social media presence. Dealers should develop a strategy and schedule to create, curate and post content in the form of messaging, photos and videos on social networking sites. And consider adding Facebook advertising to your digital marketing mix to reach and influence the broadest audience. Dealers who don t have the resources to tackle this in-house, should seek to partner with a provider who acts transparently on behalf of the dealership to develop and post locally-relevant content. Entertain & Influence Identify and Engage Influencers to Build Sustainable Relationships Educate & Convert Social Listening Shareable Messaging DriveDominion.com 11

12 Conclusion Dealers who want to remain competitive and build a strong, loyal customer base will need to implement a customer loyalty strategy that incorporates a comprehensive approach to managing their online reputation and social interactions. A well-planned and implemented strategy for reputation and social media management can help dealers get car shoppers talking. The Internet is more competitive than ever and the number of dealerships that shoppers visit once they have made a decision to purchase has fallen to 1.3 (down from 4.3 in 2005). Dealers must strive to generate buzz about their dealership online and make their dealership the most recommended, driving increased traffic to their website and ultimately to the showroom. About Dominion Dealer Solutions Dominion Dealer Solutions helps car dealers attract, retain and service customers for life. With web-based customer relationship and lead management tools, inventory management analytics, dealer management solutions (DMS), and reputation and social media management solutions, Dominion provides a full-circle dealership solution. Additionally, Dominion provides custom lead generation and digital marketing tools including: responsive websites, SEO, SEM, digital advertising, fully-managed multi-channel marketing, specialized data aggregation, mobile apps and market reports. Every OEM and more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide utilize Dominion Dealer Solutions technologies and services to solve their marketing challenges. For more information, visit us at DriveDominion.com, like us on Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube or follow us on Twitter. CLICK HERE to learn more about Dominion Prime Response Best practices to drive customer reviews and nurture advocates: 1 Optimize your website to drive car shoppers to your site. 2 Take control of your profiles and Google Places pages. 3 Implement a strategy to drive influence. 4 Build out your FB and Twitter pages 5 Develop a schedule to add fresh content to your social pages. 6 Increase social engagement by crating posts and interacting with loyal customer online. Reputation Management Social Media Management DriveDominion.com 12

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