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The F Word: Maximizing Your Reach With Facebook

This article originally appeared in the October edition of OPE Business.

When I talk to dealers about implementing social media efforts into their overall marketing plans, I’m either met with excitement, disdain or indifference. In my experience, no other marketing channel is as divisive as social media, especially as it relates to Facebook. It can be both frustrating and revolutionary depending on how you use it.

The fact is, as the medium has grown and evolved, it has become infinitely more complex and powerful. So the trick for dealerships has consistently been how to utilize the medium in a way that makes sense for the dealer and for the customer. I’ll break down some myths and give you some insight into how you can harness the power of Facebook without being swallowed by it.

Facebook Advertising

In the early days of Facebook, you could reasonably expect to see almost every post that was made by a friend or a brand you followed. It provided a user-centric experience and an easy way for brands to reach their customers for free. But free isn’t exactly a great business model. So Facebook started forcing users to “boost” their posts so the content you could been by more people. Boosting essentially means you are paying to get more eyeballs on your content. But there are more effective ways to advertise your brand than by simply “boosting” your post.

Most marketing agencies, mine included, manage advertising campaigns from with the Facebook Business Manager. If you haven’t set up a Business Manager account for your dealership, we highly suggest you use this as it will become your hub for managing ads and provides more in-depth tools for your campaigns. You can create your Business Manager account here: https://business.facebook.com/

By creating this account, you can assign your assets to marketing partners without giving them admin access to your Facebook page. This is not only prudent so those outside of your organization can’t hijack your page, but also technically required by Facebook’s terms of service.

Now that you have a proper business manager account, there are two major things you need to do to properly use your enhanced ad manager.

  • Create and configure your Facebook Pixel. This pixel is to be placed on your website and will allow you to see what actions are taking place on your website. You’ll be able to track page views, phone calls and many other actions, but it’s most important so that Facebook can automatically optimize your ad campaigns. For example, when you set up a new ad, you can specify which goals you want to optimize your ad for. If the goal of your campaign is to create new leads, Facebook will auto-optimize your campaign to generate more leads using the data the pixel provides. Your Facebook pixel will also auto-create audiences that will allow you to target visitors to your website, among other things. Speaking of audiences…
  • Create audiences. In my experience, custom audiences and saved audiences are the single biggest factor in increasing the effectiveness of your Facebook ad campaigns. You can set up your ideal audience to target by choosing demographic data, occupational info and what other pages they like. For example, if you are a Cub Cadet dealer and you wanted to run an ad about a sale on your XT2 Enduro Garden Tractors, you might set up a target like this:

Gender: Male & Female
Age: 25-64+
Location: 25 mile radius around dealership (or if you want to get fancy you can target by county or DMA)
Interests: People who like Cub Cadet on Facebook or have shown an interest in Cub Cadet, mowers or lawnmowers.

You can create saved audiences for each of the lines you carry and you know that you will be speaking directly to people who have shown an interest or affinity for that particular manufacturer and are the most likely to purchase. The next step is to then create a Look-alike audience that will allow you to expand the reach of your ad to people who act like the folks in your new saved audience. Once these audiences are set up, you can use them over and over again and maximize your reach while minimizing budget waste.

Organic Posts – Engagement Matters

As I mentioned earlier, organic posts (free posts) only get seen by a fraction of the people who like your Facebook page. There is magic in creating content that gets seen by more people. Some of the factors are:

  • Recency of the post
  • How frequently you post
  • Post engagement – How many people are interacting with your post by liking, commenting or sharing.
  • Past user interaction – Has the viewer interacted with your posts before?

There are tons of ranking signals so this isn’t an exhaustive list, but they’re a few of the most important. So think about which content most users want to interact with. Are they really interacting with the generic content that every dealer gets from the manufacturer? Or are users interacting more with your post about how you donated to the local little league team?

At the end of the day all of the content matters, but I typically urge dealers to focus on content that’s personal to them and ultimately it will be personal for your customers as well. Use 4:1 as a general ratio of personal to promotional and you’ll find that is a good mix.

At the end of the day, dealers need to remember that social media is supposed to be, well, social. The more you treat it as an extension of your personal brand, the more it will flourish.

google search engine

Promoting Your Inventory for Free

This article originally appeared in the September edition of OPE Business.

Promoting Your Inventory (For Free) on Google

It is no secret that all OPE dealers have been affected in way or another by inventory shortages this year. Every dealer I have spoken to has spoken at length about the long-term implications of the disruption in the supply chain. But what about the inventory you DO still have on your showroom floor? The cupboard hasn’t been left completely bare, it’s just the shift we are seeing is that customers who may have been looking for a lower end model, might be more easily upsold to a more robust machine. So how do you make consumers aware of the models you do have available?

When the pandemic hit, online retailers were obviously in a much better position to serve customers than physical retailers who don’t have online stores, further widening the gap between online and offline retail. Outdoor equipment dealers should have been more insulated from this because most manufacturers don’t allow whole goods to be sold online. Yes, I know that there are a handful of online stores that are selling zero turn mowers on the web, shipped directly to your door, regardless of OEM rules and regulations. But for those of you who play by the rules, you are left to figure out how to compete in the online space. Enter Google.

Last year, in response to the pandemic, Google announced a program that largely flew under the radar that allows physical merchants to use Google Merchant Center to carve out a presence in search results normally reserved for shopping ads that shows local inventory available for pickup at a local store. This program was aimed at leveling the playing field for local merchants who could offer the one thing the online retailers cannot – the instant gratification of same day local pickup. So, when someone searches for a specific model like a Cub Cadet XT2, the search results at the top of the page will show shopping ads for local retailers that carry that model or models like it. Local consumers will now be driven to your storefront, instead of to an online store. According to Google, a shopping 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical store within 24 hours and 28% of those visits result in a purchase. Clearly, the dealers that make the effort to optimize their local presence, will reap the benefits.

It takes a little technical know-how to get set up in Merchant Center so that your on-hand inventory is consistently accurate, but once you are set up, the process can be automated so it is truly a set it and forget it marketing tactic.

 

Adding products to Google My Business

I’ve spoken at length in the past about the important of Google My Business because it’s the single most important (and free) tool that you can use to promote your business. If it’s been a while since you’ve logged into your Google My Business profile, you may not have noticed that there is now a Products section where you can add equipment directly to your profile.

This is a more manual process, but with a few clicks to upload a product image, add a product name and description, you can create an entire online catalog directly with your GMB profile. Adding rich data like this not only increases your exposure to local shoppers, but it helps the overall visibility of your profile.

You can also manage your profile directly from the GMB app on your smartphone, making it easy to add products, directly from your showroom floor, including used equipment or hard to find parts. These products can be categorized by make, model or type and they do not expire so ongoing maintenance of this section of your profile is minimal.

Google has done an admirable job of attempting to champion small and medium businesses in their struggle to compete against larger companies with seemingly unending resources. Google My Business and free local inventory ads are specifically designed to put local businesses on even footing with large chains and big box stores by providing customers with local shopping options. All you have to do is take advantage of the tools available to you.

 

 

Brett Morris is the owner of Dealers Digital, a digital marketing agency for outdoor power equipment dealers and dealerAMP, a marketing automation platform for the OPE industry. He can grease all the fittings on a Woods Batwing in under 7 minutes.

 

Brett Morris
Dealers Digital
859-552-4392
[email protected]

Importance of local Reviews

Importance of Local Review Generation

Review Generation is the process of gathering (hopefully positive) customer reviews for your business. Whether it’s about a great product selection, or a stellar customer service experience – you want folks to share what you’ve got. 

Testimonials in local directories means people are voluntarily offering the most valuable form of marketing there is – word of mouth. As reviews stack up, your business looks more and more reputable, and new customers will be more likely to give it a chance. 

Especially when customers had a bad experience with a previous dealer, seeing good reviews at your location can tempt them away from the competition. 

Benefits of Review Generation:

  1. 70% of consumers trust personal reviews as much as professional reviews
  2. Positive Reviews attract more customers
  3. Good recent reviews can counteract bad ones left by unhappy past customers. One or two bad reviews in a sea of good reviews tells new customers that a bad experience is unlikely.
  4. Positive reviews encourage clickthroughs. While search users tend to be less likely to click on sites they’ve never visited before, positive reviews lure them in with a promise of good results.
  5. 4-5 star businesses are given priority by Google and all other search engines. In other words, if you want to rank highly in SEO, you’ve gotta rank highly in people’s reviews. It’s absolutely vital.

Google itself has officially confirmed the importance of reviews in local search. 

 

“Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.”

With all these reasons, it’s clear you need to be proactive about acquiring positive new reviews for your business. It helps build trust in your brand, majorly improves your organic SEO, and has a strong connection to your public image, 

 

Your review generation plan needs to be practical, timely, and effective for a range of different reviewer types and customer happiness. 

 

In a recent Online Reputation Management Survey, While 87% of respondents classed reputation management as being very important to their business, just 17% of their time is actually spent on reputation management tasks. 

With such a strong importance placed on positive reviews and online reputation, why are so many small businesses putting forth such a small effort to manage their reputation? 

 

Maybe it’s confusing. Maybe it seems like a lot of work. Maybe they haven’t made the time, or simply don’t HAVE enough time. 

Generating reviews is a time-consuming project, after all. 

However, it’s one that is deeply worthwhile.

If you have questions about review generation or you want to schedule a demo of the Review Generation and Management services we offer, please feel free to contact us directly. We’re happy to answer any and all questions.

SMS messaging for local business

Business Texting for Local Business

With crowded mailboxes and inboxes, it can be hard to get a customer’s attention. Customer preference has changed over the years, but most still want to stay in the loop of current events.  That’s why thousands of companies across the world use business texting to reach their audiences. 

Texting is a powerful communication channel. A recent study showed that 98% of SMS messages are opened, compared to just 22% of emails. Whether you’re a major tractor outlet, or a small-town business, there’s plenty of reasons why you should consider business texting integration. 

Here are our top 5 ways to use business texting

Reminders and Scheduling

One of the most useful startup business text integrations is giving folks the ability to schedule something and set reminders through text messages. Some business owners rely on their staff to manually make phone calls to remind customers of upcoming appointments, or to ask if they’re going to be late. With an automatic text-based scheduling, you can remind customers of an upcoming service appointments and allow customers to confirm upcoming appointments automatically. 

Your contacts would probably prefer to text than pick up a phone call from a stranger, anyway. 

Payment and Billing

People are switching to online and mobile payment methods for everything from their bank accounts, car payments, insurance, and even daily shopping. If you offer financing where a customer can set up a regular payment to come in, an automatic text reminder can help them avoid late payments. They can also inquire on their remaining balance through SMS. Keeping things easy and transparent makes your business look more trustworthy. 

Time Sensitive Alerts

Event planners have been wildly successful using SMS messaging to engage and entertain their attendees. You can send reminders before the event, last-minute updates, and even request feedback after all your guests go home. If you’re selling big-ticket items, you can even schedule reminders to ask them if they need an oil change, or a reminder that a factory warranty may expire soon.  

In the case of promotions, it’s better to wait for the biggest, hottest deals of the season to reach out in a text. Making that text shoutout is still a valuable attention-grabber. 

You can even send out job alerts!

Text-based Customer Service.

Since so many are on mobile these days and often prefer texting to calling, so there’s a good chance people are already trying to text your landline for customer service questions. With a good text-to-landline service, you can have those texts forwarded to a web browser. You’ll catch questions that were previously lost, and invite possible customers to reach out with SMS instead of by calling directly. 

You can also just offer customer service via text message. Instead of keeping them on hold on the phone, let them text a question and send an answer as soon as you know exactly what you want to say. If you’re a better speaker than writer, you always have the option of using the voice-to-text feature offered on most smartphones to dictate your replies. All the convenience of texting without having to poke at a screen. 

Order Confirmations and Delivery Updates

While massive multi-national giants like Amazon have the ‘Order Tracking and Notifications’ thing down to an art, small businesses can also do their part in keeping their customers informed. If your inventory shipment schedule is a generally small, this could be a manual process. However, certain inventory systems allow you to integrate with business text messaging services to provide automatic updates to your clients. Anything to make the process easier for  you and less stressful for your customer. 

Business texting services may take a bit of getting used to, but they’re a valuable asset for any size business.

If you’re interested in learning more about the business texting services we offer, or you want to schedule a demo, we’d be excited to hear from you! Schedule a demo here, or just give us a call. 

Enjoyed the article? Check out more on our blog

facebook boost or sponsored for local

Facebook Advertising vs. Boosted Posts

Which type of Facebook ad is best for local businesses?

On the surface boosting content on Facebook for local ads seems like a pretty straight forward transaction. The more dollars you spend, the more eyes see your message. While that’s certainly true, to get the most value out of your dollar it’s worth knowing the basic nuances of how boosting on Facebook works. Truth be told, Facebook’s Advertiser Help Center rarely provides the answers you’re after on Facebook paid advertising, and true to form, it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance on the differences between boosting posts vs. ads either.

So in this article we’ll cover the differences between the types of sponsored ads on Facebook — a Facebook boost and a Facebook news feed ad—and which we recommend as the best option for your business depending on your needs. Which is the type of Facebook ad best for local businesses?

What are Facebook sponsored posts?

Facebook sponsored posts are promoted posts that receive additional paid reach. Simply put, your business has the option of boosting a post or creating an ad: boosting increases the chances your post will be seen by followers (increasing loyalty), while news feed ads target users based on select criteria, external from followers (potential new customers).

Wait, why sponsor ads on Facebook when you can post for free?

The reality is, organic posts don’t go very far in today’s Facebook world. Unless you have a huge network of fans (50K+), achieving favorable outcomes through organic content in a 1.6B user world is futile. Based on Facebook’s current algorithms, organic reach has plummeted over recent years to the point where 50 million businesses are posting 1.5 times per day, reaching an average of 2% of their audience. That is what we call “rough sledding”.

Should we be surprised though? As the world’s largest social network, it was simply clockwork until Facebook turned to a Pay-to-Play model resulting in paid advertising on the social network giant. But before you start shouting big corporate obscenities, it’s still our opinion that Facebook provides the best advertising platform on the web or anywhere else in the business world. It’s just takes a little practice to get a feel for the landscape to make Facebook ads best for your local audience.

Advertising on Facebook requires a solid strategy

Like anything, you will need a strategy when tackling Facebook paid advertising. Depending on what your goals are, our quick advice is to put money on posts that have measurable ROI, like lead capture, promotions, contests and content meant to capture new customers.

Another fundamental rule is to always promote your own content. Always link back to YOUR site and YOUR page. Even if it’s great material and related to your business, never pay to send traffic to someone else’s website.

Now, with all that said, let’s figure out which Facebook paid advertising delivery method works best…Facebook boosts or Facebook ads.

What are Facebook boosted posts?

Facebook boosted posts are promoted posts that appear higher on news feeds, giving a post a higher chance that friends and followers will see it. While boosted posts can be targeted by location, interest, age and gender, more advanced targeting options is reserved for ads on Facebook. And that’s really the rub with sponsored posts for your business. While it’s easier to create them, you are limited in refining the post to get the most out of your “boost juice” dollars.

What are Facebook news feed ads?

Facebook news feed ads are sponsored ads that appear right on the news feed of readers. Newsfeed ads denoted “sponsored” directly underneath the company’s name on the post you users know that the content could be coming from a source they haven’t “liked” yet.

News feed ads are created in Facebook Ads Manager (or Power Editor). Creating a news feed ad on Facebook is more involved than boosting posts, but, as with most things, more work often leads to more reward.

With news feed ads, you can set a specific objective for your ad that directly aligns to your business goals. You can choose from 12 objectives from three different categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
Notice how these three categories represent different areas of the sales and marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: for boosting posts, promoting a Facebook page, targeting people near the business’s location and increasing brand awareness
  • Consideration: to send people to a website, getting app installs, increase event attendance or get views on videos and collect business leads
  • Conversion: for increasing website conversions, engagement to an app, or to have an offer claimed
facebook ad for local dealership

Paid advertising showdown: Which is the best Facebook ad for local advertising?

So you’ve probably come to the conclusion that Facebook news feed ads have a lot more power behind them and are geared toward ROI—especially seeing how there’s no price difference between the two formats.

Boosted posts do have a place—if your business is looking for a quick and convenient way to create awareness and drive profile traffic, then we say go for it, especially if you want to hit existing fans/customers. It takes all of five minutes to start raking in thousands of impressions for as little as $5.00.

If you are looking to achieve tangible marketing results, like capturing leads and driving revenue, my money is on news feed ads. If you want to really capture leads through Facebook paid advertising however, you want news feed ads. 

Enjoyed the article? Check out more on our blog! 

digital-ads-audienceBlog

How to Reach Your Audience With Digital Advertising.

Digital advertising comes in many different varieties, including display advertising (those web banners next to your favorite Youtube videos), sponsored ads (such as those on Google and Facebook), and of course, search ads —just to name a few! There are a ton of ways to reach your audience, and a lot of ‘Best Practices’ to remember. 

So where do you start?

While there are a ton of online options to choose from, reaching your intended audience will still require a little bit of finesse. Luckily, using digital advertising to get your message across is easier than you think.

 

PICK THE RIGHT PLATFORM

In 2008, only 24 percent of the United States had a social media account. Today that number has skyrocketed to 81%. While traditional mediums such as television and newspapers still have their place, most companies are turning towards digital advertising for the majority of their needs—and who could blame them?

As of 2019, tech titans Google and Facebook together control over  77% of total internet revenue growth. Furthermore, in the third quarter of the same year, Google and Facebook together controlled 99% of advertising growth, with this number projected to be on the rise). 

Why would you settle for anything but the best? Pick the right digital platforms and go where your ads will be seen.

reach your audience by picking the right platform

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Knowing your target demographic is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial tools in your advertising toolbox. Why? First off, not only does it give you a leg up for reaching the most likely people to buy your product or service, but it also helps to pick the appropriate platform and technology to deliver your message. 

Audience facts you’ll want to know are things like where they live and shop, what their needs are, what your product specifically can do to solve one of their problems, and why they would find your brand appealing. 

It also helps with ad targeting if you know ‘People who like -this thing- also tend to like my brand’ – so you can expand your reach to target people who like that other thing, knowing that there’s a good chance they’ll like you as well. 

But be warned. Once you have their attention, there’s still plenty of work to do!

 

BE ORIGINAL

Did you know? The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats is a measly 0.06%

From the moment that first browser opens in the morning until that last cat video before bed, internet users are bombarded with dozens of digital advertisements. By the time they get to work they’ve seen so many digital ads that they’ll likely only remember one or two, if that.That’s why it is vital to have the most creative content on the web to achieve that long sought after CLICK.

While you don’t have to break out into 90’s jingles and fake mustaches, you can win over big crowds by being entertaining, and authentically you. A brand that is unique and recognizable is one that is easily remembered – and you want to be top-of-mind when someone is thinking about buying your equipment. 

So go against the grain and dare to be different!

GET INTERACTIVE

As the internet continues to advance, media is consumed differently.

More and more people are getting their entertainment and news from streaming options such as Netflix, Roku, Hulu and YouTube, and social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s incredibly integrated into our lives.

So what does this mean for digital advertising? 

Interaction! 

Interactive ads get a higher clickthrough rate of around 6 percent, whereas most digital ads remain at a fraction of one percent.

Good advertisements tell a story that engages the audience. If you’re a mower dealer, enticing future customers with starbursts of color showing your sale prices for pages and pages just isn’t interesting. 

 But when you intrigue potential buyers with an eye catching video, a hilarious one-liner or a captivating call to action, you give them autonomy. If you provide them with education, they’ll be more likely to share your brand with their friends and use you as a resource, coming back again later. You can reach a wider audience by providing more reasons for them to share and return! 

Don’t tell customers what to think, but instead show them why buying your product is the best decision.

videos can be used to get a higher search ranking

KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET

Don’t say too much! Short messages that pack a wallop and avoid cliches go a long way in the digital advertising world. Hook readers in with a memorable joke, a one liner, or a quick play on words. If you have a lot to say, break it into smaller pieces. 

Did you know novels with shorter chapters tend to have people read more of the book? Since each chapter break allows the person to pause and digest what they’ve read, it’s easier for them to understand what they’ve read and stay intrigued to learn more.

A series of fairly short, related articles that link to each other will generally do better than one massive article. Those same articles can help your SEO, put you in a position to seem like a leader and educator, and really showcase your brand’s helpfulness to the local community. 

 

TUG AT THEIR HEARTSTRINGS

reach your audience with heartfelt content

While traditional word of mouth will always impact local business, the trick is to give them something positive to talk about. The most important thing about your digital advertising campaign should be about connecting with your audience. A little passion goes a long way.

Whether it’s a push to remember to use pesticides in an environmentally friendly fashion, to support a local business – giving people meaningful content to talk about scratches beyond the surface of a product and relates to people at a meaningful level. 

Whether your message is sensitive or funny, at its core it should come across as authentic.

Make your digital ad memorable and appealing, and your brand will have those qualities as well.

 

Was this article helpful? Read more about improving your online presence, advertising, and more at our blog!

advstg-banner

The Basics of Online Advertising

How does online advertising help a local outdoor power business grow?

Digital advertising consists of a range of services, all of which work together to promote a business online. From social media ads, to search engine ads, video ads, and more. 

Simply put, digital advertising increases awareness, and lets you track exactly how much awareness you’ve got. 

More and more businesses are increasing the amount that they spend on digital advertising, and experts like Jamie Turner suggest digital advertising on social platforms is well worth the spend, especially for small businesses. 

If I were to provide one tip to people who are using social media, it would be this — don’t be afraid of paying for social media reach and clicks.” – Jamie Turner, 60secondmarketer.com

The best part about digital advertising is that results can be easily monitored and ROI can be easily tracked. You probably don’t want to be spending lots of money without some proof of performance right?

With traditional media channels, there is sometimes no way of tracking the effectiveness of an advertisement in terms of advanced data analytics. You might put a TV ad out for your dealership, or a print ad in a newspaper – you can get an estimate of how many people saw that ad, but you don’t really know for sure how many of those called your shop because they saw your ad, and you don’t know EXACTLY how many people actually veiwed it. You can get estimates, but you don’t KNOW. 

With digital advertising, companies like Google and Facebook allow users to access advanced analytics. This way local businesses know that their money is being well spent and that the digital advertisements are positively impacting their storefront.

When determining the success of an ad, the important factors will differ case by case. For the most part, the success of an ad lies in the indicators listed below.

ROI indicators/measures of a successful campaign:

  • Impressions: the actual # of views on an advertisement
  • Clicks: the actual # of direct clicks on the advertisement
  • Engagements: Social & landing page clicks
  • Results: In most cases, results come in the form of a phone call or a store visit.
showing online advertising discussion

The Best Places for Online Advertising

Through our team’s extensive work in the digital advertising space, we have come to the same conclusion as pretty much every digital advertising company. The best places to spend money on digital advertising are Google & Facebook.

With digital advertising, not only is a local business visible online, but they are visible to the right people online. Platforms like Facebook and Google allow for advanced targeting, which puts a local business in front of consumers who are more likely to convert into a sale.

Plus, Google and Facebook accounted for roughly 60 percent of ad spend in 2017!

 

Why advertise on Google?

Reach: Google is the largest search network in the world, and consumers are using Google every single day to search for local businesses. Utilizing Google’s massive network capabilities, digital advertisers are able to find ideal prospects and get in front of users looking for their products/services.

In the age of digital, people are not looking at TV commercials or listening to radio ads to find a local business, they are searching for a service and then locating your business online.

With 3.5 Billion Google searches conducted every single day, customers are looking for local businesses and businesses should want to be on Google.

Flexibility: Google allows the local advertiser to spend whatever they want, whenever they want. With flexible options for ad spend, advertisers are able to test what works and what doesn’t work for a business. Spend a bit, wait to see how the campaign performs, and then reinvest in larger budgets for greater prospect reach.

Why advertise on Facebook?

AudienceThe audience on Facebook includes 1.32 billion daily active users (DAUs) on average, at an increase of 17% year-over-year. As a local business, you simply cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is likely an intersection in which you can find prospective customers. If the daily average users stat doesn’t have you convinced then let’s talk about how often social media is being used. The average person spends nearly 35 minutes everyday JUST on Facebook, according to a recent study by Mediakix.

If there is one thing to take away it is that the audience on Facebook is MASSIVE, and they are on Facebook a LOT.

Targeting: Facebook Ad targeting is a local marketer’s dream. Facebook allows the ability to focus on users so microscopically that you can basically become a bit of a digital stalker (in a good way?). Target users by their interests, behaviors, age, gender, location, and really anything that their Facebook profile may reveal about them including job title.

The Facebook algorithm has brought about changes to the local advertising landscape, but it remains one of the best environments for local businesses to get the word out about themselves!

Conclusion

By leveraging these two platforms, every local business can easily take their online advertising game to the next level, and begin to rake in new revenue—with the data to back their investment.

Was this article helpful? Read more about online advertising, local SEO, Social Media management, and more on our blog!

Covid 19 update

6 Ideas For Outdoor Power Dealers To Combat Coronavirus

Hi folks, I know it’s a little crazy out there right now, but I’ve talked to a bunch of dealers over the past couple of days and wanted to hop on for a few minutes to talk about some things those dealers are already doing to address the coronavirus and some things you may want to consider in your own business.

First of all, the grass is going to grow and farmers, who are so central to the country’s forward movement, are still going to do what the do, come hell or high water. Commercial cutters are likely still going to be serving customers and they’ll need parts and service like always. And the homeowners are going to have a lot of time on their hands sitting at home when the sun starts to shine, they’re going to be mowing as well. So the start of the season might be dulled, but the season will come, one way or the other. Some of these ideas could actually be permanent adjustments to the way your store does business.

  1. Take time to make sure you update your social channels and especially Google My Business if you have adjusted your normal hours of operation. These are the first places customers are going to go to find out what you’ve got going on. Use these channels to let your customers know how you are addressing the pandemic, that the safety of your employees and customers are of utmost importance.
  2. Follow the government’s guidelines on social distancing when interacting with customers in store or at the parts counter. Tape off an area around your service and parts counters.
  3. Offer curbside pickup or home delivery. Some OEMs like Cub Cadet offer online purchasing for whole goods that can be shipped directly to your door while still giving you credit for the sale. Support another local business and have a permanent sign made for designated parking spot for pickup and dropoff.
  4. Allow customers to schedule a virtual call with a salesperson. Use Facebook Messenger or Skype to make free video calls that allow customers to virtual shopping in your showroom.
  5. Review your marketing calendar – The beginning of the season is always nuts and OEM promotions are typically rolling out just in time so most of the dealers I talk to sometimes barely have time to keep current on those promotions before the sales crush hits. If you need to pause advertising, let your vendors (like us) know and they’ll work with you to restructure campaigns. Remember, the season isn’t going away, it’s just going to be delayed (we hope).
  6. Check with your OEMs to see what they are doing to ease the strain, extensions on terms, additional promotions. If they haven’t already announced them, they should have something in the works. No shame in pressing them to help.

Some things to consider on the business front.

The government is working to put stimulus programs in place in the form of cash payment to most families tentatively on April 6th and May 18th. That’s right in the middle of spring selling season so there is potential for some cash influx that you can wrap promotions around if you offer special cash pricing or use it to tie into one of the many promotions most OEM dealers will have during that time anyway.

We’re a small business, just like you and we’ve been watching pretty closely as the government is also pushing special SBA loans for qualifying businesses. With most of you sitting on a lot inventory that may not move for the next few months, it may make sense to look into the temporary relief that the SBA program can provide for payroll and other expenses. Check out the programs details from the SBA here.

Another thing to consider if you’ve racked up some credit card debt that’s killing cash flow, American Express may waive interested and late fees for businesses that are hit hard by the pandemic. Find out more details on that program here.

Here’s hoping some of this helps you and your business. Remember to try to  enjoy some of this time with your families and have faith that things are going to be back to normal again real soon.

local and digital marketing

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

The world of Marketing is changing

You may have heard it before, but in 2020 this message is more poignant than ever.
Simply put, traditional marketing is no longer the end-all, be-all of sending your message into the world.

Customers research and shop across digital channels, and so dealers must go digital to message to them.

Traditional advertising encompasses formats like billboards, sales brochures, and TV and radio ads.
Digital Marketing includes channels such as websites, email, social media, Google search ads, and mobile messaging.

That’s not to say traditional marketing no longer has a place!

In a study done by neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact, direct mail was tested against email and display ads. They used eye-tracking and EEG brain wave measurements to track the ease of understanding, persuasiveness, and attention paid to each of these ad types.
According to their study, direct mail required about 21% less cognitive effort to process, suggesting it’s easier to understand and more memorable.


However, the downsides to Traditional Marketing includes the difficulty in tracking conversions, being very costly, and having very little direct interaction between the medium used and the customer. It’s great for creating brand awareness, if you have the budget to spend.If you want more bang for your buck, easier tracking of conversions and engagement, and to slot yourself neatly into the world of research-savvy customers who are further down the sales funnel, then Digital is your way to go. 

With Digital Advertising, you can keep your costs lower, target people who are already actively showing interest in or searching for the brands you carry, and you have the opportunity to engage with them directly through instant actions like click-to-call, exploring your website, asking a question, and even saving your location.

With the right targeting and messaging, you know whoever sees your digital ad is already interested in the type of product you sell. Unlike a billboard, where you’re paying for every commuter in the area to see it, even if they’ve never touched a lawn tractor in their life. 

Digital advertising also increases the ease of sharing with friends and coworkers. How often do paper fliers get passed around by friends, compared to folks sending links or pictures? Or tagging a friend in a facebook post that seems like it’d appeal to them?
If you consider that the average Facebook user has around 100-200 friends, with an average of 12% who see their posts in day-to-day browsing – if your post is shared even once, that’s likely 15 new prospects who have essentially been recommended by a friend to check out what you have. This Word-of-Mouth opportunity is why making high-quality, interesting content is so important.
So, which kind of marketing is better?

 Well, both are good. Clearly we’re passionate about digital marketing, because we know that it works, and it has a ton of benefits. But traditional marketing materials also work well, especially if you’re completely new to an area.

 

Rather than taking an all or nothing stance, coordinated multi-channel marketing can leverage the unique benefits of paper, with the convenience and accessibility of digital to create a marketing campaign that spans the entire sales funnel. 

Dealership Listing Accuracy

6 Reasons Your Dealership’s Business Listing Needs to Be Accurate

The Importance Of Business Listings

As a business, how likely is it that potential customers will come through your door if there’s no way for them to know if you exist?
The whole point of an online presence and digital business listings is to entice customers into your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers rather than just browsers online. Anything else is just a waste of time.

Nothing is more frustrating as a customer than finding out that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located. As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. In fact, according to Placeable, 73% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.


1. Missing hours of operation information can be a dealbreaker

There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device. The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation, especially with mobile searchers who are highly likely to visit a business within 24 hours of searching..

In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most helpful feature in selecting a business during local search. 76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.

 

business listing hours of operation

Even if people are new to your dealership, it doesn’t give people a good impression if the business hours are not listed and they don’t know that it’s only open from 11 a.m-6p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Imagine that potential customer who is ready to spend their money on a fancy new zero-turn mower, but shows up on Monday at noon only to find it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.

2.You can’t spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an A(ddress)

While most people would assume that the number one reason people do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information. But, of course, the whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.

It bears repeating that if a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be crossing the threshold. A simple thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer cannot find you. The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to verify and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for correct mailing addresses.

What this means for the average dealership is that unless a business is in an established location, getting the correct address on their listing means that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must be consistent. If USPS doesn’t recognize that address, then a business owner must contact them to verify their new address and get that information updated on USPS’s online database.


3. Local searchers are mobile creatures

According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct. Now if half of the people searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can’t find the store’s business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.

For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner. This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions. Is your website responsive? We can help.

4. Updated, accurate websites still serve as a first impression

At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms have a similar chance of ending in a purchase. While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a customer searches, you can’t discount the power of a consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.

Any listing should be linked to the business’s website and feature the exact same information, but more of it. While a website should be enough to entice a customer to visit or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust issues may arise in a business’s practices before a customer ever crosses their threshold.

preview of business website

 



5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, situations and times

People who search for listings are doing it in many more ways than when the Internet first coalesced into existence about two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets—and in each iteration, the methods of search have changed.

However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web developers realize that they need to be smarter. Rather than designing three different sites for three different platforms, they have created websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of types of devices in use everyday.

According to Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local information online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are searching for varies by the time of day and device. Entertainment is searched for during work hours on computers, restaurants during evening using phones and health/fitness evening using tablets.

The most important part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those business listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.


6. Local search results are trusted sources of information

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “zero turn mowers Batavia, NY”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.

Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will convert that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer – a customer who brings their equipment back in time and time again for parts, service and repair. Acquiring a customer is a big deal. And local search visibility is the first step to earning that business.

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct business listing in that customer’s local search.

Dealership Listing Accuracy