Okay, I confess. Digitally speaking I’m fairly “un-social” and I still use a “dumb” phone (one of the old Motorola Razors that I bought on eBay because they haven’t made them in five years.) Not that I don’t have a fairly decent understanding of that great new world beyond the digital door, I’m just trying to better manage the monumental flow of information that we’ve all been subjected in the E-age.
I have a Facebook page and I get about two zillion requests a day to be Linkedin, but I don’t Twitter because I’ve never really liked the concept of 3,000 people knowing every step I take and every observation I make. And I’m not that excited about following other people that closely. Frankly, I’ve just never figured out where the folks doing all the social stuff find the time to do it. Just better multi-taskers than myself I guess.
At least half of the requests I receive for advertising advice come from dealers and marketing managers who are trying to understand where they should be spending their digital ad dollars. Many are jumping into the “social media” pool prematurely without understanding the true potential of this channel. Not only is “social media” fraught with uncontrollable and often damaging undercurrents, it is the least effective engagement technique for encouraging customer loyalty according to a recent study, “The customer dance: When to lead and when to follow” by Pitney Bowes. In that survey just 18% of respondents believed that interaction with larger businesses on social media would encourage them to buy from that business again. Even less…just 15%, for smaller businesses.
One of the modern day marketing gurus I have great respect for, Steve Tobak, managing partner of Invisor Consulting (www.Invisor.net) sums up the hoopla over social media in one of his latest papers: Shattering 10 Branding Myths. Of the myth “Social Media Changes Everything”, Steve says: “No, it changes some things, certainly not everything. Companies simply have to roll those real-time channels into their marketing processes and spending. Social media is a new channel with some new issues associated with it. That’s all.” If you’d like to receive a copy of Steve’s “Shattering 10 Branding Myths”, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it along. (Don’t post a message on my Facebook page or you may never see it!)
Get smart! Unfortunately, most of the dealers I correspond with are neglecting the greatest opportunity for maximizing e-communication and lead opportunities with the fastest growing segment of shoppers: making sure their website is ‘smart phone’ friendly. Is your website mobile app friendly? In a recent report from the Center of Media Research the National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee (the virus people) shared some interesting facts from a Zogby Research project on the astounding growth of ‘smartphone’ devices used for mobile shopping.
- In the last six months, 50% of Americans researched potential purchases, 27% shopped, 18% made online payments and 12% purchased goods with their smartphone at least once.
- 75% of smartphone users access the Internet more frequently on their devices today than just one year ago!
Writer/Entrepeneur Jeff Haden says (in his Seven Deadly Website Sins) that the number one deadly website sin is: “Your website is anything but mobile-friendly.” Jeff adds that almost five billion people have mobile phone subscriptions out of a population of approximately seven billion people. Still think you don’t need a fast, well-designed, and efficient mobile-friendly site? Your customers do. (If you’d like a copy of Jeff’s “Seven Deadly Website Sins”, e-mail me.)
According to a ComScore report, online spending increased 26% ($816 million) this past Thanksgiving weekend vs. the previous year. A record number of online shoppers used their smartphone devices to shop and make purchases. Almost 15%, double that of last year’s numbers.
What can SMART do for you? Mobile shoppers are obviously on the move. They are at work, at play or on the way. Just as traditional radio advertising proved effective in bringing large numbers of online shoppers to dealer websites, mobile smartphones make it even easier to conduct product research, check inventory, models, features, pricing, fill out credit applications, engage in chat, get a price quote, make a service reservation or just request more information. Mobile apps make it easier for shoppers to get directions including GPS info, phone numbers and hours of operation.
What turns on the mobile shopper? Just as traditional online shopping, the ease of navigation and the ability to obtain information turns on mobile shoppers. “Less” on a smartphone is definitely “more.” Your web design team can gain tremendous insight by “shopping the web” via a smartphone device for ideas. Of course research sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com offer free smartphone apps for shoppers to check prices and ratings, also allowing drivers to search for nearby dealers and directions. A number of automotive publications such as Car and Driver offer free apps as well.
Your greatest resource for information on making your website smartphone friendly is right in your dealership. Send out an e-mail or text to your employees today asking for their thoughts on mobile shopping. Assemble a group of these “smarties” for an informal discussion on ways to make the online shopping experience at your dealership the very best it can be. You’ll be amazed, and pleased with the advice and ideas these mobile shopping experts can lend to the project.