Creative Uses for Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Awards sponsored by:

This year’s Digital Marketing Awards are all about how dealers are creatively using digital marketing to get an edge and stand out from competitors online. These dealers are doing things so differently, it’s impossible to rank them numerically. They are all certainly deserving of praise for their efforts in digital marketing. Additionally, although these dealers aren’t the only ones engaging in the practices mentioned in this piece, they provide great examples of these types of digital marketing.

Video Usage

VSEO  /  Congressional VW Mazda
“We do a lot more video now because we understand the more we have, the better we’re going to show up on the search engines. If you do a search on Passat Rockville, you’ll see many of our videos come up in the organic search results. If the world were perfect, everything above the fold would be us. Our goal is when the customer’s eyes are on their computer screen, all they see is Congressional Motors video and websites.” – Sue Seboda, Dealer, Congressional VW Mazda, Rockville, Md.

Video Email  /  Performance Chevrolet & Serra Chevrolet
“Sometimes I do 45 or 50 [video emails] a day. It doesn’t take long at all. I use [video] in pretty much every form of communication I have, whether it be emailing communications with customers, internal communications with staff members, personal stuff for work that I do, social media, YouTube, video walk-arounds. [The videos are] in the top four referral sites that drive traffic back to our website.” – Trey Colbert, Internet Director, Performance Chevrolet, Elizabeth City, N.C.

“I think really the best way to communicate with our customers is video. With video, people can see whether you’re passionate about whatever you’re telling them about. We’re all looking for a competitive edge. What a great way to separate yourself from the competition, in my opinion I don’t think anybody in our market is doing it. As a matter of fact, very few people in our industry are doing it.” – Barry Carver, Dealer, Serra Chevrolet, Bartlett, Tenn.


Feed Engagement  /  Dave White Acura
“It’s a full-time job to try and manage your own Facebook and Twitter. [SocialUps] puts very engaging posts and comments on [our Facebook wall], so people actually comment and respond. If you look at these and look at how many comments [they get], it’s crazy. We don’t do a ton of advertising or specials on there. The whole idea is to not bombard people with offers. It’s all for branding. It was set up to get our name out there, to get a good Facebook page and to get some good Internet engagement.” – Kim Taylor, General Sales Manager, Dave White Acura, Sylvania, Ohio

Engaging Games  /  Suburban Subaru
 “I think the latest game got us up to 10,000 fans. We as a society enjoy playing games. When people see a game and see they can win an iPod 2 or an xBox Kinect, people might spend 10 minutes goofing around. If they get their scores up, they get excited and think, ‘Hey, I’m in the running. This is easy. We can [set when the game ends] based on fan count. Fans are important. The more you engage fans and stay in front of them, the more relevant you are.” – Lane Resnick, General Manager, Suburban Subaru, Vernon, Conn.

Website Engagement

Lead Conversion  /  Sport Mazda & Charlotte Honda Volkswagen
“I’ve known for a long time that we get about 200 people a day on our website and get the opportunity to contact 15 or so a day. So that means 185 people visit my website every day [that] I never have a chance to interact with. That’ll drive you crazy. I get probably 15 to 20 incremental leads that I would have never gotten. We’re doing one to three extra sales a month from it, and we’re about a 100-car store.” – Jay Mealey, Dealer, Sport Mazda, Orlando, Fl.

“I wanted a better conversion tool to convert all those folks that were visiting my site into leads. We have to look at games in a whole different light. Look at Facebook; one-third of Facebook is games. Look at the history of game shows in America; game shows have been around forever as a means to capture people’s attention. I like the fact of using games. It’s a mindless way to engage somebody. It’s fun, and they win. And we’re picking up an extra 250 to 300 leads a month.” – Josh Nacht, General Manager, Charlotte Honda Volkswagen, Port Charlotte, Fla.

Coupon Offers

Lead Conversion  /  Hyundai of St. Augustine
“Basically, it’s an incentive-driven coupon. The incentive is customizable. It could be a $10 coupon; it could be a $50 coupon. The consumer [can] pick [from] three different incentives. We have a $25 MasterCard, iTunes and Target. I wanted to the coupon to give them a little bit of an incentive to physically come into the dealership. It’s not on all of our pages. It’s really just on our inventory and specials pages because we don’t want somebody that’s just hitting our home page to get this coupon. We want somebody that’s at least engaged a little bit looking at our inventory.” – Andrew DiFeo, General Manager, Hyundai of St. Augustine, St. Augustine, Fla.

Increased Appointment Shows  /  Suzuki of Wichita
“Our BDC sends an email once they’ve set an appointment to offer [the customer] $25 if they just show, and in September, we increased our show ratio from the BDC by 12 percent. Anything you can offer a customer to show, I think, is beneficial. Any time you can increase your show ratio 10 or 12 percent, that’s a good deal.” – Tom White, General Manager, Suzuki of Wichita, Wichita, Kan.

Online Reputation Management

Responding to Reviews  /  World Hyundai
“It’s essential that every negative review gets a response. With one person that initially did a bad review of us, we responded to his bad review immediately, rectified his problem and got him turned around. He realized that we really did care. He went back and wrote a new review, and he went out of his way to visit the other review sites to leave reviews because he knows it’s important to us to share the story. He is now like an ultra advocate who’s bought two or three cars from us and sent us two or three referrals. It’s awesome.” – Scott Falcone, Dealer, World Hyundai, Matteson, IL

Monitoring Reviews  /  Hyundai of St. Augustine
“I [used to] go to DealerRater every day. I would set up my Google Alerts, and so on and so forth. So what I really like about the platform is it scours the Web for mentions of our dealership name, and it puts them into buckets of positive mentions, neutral mentions, negative mentions, or can’t determine whether it’s a positive, neutral or negative mention. And it does it in a very clear, concise, trackable format to where from an executive level, I can go in real quick, whether it’s daily or weekly, and see who’s mentioning the Hyundai brand or Hyundai of St Augustine on the Internet. It tracks your reviews over time on different sites, the major sites.” – Andrew DiFeo, General Manager, Hyundai of St. Augustine, St. Augustine, Fla.

10 Dealers Getting Creative on Their Websites

Checkered Flag Motor Car Corp. ( – Extend Your Warranty Coverage

Lebanon Ford ( – Dealer TV

Driversselect ( – Great Protect Your Vehicle Page

Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet ( – Staff Videos

Frank Myers Auto Maxx ( – Squeeze Page

Paragon Honda ( – Pop-Up Service Offer for Likes/Follows

Gwinnett Place Ford Lincoln ( – Service Coupon Link on Home Page

Suzuki of Wichita ( – Branding a Fun Car-Buying Experience

Honda Cars of McKinney ( – Service and Sales Chat Options

World Hyundai Matteson ( – Text Prompts for Unique Vehicle on Home Page

Related: Top 5 Web Analytics to Monitor

Vol. 8, Issue 12