Author Archives: Anne Haynes

About Anne Haynes

Kansas City SEO, SEM and Social Media Consultant. I love to learn and this is where I share what I learn. Learn more about me, visit My Google Profile+ page.

Report Gmail Spam

I want to remind Gmail users how to report spam and ask that we continue to report email spam to Google. I can’t believe this stuff if still getting through my Gmail account, but today I remembered that I don’t report gmail spam enough!

When you see spam like this in your Gmail, make sure to click on the Exclamation Point icon in your Google Mail.

How To Report Gmail Spam

Automotive Dealership Marketing – Part 2

by: Anne Haynes

Automotive Marketing – Generating Leads

This is Part 2 of my Automotive Dealership Marketing series detailing the complexities of tools. Not all tools are complicated, but volume of tools makes it complicated. To get caught up on the series, read the Automotive Dealership Marketing Part 1, it’s more of an overview, but sets the tone for the series.

If you ask people about their communication experiences during the car buying process 90% of the people will say it was frustrating. If a buyer goes to a 3rd party automotive buying websites, most likely their request for more information is sent to a dealership’s CRM system or Dealership Management System (DMS). Once the lead is in the DMS, an automotive general manger or sales manager assigns the lead to a sales person. The sales person’s goal is to schedule an appointment and get the potential buyer on the showroom floor. If a sales person doesn’t follow-up to a lead quickly and schedule appointment this sales person will no longer receive leads. And this is one of the reasons why buyers complain about the communication cycle when buying a car.

In my role as a dealership digital marketing manager, I didn’t sell cars, so this post is not about sales tactics; it’s about the tools needed to continually generate leads into the dealership.

The majority of dealerships employ Internet Sales Managers; these individuals are responsible for managing internet leads and selling cars to these leads. Many times these “sales” people are put into a situation where they have to learn all the technical inter-workings of lead integration into the DMS. In my professional opinion this is where dealerships are focused too much on sales and not enough on technology.

Here is a humorous video which I continually reference which summarizes the evolution of the Internet Sale Manager. Warning: the ending of the video could be offensive to some, but it’s the reality of what dealership owners are expecting from sales folks.

How do dealerships deal with the changing landscape of the web and lead generation? They outsource everything; website development, SEO and SEM. Social media tends to be managed by another sales person who is measured by sales and expected to manage the social media presence for the organization.

The Internet Sales Manager is measured by sales too, heck aside from the owner every employee with any version of “Sales” in their title is measured by sales.

What does it take to generate and manage leads at a dealership?

A website is needed to show potential buyers the cars available. I’ve evaluated many vendors providing websites to dealerships and the majority of the vendors have hard coded templates with limited ability to optimize the website for the search engines and user experience. The website templates are used across the entire automotive industry and because the templates come with default content, what you see is duplicate content across multiple dealership websites which hurts rankings.

OEM’s trying to preserve their brand image require dealerships to buy OEM authorized websites if the dealership wants leads from the OEM’s website. The OEM website becomes another lead generation source. Dealerships are making the tough decisions to keep their local website built by one vendor or delete their website and move to the OEM authorized website vendor based out of fear that one day the OEM is going to make using their “authorized” website vendor mandatory. And after my SEO analysis you can see in the following example that the OEM authorized website vendor “Cobalt” has little value with regards to PageRank. Moreover, the dealership website built by AllAutoNetwork continually links to the OEM authorized website vendor. I put a stop to this quickly.
automotive-technology-bad

On the website SEO note, there are shyster companies who purchase all of the domain names for car makes-models-location. For example kcfordescape.com, kansascityfordescape.com, kchyundaitucson.com you get the idea. These companies put microsites up, build crappy backlinks and charge the dealerships a crazy expensive monthly fee for each microsite. I did an extensive analysis and the best performing microsite for unique visits 01/11-06/11 was 124 visits. Don’t be confused with leads; these are unique VISITS in 5 months costing the dealership $100 per visit. There were 16 other microsites, you do the math.

During my communications with one of the three account representatives I had at Cobalt, the representative made the mistake of telling me Cobalt was buying PPC ads and sending it to the OEM authorized website, which in my opinion was not our primary website. Well that’s interesting, when did we approve this activity? Oh I get it, you all buy PPC ads to make your traffic numbers look good and build a case for the OEM to mandate dealerships to use your service.

How about other ways to generate leads from the website? Chat is a great way for any website in any industry to immediately generate leads through real-time website traffic. I have experience with Contact At Once. Chat requires a sales person picture, and an email. Administering this service is not painful unless sales folks come and go. Turn-over was the environment I lived in when supporting dealership website chat. While install on the machines was easy, teaching the sales folks to use the tool was not always easy. I wrote an Automotive Dealership Sales Person Chat Manual Contact At Once and it helped with reducing question volume.

The new sales persons picture doesn’t stop at chat, local dealership reviews are important to lead generation. DealerRater dominates as the dealerships preferred website for customers’ reviews. Dealerships build entire programs around sales people soliciting DealerRater reviews. But let it be known the sales folks are also trained to only solicit DealerRater reviews when an automotive sale has been successful. As the administrator of a DealerRater dealership page it’s labor intensive especially when an automotive dealership has high-turnover. All sales people need a picture, email and bio in order to start accepting reviews on DealerRater. Dealerships use their DealerRater ranking in multiple advertising mediums; radio, tv, print and web. As a consumer it’s important to notice the volume of DealerRater sales people; the more sales folks, the more turn-over. I’m just going to say it, I don’t want my contact details being shuffled to another sales person who is going to be required to call me.

There is more to come on lead generation in the automotive industry, but for now this is the closing of Part 2. How am I doing with creating compelling awesome content in 2013? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Can You Benefit from Free Web Hosting?

Guest Blogger: John Rampton

Not everything in life that is free has to be low quality.

When it comes to creating a web site or blog you actually have a lot of paid and free web hosting services.

Free hosting doesn’t mean you should stay away from them. Actually, it means you may want to investigate. Before deciding on a hosting service, make sure to document your website requirements. You don’t know what hosting services you need until you know what your website needs to do. For example, do you need to sell products, allow for customers to review products and services, allow customers to submit documents or are you just writing? Once you’ve written down your website requirements, you can investigate free hosting and paid hosting services. Blogging.org just released a list of the top 25 free hosting companies online, and you can view a full list here.

Free Hosting options

To save you some time, you can see a short list of the top 5 free hosting companies below.

  1. wix.com
  2. weebly.com
  3. 000webhost.com
  4. yola.com
  5. edublogs.com

In the next few months, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will releases several hundred additional domain extensions. Here is a great hangout video reviewing the up and coming TLD (Top Level Domains) that will be released. This monumental change will give people the opportunity to have multiple websites on a variety of topics. If your goal is to have mulitple website, a free hosting option might be the most affordable way to go. But remember before you go with a free hosting solution, know your website requirements.

Converging Media: Paid, Organic, Owned and Earned Media

By: Anne Haynes

Converging media is a common concept to building strong social media campaigns. As a community manager and marketing team of 1, I rely heavily on webinars and reading to continually improve my skill-set. I enjoy testing out what marketing journalists and consultants’ document as working to improve conversions and ROI. I started my career in SEO, continued by learning SEM in 2005 and I’ve been learning social media since 2008. It’s a good thing I like to learn, because all the social networks and AdWords network are updating their platforms right now.

Time to ask for a little Love. Follow me and the brands I manage, it’s #FollowFriday 

@AnneMHaynes Community Manager
Kansas City SEO SEM Consultant Anne Haynes SleepRight FB
SleepRight Twitter
Pegetables FB
Pegetables Twitter

Last week I participated in the “The Call for Converged Media: How Brands Should Combine Paid, Owned, and Earned Media” webinar by Wildfire/Google. Wildfire is a social media promotion platform Google acquired in July of 2012.

While the webinar was mostly review for me, there was a certain clarity which hit me during the training. Converging media is a true dance of marketing tactics. Traditionally these marketing tactics resided in their own departments without the need to share information. The days of having web design/development department focus only on the website, social media department focus only on sharing and the search department only focus on website traffic are over. Its imperative these departments work together to implement successful social media marketing campaigns.

A small organization will easily implement converging media into workflow. Larger firms and agencies will struggle with redefining roles & responsibilities, processes & procedures, but with the right leadership it can be done.

 

Converging Media Defined

Paid Media:
It’s when you pay for traffic to your Owned Media. Effective social media campaigns are not FREE. Paid Media is needed to grow and promote the brand. The goals of social Paid Media is to increase the amount of people your brand reaches and inspire those people to share or make noise i.e. Earned Media.

Owned Media:
If your company owns it and manages it, this is considered Owned Media. Some examples of owned media; website(s), images, videos, forums, press releases, blog posts, social media properties posts and mentions on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube etc. Value is added to Owned Media when the content is optimized using search engine optimization.

Earned Media:
Content curators will share your content and content creators will create content around your Paid Media or Owned Media post. Successful social media campaigns are measured by the amount of Earned Media generated.

Here is the slide from the webinar:

Converging Media Practices
I agree with the presenter’s definition of converging media, but I want to add to it as well. After thinking more about this webinar, clarity cleared and logic took over. The presenter was a social media expert not an SEO expert therefore she missed an entire segment of converging media; Organic Media.

Organic (SEO) Media:
When you leverage your Paid Media content, optimize it organically for the search engines and market this content on a high traffic website. When I create landing pages for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, I also optimize organically (Organic Media). 9 times out of 10 any PPP campaign I manage has a primary incentive and a secondary incentive. For example, I want the customer to sign-up for a coupon (primary incentive), and if they share the the content they are entered to win something (secondary incentive). I’ve had success with iPad giveaways, Sign-up for 6 months FREE listing, Share to win a secret goodie bag. My audiences for these types of incentives are freebie, discount shoppers. There are tons of website where you can post giveaways (freebies) and coupons (discount shoppers) on the web.

Here is how I would update the slide:

examples of media convergence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for a converging media example, the fun stuff, I get to talk about myself, LOL. If you knew me in-real-life you would be laughing right now. I’m not an egocentric person.

Converging Media Example: Pegetables Video Contest
Owned Media > Organic Media> Paid Media> Earned Media> Owned Media:

I manage www.pegetables.com website. This is the lowest priority website I’m managing, but the most fun to manage because everyone loves dogs. When I took the website over a video contest had been going on without any video submissions! We were giving away a year supply of Pegetables ($500 value), something was really wrong. I analyzed the campaign processes and there was the problem, but that’s for a future usibility post. It was my job to make it successful. My goal was to generate more Owned Media! I just launched a YouTube channel and we needed something more than just Playlists.

While rebuilding the campaign, I ran across Authntk specilizing in user generated content video content! It was the perfect video solution. People could record or upload videos directly through the website! It was user friendly, affordable and easy to implement. I’m adding this to all of my websites this year!

Earned Media - User Generated Video Content

We relaunched the campaign; created a landing page powered by Authntk (Owned Media), added a call-to-action on the home page (Owned Media), posted details about the contest on video contest websites (Organic Media) and sent an email blast to our database of customers (Paid Media). Video contests websites are websites with lists of video contests people can enter. For some reason, this tactic didn’t not get enough traction. Maybe it was the site I was using. If you have any suggestions for video contests websites, please leave me a comment.

It was a success! We received videos and selected an awesome winner: Noodles the Wonder Dog.

Watch the Video Now
Converging Media: Owned Media

Even better, Pegetables now has cute dog videos on the Pegetables YouTube Channel (Owned Media). This is a great converging media example because shared or Earned Media turned into Owned Media.

I have more examples and I will continue sharing while I reach my 2013 New Year’s Resolution to blog more. Traditional media hasn’t even been mentioned in this post. The best converging media results I’ve seen are when all marketing mediums are utilized. It’s interesting when measuring performance.

 

Top 10 Tips & Tricks in Adwords

by:Ross Dempsey

1. Competitors Ad Copy

Don’t just sit and try to think of the best ad copy that will bring customers in – research it. Type in your most important keywords into Google and see what your PPC competitors are up to. Then simply create ad copy that’s more attractive to the user than theirs! If they’re advertising the exact same product as you but you’re cheaper, add the price in the ad! Or alternatively if they’re cheaper than you, create a Promo code to become cheaper or focus your ad copy on other benefits you offer such as free delivery.

2. Rotate Your Ads

There’s only one way to find out which ads work best in bringing in traffic to your website, and that’s by testing them. Always have 2-3 ads running at the one time and regularly test new ads to make sure the ones you have running are bringing in the highest click through rate and conversions.

3. Optimise landing pages

AdWords is like a game and you want to gain the highest quality you can for your keywords as this will ultimately lower your cost per click.

CPC = Quality Score x Bid

As well as having a relevant ad you also want to offer a relevant landing page experience. Flag this up to Google, add a profitable keyword into the url and optimize the page to include the keyword too!

4. Mobile Ads

With the amount of people using their phones and tablets for internet access these days it’s worthwhile splitting your ad campaigns up for laptop/pc users and mobile/tablet users. Not only will this allow you to see where more revenue is coming from, it will also allow you to adapt your ads to both.

5. Geo Targeting

Break your campaigns up into different campaigns targeting different locations. This allows you to target different keywords and ads towards different areas. For example if you are a well known hotel targeting the whole of the UK and are looking to promote a new afternoon tea special you may only want to target the people within a certain distance of the hotel.

6. Ad Scheduling

Once your ads have been running for a while you can identify the times of day when users are more likely to convert into customers. This allows you to focus all or the majority of your budget to these times and reduces the cost of wasted clicks at other times.

7. Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are great for offering more information with your ads. Whether it be promoting deals through site links, using location extensions to display a local presence, link the ads to your Google Merchant Centre products with product extensions or add your number with call extensions (particularly useful in the mobile campaigns already mentioned!). For more information about site extensions go to…

8. Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic Keyword insertion (DKI) allows you to enter a snippet of code that will automatically update your ad with the keyword in your account that the user has searched for. It’s not the easiest of techniques to use but it makes your ads more relevant to potential customers, and at the same time makes it easier for you to create unique ads specific to what they’re searching for. For more information about DKI check out Googles…

9. Add a full stop

If you can’t quite fit all the information you want in the headline and your ads are in the top 3, you can expand the heading to include the first description line. All you have to do is add a full stop at the end of the first description line. That’s it! When you’re in the top 3 you’ll get a nice long heading and if your ads drop to 4th position below it will just go back to normal!

10. Focus on phrase and exact match to keep costs down

If you need to keep the costs down focus on phrase and exact matches keywords rather than broad. Whilst this will lower the number of impressions your ads get it will also lower the cost of wasted clicks with your ads only showing for more specific and relevant search terms

Guest blog post done by: Ross Dempsey is the Head of Marketing for Glasgoweb, offering web design, SEO and PPC in Scotland. Ross’ particular expertise lies in SEO, PPC, Social Media and Analytics.