I’ve been traveling extensively lately as have many other 3
Birds team members. We’ve been at
conferences, dealer education events, strategy sessions, client visits,
community events sponsored by our clients and even the Googleplex! I don’t know what I would have done 10 years
ago before everyone had a smartphone.
There are weeks when I feel that I am doing 90% of my job from my iPhone
and my mini iPad. I’m not the only one.
Email is the most common smartphone activity for adults in the United States. In fact, 82% of smartphone users check their email on their device. Sending email communications that are well optimized for phones is no longer a “nice to have” feature – it is mission critical. How do your emails render on a smartphone or a table? What does your mobile presence look like? Do you have a mobile website or is your website device adaptive? Do you know the difference? Maybe you are feeling anxious that this is one more thing that you have to remember to ask your vendor-partners about.
3 Birds is proud to announce that our clients need not worry about this. We’ve handled everything for you when it comes to your engagement websites where your newsletters and email campaigns are published after they are delivered to you customers’ inboxes. 3 Birds engagement sites are now device optimized meaning that the websites detect the type of device being used to view the site – smartphone, tablet, PC – and adapt accordingly. Our clients don’t need to do a thing and there is no additional fee. Our beautiful mobile site is included as part of our offering, as it should be. Go ahead and check out this newsletter (or your dealership’s newsletter if you are already a 3 Birds customer) on your smartphone. We hope that you love it as much as we do. Some of our clients have remarked that they like the mobile version of their newsletter engagement site better than the mobile version of their main website!
If you’re not a 3 Birds’ customer yet and you want to be one of the cool kids with the best looking device optimized newsletter engagement website in the automotive industry, click here to contact us for more information or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, but don’t be surprised if I answer your email from my iPhone.
How to attract the growing audience of mobile users to your dealership
Thinking about adding a mobile component to your marketing strategy can be daunting. However, the thought of facing the next few years without this key component is even more alarming. Consider these recent statistics:
· 55% of mobile users own smartphones, with 129.4 million people on smartphones as of January 2013 (Markgraf).
· The average adult spends 58 minutes daily on a mobile device (Fetto).
· 78 percent of iPhone and Android users polled check email on their smartphones, 73 percent browse websites, and 70 percent access Facebook (McGee).
· Over 80 percent of users polled will simply delete an email that is not optimized for mobile. 30 percent will unsubscribe (Leggatt).
· A recent survey of affluent US internet users aged 21 and over found that more than eight in 10 own a smartphone and 56% own a tablet (“Affluent Shoppers”).
A lack of attention to your site’s mobile rendering capabilities may not simply be limiting your customers—it may be losing you business from consumers who are reading your dealership emails on a mobile device. What accounts for this trend?
The Appeal of Mobile Marketing in the Modern Age
It’s easy to understand the appeal of a mobile presence in today’s world. Consumers face distractions galore from the overwhelming amount of advertising messages they face every day. (Well-optimized) mobile content lends much-needed convenience to a hectic schedule and the freedom to make decisions in a matter of minutes—which is often how long they have while they’re waiting in the doctor’s office or on their lunch break.
Can a customer easily schedule a service appointment on your dealership website from their phone? What about finding more information about a specific model, or filling out a form for more details? If not, you can be sure that they will find these options and more on another site.
For more proof that mobile marketing is no longer something you can afford to ignore, consider a recent report from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), a non-profit trade association which was founded in 2000 and now claims over 700 member companies. The MMA found that mobile marketing contributed $139 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, a number nearly triple the $48 billion reported in 2010.
The evidence is clear—the time for a mobile solution is now. But what’s the first step?
Making Mobile a Part of Your Online Presence
The good news is that while mobile marketing is becoming increasingly more profitable, it doesn’t have to overshadow your other marketing investments. Your mobile strategy should be seamlessly integrated with your other social media marketing channels. There are a few easy ways to kick this off:
Mobile rendering for emails and engagement sites. If you’re not offering a mobile rendering option for your email campaigns and engagement sites, you’re dealing a significant blow to your conversion rate. As noted earlier, consumers are likely to bounce when presented with a non-intuitive landing page. The figure below illustrates how the 3 Birds Marketing platform transforms your engagement site into a page designed for mobile viewing, complete with easy-to-use call-to-action buttons at the top of the page.
Make “sharing” matter. Sharing content via social media is a main attraction of mobile devices. However, providing incentives for customers to share your dealership’s content shouldn’t be your only priority. By sharing content that customers will find interesting from other sites on your own networks, you can build authority and get noticed by a wider audience.
Embrace the art of the video. 25% of all YouTube views worldwide come from mobile devices, with mobile traffic to the site tripling in 2011 (“Statistics”). However, few videos are watched in their entirety. Create videos for your dealership that draw viewers in quickly and give them a reason to visit to visit your dealership or website to learn more.
Customers know that they have options when it comes to where they buy and service their vehicles. Well-optimized mobile marketing helps build the relationship between your dealership and your customers by making it easy to find what they’re looking for in minutes.
Are you ready for a system that makes mobile simple? 3 Birds provides a comprehensive digital marketing platform that seamlessly integrates with your current marketing strategy and allows for infinite mobile possibilities. Contact us at (877) 285-1094 or by clicking here.
(2013). “Affluent Shoppers Make Mobile an Essential Stop in the Purchase Funnel”. eMarketer.
Fetto, John. (2013). “Americans spend 58 minutes a day on their smartphones”. Experian Marketing Services.
Leggatt, Helen. (2013). “BlueHornet: 80% delete emails not optimized for mobile”. Biz Report.
Markgraf, Bert. (2013). “U.S. Smartphone Users Now Number 129 Million”. Mad Mobile News.
McGee, Matt. (2013). “Email Is Top Activity On Smartphones, Ahead Of Web Browsing & Facebook [Study]”. Marketing Land.
Mobile Marketing Association. (2013). “Mobile Marketing Contributes $139 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2012; Set to Rise to $400 Billion by 2015”. Mobile Marketing Association.
Market to all aspects of your audience at once with one simple platform
Why go mobile?
The days of car shoppers spending multiple weekends driving from dealership to dealership, learning as they go, are over. A dealer can no longer depend on top-of-the funnel, organic foot traffic. On average, a consumer visits 17 industry websites before they purchase a vehicle; today's consumers are coming into your dealership armed and ready to buy. The search for a consumer’s dream vehicle is at their fingertips at any time in any place: waiting in line at the bank, riding the subway or just sitting at home. 78% of people who are planning on buying a vehicle during the next 12 months will use a mobile device at some point during their search (Greystripe). To add to this, 44% of those buyers will use their phones to compare prices at different dealerships and if your mobile site is not fully optimized, you’re losing business (Greystripe).
Just like mobile sites, it’s important that emails, including e-newsletters, are optimized as well. Consider the following statistics:
- 43% of emails are now opened on a mobile device (Jordan).
- 71% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by emails from companies (via van Rijn).
- 80% of mobile platform users will immediately delete an email if it doesn’t render well on their mobile device (Leggatt).
It’s clear that to maintain a competitive advantage the way content is presented must adapt. The Wire 2.0 is a game changer for the mobile automotive industry--our newsletters and web pages are now device-optimized to effectively render on any device whether it’s a smart phone, tablet or desktop. This allows you to deliver content while optimizing the user experience on any platform in an easy to navigate format. Device-optimization is the product of a mobile strategy that comes inherently with HTML5. Because of this, we provide our clients the advantage of optimized mobile sites, at no extra cost.
Clear and consistent across all devices
Unlike separate mobile sites, device optimized sites share one URL across all devices. It’s aesthetically displeasing and frustrating for your users to accidentally go to a mobile site from a desktop computer. Device optimized sites avoid this problem and allow your content to render perfectly on any device, mobile or not. For instance, if a customer reads your newsletter from a mobile device and wants to share the link on Twitter, who knows what device their followers will be using? With device optimization, no matter what type of device they use to click the link, the website will render perfectly, creating streamlined content and communication between you and users.
Tailored and direct content
On the handheld screen of a smartphone, a device-optimized site offers users only the essential information they need while on-the-go. Scheduling a test drive, contacting sales and making a service appointment are just a few of the action items we put at users' fingertips with a fixed action bar. The same website, viewed on an iPad, offers more information and can be made more visually dynamic thanks to the larger screen. Finally, users interfacing with the website through a desktop computer are given access to the full site and all of its capabilities.
Increased customer retention through shorter load times
In addition to tailoring your content to give users the best experience for their device, our new device-optimized sites load more quickly than traditional mobile sites, increasing customer retention. Almost 75% of users are only willing to wait five seconds for a site to load before abandoning it and a website’s load time directly affects its SEO value. Without a device-optimized website, you could be losing business to your competitors.
Whether you’re currently one of our clients or looking to boost your sales through mobile marketing, check out our video breakdown of version 2.0 and contact us for more information.
Jordan, Justine. (2013) "Android Climbs in Market Share; Mobile Email Opens Up 138%". Litmus.
Leggatt, Helen. (2013). “BlueHornet: 80% delete emails not optimized for mobile”. Biz Report.
(April 2011) "Mobile Auto Insights." Greystripe.
van Rijn, Jordie. (2013) "The ultimate mobile email statistics overview." emailmonday.
(2011) "What Users Want from Mobile." Equation Research on behalf of Compuware.
Why branding and local factors will matter more than ever
If you’ve done any reading regarding the fine art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you’ve no doubt discovered the love-hate relationship its practitioners have with Google. With “70 percent or more of search engine market share in nearly all 50 states [based on queries performed in 2012],” Google remains the driving force in search algorithms and evolution (Gesenheus).
That’s why each major update, including the recent Penguin 2.0, is watched so closely by marketers and researchers around the world. We break down what you need to know about the new landscape of search.
The First Coming of Penguin
The original algorithm update known as Penguin launched in mid-spring of 2012, and despite its unimposing name, there was considerable trepidation in the online community about the update’s effects.
The surface goal of every update, of course, is to provide more useful search results to users based on the factors that Google determines to be most relevant. At the time of launch, Matt Cutts of Google said that the changes would “better [identify] websites using ‘aggressive web spam tactics’…for the purposes of gaming their way to top spots in Google’s rankings” (Goodwin, “New Google”).
The businesses hit hardest in their rankings were (supposed to be) those relying on questionable paid links, comment spam, and other dubious content to inflate their search rankings. Penguin 1.1 launched in May 2012, defined as a “data refresh” rather than an actual algorithm change (Miller). For sites still reeling to recover from their former strategies, the terminology itself probably wasn’t too important. A second refresh came in October.
Why Penguin 2.0?
Penguin 2.0, which arrived last month, follows in the wake of last year’s updates, but is notable for its heightened scale and impact. Matt Cutts confirmed the update on May 22nd and noted that “[about] 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice” (Cutts). If this seems minimal, consider that the October 2012 update impacted just 0.3% of English queries (Goodwin, “Google Penguin”).
This is also more than a data refresh, meaning the algorithm has undergone substantial changes. What those changes are, however, aren’t specified—and don’t count on getting any more details. For businesses relying on third-party agencies to tackle the challenges of SEO, updates like these can be cause for alarm. At 3 Birds Marketing, though, we recommend facing the updates with a clear head—and considering whether you need to make some changes to your own strategies to survive and thrive in the new Google geography.
Branding is the Key
In the words of Adam de Jong of Hubspot, “In the Aftermath of Penguin 2.0, Branding Is Now a Major Ranking Factor.” Branding is something we’ve always taken seriously at 3 Birds Marketing—we even offered five ways content can help make your name a brand last year.
For automotive dealerships focused on a small region of customers, the challenges of branding can be even more intimidating than for a nationally-based company. However, you don’t have to create a YouTube video with millions of views or write the most important blog post of the year to see real benefits for your business.
The key post-Penguin 2.0 is making your brand meaningful on a local scale. How do you achieve this? A few main factors will come into play.
· Variety of content related to your “brand”
· Content distribution
· Local ranking factors (NAP)
Content variety refers to all of the different pieces of content that might impact your rankings: not only the content on your main website, but also your e-newsletter, your campaign landing pages, your videos, press releases, webinars, and more. Including a healthy mix of these content types accomplishes a few things. It helps you to build authority in your segment (which in turn helps you get noticed by a wider audience) and it provides more opportunities for Google’s search engine crawlers to determine whether you’re providing valuable, quality material for searchers.
Content distribution refers to where the different pieces of content related to your dealership can be found online. With Penguin continuing to crack down on spammy link-building sites, finding reputable outlets for sharing is vital. “You want to get your videos found and shared on YouTube and Vimeo, your presentations on SlideShare, your content on relevant sites and guest blogs, etc.” (de Jong).
Local ranking factors are centered around the holy trinity of Name, Address, and Phone Number—affectionately referred to as NAP. These factors became increasingly important in 2012, and the time frame is meaningful. As Google introduces new factors that it considers meaningful to search, it starts cutting out those deemed less meaningful, which is why it’s always important to think a few steps ahead.
The NAP info on your dealership’s website is considered authoritative, and “[each] place that your NAP information appears online is considered a citation—an additional data point that search engines can use to confirm that you are who, and where, you say you are” (Burr). That’s why 3 Birds Marketing focuses on claiming and maintaining the many review-building sites associated with your dealership in order to strengthen your online rankings.
Every time a new Google update rolls out, it’s tempting to hope for the best and run for cover. However, you’ll find more meaningful and lasting results with an SEO strategy that’s focused on long-term impacts and takes on the challenge of positioning your business as an authority within your industry and among your customers.
Are you ready to start the discussion about your dealership’s SEO? Contact us at 3 Birds Marketing to learn what you can do to achieve real ranking results beyond your own website.
Burr, Ruth. (2013). “Local Business SEO: Take Your NAP”. Grasshopper.
Cutts, Matt. (2013). “Penguin 2.0 rolled out today”. Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO.
de Jong, Adam. (2013). “In the Aftermath of Penguin 2.0, Branding Is Now a Major Ranking Factor”. HubSpot.
Gesenheus, Amy. “Study: Delaware Least Likely State To Use Google, While Yahoo Is More Popular In Southern & Midwest States”. Search Engine Land.
Goodwin, Danny. “Google Penguin Refresh Completes Trilogy of Search Terror for SEOs”. Search Engine Watch.
Goodwin, Danny. “New Google Search Algorithm Update Targets Web Spam”. Search Engine Watch.
Miller, Miranda. “Google Penguin 1.1 Pushed Out As Some Sites Report Recovery”. Search Engine Watch.
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Mobile strategy is more than just a well-optimized website
Jon Lamb is recently joined 3 Birds Marketing as Vice President of Sales. This month we asked him to share the secrets that make for a successful mobile marketing strategy—and more.
Q: Welcome to 3 Birds, Jon. Tell us a little about what you were doing before this.
A: Before coming to 3 Birds, I was President of Moore and Scarry Advertising from early 2011 to January 2013. During that time, I was instrumental in transforming the agency into one of the largest full-service advertising firms in North America.
Q: What brought you to Birds Marketing?
A: The start-up atmosphere is very attractive to me, but the emerging technology of the Wire 2.0 and our other offerings at 3 Birds is what hooked me. I think 3 Birds is going to be a leader in the industry in a short period of time—and the fact that we still make time for interaction with dealers is also extremely impressive.
Q: What are your favorite things about the Chapel Hill area?
A: Having the Research Triangle Park so close by is great, as well as the wonderful community of entrepreneurs in the area. There are also plenty of beautiful recreational areas for golfing and biking—two of my favorite leisure activities.
Q: If you’re not convinced that a mobile strategy for your business is important, you will be after reading this newsletter. What would you say is the most important thing for dealerships to remember when optimizing their strategy for mobile?
A: 80% of the time users spend online on their phone is spent using apps1-meaning when people are searching for a service or oil change, they aren’t even using their browser, they’re using Google Maps, Google Now, Yelp, and other apps designed to find business geographically close to the user. This means that perhaps even more important than optimizing your mobile site would be optimizing your online review pages and responding to reviews.
1) Koetsier, John. (2013) "The mobile war is over and the app has won: 80% of mobile time spent in apps". Venture Beat.
Make them part of your online strategy with 3 Birds Marketing
One of the best features of House, 3 Birds' email newsletter solution, is that the content is hosted on a separate website that we refer to as the engagement site. This engagement site not only publishes engaging and SEO-rich content every month, but is also a great medium that drives traffic to our client’s primary website. With so much benefit on the line with this engagement site, we need to carefully choose where to create this website and in what format. After much thought and debate, we believe that subdomains are the one of the best options out there.
With Google continuing its fight against webspam with algorithm updates like Penguin 2.0, there's been a renewed focus on subdomains. Subdomains can be used in a variety of ways, and must be used carefully in order to take full advantage of their unique SEO-building capabilities. After much consideration, 3 Birds Marketing is fully on-board to take advantage of this change to Google's algorithm by hosting our newsletters' engagement site, as well as our revolutionary service pages, on subdomains. We believe this strategy will get the most traction through SEO and drive even more traffic to our client’s primary website.
Instead of going through the hassle of purchasing a new website, we’re able to easily carve out a subdomain of a dealership's primary website. The primary website benefits from the internal linking between the subdomain and the primary website. Furthermore, a subdomain is crawled as a separate page from the primary website, so it’s not affected by host crowding and can show up on the same page as the primary site in search engine queries. Look below for the 4 main reasons why subdomains are a solid approach in a post-Panda world.
1. It’s FREE. A subdomain is a sub extension of an existing domain so there is no cost involved in creating a subdomain. There can be considerable cost savings when you want to build multiple subdomain sites as there’s no limit to the amount you want to create.
2. SEO, it’s kind of a big deal. There are many different ways a subdomain can influence and improve your business' SEO, one of them being internal linking. Although a subdomain is recognized as a separate website from the primary website, it still gets the benefit of internal linking which helps boost your primary website’s PageRank. Furthermore, you should use relevant keywords in the subdomain URL that relate to your page and the content within it. Whether the subdomain is for an engagement site for a newsletter (News.DealerID.com), a service page (Service.DealerID.com), or for specific vehicle model pages (Camry.ToyotaDealership.com), a subdomain will allow you to tailor the page to the content you want and will improve your SEO and SERP. Lastly, since a subdomain is recognized as a unique website, the subdomain is able to show up on the same page as your primary site in a search engine query because subdomains aren’t affected by host crowding.
3. It’s EASY. Subdomains are a sub-extension of an existing website, so they are very easy to create. Simply go through your websites domain host manager to carve out a subdomain and they will have easy instructions on how to do this. For our clients, we have an easy and detailed step by step process for how to connect a subdomain to our DNS Settings.
4. It’s VERSATILE. As I’ve said before, subdomains can be created for many different purposes. From engagement sites to service pages or vehicle model pages, a subdomain can be used for a variety of reasons. On top of that, the more specific subdomains you create, the more you benefit from specific keywords, SEO-rich content, internal linking, and more overall engagement from customers and prospects.
If you want to increase your web presence and make it more integrated, improve your SEO, and have specific content and keyword driven web pages that will drive more traffic to your primary website and ultimately convert prospects into sales, go with the subdomains. If you’re interested in taking advantage of our custom service pages and vehicle model pages, give us a call or fill out a contact form online.