Archive for September, 2011

Internet Predictions for 2012

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

It is already time to start looking ahead for what is to come in 2012. Most dealerships feel like they are on top of the Internet but that feeling can be an illusion because the Internet is forever growing and changing. It is like trying to stand on a beach ball. It can be done but you can be easily knocked off. Therefore, knowing what is coming up in the future gives you an idea on what direction to take today in order to be on top tomorrow. Following are some things I hear through blogs and forums used by other webmasters.

QR Codes will become more main stream. www.Wikipeadia.org defines QR Code as “Quick Response Code”. I like to describe it as being a two dimensional bar code. Regular bar code or UPC codes are seen on most products in stores today. They are a row of vertical black dashes on white background and the dashes vary in width and spacing apart from each other. This is like a morse code of sorts that can be recognized by a camera or scanner and translated into product information and pricing. QR Codes is the same thing but instead of dashes they have white and black squares that make up one big pretty square. It is two dimensional because it is read in both rows and columns instead of just one row, like the UPC code. The bar code is limited in character size, but QR Codes can hold entire website addresses, pass contact information and even interact with other Apps on the most common smart phones.

If you do not have a fancy window sticker program, you can help your after hours clients find that car on your website by generating your own QR Code. First, find that car on your site, then copy the URL of that particular page. Then, go to www.qrtsuff.com or any other free QR code generator and paste that URL into the text box. Make sure you click Website URL in the Data Type area then click the Download This Image link. Print that image on a piece of paper and put it in the window of your vehicle. A car buyer can then photograph that image with their smart phone and automatically be led to that same page on your website while standing right next to the vehicle!

Flash will fade while Clean and Simple will grow.
Flash design in websites has been around for a few years now and has always had some controversy. For one, they have never been compatible with Apple products. When that only consisted of Imacs, that was fine. Today, Apple is a larger force to reckon with because of the success of the Iphone, Ipod, and Ipad. My family has at least one of all three. I will admit I have never been an Apple fan but they have me thinking about an Imac for my next computer purchase. Many others are the same way and for this reason websites that rely solely on Flash for its design and navigation are not able to be seen by millions using Apple products.

Plus, the old adage that says you can say more by speaking less is still true today. A simple design that includes all the things necessary to inform a client but without all the moving objects, blinking dots and other distracting graphics has already been seen as a trend for web design and will continue to grow in popularity in 2012 with both site viewers and site owners.

Simple should not translate to Template. Your website should be an extension of your company branding, nothing more and nothing less. You started creating your company branding with the first business card you ordered, the first road sign you put up, the first letterhead you had printed. If you have jingles, graphics and/or slogans you use in other forms of advertising these should also be included in your website. The only way to set yourself apart from your competition is to brand yourself consistently in all your forms of advertising and template website providers do not allow for this.

Social media will finally be recognized for what it is, not what it ain’t.
We have seen some competitors come up with some pretty outlandish services revolving around the hype of social media. Facebook, Twitter and now Google’s new +1 are all powerful social media sites. They each boast hundreds of thousands of users and millions of surfing hours spent on their sites and for this reason everyone is trying to figure out how to use this outreach to their advantage.

The bottom line, social media is terrible for finding new clients but is a great way to stay in touch with your existing clients. Chip Perry of www.AutoTrader.com says research shows people spend hours online researching their next vehicle purchase but less than 5% of those surveyed indicated they turned to social media sites when car shopping online. I still think it is important to utilize social media, but have the right purpose in mind. If I were a BHPH lot I would definitely want to be friends with all my clients. What a great skip tracing tool!

Online Reputation will move to the forefront.
2012 will see the Reputation Revolution begin! The dealers that recognize this and begin monitoring their own online reputation now will be ahead of the game. Know this, they are all talking about you. Every car shopper formed an opinion of you, your staff as well as your business and they shared it with at least one person. The Internet has made sharing that opinion so easy. The first step in monitoring your reputation is to listen to what they are saying about you. Google your dealership and see if they have any reviews for you. Go to the BBB.org and see what they have to say about your dealership. If you have a negative review, try to rectify it. If you can’t, try to bury it. Get other clients (the happy ones) to submit their reviews so that if anyone ever sees that negative review it is only after they see the first 20 positive ones.

If you want a professional review of your entire Internet marketing strategy and want to get a jump start on 2012, call JTZ Enterprise, today.