The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 3 months ago

George Nenni: Mastering Google My Business For Car Dealers


George Nenni is the founder of Generations Digital and is a highly-sought after expert when it comes to helping dealers eliminate advertising waste and maximize their marketing dollars. In this episode, George reveals practical tips for dealers to fully utilize Google My Business listings to win more business.

What we discuss with George Nenni:

  • Why Google My Business is a critical element for car dealers. It's free to have a listing, and when properly optimized, dealers can get massive exposure and soak up search results placements on Google search engine.
  • Why 3rd party listing sites are still a good bet in today's vehicle marketplace. 
  • Dealers should have multiple GMB (Google My Business) listings for each department. From fixed ops to body shops, sales and finance, dealers can leverage multiple listings to gain deep links to the various services they offer.
  • Why dealers need to have a website even in 2021 and beyond. There is a lot of chatter about how dealer websites are going obselete with programs like Instgram shopping or Facebook shops and inventory listings, but your dealership website provides a critical marketing avenue to educate and build authority.

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Thanks, George Nenni!

If you enjoyed this conversation with George Nenni, please let him know by clicking on the links below and sending him a message.

...the car business is rapidly changingand modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo andtogether we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealershipand life in the retail automotive industry join me each week forinspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed tohelp you grow. This is the dealer Playbook. Mm mm mhm. George nene is the founder andprincipal consultant of generations Digital and is a highly sought afterexpert when it comes to empowering dealers to eliminate advertising wasteand maximize marketing dollars for nearly three decades. George has been aleading educator on emerging technology in retail automotive and joins thepodcast to explain how dealers can fully utilize google my business togain a competitive advantage in today's evolving marketplace. George welcome tothe dealer playbook. Thank you Michel, Glad to be here. I'mreally looking forward to this. I've read your books which will link to inthe show notes um, and I always love your take. It's always data based. It'sthe, it reminds me of the, the, I can't remember who said it, but they werekind of like facts, don't care about your feelings and you always take avery data driven approach. It's like you can have your gut feeling and whatyou think. But George is going to come through the middle with the data andwe're going to look at the data. So I always appreciate that about you. Um,and so I want to ask you this and I think 2019 you published an articletitled 3rd Party classifieds battle to win the click in which you concludeessentially that T. Pcs are third party classifieds Serve two Masters by havingto offer a great shopping experience but then also driving results for thecar dealer. Can you maybe contrast that article which will will link to in theshow notes? Can you contrast that against a recent linked in video thatyou produced where your your belief is that dealers should also not be wastingpaid search dollars, advertising used inventory and maybe what some of thenuances and How do I balance? TPC is 3rd party classifieds but also um youknow maybe my insatiable desire to just advertise my own stuff and how do youbalance that? Sure. So so I am generally a defenderof third party classified as long as they come in under the right KPI is theright benchmarks. And so especially for marketing used vehicles beyond a 30mile radius. Marketing from 31 to 100 miles or 60 miles can be very veryexpensive using paid search And really honestly I would argue that within 30mile radius using paid search to try to market used cars is a waste of money.And so you get costs for V. D. P. With third parties typically easily under 40cents cost for conversions that we leave for phone calls or messages under$40. You know we inspect a ton of paid search from all the major providers.It's hard to get under double those numbers, 80 bucks a lead and uh, $8. Uh,VPs are even more expensive to try to keep it under $8 of GDP is thecontributing factor. Just the sheer volume of dealerships who are advertising, Uh,inventory in a 1 - one fashion. Yes. It's the third parties are in a uniqueposition and it's the same in other verticals. You look at real estate andrvs and boats and when you have a lot of content on the site, you know,google is gonna reward that. And so you know, why, why if you google any makemodel across the country, do cars dot com Autotrader? Carfax car gurus allshow up on page one because they've got great content. And when shoppers clickon those ads, they stay a long time and... sees that and says becausegoogle also serves two masters of course and they paid the freed side andso they have to make sure that they returned the best search results in adealer with one or two matching Wranglers just is not as relevant as,as autotrader with, with, you know, dozens and dozens and so it's, orhundreds, you know, and so it's, you know, it's, it's tough to compete there.So I think it's, it's better to, to play with the third parties. And I'mskeptical on some of the add on packages. I like sort of the baseofferings from the third parties with a few exceptions, but for marketing, newscars, there's, there's, uh, there's just few choices that are anywhereclose that, that cost effectiveness. Amazing. Does this, do you think thenew beta from google where inventory listings now can show or, or I guesssponsored listings and, or native inventory listings can show up insyrups or search engine result pages. Does that convoluted things? Does thatmuddy the waters? It definitely does it. So it's not like we've seen the paidads, we've seen those paid ads and typically for, for folks like room and,and carve ana. Um, we've seen them, test those ads and so that's compelling,right? It's at the very top of the search results. It's an attractivesmall little thumbnail or maybe kind of a toenail, you know, size picture of avehicle with a little description. And so those are, those can be prettycompelling to someone searching for a vehicle. Um, I doubt that they would beoffered on the free side. I just think they've got free listings on google, mybusiness listings, which, you know, those, those rarely get, get a lot ofactivity on them, but, but nonetheless, it makes you wonder what google'sintentions are. But yeah, for third parties that they get changes the gamebecause it will no doubt siphon off some clinics. This is reallyinteresting and I mean somebody from that, sitting in your seat that hasyour perspective, not just today perspective, but that you've been inthe industry educating on emerging emerging technology for so long what evolutions have you seen and whatmay be things, you know, how the industry cangravitate to things. I mean at one point it was like stu went to an idea,it's like sus Cosco you gotta uh, and then we kind of got over that, we hearda lot about that and then we moved on. It was like big data, big data, bigdata. And we heard all about that. And then what are some things that likethat, that you've seen over the years that have absolutely come true, that weabsolutely need to pay attention to, what are some of those things that justnever took off and maybe we've wasted time thinking too much about and, andshould really divert our focus somewhere else. Yeah, great question.And you know, I loved, I loved the harking back. I mean my first idea was95 I think. Um, that was when they were still doing the, doing the meetings inDallas. And so, you know, you mentioned before, you know, data that I'mobsessed with data. Well in 98, NADA was overrun with Stone Age andAutobytel and auto web and all the dot coms were telling the dealers that heylook eventually there won't be dealers will just be selling direct and youknow, it just, it was, it was almost a kind of a hostile environment and the,and the, and the dot coms are all telling the dealer, you can't measureyour billboard, you can't measure your tv, digital is 100% measurable. That'sthe beauty of it. And you know, you fast forward to today and how manydealers are really taking advantage of all those data points And so we do, wetry to turn into a math exercise because you know, where there's gooddata points, I think we should use those and you still mixing some art.But, but you know, it, it definitely excuse more to the science. But youknow, I would say one of the big, one of the smartest people in automotivedefinitely was a guy named john Holt with the cobalt group. You know, while,well everyone was focusing on portals. You know, uh, you know, stone Age andautomate a lot of websites at autotrader car's dot com. You know, heknew the importance of websites and how important dealer websites would be. Andso I went out and made these relationships with the O E M S andreally that takes great vision and you know, he was right and he's still rightwebsites, getting getting the consumer onto your website will always be abetter experience will always convert better. We're investing in all thesedigital retailing tools and trade tools...

...and chat. You know, let's, let's nottry to have them on a facebook GDP, let's not try to have them on a googlemy business VP if we have the opportunity to drive them to ourwebsite GDP that's really interesting and I think that provides a really goodsegue into um you know one of the books that you've written which is basicallyshould be the car dealers bible to google my business. There's always Ithink two camps and you've probably seen this as well. I'm sure you haveyou have those that find their ground and stick to it.Maybe they're the website crowd then you have the other side of it wherethey say, well look there's all of these other sites, facebook ads arepopping and google like you said earlier, their thumbnails, you knowsponsored ads and they're testing out um you know different inventory feedsand now there's google my business and we're paying a lot of tension to googlemy business and so you have that camp that says, well websites completelyirrelevant, you don't don't worry about that. There are all of these otherproperties are going to take over. What are your sentiments, especially as itpertains to your vantage point being somebody who educates dealers on googlemy business a website, the website experience isalways better, you can, your conversion rates on your website, traffic isalways better. You can measure that traffic better. You can retarget thattraffic, there's just there's just a whole host of reasons, wow why youwould want them there, you know inventory is available now on google mybusiness and there's a little mini V. D. P. But they're just one quick clickaway to competitive vehicles and those sort of things. Um and facebook via GPSreally the main call to action is his message and phone calls and you know ifthe dealer is not real good at chatting text with unfortunately many or notthen having the primary called action for facebook ad be messaging, you know,but will disappoint the consumer and the and the dealer in terms of results.Um so you know the website is I think will remain important for those reasonsand that, you know it's it's the dealer storefront as it relates to google mybusiness. Keep in mind and I've seen this really ramp up the last couple ofmonths when you link a website to google my business property and ofcourse your sales G. M. B. Should link to the homepage and then your serviceand your body shop should all link to those appropriate page is not just forthe consumer experience. They can deep link to your body shop page but googlenow reads those pages. The linked pages and then we'll suggest services backbased on your categories based on content they found on those pages. Soso the exercise we're doing with a lot of dealers now is for the fixed ops G.M. B pages. You know, once we do the light lifting of getting the G. M. B.Listing all appropriate. Then we go to work on that landing page and make surethat we've got a lot of keywords that google can, can go sniff out inreference this, this is amazing because this is one of the questions as I layunder my covers with a flashlight last night writing notes. I'm like this issomething I have to ask George because there's always been kind of a a debateon the right way to approach the various departments inside of adealership. And so you're saying there is essentially there's a right way tomake sure that all of the departments in your store through google mybusiness have appropriate coverage, correct, correct. And anybody listen tothis podcast, you know when you're finished listening, go to your serviceG. M. B. And click on the info tab and scroll down the bottom and tell me ifyou see a bunch of orange suggestions, anything in orange is google suggestionof of different content and for every dealer we've we've tested since thelast two or three months you'll see all those go ahead and approve the ones youlike fixed typos on the ones they may have pulled from your websiteerroneously and then delete ones that are inappropriate and kind of manicurethose services that are there cascading under your auto repair category G. M. B.I don't mean to make that too complicated is really not just go inand look at the data and either approve it or deny it. So you're saying, did Ihear you correct? You're saying that... can have a separate google mybusiness listing for the different departments in your store? Yes. Yesdefinitely. So so and google google advocates that um yes dealers shouldhave at the minimum uh sales and service. They can combine parts withservices they want. Um if they have a body shop, a separate G. M. B. For bodyshop is critical since you can, you can with a little bit of effort have a bodyshop, a dealer body shop page rank uh in the local pack and the top resultsin maps because most mom and pop body shops aren't really paying attention.So. Yes, definitely. Is there a right and wrong way? So how do you do that?And you know, I'm not, if it's too much giving away the farm, let me know. Butis there is there a right and a wrong way to do that? Like how do you do thatif they all share the same address? Yeah. So as long as the web address isdifferent and the name of the business is different, then you can have and andgoogle has assurances and sometimes they'll ask you for these thingsthey'll ask and you descend a picture of the parts department counter or apicture of the service department or something if they have conflict withbeing the same address, but they absolutely facilitate this. Right? Soso early 2000 I began to see Home Depot, Lowe's Kroger walmart with dozens of G.M. B. S and I was like, oh my goodness, there's a G. M. B. For the A. T. M. Thecoin machine, the bakery, the deli pharmacy, the florist. And so I starteddoing florist near me pharmacy near me and Daggone if the big boxes with justjust building those little G. M. B. Department listings were showing up inthe in the local pack for for local search. And so I'm like, well that'sthat's definitely what you do. And so from a dealer's perspective they canhave the same results. It is impossible to optimize a single sales grew mybusiness for service also. Right? And the reason is in the categories, you'reonly allowed 10 categories, one primary and nine secondary. And so there are 33fix stops categories. Right? So if I'm a, let's say I must Atlantis dealers.So I'm gonna, here's my categories. Ram dealer, jeep dealer, Chrysler dealer,dodge dealer. Used car dealer, Car dealer, I'm up to six, I've only gotfour left and I've got to optimize for all the service categories that googleputs out there. So if your competitor does that, they will definitely outrankyou and likely you won't even show in the top 20 search results, wow, this islike ninja level advice, I hope you, my beloved DPB gang, you better belistening to this, we're gonna link you up with George in the show notes sothat you can get in touch with him. But this is this is great stuff moving onto maybe some other frequently asked questions. I mean I don't think there'sa doubt now in any dealers mind the importance of google my business andleveraging the tools at their disposal. You here, you know guys like GaryVaynerchuk who talks about, you know, he's in the day trading attention gameand google my business. I mean is one of those tools that dealers ought to beleveraging if they're they're not doing it fully, they really need to be payingattention to this. But of course because it's important George, I'm sureyou get bombarded with a lot of common questions and so I thought maybe Iwould just throw at you some of the common questions that I hear. Um andand that I've been able to to see and maybe we can do some a bit of a rapidfire if you will. Sounds good, so we address the G. M. B listing formultiple departments, profit centers, so that one's already been answered.Here's another one that I've, I've heard a lot, is it possible to add yourown questions and then answer your own questions and is there a benefit orpenalty for doing so yes you can ask and answer your ownquestions and there is no penalty. Although I think for for better form welike to have the dealers grab a neighbor and in law you know a brother,a friend, someone asked those questions for them and and get a cadence to it.Don't ask them all in one week but ask a couple of week and then have thedealer log in and answer those. And so...

...the idea there and and again ingoogle's documentation, they advised us, they advised the businesses to askthemselves. Um I just think it looks a little hokey to the consumer but toturn it into an F. A. Q. Area and so pick two or three of your favorite sortof, you know why by elements around the dealership. Well we offer service,loners were big uncertified, we have the largest selection whatever that is.And then come up with those questions, Have someone ask you those questionsand then when the dealership answers, make sure they're logged in as theadmin account in the in the G. M. B. Don't log in under the personal gmailbecause the the icon, if they do it right, the icon will say owner have anice little google my business blue logo and it just looks very very legitum questions and answers. You know, it's been out six years now and a lotof dealers still don't pay attention to it if you haven't paid attention to golook at it. If you find questions or inappropriate flagged as inappropriate,google will remove those. If you find ones that are legit that have beenanswered by their folks again log in under your G. M. B. Admin, answer itand then have have friends, neighbors, brothers, uh someone the dealershiplike your answer to push down that other local guide answer because wewant are answers to be top for all the questions and then get to work youasking yourself some of those nice softball questions pro tip. Once youget that all done, pick your very favorite question and answer and thenthree likes in the question, three lights. And the answer will promotethat to the home page, to the front page of your G. M. B. Where it shows um,you know, every time someone googles your name. So it's a nice touch. Idon't think, you know what you're talking, it's time spewing out of you.Like Neo in the matrix where like I know google my business, this isincredible. I don't, I'm not all we do, but it ends up being uh we dug deep on,well, you know, but what's interesting about this um to what you just saidthat I find really fascinating is most agencies don't lean into google mybusiness. And I guess my best conclusion around that is because theydon't know how to quantify it for themselves, Here's a, here's a freetool that anybody could utilize, You could have a marketing director oranybody in your store, log into your google my business listening but youlean into it and that's just to me a testament George of your, your desireto actually just see the industry move forward. So you know that's not tosuggest where any of us are, you know not five oh one C threes or anythinglike that. But you know I love that you're not holding back and you'resaying pro tip and this and that it's it's just I think a real testament toyour, to who you are and your desire to help the industry move forward. So Ithink that's really tremendous. Sure thank you. We hear a lot about reviewsI guess my first question that I hear a lot about is do reviews on G. M. B helpits placement. Yes definitely. So there's three elements for for for forranking. So when you and I advise dealers and businesses to go out and doa lot of searches. Don't search for yourself, don't do any brand searchesand I wouldn't even necessarily might do a few like ford dealer near me butsearch for fixed operations, non branded search. So oil change near metire repair brake service near me or even though am jeep break repair nearme some of those things and see who shows up and obsess on who shows up andwhy you don't show up or what that ranking is, right? So the rankingsbased on three things, proximity, relevance and prominence, proximity isare you close to the searcher? Uh, and that's pretty straightforward, right?And you can forget about even even worry about that because you can'tchange it, you can't change your location, you can't spoof your location,so let's just throw that one out now, it's based on just two things relevancyand prominence, right? Given that you're, you're in the, in the arearelevance is have you chosen the right categories? Do you have keywords andreviews? Have you done the right things to educate google and google knowledgegraph, which is everything google knows about your business. Have you educatedthem on the things you do? Right, So that's relevance and then the last one,yes, prominence, all things being equal, whoever has the most reviews and thehighest star ratings will always rank...

...highest. That leads to the second thingare their best practices beyond this when it comes to responding to reviewsor like it's shocking to me actually that there are so many reviews that gountouched by the dealer does is google, looking for response toreviews as ranking factor at all? Uh that's a good question, I don't, Idon't have any data on that I would say probably yes and and good form I thinkis responding of course to every negative I um, responding to everypositive, I think sometimes is numbing and it's a hassle for the user toscroll through them. What I what I, and I'm not saying this is best, this isjust my style. I like to have the deal respond to ones that got personal. Weloved Michael boy, he took extra care with us an extra time and even playwith our kids while we were waiting for F and I, whatever it is, you know, Oh,thank you so much. We love Michael. He's been here for years and he's akeeper, whatever it is, they made a personal. So I'm gonna make it personal.Now you're reading the reviews, you're like, what a fun dealership these guysare. And of course anything negative taken offline don't get into a debate.Um, you know, those sort of things. I love it. Um, you were recently in Hollandspeaking at an event educating the dutch dealers who Are about seven fttaller than I am, each one of them and infinitely better looking. Um, you were,you were educating them about your insights from google, my business bestpractices, etcetera. While we've answered some of these Q and A. Andyou've certainly opened the doors to some best practices and things that thelistener should, should, uh, definitely take into consideration what we'remaybe some of the things that you shared over in Holland that got thedealers really thinking, Yeah, I think the big, the big, wowmoment for me was in europe. Almost no one's paying attention to google mybusiness google search um with some exceptions and those exceptions aredominating. So it was the, it was the haves and the have nots. Um somecountries are better than others. Uh the UK seem to seem to have betterexamples of people really utilizing um building out department listings andoptimizing those. Uh but but you know, it was funny, I had someone in thefirst presentation was in Belgium and in Ghent and someone came up to me andsaid, you know, we were literally live changing our google my business whileyou were presenting and they swore to me that because they had no categories,the categories are fairly instant. They said that when they fix the categoriesthey immediately started showing and I've tested that with restaurants, umyou're adding vegan restaurant or adding vegetarian restaurant as acategory for, for someone who offers that, but it wasn't, they weren'tranking, it's the next day and they now rank for those terms, which isinteresting because Taco Bell um and again, I've done so much of this, YouTaco Bell dominated school in my business. They really pay attention,They choose all the right categories and their competitors don't payattention at all. I mean some fast food competitors don't have chicken sandwichprovider as a category, which is, which is huge. People are searching for achicken sandwich, they're just hamburger cheeseburger and so it's,it's funny and lots of industries, they miss a massive opportunities just byhaving their own categories, sorry, off topic. There are no, no. And now I'mgonna go look up Taco Bell and see what insights I can glean about how theynavigate GNB um you mentioned they're basically asleepgoogle. I mean as far as tech and emerging tech, especially as itpertains to digital, I often find that the United States either gets things released first asthe beta or even in alpha. Um, but then I typically see even, you know, betweenthe United States and Canada, I mean a lot of people go, well, Canada is kindof the quiet neighbor upstairs. Uh, but you know, it's interesting because I dofind sometimes in the digital landscape that even Canada excuse more the wayeurope or the UK would in being a...

...little bit behind or lagging behind.Are you seeing that as well? Is there any, are you seeing any evidence ofCanadian dealers lagging behind on google my business? Um, you know, maybe a little bit, Ithink, uh, you know, I find sometimes it is harder to find Canadian basedvendors that, that maybe are have the experience or the breadth of offeringsas the U. S. That's a general statement, but I will say that, gosh, there'sthere's so much innovation that comes out of Canada for automotive. Um, youknow, I can you name all the companies, but it's, you know, if you go todriving sales and you're looking at the, the annual best idea or the mostinnovative technology, it seems like always there's, there's more than thefair, uh, their fair share of Canadian representation, but on the dealers sidemaybe a little soft, but we don't have a ton of business out there. So it's,you know, we're just, we're just, uh, getting, get our toes wet. Um, but inyour, you know, it's interesting one question kind of stood out to me andone of the presentations when I was coaching on how to, you know, I mean,you know, not break terms of service with google, but how to influencereviews. Like we believe in reputation dot com and podium dot com and thoseare great solutions, but a single point dealer will only get like 10, maybe 20a month with normal efforts, but through one on one engagement andasking happy customers for reviews and Michael, would you mind if we takegreat care of you and everything today? Would you mind leaving a review andmentioning my name and, and by the way, Michael, the very best reviews includelike the vehicle you bought, the type of vehicle you bought or if you're infor service? What, what vehicle did you bring in and what service did you get?Those? Always end up being our best reviews. Thank you very much. And soI'm not having that conversation if you're irritated and you've had areally bad day and I can tell, I can't, I can't be assured I can get a fivestar review. And so you know, a question anyway, when I was in Hollandwas that feels disingenuous. We want consumers to know that we have badexperiences too and don't expect everything to be. It was just kind ofinteresting, like, like, you know, maybe the capitalists here are tryingto maximize reviews, which I am, I want to rank highest, I want to be numberone. So, so anything other than a five star review is an absolute slap in theface. But I think over there, overall reviews, star reviews were lower. Um,but I think they may be its cultural where they, where they don'tnecessarily want to stick your chest out or be perfect.It's funny you say that because I remember, you know, I went over therewith the number one attitude, like you got to be number one, number two justmeans you're the first loser, you know, kind of a thing. And I remember, I'mpretty sure it was paul that pulled me aside and he said, hey Michael, just,just so you know, In Holland were kind of OK being in the 2-10 kind of rank, Iwish somebody would have told me, you know, I thought it was so funny, butyou're right, I do think it's a little bit more cultural, it's a softerapproach, It's not, you know, being kind of like, hey look at me, I'mbuying 400 dealerships a year and I'm doing all its like I like to just findmy groove and you know, I think that's also a testament just to the lifestyle,right? Let's enjoy these autumn leaves as we ride our bicycle Down thepromenade kind of a thing. Whereas here we're like, no, it's 9-5 man. I'mhustling, I'm getting to it. I'm gonna go compete and Dominique but you know,but to their credit, I mean they've they've been ordering as ordered um newcar model, you know, for a lot of years. And so where the U. S. Is now justrealizing that low floor plans and and low carrying costs and orderingvehicles for for deal for consumers, who knows if that will last or how longthat will last. But I mean there's there's there's certainly someinnovation. Um there kogi and auditory dot C. A. I would argue probably havebetter add on products than than their their U. S. Counterparts b with theexception of cars dot com. Um, so so not that there's not, not innovationbut uh maybe just in different pockets. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And ifthere's any place in the world that I actually my wife and I would love toretire to. It's going to be somewhere in that region of the world. It's justit's something about it so refreshing. I don't know what it is. But anyways,George this has been so insightful. I'm so grateful that you were able to joinme on the podcast. How can those...

...listening get in touch with you andlearn more about your company? Sure. The best way is just google my name,George nene or google the business generations digital but it isgenerations digital dot com connect with me on linkedin. I try to put a lotof good free content up there and uh, and I'm glad to help. Uh, we've gotcustomers of course we've got plenty of dealers that uh, well phone a friend onoccasion and just just need a quick question answered. So I'm always gladto help uh, as well and I appreciate you having me. Mm I'm Michel Cirillo. And you've beenlistening to the dealer Playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, pleaseclick the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now. Leave arating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening. Yeah. Mm. Mm Yeah.

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