The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 7 years ago

Michael Cirillo: How to Attract High-Quality Customers with Content Marketing


In session 28 of The Dealer Playbook Podcast, Michael Cirillo is back and dropping all sorts of crazy knowledge about how you can start standing out from the clutter and dominate your market.

Every single day, millions of automotive shoppers are going online to research vehicles, products and services. Sadly, most of the time your website isn't anywhere to be found. That's because most dealer websites around the globe are lacking sufficient and relevant content that has the power to create loyal followers, set you up as the credible source of information and increase your dealership's profitability.

Content is a real hot topic right now, especially with recent Google algorithm updates that are set up to recognize and rank more relevant and well written content. That being the case, many dealers are struggling to know how to start creating content that will have a positive impact on their business.

Does this sound like the situation you're in?

Don't worry. Check out what Michael does to create content that not only attracts more qualified vehicle shoppers, but converts them as well. Take out your notepad and get ready to take some notes.

Here we go.

1.) Who are you speaking to?

It's crucial to know who you are speaking to specifically. A major mistake that majority of dealerships make is that they try and speak to everyone and as a result, aren't really speaking to anyone. It's about being something of value to somebody, not worthless to everybody.

With that in mind, it's important that you break out from just trying to speak to people who are researching vehicles, and drill down a layer deeper. Who are they?

Seniors, Young Families, Construction Workers, Military, Special Finance etc.

When you look at car shoppers in smaller segmented groups, it's easier to identify the next step...

2.) What are their interests, problems or questions?

When you know who you're speaking to, it's so easy to know what they are interested in. Make notes about each target audience you have and the things that make them tick.

3.) Match their interests, needs and problems with the right vehicle.

For example, if young families have the interest in more space, fuel economy, seating configurations and safety - what vehicle are they likely interested in? A Minivan!!!

With that in mind, you can now start creating content about minivans for young families surrounding the topics that they are interested in. For example, imagine how powerful a blog post titled, "The top 5 reasons Young Families love the Honda Odyssey" would be. If you shared the interests and problems of a young family, wouldn't you be compelled to click and read?

4.) Know your objectives

Another problem that dealerships face is that they don't have clearly defined objectives, and therefore don't have a measuring stick to track progress (or the lack thereof).

With each peice of content you produce, you need to know what you want the consumer to do so that you can effectively measure your work. From your blog post, do you want them to click through to your AVehicle Detail Pages? If so, be sure to include a relevant and eye-catching call to action that instructs them to do so.

Resources from this episode:

Hey, this is Michael Cirillo and you're listening to the dealer playbook podcast, episode twenty eight. Here we go. You're dialed into the dealer playbook podcast, where it's all about winning auto dealer strategies that deliver proven results. And now your hosts, Robert Weisman and Michael Cirillo. All right, and thank you so much for tuning into the dealer playbook podcast, where, every single week we're delivering winning auto dealer strategies that will give and bring you results. That's right, every single week we're sitting down with some of the elite power players, trainers, experts, authors and motivators in and out of the automotive industry to bring you actionable insights into how to grow your business. My name is Michael Cirillo. I am not joined today by my cohost and partner and crime, Robert Wiseman. In fact, last week, for those of you who listened into our last episode, twenty seven, you'll know that I was under the weather last week. I was bed ridden. I had a nasty, nasty cough and cold and I didn't think you wanted to hear that. So Robert came to me and he said, look, maybe you should do your own show just to kind of balance things out. Don't fear, though, this is going to be a power episode where we are going to bring you some of the most powerful information that we aren't talking about nearly enough. That's right. I'm going to give you some actionable information today about how you can create objective driven content. Now, the reason I say we haven't really talked about it that much in the automotive industry. Don't get me wrong, we talked a lot about creating content. We just never really get into the nitty gritty of how to do it, and that's what I am going to do today. For those of you listening in, pull out your IPAD, your smartphone, your laptop, whatever you're going to want, to take some notes, and don't forge. Don't worry about it too much if you can't...

...or you're not in a position to do so, because I'm going to hook you up in the show notes and give you the exact process that I use and that my team uses every time we want to help dealers dominate their market with objective driven content. Now somebody wants asked me. Hey, you know, you seem to spend a lot of time talking about content. Is there a reason why you focus so much on that? And and you know, and I love that question, my answer and my response is simple. You know, there are more than enough people talking about all man, Hey, your website sucks and you need to change this and do that and move the layout and change the theme and then Blah, blah, blah, Blah Blah. Well, you know what the reality of that is that, while some of those points may be valid, don't get me wrong, I think a lot of them are. What isn't, you know, really cool is that it gets everybody in a frenzy. Oh Man, I website sucks, what am I going to do? And and they don't have control over a lot of the elements that people critique them on. So if you don't have the ability to like, add things on the fly to your website or add new pages or new car, new you know, calls, action or images, or change the layout, then what's the point in talking about it? So I tend to focus on content, and it's really because of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt that I absolutely love. He said do what you can with what you have, where you are. So I tend to lean towards creating content and showing dealers how you you know you can create objective driven content, because that's the one thing, no matter who your web provider is, that you can do to have a massive positive impact on your website and its performance. So here we go. Let's dive in. When it comes to content,... need to understand a few things. The first thing is that dealers globally are not providing nearly enough content on their websites. Every single day. You know, it's important for you to understand every day there are millions of people, autom mode of shoppers, that go online to research vehicles, your vehicles, your products in your services. But it's also important to understand that there are, according to Google and their insights, nearly twenty four or twenty five research touch points that the average automotive shopper touches on average, and it's important to know that of those twenty five, or twenty four twenty five research touch points, nearly fifty percent of them can be included on your own website. Things like blogs, things like landing pages, content pages, information pages, sales pages, things like reviews and testimonials. All of these things can be included on your own website. Now I've been fortunate enough to sit down and audit several hundreds, if not thousand, dealer websites in my career and be able to work with dealers of all sizes dial in their website so that they can leverage their existing site traffic to get higher conversions, more leads and, of course, as a result, more sales opportunities. Did you know that thirty seven percent of automotive shoppers enter the market with an initial consideration set? So they might be thinking, Hey, I need this type of vehicle or I want this year make model, but they also have an open mind and that translates to about forty three percent of that thirty seven percent switch from their first brand preference to the brand that they ultimately make a purchase. I was...

I think I was on facebook and I saw one of our good friends, at least kept part. She was talking about how she entered the accurate dealership looking for particular vehicle and actually ended up driving out in a different vehicle. And so you can kind of see in the real world application that, you know, majority of us, when we're initially looking for a vehicle, we, you know, have a certain criteria at the top of our head. But typically, and I mean to the percent of you know, to the tune of forty three percent of us are changing our mind somewhere in the purchase process or in the research process. Seventy three percent of in market search volume deals with heavy cross shopping. So that means, again, you know, just to validate my point, that when consumers are going into the market, they have an initial, you know, consideration mindset that they're going in with, but somewhere along the way, depending on how their decisions are shaped by the information they consume, they're purchasing a whole different vehicle altogether. So, with that in mind, you need to understand what majority of automotive shops are thinking when they come to your website. And I'll tell you right now, from my own observation and from all of these audits on dealer websites that myself and my team of conducted, that the number one complaint that we are finding from the consumer, the end user, the automotive shopper, is that there isn't enough information. Close to that, they also say it's like reading the newspaper, and I mean we could do a whole different podcast about the no, no, of you know, treating your website like a newspaper Ad. I thought it was kind of funny some of the other things that we've found in the process of doing these audits. They say things like this dealer really likes themselves, and you know why? It's because of that canned content that's...

...on each page. is like, Hey, we've been in business for thirty years, we're family owned and operated. Look at all these awards we've won and look at our top train technicians. Guess what, nobody cares. They care about themselves. Everybody has a favorite word and it's me. They have a favorite letter of the alphabet. Did you know this? It's the letter I. Why? Because we only care about ourselves. And if you know, when, when a consumer is visiting your website and they can't find enough information that indicates that you care more about them than yourself or Tuting your own horn, they're hopping off. They're going to go look at other dealer webshite a deal website. So let's drill in here and solve this problem once and for all. We know that your dealer website needs more information. We know that millions of automotive consumers are around the world are going online to research your products and services. But I understand you know, and you might be feeling this way too, that it's difficult to know where to get started. It's difficult to know what process to follow for sustainable content creation so that it's not this overwhelming, you know, task that that just burdens you on a daily basis. So here we go. Get Ready. Let's take some notes. Step one to creating objective driven content is you need to know who you're speaking to, okay, and the way you do this is you want to segment your market. Market segmentation is a very popular marketing strategy because it really would it entails, is taking a broad set of consumers who all have a common need. So in this instance, it would be people who purchase vehicles. K. That's just a big that that includes just everybody, right, people who purchase vehicles, and then breaking that out into subsets of consumers, for...

...example, or, sorry, subsets of consumers who have similar needs. So, for example, you would have young families. Okay, there's a grouping of of consumers who have similar needs. There are seniors, another grouping of individuals who have similar needs military, right, an affinity kind of group there that you can build rapport with. There are union workers or construction workers, k another group of people who have similar needs and desires. There are students, there are people who have special finance needs. Do you see what I'm doing here? I'm taking the large group of individuals, people who purchase vehicles. Okay, that's the main need, and we're breaking them out into smaller subset groups who all share common interested interests. The reason we do this is because it makes it so much easier to provide value to people when you know the topics that they're interested in. See, it's all about being valuable to somebody, not worthless to everybody, and unfortunately, sadly, this is what we see a lot of from that newspaper Ad That's just, you know, pictures of a vehicle splashed on the page. There's like twenty of them, and then the associated price. Who Are you speaking to? Who are you trying to attract? Well, what I propose in the strategy that I follow is that we identify first who our target audiences. That way it's easier for us to move on to step two, which is to identify what their interests are, what their problems they face are and any questions they might have. So what I suggest you do, this is what I do. I create a spreadsheet and in the first column of this spreadsheet I write down, row by row, all of the market segments or target audiences that I want to...

...speak to. So again, young family, seniors, construction workers, in that order, or whatever order you want. That's just kind of the order I follow. In the second column next to that target audience, I'm just kind of taken a few notes about what their interests, problems and questions are. So, as you go down row by row in this spreadsheet, you know you would see young families in column one, row one. In column to row one, you would see things like we need more space, seating configurations, safety, fuel economy, all of those sorts of things. What's the difference between this vehicle in this vehicle, or things of that nature, any questions that they might have. Now, in column three, you want to identify the vehicle that fills their needs, that solves their problems and answers their questions. Now, logic and experience tell us that a young family who has the need of space, fuel economy, safety seating configurations is conditioned or primed for what vehicle. Well, there's really two choices, aren't there many vans and SUV's. So looking at your vehicle lineup, you can align the target audience and their needs, wants, desires problems with a vehicle that will solve their concerns. Okay, now I use the example of Ford in the F one hundred and fifty because they've done an extremely good job at segmenting the market. In fact, if you can recall off the top of your head, or maybe I'd encourage you to go to youtube and check out F one hundred and fifty commercials, you're going to see something interesting. Narration from Dennis...

Leary, very grungy sounding. You're going to see the vehicle itself driving up hills and through mud and on the construction site. Make no mistake, the one thing I think the OEM's do extremely well is segment the market. We can't suppose to think that they say hey, maybe we should design a truck and develop it, you know, and put rd and all that kind of stuff into developing a new vehicle and then see if anybody wants it. No, no, no, they sit in a room they go hey, we need a vehicle to fill the needs of construction workers or heavy laborers. Let's design something that fills that need. So they know each vehicle in their product lineups specifically align with a target audience, and that's how you know. If you look at the OEM commercials, you'll always see that they are speaking to one group of individuals another examples of the Honda Element. You always see it with, you know, a surfboard on the roof, on the roof rack, or bicycles, you know, hanging off the back and you know some hip and trendy people. It's parked at the beach. You gotta know, Hey, Honda intended this vehicle to be marketed to a specific segment and in this commercial we are showing how the the vehicle fills the needs and solves the problems of that specific target market. Just like the one hundred and fifty, you can go through and watch any OEM produced commercial and understand that they spend millions and millions of dollars to hire the best marketing firms to identify how to align their vehicles with specific target audiences, and so you can learn a lot from them. Now, once you've segmented the market, then you also need... identify your objectives. You need to say, okay, if I'm going to create content that speaks to young families, that addresses the topics of safety, seating configurations and I know that that aligns with my minivan inventory, what is my objective? Is it to get more eyes on an article that I produce and from that article, is it to, you know, get them to view my inventory, where then they will have the opportunity submit a lead? Or is it to just, you know, build more brand equity? Is it for Seo? You need to understand what your objectives are, because if you don't have objectives, then you have nothing to effectively measure progress against. Does that make sense? So make sure you say, Hey, okay, you know what. I've segmented my market, I know who I'm speaking to about what vehicle, and here is the the action that I want this audience to complete, whether it's requesting more info, reserving a test drive, viewing the in stock inventory for that vehicle. It needs to be very, very clear and very documented somewhere, perhaps in the spreadsheet that we're talking about, what you intend the audience to do as a result of consuming the information that you're going to produce. So I hope that helps you understand the the the first steps that you can take to creating objective driven content. Let's go through them again. Step one, identify who you're speaking to. It's about being valuable to somebody, not worthless to everybody. Step too, identify what their interests are, what problems they face and any questions they have. Step three, aligne. One of your product line, one of your vehicle types,...

...with the interests, problems and questions that they face. In other words, find the vehicle that will solve their problems, answer their questions and and that they would be interested in. And then identify your objectives. You need to know what to be held accountable against, and this is a common mistake that I see in the industry, not just this industry, but every industry that deals with you know, reviewing metrics and stuff. They don't really have clearly defined objectives and because of that they always seem to think that they they're just not performing well. You know, when you have an objective, it's going to be much easier for you to measure your performance. Okay, so give that a try. Start the SPREADSHEET, get it rolling, fill out who you're speaking to, segment the market, that way, identify their interests, problems and questions, align those with a vehicle, identify your objectives and understand that, because majority of dealer websites lack sufficient information and relevant content based on what the market is interested in, that you have a massive opportunity here to move the needle far enough, to distance yourself far enough from your competition to be the reliable, relevant, credible source of information that your customers will come back to you and drugs. Now, when you align everything up, you will have the opportunity to grow your business online in a way that no other dealer website, guaranteed in your market is doing well. Talk about opportunity. All right, that's all the time I have for you today. I hope that you've received an incredible amount of value out of this episode. You know, it's so incredible to me that we have loyal listeners in over fifty...

...countries around the world. You know what? That's just evidence to me that there is an abundant number of dealership professionals, including you listening now, who are actively pursuing greatness and success, and I think you so much for allowing myself and Robert Wiseman here at the dealer playbook to be a part of that with you. Do me a favor right now, go to the go to triple w dot, the dealer playbookcom forward slash twenty eight, where I will outline all of the things we've talked about in the show notes. Plus, I've got a couple of things that I want to give away to you. If you go there, you're going to see a download link for the same exact excel spreadsheet that I use to segment the market and create objective driven content. And, on top of that, I want you to get the absolute most out of this episode and I want you to build a foundation for incredible success moving forward, and that's precisely why I am offering free, no obligation, thirty minute content creation strategy sessions for those that are interested. You and I personally are going to sit down together, review your market come up with a content creation strategy that will help you move the needle, stand out from the clutter and dominate the web. So go ahead and do that right now. Visit Triple W dot, the dealer playbookcom forward slash twenty eight so you can take advantage of this. Thanks again for tuning in and we'll talk to you next time.

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