Archive for the ‘Dealership Website Designs’ Category

Are you viewing your website as the customers see’s it? 8 out of 10 times the answer is NO. Online shoppers are a breed of their own and if you don’t show them what you are made of (website) then you lose out on a valuable customer.

Our minds are so warped in sales we fail & forget to see what type of online presence we are giving to the consumer. Regardless if you sell cars, shoes, cosmetics and so forth. We are the seller not the consumer. Don’t forget that you are giving the impression of your business to the online consumer which still relates to the good ole’ saying “First impressions are the best impressions”. Why fail your consumers now?

During my time training dealers for website best practices & their website management tool, I asked them when the last time it was since they last viewed their website. The top 3 answers were “I am too ashamed to look at it”, “I don’t have time” & “That is the Internet Managers Job”. I lightly tread on the subject to have all the management including  sales to take a few moments a day to review their website as errors can be noticed that are overlooked. Your team can offer the feel of presence & most important of all critical feedback. Don’t prevent them from being involved.

Before trainings I would ask all the attendees to take a moment to step back out of their sales shoes & visualize themselves as a customer, A TRUE CONSUMER and clear their minds of sales. Our minds are so polluted with sales & are soaked up with Buy Buy Buy & Look at me I can sell a car but you need to take a step back. Having this clear mind approach while stepping into a website review can be beneficial not to yourself but most important “YOUR CONSUMER”.

Typing in your website address is one step, seeing your online image is another and the most impressionable one. Relevant images related to your home page is similar to a new customer walking into your showroom floor & seeing polished tiled floors, shiny cars, clean desks, spiffed up sales team and such. Giving that same impression to your online consumer needs to be the same.

Your website home page is more geared towards new cars & welcoming the consumer to your website. Keep those website images (banners) relevant to that specific profit center! For example if you sell cars and there is a banner with bananas for sale, a little over the top & exaggerated, however you get the point. Used or Pre-Owned needs to stay relevant to the pre-owned department only not posting new car ads to that specific page. Consumers are geared to relevant information & images for what they are looking for.  Confusing them will cause you to lose them!  This goes to the same for Finance; keep it finance geared along with Specials, Service & Parts. Don’t push them away for sales, sales, sales! They have a motive in mind; don’t force them to shut your website down & move to your competitor.

Keeping your profit centers separate for advertising will be beneficial to your consumer when they are viewing your website & looking for what they are searching for.

Below are valuable tips to help increase your impression to be the best impression for your online consumer.

Home Page: New car banners. Amazing finance offerings for the new car purchase. Why they should buy from you including the incentives they receive. (Customer Satisfaction, Free oil chances with new purchase etc)

Pre-Owned Page: Banners of aged inventory, anything that is over 60 days old on the lot, highlighting those specific vehicles can help turn that inventory over for the pre-owned interested consumer.  Certified finance offerings and / or finance offerings for pre-owned.

Service / Parts & Accessories: Banners with Certified technicians, rewards received for customer satisfaction, discounts on service, parts or accessories.

Finance: Banners that shows offers given by the OEM or for pre-owned, you can even include local credit union finance rates that are being offered.  Easy process for credit applications (applying online) and special finance offerings.

Specials: Banners specifically highlight aged inventory for both new & used inventory to help push them out and off your lot. Service, parts and/or accessories discount pricing, finance rates.

Why Buy or About Us: This page should have banners relevant to why they should buy from you. Why buy banners, incentives of being a new customer, Rewards, images of facility with customers.

Take a step back to view your website as a consumer can make a large difference that you may not realize at this time. Get your team involved with providing feedback as each profit center is online!

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only. Jennifer Schrader


Everywhere we look online we see websites. Full of colors, different varieties of products & information; which can be comparable to 52 Card Pick Up. Too many choices & all of them are waiting for you to click on them. But how do you make the most out of your website and make it work for your personal self or business?

Looking at your website each and every day can be an issue from the start. You know what it looks like and you can be overlooking simple things that you may not be aware of.  Reaching out to friends, family & co-workers can be a benefit to your marketing efforts online. Having an outside view can help with catching spelling errors, lack of information, confusing layout & much more. Don’t be offended by their critical feedback as some can’t handle it very well.  Yes we all know that you worked hard on setting the website up and it is your pride & joy however you can only be looking at the benefits of yourself without the consumer in mind.

The consumer is your main target, you want to provide them with the utmost information, content & have what they are looking for. Here are some questions you will want to ask yourself when reviewing your website.

Why buy from me? Do you have content that offers the reason why they should buy from you? Consumers are interested in learning about you & your business offerings.  It’s human nature. The more the consumer knows of you & about you; the more likely they are going to purchase from you!

Creative colors; are you matching what your wearing? Maybe your business is all about “Going Green” or “Nature Preserves”; would you have Yellow & Red colors dressed up on your website? The consumer will get scared as they are expecting Green, Neutral & Warm Colors not a Fast Food Restaurant. Being relevant with colors to your business will help the consumer be more inclined to view further into your website and not close out the window to move on to another website.

What deals do you have? Depending on your business structure you may provide discounts, special offers and such but where are they? As this is a common mistake for many companies marketing online is not having any offerings posted on their website. Consumers are coming to you for a deal, why isn’t there any around?

Providing your phone number as the largest text item on your header, footer and throughout each and every page can also be a benefit to your consumer for a quick reach of contact to you and your business.  Consumers are different when it comes to online shopping or researching product & having that contact number at their fingertips will be more inclined to reach out to you.

Having quick response time is very helpful for many online consumers. Answering their request via phone or email will show the consumer your credibility and your business is at full attention to their wants and needs. Ensure your contact forms and email are being forwarded to your cell phone as you then can monitor the incoming leads or contact us forms.  Consumers get excited by your quick action. Remember it’s your business and they are the consumer.

Be educational! As mentioned earlier that consumers want to learn and know more about you. By educating them of your process & how you do it they are more inclined to take on your services. Body shops are a great example; consumers will drop their vehicle off to get repaired then return to their vehicle and it looks like brand new! What happens during that process and how did they make it that way? Having photos of before, during & after are a great piece of education for the consumer on what actually goes on behind those doors at the paint booth. Giving them the information on what particular paints are used, tools, processes etc can create a great educational tool for the consumers.

Can they find you? By creating rich content & proper keywords for your website will help with search results within the search engines and help your Search Engine Optimization.  By having the proper keywords that are relevant to your business & products will help you be more recognized to Search Engines.  If you are a flower shop within a specific town you want to use terms that are relevant to your product and location.  You would not want to have the keyword “Tire Repair” for your “Glass Repair” shop.  The content would then be irrelevant and wouldn’t make sense to the consumer and of course the Search Engines.  Having an “About Us” page you want to ensure that all the content is about you or your business along with Service Specials you want to ensure also that the content matches to that specific page.

With these tools in mind, take a step back to review the results and take all and any feedback as a compliment to help you achieve your goals and that is Your Business and the Consumer.

All views & opinions are solely based upon the author only. Jennifer Schrader

(231) 360-0730


Demo Glam & Glitter… What to look out for on a product demo!

You gather the team, you organize the efforts to create a meeting with the new vendor(s) of choice, you are exhausted and now the time has come for the vendor-client meeting.

What do you need to look for and how do you think they are going to perform after the initial signing on the dotted line?

Either the vendor is going to come in with amazing screens, laptops, high quality business cards (I have seen metal ones!) high end suits & goodies or you may have a casual wearing, paper business cards, small laptop vendor come in. Regardless of what they wear or what they come in as, what comes out of their mouth during the demonstration of the product is the most important part to pay attention too.

Key Terms to pay attention too:

WE PROMISE: Hearing this is like a broken record similar to a child promising to remember to do their chores on a daily basis, but you find yourself constantly reminding them daily to remember.  

WE GAURANTEE: This is very scary! How can you guarantee traffic, customers, increase and such? It’s impossible to throw that term out unless the vendor has full control of the actual online consumer. Demographics & general location play a major role in this.  Are they at the front door of each and every consumer “MAKING THEM” come to you? I highly doubt it. If your vendor is guaranteeing results it is a term loosely used and a headed direction for failure. (A way to get you to sign faster)

SPECIAL ACCOUNT: I have heard this several times.  “You will be one of our Special Accounts & will have lots of attention”… What about their other clients? Do they get the Special Accounts treatment & do you think the non special accounts would be a bit disturbed if they heard that they weren’t? The proof is in the pudding when you make those calls to clients that are not listed on their testimonials page. This brings me to my next point.  

CALL OUR TESTIMONIALS: Sure thing, this is nice giving the opportunity to do your homework but what about the non testimonials. If they claim they have several hundred accounts, ask for the list and you can have the opportunity to pick and choose who to call that are not on the Testimonials page of their website.  Remember you want to pay for a great product which then entails to great customer service.

WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN: If you hear this, have them include it in on the agreement. When this is mentioned in a demo, this is not going to help you one bit because once you sign and throw that request in either the developers or programmers are going to say “Can’t do it”… This will safe guard your request if it is in writing along with the other request you may have.

LOOK AT THIS GUY: They may pull out a few customers that are performing amazing with stellar numbers. Grabbing up clients that have demographics, location, products and such can help create a huge performance for those numbers month in and month out. What if you were the guy with a smaller demographic and location, don’t expect those numbers; this is just part of the Glam & Glitter of a product demo to show only the best of the best. What about the smaller guys?

IF YOU SIGN TODAY: Reminds me of the 4-squares & the Sharpie marker when I sold cars! Now what if I don’t sign today! Are you going to pull all these promises and guarantees away from me? You haven’t even done your homework yet, so why in the world would you sign today?

If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s not going to be. Just pay attention and be educated when meeting up with your next vendor.

I may not have covered all of the words to keep an eye & ear out during a product demo. Do you have any that you have heard but were never lived up to?

All views & opinions are solely based by the author Jennifer Schrader (231) 360-0730

Have you taken the time to monitor who actually is on top of your content for your website? What I mean is the actual images/ banners that are placed on your website for weekly & monthly advertising / marketing.

Many website vendors nationwide provide the ability now for the dealer / client to control the uploading of the images as to what it was in the past.  Having this ability gives you the option to be creative and helps keep your consumer informed on a daily basis.

I would say, I am confident in saying this figure, 80% of dealers will not upload images weekly let alone monthly. You have the ability; why not take advantage of it? Most of the responses are “I am not creative, I don’t know where to start, I have a hard enough time trying to turn the computer on & such”. Don’t worry; you are focused on selling, closing deals and running a productive team within your dealership.

Here are a few tips to help you take advantage of being creative with your website.

Hiring External or Internal: There are many graphic designers around now since we have went digital. It may be more costly having an internal graphic artist however there are freelance graphic artist / designers that charge just for the job. Having fresh & enticing banners / advertisements can help your online audience be more engaged and informed of your promotions & offerings. Why keep the gate up?

Software: There are cheap & free programs out there that can help you if you want to challenge yourself and be creative the way you want to.  There is a program I have used which is very, very inexpensive and it is called SnagIt. You can go to and it will even offer you a Free Trial! Very easy to use and fun! Or you can go all out and grab up Adobe Photoshop which I have moved over too and it is a bit more complicated but there are many guides & tutorials online that can help you with creating an effective banner or advertisement for your website.

Be on top of it! That is the tricky part. Keeping consistent with adding different promotions / advertisements weekly or monthly on your website is very effective.  Your Branding / Franchise offers specials each month don’t they? Why not keep your online consumers informed? Be different from the other guy down the street. If you are looking the same each and every day, month in and month out; your competition has their advantage of you already!

Engage with your team: Getting your team involved at meetings and asking for ideas or suggestions is a big help. They will feel they are being involved with marketing for your dealership which will then boost their confidence & they will know what is going on all around.  I see it too many times when the team has no clue of the promotion or advertisement that is being currently ran. Keep them informed & involved. You would be surprised as one of your team members may have those creative skills with graphic design!

Be Creative! It is not hard when you refuse to be creative.  Just think of the items that capture your attention or TV commercials that pop out at you. The human mind is more attracted to, I will say this, Cheesy or Corky advertisements.  They grab our attention more than the corporate look and feel.  Reaching out to those clients in a fun, entertaining, happy way will create more engagement and involvement with your online audience. Just try it, you will be surprised on their reaction.

Images? Where? Google Images provides a large variety of images however to have them be royalty free you can get high quality images for very little money (which you can use repeatedly) at I have been using this company for over 2 years & get many of my images as they are a lot let expensive to buy credits there than any other I have come across. 

I hope this information helps with taking advantage of the flexibility you have on your website advertising.  If your website vendor doesn’t provide the ability to change images or banners, you may want to have a little chat with them since you are the ones selling to your audience.

All views & opinions are solely based by the author Jennifer Schrader (231) 360-0730

Marketing Efforts… Who should you involve?

At this point in time, who do you have involved in your marketing efforts? General Manager, Marketing coordinator, Dealer Principal…. Staff?

Getting your staff involved into your marketing efforts can create a new view from the consumer’s standpoint and also provide very helpful & resourceful feedback.

I have seen sales events where the staff doesn’t even have a clue what is going on when the consumer asks them about it.  Then the staff looks uneducated, not prepared and having to run to the GM for the details is pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t you think?

Having your sales staff / sales team involved with your promotions & marketing efforts will not just be a plus for the dealership but also for the consumer to show that your staff is on top of it.

You would be surprised what creative feedback you can get from your team that you may have overlooked or even find one of your staff members being more creative than you thought. 

Think about it, you are all about sales, selling this and that but what you don’t see is what the consumer thinks… 

Here are some tips that can help your marketing efforts take a step forward:

Getting involved: Hold a monthly meeting for your entire staff to drill out some ideas, think of creative content, marketing directions & feedback. This can be a great help to further your marketing efforts.

Hand outs: Handing out any proofs for your marketing ad before being approved to your staff to take home and show their family or friends can bring positive feedback and changes that they may see or would like to see. (Who would have thought?)

Suggestion Box: Remember the old suggestion box? They still do exist! Having that availability can also help the team throw in some ideas or suggestions that can help take your marketing efforts to a new level.  Get their feedback for what they would like to see. This can also spark some ideas for you too.

Up To Date: Don’t throw out a promo and expect your team to know the details when you didn’t tell them in the first place.  And you wonder why they are coming to you asking “What is this all about?” This will prevent you taking time to answer their questions and more time to helping your team sell a car!

Getting your team involved with marketing efforts can be a fun way of showing them the importance they hold for selling your product to the public.  If not, then why are they selling for you in the first place?

All views & opinions presented in this article are solely of those of the author only. Jennifer Schrader

Merging your Friends to your “New” Fan Page

As you may now know that your dealership needs a business fan page & not a friend profile page. You now may be wondering why your friends aren’t merging over to your fan page. They accepted your friend request pretty fast! Why not your “Fan Page” request?

First of all you never initially earned their business in the first place to be an actual Fan.

Friend Profiles & Fan Pages are 2 different types of attractions to the branding image of your dealership. You can go “Click Crazy” on selecting friends to build them up however trying to get them to actually “Like” your business page is a lot different.

Let’s say you taken action by creating an entire new Dealership Fan Page and go over to your wall on your Friend Profile to request them to like your page. 10-15% of them will jump right on it to “Like” your page however the remaining amount of friends don’t actually do it.  

What’s in it for them?

Here are some tips & tricks to help you merge your friends to be an actual Fan of your page.

  1. Requesting on your friend wall to “Like” your new dealership fan page. This is the first step you will want to take for the 10-15% to jump over to your page and “Like” it.
  2. Requesting to “Share” the link to their friends to “Like” your page
  3. Sending a notification to all of your friends about the new change & why. Providing a reason why can help better merge those friends to fans then having to beat around the bush.
  4. Start notifying all new sales from your dealership of the correct fan page for them to “Like” after their purchase.
  5. When sending out a message to all of your friends, offer them something from the dealership.
      Oil Changes for Free
      % off maintenance
      Key Chains (Small promotional items)
      $ off their next purchase or more for their trade in
      Discount on tires
      Gas Cards
      Gift Cards
      Remember “What’s in it for them”….!
      Send out letters to past customers about your new Fan page
      Include the Fan page name all direct mail, TV Ads, Newspaper ads & radio. Taking advantage of traditional media outlets can be beneficial to get the proper page name out there for your dealership

There is going to be some blood, sweat & tears trying to move that base of friends over to your fan page. Keep in mind if it was done properly the first time on creating a social media for your dealership you wouldn’t be in this position.

Building fans is another story however working with what you have right now can be a benefit to start building that fan base for your dealership.

*** All views & opinions presented in this article are solely of those of the author only. Jennifer Schrader

Jennifer Schrader (231) 360-0730

On average, dealerships convert 20% of sales customers into service customers. Why are they allowing 4 out of 5 customers walk out and do business with the competition?

Why? Because their processes are flawed! They have plenty of information (data) about customers that they could use to re-market those customers, but it is unmanageable and scattered across the organization. They always plan to follow-up with customers. Perhaps they even send out an oil change notice occasionally and see a spike in traffic. But have they truly engaged these customers? Without a definitive strategy, that is methodically implemented, creating lasting customer relationships is nearly impossible.

Ignite XDS has the retention strategies and the solutions your dealership needs. We harness that unruly data and empower it. Ignite XDS’ messaging techniques are highly personalized to each individual. And, if the customer shows up unexpectedly for service, the Ignite XDS solution will automatically rescheduled that customer’s future message. Your dealership will gain customer trust and advocacy because each of them will know you understand them.

You know why this is so vital?

• NADA reports that 72% of customers that regularly use a dealership for service will make their next purchase there.

• As well, NADA reports: “Dealerships face increased competition from independent service stations and quick-lube centers” (Source – NADA Data 2009: Economic Impact of New-Car and New-Truck Dealers).

• More than 2/3 of customers leave because of a business’ indifference or bad attitude (Will Maguire, 6 Reasons We Lose Customers)


Ignite XDS brings the auto dealership to Facebook, allowing dealerships to privately brand Facebook pages for deeper engagement and targeted campaigns. Through applications and dealer-specific content, Ignite XDS provides social media and web marketing solutions to car dealerships looking for efficient, effective, and measurable brand image and community engagement.