Goal Tracking With Google Analytics

Goal Tracking With Google Analytics

Google has an analytics tool called Goals that can help you measure the efficacy of your site in a way that will let you know, at a glance, if it’s doing what you need it to. I know what you’re thinking: “My site gets leads for me, and I know when that happens because then I have a lead.” You’re not wrong, but stick around, because Goals has a way to further refine your lead-gathering apparatus.

In terms of basics, there are four types of Goals that you can apply to different pages on your site:

  • Destination
  • Duration
  • Pages/Screens per session
  • Event

Destination means if a specific page loads, Duration is a time spent on a specific page, Pages/Screens per session sets a specific number for a visitor to reach, and Event could be a video being played or a social media recommendation. Additionally, Goals also allows Smart Goals, which specifically helps out those of you using Google Ads (and I will probably be talking about in length at another time). In every case, you are selecting a specific criteria (e.g. 30 seconds on a specific page for Duration or 10 pages for Pages/Screens per session), and if a user hits one of these milestones, Goals will record it. It does not simply record how long, or how much, but whether a user reaches a pre-set… er… goal.

Here’s the handy part: using Destinations, you can set up funnels for your leads. You know the path your users have to take to submit a lead—which pages they must visit and in which order. These are tracked on the Goal Flow and Funnel reports. This will allow you to identify trouble spots in your funnel and fix them before they hurt your bottom line. You can also give each step a monetary value, so you can track how much each click is contributing to an eventual sale.

Goals have a few limitations. You can only have 20, so use them wisely. They can’t track data retroactively—they only start tracking a specific metric after they have been created. Goal IDs and sets can’t be changed after you make them, but they can be renamed. In addition, Goals can’t be deleted, but you can have them stop recording data.

Goals can be a valuable resource, primarily for keeping an eye on the funnel to lead submission. It’s not a silver bullet, but it will help you stay focused on your site’s primary purpose.

For more information on using Goals in Google Analytics visit: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1012040?hl=en

Image Optimization Tips

Image Optimization Tips


Transcript

Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Images are an often overlooked part of SEO. When there are roughly 80 million Google Image searches every day, which is nearly a quarter of all traffic on Google, that’s a problem. Today, we’re going to go over a few ways to optimize the images on your site so you don’t miss out on this under-emphasized component of SEO.

The file names of your images are one of the many tools Google uses to understand what you’re talking about. Make sure to name your image files with relevant, descriptive keywords as much as possible.

Are you using alt text? Do you know what alt text is?

Alt text is text that appears in place of your image if it fails to load and is another tool Google uses to index your images. The alt tag should describe the image being shown, as this is how screen readers will describe the image to audio only visitors.

Load times are consistently an important part of both SEO and user experience. Large image files will slow your load times down. Reducing image size is a great way to speed up your site. If you work with a provider like DealerOn, this won’t be a problem as we have tools available to reduce image size without compromising image quality. If not, you’ll need to use a program like Photoshop.

If you’ve worked with images online, you know there are three file types you tend to see. Using the correct type is important. Most of the time, .jpg is the one you will use, as it keeps files small while retaining quality. .png is most often used with logos. A good rule of thumb is, when in doubt, use .jpg.

Are your images mobile friendly? More internet browsing is being done on mobile devices, and Google takes this into account when determining rankings. Ensure all of your images are optimized for mobile devices.

Lastly, structured data is an important tool when it comes to image optimization. We have talked about structured data in previous videos, so have a look at the archives for a full explanation of how it can work for you.

That’s all the time we have for today’s workshop. As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next week for another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Google Search Overview: 2021

google-search-overview-2021_blog

Google and other search engines are always tinkering with their algorithms, by some estimates up to a thousand times every year. What worked for SEO yesterday might not work today, which is why this is a never ending process as opposed to a defined goal. Today, we’re going to go over some of Google’s changes to help you stay on top of the game.

1. User intent is important

Fundamentally, Google wants to be a trusted product that the majority of web users use when making a search. That means that they’re trying to give users the results they want. The newest trend in this regard is measuring user intent.

They’re accomplishing this through a variety of metrics. What you need to do is start optimizing your site for intent. As a car dealership, you want to attract users who are either looking to buy the kinds of vehicles you sell, or users who want to make use of your service department. You’re generally not looking for users who want to find your OEM’s homepage or a student researching how internal combustion engines work for a school paper.

With that in mind, answer common questions to make use of Google answer boxes. What kind of dealership are you, what experience do you offer, is your inventory primarily new or pre-owned, what are your service department’s hours, and so on. Make certain your keywords are tied directly to what you do. In the earlier example, that hypothetical student might find your page if you use exclusively short and generic keywords like “car,” so make use of long tail keywords.

2. Dwell time

Track the dwell time on your page. This is related to bounce rate, but is distinct in that it measures how long a user is at your site. The longer, the better, and the search that got them to you is one you’ll want to optimize for.

3. Google’s AI can recognize natural speech patterns

Google’s AI is getting better at recognizing natural speech patterns. This helps the search engine with intent as well. If the search isn’t exactly what the person is looking for, Google can throw in an educated guess. For example, if someone searches for “Ford dealer in [neighborhood]” and there isn’t a Ford dealership in that neighborhood, but there is one not far from there, the search engine will let the user know. Fewer searches fall through the cracks that way.

4. Google’s Core Web Vitals are still, well, vital

I’ve talked in this space about the core web vitals, but here’s a quick refresher. Core web vitals are three stats that Google uses to determine user experience and thus influences eventual ranking. They are: Loading, Interactivity, and Visual Stability. Respectively, this is how fast your site loads, how long between any action a user takes and the site processing that interaction, and how much the site changes shape while loading.

Improving these factors are all about streamlining your code. Get rid of anything you don’t absolutely need, and your users and SEO will thank you.

5. Don’t forget mobile devices

Most web browsing these days is done via mobile device, and this trend is unlikely to change. Google has reacted to this by having its bots look at the mobile versions of sites first. Some of the solutions are the same as those above; all the steps you would take to improve load time will enhance the mobile experience.

Perhaps the most important solution is to ensure that your site uses a responsive design. This means your site will change based on the device your visitor is currently using. Formerly a luxury, now a necessity. Larger buttons and autofill forms are also must-haves for a good mobile experience.

These are the basic changes to SERPs you need to be aware of. Google also has a pair of tools you’ll want to familiarize yourself with, and in the next two weeks, we’re going to talk about those as well. By the time we’re done, your site will be in excellent shape. Until Google alters their metrics again.

Chat Bots for Dealerships

Chat Bots for Dealerships


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Chat bots are not a new piece of technology, but they are finally at the point where they can do what business owners have wanted from the beginning. Today, we’re going to examine these versatile pieces of software and a few of the ways you can use them for your dealership website.

Chat bots have some great advantages that make them invaluable to a dealership. The first, and most obvious, is that a chat bot is active 24 hours a day. Customers don’t always browse vehicles during business hours, and chat bots can ensure that you don’t miss out on these opportunities.

As a front line for your dealership, a chat bot is ideal for handling things like scheduling test drives and service appointments. It can even help resolve issues more efficiently by gathering vital information before a representative needs to get involved. 85% of consumers prefer a text over a phone call. Chat applications allow you to communicate with your customers anywhere they are, day or night.

Automating the steps of “research” and “discovery” will streamline the early stages of the sales process. The chat bot can deliver high quality leads to your sales team by letting the customer self-select. The customer is receiving no pressure. At every turn, they make the choices themselves.

Chat bots are cost-effective. They can save your dealership 30% on customer service costs, while providing an experience that customers prefer. Chat bots can also increase response rates. By saving time for both employee and customer, the chat bot frees your team from questions that have become routine.

Dealerships offer tons of information online to assist customers in the early stages of the buying process. This can be overwhelming and difficult to absorb. A chat bot allows customers to engage at their own speed and ask the questions that specifically pertain to them.

That’s all the time we have for today’s workshop. As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next week for another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Interview With Trisha Habucke, Digital Retail Director at Ford Motor Company

trisha-habucke-interview

Trisha Habucke is the Digital Retail Experience Director at Ford Motor Company. A pioneer in the digital space, Trisha led the team that developed and launched the first comprehensive shopping site for Ford, as well as was managing and funding a Digital Innovation lab that captured two Marketing Technology patents. Trisha attended Northwood University where she earned degrees in Marketing and Computer Science. To keep her skills fresh, she recently obtained a Certificate in Website Coding and HTML from Cornell University’s eLearning Program.

Trisha’s awards include 2019 Crain’s Automotive Women of Stem, 2015 Business Insider’s List of Women in Mobile, and 2014 Mobile Marketer Women to Watch.

DealerOn: You’re the Digital Retail Director at Ford. In practical terms, what do you do for them?

Trisha Habucke: I manage a team of 8 people who work strictly on Tier 3 company/dealer initiatives. The team works to ensure that our dealers have the proper digital tools to do everything from lot management, to marketing, selling and fixed operations. We now even assist with used vehicles. We work with our 3100 Ford and 900 Lincoln dealers. Each member of my team leads a digital discipline/specialty: Leads, Advertising, SEM/SEO, Websites, eCommerce, Fixed Operations, Asset Creation and Management, and Innovative Selling Tools. We also manage the multi million-dollar Ford Advertising Co-op Program.

DealerOn: How did you get your job at Ford?

Trisha Habucke: I hired into Ford 35 years ago. I was hired into a division of Ford called Dealer Computer Services. In 1985, business computers were new and I was sent into the field to help dealers come off paper books and move onto computers. Every night the dealer would send their accounting and fixed ops information to Ford for batch processing then the information was sent back to populate accounting and service records. This created the industry’s first DMS system. In 1990 this Division of over 200 people was sold to Bob Brockman’s company UCS which is now Reynolds and Reynolds.

DealerOn: Your biography consistently mentions your command of technology as an important part of what you do. Could you please expand on that? In what ways do you use technology, and how has that changed in your time in the industry?

Trisha Habucke: As background, I went to a small college in Midland, Michigan that specialized in Dealership operations. It is called Northwood University. Many, many dealer kids go there. In the early ’80s, the college tried to diversify itself and offer business degrees and a new curriculum in Computer Science. I learned to code on a Radio Shack TRS80, but most importantly I learned the concept of logic.

Midland, Michigan

Midland, Michigan. Source: https://cityofmidlandmi.gov/

This background steered me into the Marketing technologies adopted by Ford over the years. I was never in IT. I was on the cutting edge of computers, websites, mobile, hands-free (SYNC), geo-fencing, etc. In other words, for 35 years I have used new technology to solve age old sales problems. In 2009 my team launched the first mobile site and we sold 35,000 units that year via mobile. There was no one from IT on the team, it was all marketing people like me with a bit of a tech flair in them, and a small vendor willing to cut their teeth on a Ford project. This company has since been bought by Apple.

As a matter of fact, when I finally rose to a level where I had a budget, I took chances on a lot of small digital companies. Five years ago, I attended a Mobile Marketing Association summit in Napa. There were many owners of mobile companies there who had morphed from these early digital vendors that I had invested in and gave them their first chance. A group took me to dinner to thank me for making them rich. The more I drank, the more I realized there was something wrong with that picture. 😊

DealerOn: You frequently mention that you often translate complicated tech terms for your colleagues. How have you developed that skill, and how did that responsibility fall to you?

Trisha Habucke: I developed that skill as a sales/survival tactic. Like I stated, during the years I have been active in the business, I have borne witness to the introduction of many marketing technologies. Early on, I had to sell my ideas to older dealers and managers who didn’t even use computers so I had to think of analogies. Even today, most business people aren’t technical and depend on IT to do the dirty work. I prefer to bring these technologies into my marketing world since I will have to use them to execute, measure and then calculate the ROI. Each time I had, or have, to do this I thought of simple comparisons.

  • Batch processing became throwing all the ingredients for turkey dinner in a pan, locking the oven shut so no one can peek, and having it all bake while you sleep. Then when you come to work you have a fully cooked meal on a fully set table.
  • The Internet became a mall in the sky. ISPs became trains that took you to the mall, each train had a different name such as Yahoo and AOL and to ride the train you had to pay $20(no Gmail yet). An @ address became your permanent seat number on the train. Email became messages the conductor left on your seat (obviously I was working with some mental giants in those days 😊)
  • Beacons were like the people who counted your ticket at the door of a concert. Once you enter through the door, we may not know your name, but we know you are there.
    RAD design for mobile became “auto smoosh” so that we didn’t have to make 2 sites. Embarrassingly, that worked.
  • Not investing in new technology that supports the underpinnings of websites is like putting $100 per roll wallpaper on the wall of a house with a crumbling foundation.
    You get the idea.

DealerOn: What are the unique challenges you’ve faced as a woman in a male-dominated space? How have you met and surpassed them?

Trisha Habucke: I would not say the challenges were, or are, unique. They have been very typical of a large, male-dominated company. Men and women think very differently. As soon as a woman realizes this, the easier it is to survive. And let me clear, one way of thinking is not better than the other. Brought together, they produce solid POVs and remarkable results. The problem is created when women are intentionally excluded as they often are. In 1985, I was part of the first group of women who went into the field to call on dealers. I call us “The Original Car Girls.” There were big unique challenges then, as most dealers were not used to seeing female faces representing “the factory.” Many could not separate the fact that we were women from the fact that we were businesspeople. I think some of their behavior was just plain awkwardness versus maliciousness. I was young and this was very hard and often demoralizing. I knew I was forging a new path for women, so I sucked it up.

“…my team launched the first mobile site and we sold 35,000 units that year via mobile. There was no one from IT on the team, it was all marketing people like me with a bit of a tech flair in them, and a small vendor willing to cut their teeth…”

I haven’t always surpassed these challenges or handled them well. When I was younger, I fought for representation and inclusion. In the middle of my career when I understood marketing tech more than some of my highly paid male managers, I became a bit angry because often they presented my work as their own or embarrassed me into retreat. For example, I was never able to sell in mobile service alerts in 2005. Our Senior Sales manager at the time “didn’t think cell phones would take off.” Um…ok. I now know a young man was given the green light a few months later by the same manager. In 2006, our team went to a large CRM conference, and a very early geo-targeting concept was discussed. I had recently read an article about mobile geo-alerts used in Vegas to entice gamblers to come into a casino. I raised my hand, took the microphone, and asked the presenter if he had heard of this concept and could we ever use it to deliver incentive alerts when a customer came into a dealership. In front of everyone, the head of our IT department apologized for my question and said, “Trisha has been reading too much Harry Potter.” Um, ok…how humiliating. Years later an article was published heralding my geo work at Bonnaroo.

Now that I am older, I survive by really understanding the current arena. It’s like the cartoon on LinkedIn going around. “A man who talks a lot and holds court is a confident leader. A woman who speaks up is aggressive.” I still speak up, but I now realize the sad fact that I must often times be self-deprecating so as not to lose my male audience. Also, a very important thing to consider is that I am the very last of the pension babies. Leaving my company and the giving up the rich retirement benefits was never an option for someone like me, so I learned to adapt and reinvent myself to survive in a male world. Sometimes when I look back, I do become sad.

Radioshack_TRS80

Trisha learned to code on a Radioshack TRS80. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/

My knowledge and capabilities should have led to a better compensated career. I know for a fact that the men who started in that computer division in 1985 have reached the heights at my company and they have made much more money. My parents gave me the skills to be strong, smart and an outspoken leader. When I applied these skills over the years, I was labeled as aggressive and difficult. When I was very persistent in getting my point across, I was labeled belligerent. Just the other day, a male worker talked to me about being difficult. I looked at him and said “Great, but I’m still here 35 years later and selling millions of dollars’ worth of vehicles every day. What have you done today besides ‘coach’ me?”

“You need to find a group of other women to provide insight and advice and join forces for change.”

DealerOn: Do you have any advice for other women who admire your success and would like to emulate you?

Trisha Habucke: First, these days there is so much choice. There are so many new and modern companies that welcome women and value our diverse perspective. If I were just beginning my career, I would seek these companies out and include them in my job search. Actually, during COVID, we lost many talented women to large tech companies and home improvement giants who are actively recruiting talented women. If a young woman is intent on the autos then I would say really understand that this is a rough, often dirty, global, 24/7, male-dominated industry. That will never change.

You need to find a group of other women to provide insight and advice and join forces for change. If nothing else, find a group of women who will allow you to vent and assure you that you are not crazy and there is something funky going on. Also, you must adapt a bit of a secret male mindset. As far as emulating my career…. long ago, in 1999, I decided I was going to be job focused vs career driven. I decided to take advantage of all the things a large corporation had to offer. I changed jobs every couple of years, took every class I could, joined every business trip and business dinner, took the project no one wanted (those included the very first comprehensive website, mobile strategy, and the secret SYNC launch site) and never stopped learning.

Just last year, at 57 years of age, I received a HTML front-end certificate and a JAVA back-end certificate from eCornell because no one else in Marketing wanted to take the class. Most importantly, keep at it. No one ever said it was going to be easy. Contrary to popular belief, life is long, and it takes a long time to be successful. We are not all Kardashians. 😊