All Posts By

Shaun Raines

PPC Tip – Use Micro Ad Groups

Most PPC accounts are set up in a way that saves lots of time – but saving time isn’t your goal! This week’s Wednesday Workshop explains why the “every keyword in one ad group” strategy isn’t a great idea… and then explains why “micro ad groups” are the right way to set up your account. If your dealership does any PPC advertising, you don’t want to miss this video!


Welcome back to the DealerOn Wednesday Workshop. Today we’re talking about paid search, also known as SEM or PPC.
And specifically we’re addressing campaign performance tips.

Since the beginning of automotive SEM campaigns, agencies and providers have employed Ad Group strategies that cram hundreds of keywords into each Ad Group, usually using dynamic keyword insertion. This is not optimal, but it is easy.

Typical automotive campaigns are set up this way to save time – it’s definitely not for optimal performance. You should avoid throwing every keyword into one ad group with a few generic ads. Sure, it saves time… but saving time isn’t your goal.

If you want to get the best results from your campaigns, use a micro ad group structure. With micro ad groups, there are only a few keywords in each ad group (both modified broad and exact match) that relate exactly to your text ad.

Space permitting, the ad should include the keywords in the headline, and the ad copy must speak to the keywords and land on a related page on your site. You should never have an ad land on your site’s home page. This will help your quality score and overall ad performance.

If you have questions about micro ad group structures or SEM in general, jump down to the comments section and leave your questions there. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Thanks for check out this week’s video – See you next week with another DealerOn Wednesday workshop.

Birds Don’t Chirp At Night, Except When They Do

If you’ve ever experienced birds chirping, singing, calling or screeching at night, you were probably annoyed by it. Today, businesses including your dealership must be aware of birds chirping into the early hours of the morning. The “birds” are the consumers of our modern, or some would say, post-modern era and they don’t always sing during business hours.

Twitter and Facebook offer us the opportunity to say whatever we want, whenever we want and that presents challenges for most dealers. Contrast the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram realm with how difficult it was to praise or shame a business in 1995. BIG difference. If you’re a little young to remember life at that time, it’s important to know that less that 5% of Americans were using the internet before 1995. Unlike today, where 87% of adults in the USA are on the internet and the percentage grows to almost 100% among those living in households earning $75,000 or more. BOOM!

You have a voice that can be amplified online more than any other time in human history, but… so does every single person that visits your website, sees your advertising efforts, calls your dealership, buys a car from you, services their car with you and so on…

What’s your social media strategy look like right now? Are you one of the many dealerships that have scaled back believing that the effort yields nothing in return? Many dealers started running the social media race primarily focused on capitalizing on a new way to sell cars. Unfortunately, none of us knew exactly how to approach the sales side of social media and totally missed the communication importance offered by social media. Yes, you can and should be selling some cars through social media, but you are unlikely to sell any if you aren’t watching, listening, engaging and answering when the birds start chirping.

One way to be sure you hear the birds is by using social media tools like Mention.  Mention is specifically a listening tool that allows you to hear what’s being said about your business on the web. They recently released an infographic based on Twitter data they’ve assembled and crunched. Along with the data, they gathered opinions on the information from a handful of social media experts. I highly recommend checking it out.

Here are some takeaways:

  • 271 million people are active on Twitter every month
  • Some of them are talking to you, some of them are talking about you
  • Almost 31% of tweets containing a company name do NOT include their twitter handle
  • 60% of company mentions on Twitter are posted when you’re NOT in the office

If you’re looking for a simple way to make sure you never miss a thing. Check out Mention here and download their mobile app to make sure you always hear the birds chirping.

Until next time, may you find yourself and your business more attractive, attentive and aware.


Tweet or Tweet Not, There is No Try

If you’re new to Twitter, let me be the first one to welcome you to 2007. Actually, Twitter officially launched in the summer of 2006, and has steadily grown into a social network with 255 million active monthly users. Twitter’s mission is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. Think about that.

Don’t underestimate the power Twitter provides its users.

  • 500 million tweets are sent every day
  • 78% of active Twitter users are on a mobile device
  • 585 gallons of coffee are consumed every week at Twitter’s HQ

Isn’t Twitter A Waste Of Time?

Yes, it is for a lot of people, but don’t follow them. Literally, don’t follow their methods and motivations for using Twitter. Anyone can jump on Twitter and start barking about how their company, product, service or event is better than all of their competitors. In the automotive industry, you’ll find people using Twitter like a bully pulpit on a daily basis. Pay no attention to those annoying wind- bags and their intentionally destructive behavior. The same people that talk big through a keyboard and an email address are 100x worse on Twitter, so don’t listen to them. The truth is, Twitter offers a wealth of information and is largely an unknown opportunity for car dealers.

Invitation, Encouragement, Recommendation

I’m a big fan of experience, so I want to invite and encourage you to experience Twitter. You should experiment with how to “Tweet” and “Follow” people and businesses, but I think you’ll see true value for your dealership with one of my favorite Twitter features. Search. Real time information at your fingertips. If you’ve never used this feature, jump online and go to It should look like this:

Twitter Search Operators

You may want to briefly study these Twitter Search Operators. They will help you find very specific information. I know some of you literally just gave up because it sounds like homework and you don’t care to make the effort. Can I encourage you? This is how the “experts” in the automotive industry become experts. They find the information, they immerse themselves and they gain experience by using, testing, learning and doing it over and over again. Become an expert yourself and cut some of your dependency on the “experts”.

Operator Finds Tweets…
Twitter search Containing both “twitter” and “search”. This is the default operator
“new car” Containing the exact phrase “new car”
Toyota OR Dealer Containing either “Toyota” or “Dealer” (or both)
Beer –root Containing “beer” but not “root”
#newcar Containing the hashtag #newcar
From: mashable Sent from “shaunraines”
To: dealeron Sent to “dealeron”
@techcrunch Referencing “dealerauthority”
“new car” near:”dallas” Containing exact phrase “new car” and sent near “dallas”
Near:dallas within:15mi Sent within 15 miles of Dallas
Superhero since:2010-12-27 Containing “superhero” and sent since date “2010-12-27” (year, month, day)
Ftw until:2010-12-27 Containing “ftw” and sent up to date “2010-12-27”
Movie –scary 🙂 Containing “movie”, but not “scary”, and with a positive attitude
Dealership 🙁 Containing the word “dealership” and with a negative attitude
Traffic ? Containing “traffic” and asking a question
Hilarious filter:links Containing “hilarious” and linking to URLs
News source:twitterfeed Containing “news” and entered via TwitterFeed

Still Skeptical?

It took me a few years to warm up to Twitter, so I can appreciate those of you who are skeptical. Maybe you’re one of the people that don’t really know how Twitter works or how to use it. If you’re in need of Twitter 101, the best place learn is directly from Twitter.

For the Twitter basics, visit You’ll find-out what Twitter is, how to use it, tips and tricks, the official Twitter glossary and a lot more. Twitter’s support actually has tons of excellent insight and information. You can become a Twitter expert in the quietness of your home or office without feeling embarrassed or shy to ask some self-made automotive Twitter expert a single question. How’s that for a slice of fried gold? Explore, learn, enjoy and thank me later.

Will It Help Me Sell More Cars?

You had to ask, didn’t you? Well, in case you don’t find it easily during your first visit to, you’ll want to check out this case study If you’d like more automotive specific Twitter examples, you can find them here

So Tweet it up and have fun.

If you liked this article, “Follow” me @shaunraines and let me know.

The High Cost of Poor Process

The lifetime value of a car dealership customer is between $250,000 and several million dollars.  Stay with me…

Far too many dealers are living in a bubble, knowing a lot, but doing a little.  When dealers fail to execute, the lost dollars add up quickly.  I speak with Dealer Principals, General Managers and various internet personnel on a regular basis that believe their processes are solid, only to find out the truth reveals the opposite.  Let me share with you a real world example where a lack of communication process cost a dealership a potential lifetime customer.


Toyota Dealership in Arizona

A kind, loving woman (my mom) is ready for a new car and her son (me) happens to be visiting from out of town.  She asks her son to help her through the process and her amazing (and devilishly handsome) son agrees without question.  The woman talks about a personal experience she had recently when she rented a Toyota Camry.  Since that time she has noticed more Camry’s on the road and she has browsed the internet for Toyota Camry information.  Hmm… should the rental car company get credit as the actual lead source?

Still with me?  Good, I’ll fast forward a bit.  My mom’s experience included impressions delivered by television advertising, display ads, PPC and maybe even some good old fashioned SEO, none of which were free for the dealership.  They paid for my mom’s attention and the opportunity to sell her a car.  They earned it because I went with her to pick out and purchase her new Toyota Camry.  The process was pretty smooth.  Not the best I’ve seen, but very good including how the sales person worked appropriately to encourage a woman in her sixties to write a positive review for the dealership post-purchase.  Before you give this dealership five stars, let me tell you how the movie ended.


Count the Cost

On the hood of the Camry my mom picked out was a small blemish that required a visit to the body shop.  The sales person made my mom very comfortable about how they this minor repair would be handled.  Unfortunately, reality proved him to be very wrong.  Not only did the minor repair take much longer than was promised, the dealership put 60 miles on my mom’s new Camry over a two day period, even though she was supposed have her car back the same day.  When my sweet, non-confrontational mother asked the service guy about the 60 miles, he delivered a condescending explanation of how they had to send her car out to someone else to have it fixed.  He was clearly irritated my mom would even dare to question him about the additional miles driven in her new car.  So, it wasn’t a service they performed at the dealership.  Fair enough, but that was never disclosed and people like to know what the hell you’re doing with their car.  So, guess what happened?  She will never go back there for service, will never buy another vehicle from them, and will never tell her friends anything but the truth about her experience.  No one wants that experience.

How much does the average dealer spend advertising/marketing each month?  On average, dealers pay over $600 to advertise each new vehicle they’re trying to sell.  It adds up fast!

Dealers, you spend too much money attracting potential customers to allow your sights to be set on anything but turning each one into a lifetime customer.  Process isn’t exclusive to the internet part of your business, so make sure you have established communication processes in your service and parts departments. If not, they may be sending the lifetime customers you’re earning to your competition.

The Importance of a Good Reputation

Level Set

Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Charlie Sheen, Celebrities, Politicians, Musicians and… BUSINESSES.  If this is the first time you’ve heard that your business reputation is important you should consider early retirement.  Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the truth still suggests 99.999% of those reading this understand the critical importance of a good business reputation.

Why Is Reputation So Important Today?  

We live in a world of instant gratification and the internet has only helped increase what we expect from technology, people and… businesses.  This is a selfish group known as… EVERYONE and we have zero patience.  Why should we when we have access to almost anything we want no matter what time of day?

Consider that the smart phone in your pocket makes waiting for news of any kind unnecessary.  Checking the weather includes the option of viewing Doppler radar.  I bet you haven’t bought or used a map in years.  You use your smart phone for EVERYTHING…including shopping and purchasing decisions.

How is this all affecting your business reputation?  When we don’t want to wait for anything and we don’t have to wait for anything, businesses are forced to adjust their processes to support speed and quality of service.  This is no longer an option for businesses hoping to survive long term.  I think you get the point.  Our expectations are higher than ever.  So, how is your dealership handling this today and how is your dealership going to handle the next generation of entitled, selfish brats?


There’s A Big Difference

It’s critical to understand the difference between product reviews and business reviews. Your dealership must have a process that includes every department.  Every employee must be focused on providing your customers excellence in all areas of your business.  Think Disney.  There’s a reason why they have one of the best business reputations in the history of EVER.  Your dealership isn’t reviewed the way someone writes a review about an iPhone case they bought on Amazon.  Your business has the dynamic quality of people and this makes or breaks dealerships.  Hold your team accountable to high customer service standards and the word on the street regarding your dealership will be music to your ears.  Don’t forget your reputation is a reflection of how you treat people in person, so why not be great?


You’ll Need A Plan

I talk to dealers almost every day about a wide variety of topics.  When the subject of reviews, reputation and social media come up I always talk about planning.  Success with increasing, improving and responding to reviews comes much easier to dealers that have the tools to see what’s going on.  A dealership must have complete visibility to effectively manage their online reputation.  DealerOn offers Reputation Intelligence tools that not only make monitoring all reviews in one place super simple, the tools also show dealers social signals, online mentions and increase their number of reviews.


May you find the determination and conviction to work hard on the reputation of your business.  You won’t regret making your customers happy and they’ll be glad to tell everyone they know about their experience.