Is Your Dealership Ready for the Continued Growth of Mobile Email Opens?

I’ve written a lot about the importance of having a mobile friendly auto dealership website given the increase in smart phone usage, but when your dealership sends emails, are you also taking mobile into consideration?

A recent study by Knotice, an on-demand marketing software and agency, shows that 36% of emails were opened on a mobile device (tablet & smartphones) during the first quarter of 2012. This is up from 27% in the fourth quarter of 2011.  If this pace continues, half of all consumers could be reading emails on their mobile devices by this time next year.

Just as you need to make sure that your website content is optimized for mobile phones, make sure your emails are compatible for mobile devices too. Provide a plain text option, or at the very least, add text/tags to images and videos so that users will know what they are even if they don’t see them.

Testing is huge here – so send your emails to yourself and others to look at on your mobile devices.  Make sure that you are able to track your email key performance metrics (opens, bounces, reads, clicks, visits, leads, etc) at the device level, so that you can see whether the changes and improvements that you make to your email campaigns are meeting your goals.

Since over a third of emails are already being read on mobile devices, shouldn’t you at least make sure they look the way you want them to?

Google Announces Mobile Website Guidelines and Recommendations, Finally!

It’s official!  At SMX Advanced in Seattle, WA this morning, Google has finally announced guidelines and recommendations on how to build mobile websites that work best for users and Google.

Google recommends building your mobile site with a responsive design approach.  This means that your mobile site uses the same URL as your main site, and serves the same HTML, but uses CSS to change how the page is shown on the device.  Google says this is best since one URL makes it easier on users and Google doesn’t have to crawl multiple pages on different URLs.

Their second-best option?  Device-specific HTML.  This means that the same URL is used, but the mobile version serves different HTML and CSS depending on the device that is detected.

All of this is a little technical, so make sure you talk to your car dealership mobile website provider to see which approach they are taking.  You can read the full release from Google here: Recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites.

Are Your Dealership Emails Mobile Ready? They Need to Be…

Your dealership customers aren’t just using their mobile devices to find your car dealer website, they are also using them to read the emails you send.  A recent report from the marketing agency Knotice found that more than 27 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device during the second half of 2011.  This is a 36 percent gain from the end of 2010.

Not only does your dealership need to have a mobile website and marketing strategy in place, but you also need to make sure your emails can be read on mobile devices.  iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) make up over 22 percent of mobile email opens, compared to less than 5 percent for Android devices.  For this reason, make sure your dealership emails use a minimal amount of Flash, if any.  Also, if you are sending pictures or video, make sure they have alt text or tags that explain what the images are showing.

The study counted an email “opened” if images were downloaded, so keep in mind that these numbers may be lower than reality, since some devices don’t download images by default.

Can your dealership afford to miss out on a quarter of your emails not being seen the way they were intended? Test the emails you are sending on a mobile device to make sure your message is getting across.

Google’s “Mobile Playbook” is a Must-Read for Auto Dealers

Google recently released an eBook (or playbook, as they call it): “The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile“.  For any dealership interested in mobile websites, mobile paid search, and how to expand your brand with mobile technology, this guide is extremely concise and helpful, answering the “5 crucial mobile questions that every business executive should be asking today”.

Their playbook is broken up into the following sections:

  • How does mobile change our value proposition?
  • How does mobile impact our digital destinations?
  • Is our organization adapting to mobile?
  • How should our marketing adapt to mobile?
  • How can we connect with our tablet audience?


What’s great about this playbook is that it provides actual examples of companies that are succeeding at the various points they discuss, like mobile apps, an optimized mobile site, and determining what mobile users are looking for.  Also, Google lays out some action items your dealership can start working on right away, as well as some bigger picture questions designed to get your dealership thinking about mobile in general.

Considering that mobile continues to grow and shows no sign of slowing down (95% of smartphone users have searched for local info), I highly suggest every dealership take a look at this playbook and get a mobile strategy in place.  If you don’t, ask your auto dealer mobile website provider to help guide you through the process.

More Reasons Your Car Dealership NEEDS an Optimized Mobile Website

While at NADA, I heard quite a bit of buzz about mobile websites. Does my dealership need one?  If I already have one, do I need to actually optimize it?  Is mobile traffic really growing as rapidly as everyone says it is?  Should I be making my car dealership’s mobile website a priority to sell more cars?

The answer to all four of those questions is absolutely, unequivocally–YES.

Some stats:

  • The number of mobile searches has grown 400% in the last year
  • 1 in 3 mobile searches is related to local search
  • 79% of smartphone owners use their phones to help with shopping (compare prices, find product info, locate a retailer, etc)
  • 28% of those that see a mobile ad take action
  • 59% of users visit an online store after looking it up online

In short, mobile traffic is growing extremely quickly, and is expected to be the predominant mode of searching online for local content by 2013.  If your dealership is neglecting your mobile websites, you’ll be behind the curve as time goes on.

Your car dealership mobile website optimization efforts should focus on two things: earning top rankings in the mobile SERPs and making the site’s layout mobile friendly.

You can use this tool to test how your mobile site looks on an iPhone, or use Google’s GoMo to preview your mobile site and find resources to help if your site isn’t as quality as you’d like it to be.  Make sure you talk to your mobile website provider to ensure they are optimizing your mobile site and helping your dealership achieve your mobile optimization goals.