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.

Majority of Mobile Visitors Can’t See Flash Websites

In a recent study from retail analysis firm, RichRelevance, iPads and iPhones make up over 90% of online purchases that don’t happen on a desktop device.  That means that 9 out of 10 mobile purchases come from an Apple product, a device that can’t read anything in Flash. This is up from 88% when RichRelevance conducted the same study just last April.

While many auto dealerships don’t make a ton of sales online (in the traditional, online store sense that this study refers to), this shows that the majority of those using their mobile phone for online shopping purposes are using these two devices.  If your dealership mobile website uses Flash technology, the majority of those coming to your site from a mobile device won’t be able to see it.  In fact, DealerOn customers typically see 2/3 of the traffic to their mobile website come from iPads and iPhones.  Can you imagine if only 1/3 of your website visitors could actually see the content on your site?

Studies like this one show how important it is to ensure your mobile website can be seen by everyone that wants to see it, and if it is built using Flash, 2/3 of your web visitors won’t be able to.  Check with your auto dealership website provider to find out how your mobile site is built, and if it’s in Flash, make sure they provide you with another option.  You could be losing out on 2/3 of your mobile website traffic.

Test Your Mobile Website with Google’s GoMo

Google, in an effort to help small businesses ensure they have effective mobile websites, has launched “GoMo”.  This website ( lets users learn about why having a quality mobile site is important, test how your site looks in its mobile version, and find resources to help if your mobile site isn’t quite up to par.

I really like the option to see how your current site looks in mobile.  From the homepage, click “See How Your Current Site Looks in Mobile”, then “Test Your Site”.  Enter the URL of your dealership website to see how mobile users will see it.  After answering a couple of questions about what you see, you’ll get a report card of sorts that focuses on four potential mobile website hangups: Loading Speed, Images, Text, and Navigation.

The DealerOn auto dealer website I tested scored a 4 out of 4.  According to the site, the site I tested showed:

  • Loading Speed:  0.404 seconds.  The recommended loading time is 5 seconds.
  • Images: Images appeared properly
  • Text: Text is visible without pinching or zooming on the phone screen
  • Navigation: All links and buttons are thumb friendly

Check your dealership website to see how well it scores.  If you’re not getting a Pass in each category, you need to talk to your mobile website provider to find out what can be done.