Don’t Forget to Include Reputation Management in any Mobile Marketing Strategy

Reputation Management

By Ryan Leslie

At Google’s ThinkAu­to event in Sep­tem­ber, it was revealed that 29% of auto­mo­tive queries will come through mobile phones next year, and by 2015 more peo­ple will access the Inter­net via their smart­phones than on com­put­ers. At Deal­er­Rater we have seen evi­dence of this in recent months as the num­ber of mobile users access­ing our web­site has jumped to over 20%.

In today’s mar­ket if deal­ers want to acquire, devel­op and retain cus­tomers, they must include mobile media in their marketing/advertising strat­e­gy. It would be wise to also include rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment as part of any mobile strat­e­gy. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this.

Here are a few tips:

1. Mobile Opti­mized Web­site: More than half of con­sumers who use Smart­phones to research a vehi­cle before buy­ing do so while at a deal­er­ship, J.D. Power’s 2012 Auto­mo­tive Mobile Site Study found. Near­ly a third of vehi­cle shop­pers who intend to buy or lease a new vehi­cle with­in the next two years vis­it­ed mobile ver­sions of auto­mo­tive web sites via Smart­phones to research a vehi­cle pur­chase, up from 24 per­cent last year and 17 per­cent in 2010. Of those con­sumers, 53 per­cent looked up vehi­cle infor­ma­tion while at a deal­er­ship. Accord­ing to J.D Pow­er, the trend under­scores the impor­tance of mobile sites — Web pages designed to be viewed on a Smartphone’s small screen.

Mobile Web­site Tech­nol­o­gy auto­mat­i­cal­ly detects mobile devices when they arrive at the dealership’s web­sites. The plat­form directs this traf­fic to a mobile ver­sion of each cus­tomer site, which is specif­i­cal­ly tai­lored to a mobile user’s needs – stream­lined nav­i­ga­tion, tight lead forms, and quick load­ing con­tent. Mobile users are typ­i­cal­ly look­ing for some­thing in par­tic­u­lar (search­ing), not brows­ing like they often do on typ­i­cal web­sites (surf­ing). Your dealership’s mobile web­site needs to get your cus­tomers the infor­ma­tion they are look­ing for, whether its cus­tomer reviews, inven­to­ry, ser­vice, or oth­er con­tent, as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. The cus­tomer isn’t just killing time when they pull out a mobile device in the show­room. They are active­ly research­ing the deal and the deal­er­ship.

2. E-Mail Reminders: Emails with click­able links to third-par­ty review sites are a great way to eas­i­ly remind and encour­age mobile users to write a review. Giv­en increased mobile use, con­sumers can receive that email and respond imme­di­ate­ly when con­ve­nient (whether they are in a doctor’s office wait­ing room or wait­ing on the side­lines of their son’s soc­cer game).

3.  DON’T Ask Cus­tomers to Write Reviews in the Show­room: While it may be tempt­ing to ask the mobile cus­tomer to imme­di­ate­ly write a review on their Smart­phone while in the deal­er­ship, this prac­tice caus­es con­sumers to ques­tion the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the dealership’s reviews due to the lead­ing nature of the process. In addi­tion, Google and many oth­er review sites track IP address­es and rec­og­nize this type of review as spam/fraud and will remove the con­tent. A mobile device won’t share the same IP as your deal­er­ship if it isn’t on your net­work, but it does leave a trace as to the loca­tion.

As mobile tech­nolo­gies and user adop­tion rates increase, it is con­ceiv­able that Google and oth­ers will begin to fil­ter reviews based on geo-loca­tion, not just IP address. While in the show­room, your  dealership’s goal should be to obtain the ver­bal com­mit­ment from the cus­tomer to write a review.

4. Ramp up Mon­i­tor­ing Efforts. An impor­tant thing to con­sid­er about mobile users is that every­thing is more instant. 70% of all mobile search­es on Google result in con­sumer action with­in one hour, and mobile coupons are redeemed at 10X the rate of mailed coupons. If a cus­tomer is hap­py, they might be more like­ly to write a glow­ing review on the spot (how­ev­er, this does not mean it’s OK to ask cus­tomers to write a review while still in the deal­er­ship. Instead, ask for a ver­bal com­mit­ment).

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the demand for instant sat­is­fac­tion can also work against your deal­er­ship. If a cus­tomer has an unpleas­ant expe­ri­ence, they might be more like­ly to write a neg­a­tive review before they’ve even left your lot. To pre­pare for these knee-jerk reviews, it’s crit­i­cal to ramp up your rep­u­ta­tion mon­i­tor­ing efforts.

If you don’t already have a mon­i­tor­ing tool, it’s a good time to get one. Spend­ing time man­u­al­ly going from site to site is time-con­sum­ing and one of those tasks that tends to get pushed to the back burn­er. A com­pre­hen­sive mon­i­tor­ing tool alerts you to any new reviews on influ­en­tial third-par­ty review sites. Remem­ber, a neg­a­tive review isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly per­ceived as a deal-break­er. Ignor­ing a neg­a­tive review is. How the deal­er­ship responds to a review and whether they attempt to rec­ti­fy the prob­lem is just as impor­tant as the review itself. Mon­i­tor­ing tools allow you to do this quick­ly and effi­cient­ly.

In sum­ma­ry, a mobile mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy should encom­pass all of your cur­rent mar­ket­ing efforts, includ­ing sales and ser­vice, paid search, mobile ads, coupons, e-mail and rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment. Mobile users will soon account for half your online traf­fic, and they are sure to appre­ci­ate and reward deal­er­ships that make it easy to access, read and write online reviews. At Deal­er­Rater we are stay­ing on top of this trend and recent­ly launched our own mobile opti­mized site.

 Ryan Leslie, Cor­po­rate Ambas­sador, Deal­er­Rater can be con­tact­ed at 800–266-9455 or ryan@dealerrater.com.

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