Jan 212014

When You Run Your AdWords Remarketing Campaign You May Want to Consider Who is Viewing It – And, The Device They Are Using

Recently I was reading an article regarding creating dynamic ads in Google for your Remarketing ad campaign. It was right on the money, giving step by step instructions on how to create and place the ad for your dealership, but the author left out some important information that you really need to know.

I know a lot of dealers use these tools to create their own ad campaigns. There is nothing wrong with that if you have the budget and manpower to do it. However, before you move ahead there is something you need to consider. These ads are created in Flash when you use the Google template. If you own an iphone or an ipad, you know that these cannot be viewed without a third party app that doesn’t always perform well, and are at best cumbersome. 36% of RV consumers access RV dealership websites via mobile devices. The majority of those are iPhones and iPads. Because of the nature of Apple products being in a higher price range, these consumers are more likely to be those with more disposable income. Your exact target market.

56% of cellphone users own a smartphone. It is projected that figure will reach 64% by the end of 2014. That’s 160 million smartphone owners. Apple takes center stage with a 25% market share. 40 million smartphone users can’t see your Flash advertisement.

130 million people own tablets. The latest statistics show Amazon taking up 9.4% of the market, and Microsoft rising to 2.3% with their Surface, however Apple iPad remains at the top capturing 76.1% of browser activity. That’s down 1.3 percentage points since Christmas, but they are in no means losing their status at the top of the web browsing hill with over 98 million users. That’s 98 million users who can’t see your Flash ad.

In this case, Google is not your friend. They are banking on you not being technically savvy enough to know that even though they are asking you to create an ad viewable on a smartphone, it won’t be viewed on over 40 million of them. Nor those 98 million iPad users.

Adobe Flash Player notification on iphone and ipad

Nofication to install Adobe Flash

Solution: Dynamic ads are simply moving ads, and though it may not seem as hip, there are other technologies you can use.You can create your ads in GIF format if you have the software to do it.

Google requirements:
⦁    Animation length must be 30 seconds or shorter
⦁    Animations can be looped, but the animations must stop after 30 seconds
⦁    Animated GIF ads must be 5 fps or slower

If you don’t know how to do this, or more importantly, do it well, the outcome can look like your 10 year old nephew did it back in 1994. My advice is to have your banner ads created by a professional. The cost far outweighs the loss in accessibility to your advertising by using the wrong technology. You also don’t want to look less than professional or project an image that you are not serious about the way your business communicates with potential customers.

Today, the tools are out there to ‘do-it-yourself’ when it comes to online advertising and marketing of your RV dealership. Just be sure you are aware of the limits of technology, because what you don’t know really can hurt you. Be smart, if you need help ask for it.

Dan Ball

Nov 162013

dpball From Dan Ball’s Desk . . .

I’d like to share some recent observations of trends I see RV dealerships adopting with their marketing plans, and why you might want to reconsider the direction your dealership may be taking.

Observation:  Dealers are spending more money than needed in specific media channels without getting the results they desire.

Have you ever felt poorly and the doctor says “Lets run some tests?” The results come back, and you look them over but really have no idea what you are supposed to see there. The doc says everything looks fine, but you don’t care how great the doc says everything looks, you just know you feel lousy. Looking at analytics is like that. You can Google the abbreviations, the numbers, the ratios to try to get an understanding. Yet you must rely on a professional for an interpretation. And, what your marketing specialist sees as success, may not line up with what you consider success. There are lots of new marketing companies, with new ideas well suited for mass merchants, but not for RV dealerships. You can’t think, Target. You can’t think Automotive. You must think RV. And if they can’t ‘think RV’ I don’t care whether they handled accounts for Sears, Pepsi or Charles Schwaab, you may be in for a long and bumpy ride while they miss the ‘big picture’.

My take: “If you are not capturing the majority of RV sales in your market, I don’t care what your analytics say and how wonderful your graphs and charts look, you can do much, much better. Traffic means absolutely nothing if it doesn’t lead to RV sales. The most important thing you can do with your traffic is convert it. Are you converting your traffic to sales? If you aren’t why not?

Observation of analytics and rv sales

Dealers are not providing a message to their customers that compel them to act.

Your marketing budget is arranged to spread your message through multiple channels to reach your potential customers. What are you telling them ‘out there’? Are you making them an offer or giving them a reason to shop at your dealership instead of your competitor’s? Are you telling them about manufacturer and dealer incentives? Are you telling them how to complete the offer? Are you inviting them to the appropriate pages on your website where you can complete the sale? If you aren’t, why not?

My take: You must send a strong message. The delivery system is more available than ever, with constantly expanding places for your message to reach consumers. There’s a frenzy of activity and news centered around monetizing new avenues of social and digital media. But that is absolutely no excuse for a watered down message. In fact, it is more challenging than ever to be the one that stands out! For more than 30 years, we have been delivering the most effective RV consumer advertising messages for the RV Dealers who have thrived, even when the economy struggled. We know that because of the documented best years in business our clients have experienced. Dealers that have left us to try the newest, latest thing in marketing, always come back once they compare the difference. What’s the difference? The largest return & profit you can make on your advertising investment. And it all comes down to delivering the right message. Are you delivering the right message? If you aren’t, again I ask you why not?

megaphone want a return on your advertising investment?

Observation: Dealers are concentrating their budgets on an extreme internet presence, but not handling the most basic and fundamental goal of their own dealerships. Developing a balanced marketing plan that will enhance their ability to sell RVs.

All of the new agencies, internet marketing specialists and self-made in-house RV marketers in the world cannot help your dealership without a fundamental understanding of your industry, a deep understanding of your specific potential customer, and the ability to coordinate a balanced advertising schedule. Did you know that 77% of people watching television are online at the same time? How about what RVers like to listen to on the radio? Do you know what the most common long-tail keywords RVers search for and what they don’t search for? Knowing your customer is different than knowing what they watch, what they listen to and what they seek as well as where they visit online. Knowing your customer is different than knowing what messages they respond to, and where they respond to them.

My take: In order to ensure that you’re implementing the most effective marketing program, both online internet marketing and traditional marketing must working cohesively together. You never want to exclude media, leaving those consumers unexposed to your message. Developing an overview of your specific audience, and the methods needed to reach them, you can coordinate and execute content placement and inbound marketing channels along with a balance of traditional advertising channels, including TV, radio and print. You may be spending a lot of money where you don’t need to be, and not spending enough where it is critical.


Let’s have a conversation. I would enjoy reviewing what you have in place and providing you with a complimentary consultation.

Dan Ball

Nov 142013

dpball From Dan Ball’s Desk . . .

TV Advertising

Recently I was speaking to a cable TV advertising account executive and she mentioned to me that she had an interesting conversation about our agency with a client of hers. He was inquiring regarding one of the RV dealers we represent. He confessed to her that no matter what time of day he is viewing television, Chilhowee RV always seems to have an ad running. This client, owner of a large auto dealer group with several franchises, had quite a budget for his own advertising, and was astounded by the number of commercials the RV dealer was running.

Know What Your Prospective Customers Are Watching

The account executive explained to the car dealer that our agency had been placing media this way for nearly 30 years for this RV dealer. “They know exactly where and what the dealership’s prospective RV customers, are watching and place their ads accordingly.”

You see, the car dealer being a prospective customer, was watching all the programming that Chilhowee RV was advertising in, and knowing his own cost, thought the dealer must be spending 4 times what he was. Not the case. The auto dealer was the one spending 4 times more money.


Get the Most Value from Your Media Buys

Obviously the auto dealer is a great candidate to purchase an RV. We can determine that by his viewing habits. This illustrates that if you aren’t strategically placing your media buys to get the most value, and the biggest impact, your dealership could be losing out. This means reaching the right prospective customers. Now, this auto dealer hasn’t purchased an RV yet. But I’m quite certain that when he does take that step, Chilhowee RV will be on the receiving end of another RV purchase.

Target Your Specific TV Audience

Conclusion? Target your specific TV audience. Buy media accordingly. And, take advantage of the best value by buying early. If you have doubts, or need help evaluating your market, contact me and we can discuss how to get the biggest impact from your advertising for the best return on your advertising investment.


Dan Ball

Nov 012013

 dpball From Dan Ball’s Desk


SEO is ever changing. And, it has developed a bad reputation in some circles because many companies ignore best practices, and don’t keep up with changes in algorithms and guidelines. Some use spamming techniques to try to fool the search engines. Others make promises they can’t keep. So what do you do? Find out some basics.  Let’s go over a few things to make sure your team is providing what you need today.

Link Building

Link building used to be a common practice and was abused with link farms and link vendors. Link building isn’t necessary outside the scope of possibly linking to related industries with authority (manufacturers, associations, government sites, educational sites) and those in your geographic location that are related to your business (RV parks for example).

“All links should be provided for the best customer experience.”


More importantly today, co-citation brings traffic. Your dealership can be referenced in an article in RV business for example regarding your large Airstream inventory and expert staff. When someone searches for Airstream – ‘large airstream inventory’ or ‘RV dealer with expert Airstream staff” , that “co-citation” without any type of site reference or even a text link, is taken into account by these super smart search engines, and your site will be shown in the search engine results pages (SERPS).

Content Marketing

In addition, content has always been the good foundation of obtaining traffic. Today, creating good, original, quality content for your pages is more important than ever before. It is the absolute foundation to build your inbound marketing strategies on. You must market your content. That means posting on social media channels in a way that brings traffic to your website, where landing pages complete the offers. There the visitor makes a decision to read and interact with content, trade their contact information for downloadable offers using opt-in email. This enables additional content marketing that is specific according to what they opt-in to receive. Happy visitors return for more when that lead is nurtured appropriately by providing the information they are seeking.

“Today, creating good, original, quality content for your pages is more important than ever before.”

Social Media

All of the tools available through social media, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram will not work for your dealership if you don’t have content in place to DRAW the visitor to your website.

“Social media will not work to bring traffic without a message that compels potential customers to click on the link in your post, and visit your content page or landing page to find what they are seeking, immediately!”

Many  businesses, including most RV dealers, make the mistake of placing social media icons on their website, sending visitors to their Facebook page or YouTube channel. You work so hard to get visitors to your website, which today is just as much your place of business as your brick and mortar facility — Why would you send them away? That is like closing the door when the customer parks on the lot and you see them coming.

Make sure your marketing sends customers to your website. Don't let your website send customers to your competitors.

Don’t send them to your home page. There are too many distractions there. When visitors arrive to follow through on your social media post, they should find the content they seek, relevant incentives and calls to action  — immediately. They should also find an opportunity to contact you, exchange contact information with you while they select the type of information they wish to receive via e-mail.

“If a customer wants to look at a Class A Motorhome, you don’t look at him and say ‘They’re out there!’ pointing to your inventory lot. Why would you do the same thing when online customers respond to your ad, your social post, or your email? If you begin the offer in your ad, post or mail, then complete it when they arrive. That’s what they came for — Make sure they find it easily!”

“Sharing offers and content in this way on your social media channels brings visitors to the site where you can do what you do best — Sell RVs.”

You don’t have to be on every social media channel to be gain traffic. But you do have to be sensational in one or two. When you spread yourself too thin, it is hard to keep up. With sharing automation the task can be much easier so it all depends on your budget, your time and your manpower.

Organic Optimization vs PayPerClick

If your website is properly optimized… and let me say here that proper optimization is not a bad thing. In fact Google and Bing wouldn’t have guidelines, with suggestions regarding how to do it properly, if it were… you will receive traffic. You will rank high enough in the results pages and people will find your website easily for what they should be finding it for. PayPerClick campaigns are excellent for geo-targeting specific areas where you desire traffic from. But don’t use it locally unless you have no search engine results organically. And, if you have no search engine results organically your website is not optimized. Appropriate Page Titles, meta tags, headline tags to stress important information and much more, go into on-page optimization. Appropriate files that only the search engines read, are also necessary elements of a truly optimized website.

 PayPerClick Display Advertising

Another alternative to Text Based Pay Per Click campaigns are display advertising where website owners place your display ads (you can also do this with text ads) on their websites. People who have searched for your products and services (keywords specific to your dealership) will see these display ads on websites they may visit that incorporate monetizing their websites with advertising. It’s like having a billboard on the highway that you don’t have to pay for unless someone walks through your dealership door. You only pay, when they click through to your website. As I mentioned above, send them to a landing page to complete the offer and convert that visitor to a customer.

 Email Marketing

Through the use of targeted email marketing, you nurture the leads you capture on your website. You allow the customer to select the information they want to receive, and send links to on-site content, with a compelling message of course, to meet their specific need. Tailor your email marketing to those who are at different stages in the buying cycle according to the type of information they select to receive. Nurture those leads with communication and content, developing a customer relationship.

There are definitely no shortcuts in internet marketing. Beware the unsolicited SEO experts who spam your inbox with false promises based on old methodologies and ‘black hat’ techniques.

“Cost is relative to what has been done, what needs done, and how much you are able to invest in your website”

You should expect a return on your investment. It is an important and integral part of your business. Today, you cannot be in business without it if you hope to be successful and reach sales goals. The best way to approach it is to develop a budget, set goals and talk to a reputable marketing agency that can assist you in coordinating these marketing efforts. They will work within your budget, make suggestions, coordinate traditional and internet marketing so your message is consistent. A hammer and saw are not used by a Starbucks barista in the same way that they are used by a professional carpenter. It might surprise you to find it may be more cost effective than hiring someone to do the work in-house. Efficiency is efficiency. Plain and simple.

Dan Ball

Oct 222013

What Does Content Marketing Mean for Your Dealership?

Content marketing is the elephant in the room. Most everyone knows they need it. Many don’t understand it, and don’t know how to execute it. So they avoid it for the most part, or hire someone who can do it. Larger corporations with marketing firms in the know, understand it’s value and hire teams to keep their content fresh and engaging. It is now, and always has been the foundation of a website’s ability to draw traffic and engage the potential customer. If you don’t make an effort to market content, your website will never perform as well as it could and should. It is “online currency”. You pay visitors with it in exchange for their patronage.

Why is it Important?

Content is the foundation of all inbound marketing efforts. Why have a Facebook account if you aren’t marketing your on-page content and bringing traffic to your website? That is the point of social media. And many are missing the point. Engage, develop a relationship, offer them something that helps them understand that your business has the answers, products and services they are looking for. What helps them understand who you are, and what sets your dealership apart from your competitors is the content you provide on your website.

So you list your inventory…. Who doesn’t? You may even have pages that talk about the manufacturers you represent and the models you carry. If you do, good for you. But many other dealers do the same. Where is the content that says “we care about our customers”, “we meet our customers needs before, during and after the sale”, “we’ll help you enjoy the RV lifestyle”? Brands and inventory don’t say that. Content does.


What Makes a Difference When Developing Content for Our Clients?

Input. The input we need from dealers, is an answer to the question “what do your customers need”? We know you’re selling RVs, service, parts and accessories, of course, but that isn’t the end of the story. They need much more than that.They need to understand RVing if they’re new to the lifestyle. They need information about RV parks, RV travel, safety issues, driving laws, winterizing and the list goes on and on. Why send them somewhere else to get their questions answered.

Simply look at it like this: Your website is a mirror image of your dealership. The questions customers routinely ask, and the services they walk through the door for, as well as the items they purchase in parts and accessories — that’s what your customers need, along with information to help them utilize what they have purchased. And each of those things (especially the answers to their many questions), all require a website counterpart.

Whether it’s how to change a tire, or what type of braking system is best, only the dealership can answer those questions. And if you answer those questions online, that is content gold.

Ever notice how many websites have a Q and A area? All of that content shows up in search. Posting answers to these questions that people actually enter verbatim in search engines, mean those potential customers, had to go online to find answers their dealer should have provided, but they found them on your website. So now, it’s your turn to be the hero. Answering common questions along with providing downloadable content like videos, e-books, even infographics… that is golden; primo; über valuable.


I Want Golden Content!

Get your whole team involved! Think of 5 common questions from each department that get asked over and over again. Post those questions along with the answers on your website. Send an email to your customers to let them know the info is available. Post it on your social media accounts. Be known as a resource, an authority…. an RV dealer who cares about customer relationships.

Dan Ball