Archive for June, 2014
Last week, Heather told a bit of her story in the blog post “A Mom in the Sales World“. This week, we’d like to formally introduce you to Heather Loker, DealerFire Regional Sales Associate.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Loker joined our team in January 2014. Being a mom gives her a deeper enjoyment for the work hard, play hard culture in the sales department. A believer in the superior quality and innovation of the DealerFire products and people, she appreciates the honesty and transparency by which she is able to do her work, creating solid partnerships from first call to last.
But enough about us. Watch Heather tell her own side of the story in his VIDEO AUTOBIOGRAPHY, then shoot her an email to schedule a demo today!
During a recent conversation with a fellow baseball mom at my 10 year old son’s practice, she turns to me and says, “I just don’t know how you do it.” I asked her to clarify to which she said, “I mean, how do you work full time, raise two kids and help out so much with baseball?”
I really don’t know. Between the kids, husband, work, baseball, housework and randomness, it doesn’t leave much time. I have a 10 year old and a 1 year old who rule my life, and I am okay with that.
Wake up. Be awesome. Sleep. Repeat.
My life changed in January when I started down a new road in the sales industry. While my professional background includes experience in both sales and customer service, my work life stayed at work. I was a mother first and an employee second, sometimes being the parent staying home with a sick child or leaving early for appointments.
At DealerFire; however, I have been able and open to blending life’s responsibilities. My work email is linked to my personal cell phone and I am writing this blog in between sending out baseball board meeting minutes. Just when I thought my life could not get busier, my work is now more than just eight hours a day.
And I enjoy it!
My sales life is my work life and my work life is now woven into my personal life. The good thing about all of this is that it is still MY life – on MY terms! Being a mother has not only trained me for feats such as carrying six bags of groceries in one trip or two baseball bags and a baby into the gym; it has also prepped me to be a more understanding person in the sales world. The customer is always right, but I am learning to be more assertive when needed and when its in their best interest.
In my current position, I make the first connection to our dealerships. I reach out to potential customers and guide them through the benefits of using DealerFire as their premiere website and digital marketing provider. The fact is that our websites are not only responsive, generate more leads than the competition and come with the best customer service ever, they are really cool looking too!
With everything that I have learned and am still learning in the automotive and online industries, my faith in the product and company is ever-growing. From the first call until the last, our customers will always speak to a real person. In the world of automated responses and connections, DealerFire is old school: You call, we answer.
I still check my personal Facebook before I get out of bed, but I am checking my email now, too. I may not be the associate closing deals, but the conversations I have with customers are just as important to me, as is the first impression that is left with a dealership. And while my family still, and always will come first, I am now willing to say that my work is a tie for second place to my son’s baseball. We all have good days and not-so-good days and yesterday’s homeruns don’t win todays games!
A.C.E. It! Passing the Content Marketing Test in Any Size Market
In today’s online business environment it’s pretty fair to say that competition has never been more fierce, especially for companies that must compete in or near the large geographic landscape of a major metropolitan city. Not only do these car dealerships compete in a market crowded with direct competitors in the form of other dealerships, they also must compete with indirectly.
Indirect competition can range from things like public transportation and even much smaller companies most of us may not think to include like perhaps the local bike shop or even carpool initiatives. So what can one take away from this?
Large city + competition from all angles = a much needed and highly specific game plan.
So what is a dealership located near a major U.S. city supposed to do in order to reach their target audience? Naturally, with it being 2014 and all, they must rally the troops and march to the online battlefront. (Yes, even for businesses that sell cars a lot depends on online efforts.)
And how should a car dealership in a large (or small market), look to better reach its target audience and get ready to take their marketing efforts online? Well, it’s just another test. And what do you want to do when they are given a test? A.C.E. it of course! Here at DealerFire, A.C.E. means to: Analyze, Collaborate and Execute.
One thing we take tremendous pride in here at Dealerfire is our content marketing. Content marketing can accomplish so many great things for every car dealership; from helping them rank at the top of the SERPs to building their corporate image and brand, and helping to convert leads into customers. Even though it’s a term with which most are familiar, we see it is a whole lot more than meets the eye – content marketing is more than just putting up words on a website.
When starting any content creation, analyzing, collaborating and executing is vital to the dealership’s online success. The strategy starts with our Account Management sitting down with every client to unveil core competencies, unique and specific advantages and basically the burning problems or gaps that any particular dealership wants to overcome and conquer.
This is the big one!
After the initial communication channels with the dealership have been opened and we understand what needs to be done, that information trickles down to the content writers. However, just creating content around a few key takeaways and assessments is simply not enough and is only a small piece of the puzzle. Some may think it’s best to skip the small talk and jump right to the bottom line of selling more vehicles! But it’s not that easy and there is no one trick pony that will sustain in getting a dealership that first page ranking and consumer interaction. These ideas and thoughts must be shared across the entire marketing spectrum and everyone needs to be on board for this all to work.
The Account Management team may ask, “How large of an area are we looking to cover? Who/what is our major competition?”
Our PPC (Pay-Per-Click) team needs to be informed on what the content is intended to organically rank so they can match search terms to enhance the dealership’s overall quality score and drive more people to the website through paid advertisements.
The Support Department needs to make sure everything on the website is working properly. They may ask, “Do the calls to action on our custom content pages take the user to the next step and get that ever important conversion?”
The Analytics Experts need to monitor and track success to help adjust the marketing strategy as needed and keep content relevant and fresh.
The list of inputs goes on from virtually every department here at DealerFire.
Taking into consideration variables such as geographic proximity, seasonal events, community events, new trends and pretty much anything and everything the public eye may be focusing on right now, we start developing content that drives automotive consumer engagement. So really, when you think about it, having a company blog or updating web content is great! But only considering new content and ignoring the many other moving parts of digital marketing efforts will lead to a plateau. It’s only when you really start to fine tune all the parts to work effectively together you can expect to A.C.E. today’s digital marketing test.
Confused about DNS? Leave it to the experts!
As an IT professional, and when you are dealing with the Internet and regarding where website, email and other services are pointing, you have to understand something called DNS (Domain Name Service).
To make a long story short, the DNS translates Internet domain and host names to IP addresses. DNS automatically converting the names we type in our Web browser address bar to the IP addresses of Web servers hosting those sites.
Here at DealerFire, we are making changes to DNS for clients and making sure the pointers are correct on a daily basis. This is typically only needed when provider of services (host) change, but it becomes critical to act swiftly when they do.
Normally, these changes are done at the top level, at the Name Servers. This is where DNS is managed for a domain. Once you make the appropriate changes, propagation immediately takes place across the internet and the changes are visible to the world. Now, in rare cases, we have had clients report that even several days after the DNS changes were made, everyone in the world can see the changes and their brand new automotive website, except for those within their own dealership.
Here’s what we do…
We contact the client and have them perform a few tests called ‘lookups’ to determine how DNS is resolved. In essence, finding what mechanism at the dealership is causing them not to pick up on the recent top level changes. After completing this process, the conclusion is invariably that they have their own local DNS server at the dealership with static entries answering to requests from local user’s computers, thus giving outdated information. We find this is the outcome in all cases.
At this point we suggest two solutions:
- Give the client correct IP addresses for website(s) and other services so they can manually edit their local DNS.
- Ask that they re-configure using DNS at top level (sometimes not always possible due to how their internal network is configured).
Either way, the resolution to this issue is always 100% the same and successful.
So when it comes to DNS and having any questions or concerns with its workings, leave it to us – the IT experts at DealerFire!