Podcast: How Dealers Can Increase Their Social Media Game.

I was recently interviewed by AutoSuccess Magazine about how dealers can step up their social media. We took what could have been an all day conversation and condensed it to a 15-minute back and forth.

LotVantage helps dealers manage a social media presence that’s engaging and well branded. We assist the in putting their best foot forward on platforms consumers are frequently visiting.

Listen to the Podcast

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LotVantage Selected by Polaris as Strategic Social Media Partner

July 13, 2016, Tampa FL

LotVantage, a SaaS (software as a service) digital marketing company for dealerships, has been selected as a strategic partner to help Polaris dealerships manage their social media presence. Polaris will strategically manage their brand awareness through the LotVantage application by promoting top trending and engaging content to their Facebook page, posting inventory, and running paid advertising and retargeting campaigns.

“Polaris is excited to partner with LotVantage to help our dealerships advance their capabilities surrounding social media. This is an impactful place to start or further lasting relationships with owners and potential owners, and this solution helps busy dealers start the conversation and become more comfortable communicating in this manner.” said Holly Spaeth, Manager, Interactive Media and Content.

“Our social media product gives dealerships the social presence management they desire and need. Ensuring brand consistency across a dealership’s website and social media pages can sometimes be challenging, but LotVantage makes it easy. Not only do we share interesting and relevant content, but we provide additional exposure through Facebook inventory retargeting and an inventory applet that lives on the dealer’s Facebook page. A social media presence is necessary for dealerships to remain competitive in their industry and LotVantage is the tool to help them accomplish that.” Matt Brown, CEO LotVantage

About LotVantage

LotVantage is the leading provider in digital marketing solutions for Automotive, Marine, Powersports, RV, Trailer and Outdoor Power Equipment dealerships. LotVantage’s focus on sites that consumers frequently visit, but are labor intensive for dealerships to manage strategically provides dealerships with a syndicated local, national and social presence.

For more information about LotVantage, please contact LotVantage Marketing Manager, Adam Goldberg at 813-549-8187 or agoldberg@lotvantage.com. www.lotvantage.com

About Polaris

Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) is a global powersports leader with annual 2015 sales of $4.7 billion. Polaris fuels the passion of riders, workers and outdoor enthusiasts with our RANGER®, RZR® and POLARIS GENERAL™ side-by-side off-road vehicles; our SPORTSMAN® and POLARIS ACE® all-terrain off-road vehicles; VICTORY® and INDIAN MOTORCYCLE® midsize and heavyweight motorcycles; SLINGSHOT® moto-roadsters; and Polaris RMK®, INDY®, SWITCHBACK® and RUSH® snowmobiles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with parts, garments and accessories sold under multiple recognizable brands, and has a growing presence in adjacent markets globally with products including military and commercial off-road vehicles, quadricycles, and electric vehicles. www.polaris.com

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LotVantage Added as an eBay Preferred Solutions Provider (PSP)

LotVantage announced today that it has signed an agreement with eBay Motors (http://www.ebay.com/motors) to become a Preferred Solutions Provider. Extending their fully-integrated software solution for the Automotive, Powersports, Marine, RV, Commercial Truck, Trailer and Outdoor Power Equipment industries.

“LotVantage has been a leader in online marketing over the last 12 years. As a firm believer in the power of eBay and their local and national marketing packages, I believe this product is a must have for dealerships to leverage quality leads and secure online transactions. Dealerships are constantly looking for ways to handle their transactions and eBay has been doing this for over a decade,” according to Matthew Brown, CEO of LotVantage.

Having a Preferred Solutions Provider (PSP) designation will not only enhance the experience for their direct dealers, but will extend to their reseller partners.

“LotVantage is eager to grow our eBay product offering to our nearly 4,000 dealerships, both direct and through our reseller partners. LotVantage is now positioned to work with more dealerships than ever before,” comments Jim Jabaay, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of LotVantage.

“With LotVantage, we’re continuing to offer our sellers with technology that helps them better manage their inventory and provide exceptional customer service,” said Sree Menon, General Manager of eBay Motors. “As the number one automotive site on the web, we’re committed to providing our customers with the best tools to meet the changing demands of shoppers.”

About LotVantage

LotVantage is a SaaS Software company that provides a complete set of online inventory marketing applications for Auto, Powersports, Marine and RV dealers. From our simplified way to manage eBay listings, to our advanced lead tracking, and our auto-generated videos, we have it all. Our mission has always been to provide dealers of all types an easy to use, best-in-class product, which allows them to create, maintain and grow their brand, generate leads, and remain compliant with strict marketplace policies so that ads continue to stay active once they go live. Visit us at LotVantage.com.

About eBay Motors

eBay Motors, a part of eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY), is one of the world’s largest marketplaces for buying and selling all things automotive. The site offers everyday cars for everyday drivers, as well as collector cars, motorcycles, auto parts and accessories. eBay Motors is consistently ranked the No. 1 automotive site on the Web by Nielsen//NetRatings.

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How Powersports Dealerships Can Create a Winning Facebook Strategy

Does your Powersports Dealership have a Facebook strategy?

This post will cover how your dealership can implement a winning Facebook strategy. Having a Facebook strategy is a no brainer for any powersports dealership, but knowing how to use it and what results to expect are not as intuitive. Facebook and other social media sites are easy to use, but you need to know how to use it effectively to get results.

What Facebook is NOT

Facebook is not a direct sales tool. Facebook should be used to engage your current and potential customers, not for a constant sales push. Constant sales pitches will alienate your audience, especially consumers who have recently purchased powersports vehicle from you. Manufacturer articles, videos and other pieces of content are intended to engage your audience and start a conversation. More on what is engaging content is below.

What should Powersports dealerships post on Facebook?

A winning Facebook strategy includes content that your customers will want to share. Once that content is shared, friends of friends will see it on their timelines, which gets your brand in front of eyes that may have never been exposed to it before. Your Facebook strategy should also provide a way for consumers to get in contact with you. If your page isn’t managed consistently, consumers won’t engage with you and that is a missed opportunity. It’s suggested not to post on Facebook more than 3 times a day and not within 3 hours of each other.

How to Build Your Facebook Audience with Your Existing Contact List

Facebook has many paid advertising outlets that lets you acquire and generate fans for your page. They also have free ways of growing your audience as well. You can upload a .csv file of your email contacts directly into Facebook. Those contacts are then presented with a suggestion to like your page. This only works if the email you have is the same email address they used for their Facebook account.

How to upload a contact list to Facebook

  • Navigate to your Powersports Dealership Facebook page
  • Click the button that has 3 dots
  • Choose Suggest Page
  • Choose Upload Contacts next to the Contact List File option
  • Upload your .CSV file

Facebook Strategy for Powersports Dealerships

Your Page may be suggested to your contacts who are on Facebook in places like Recommended Pages. If your email contacts aren’t on Facebook, they won’t see your suggestion. Keep in mind that you can upload contacts up to 5 times for a maximum of 7,000 contacts per day per Page. You can upload a maximum of 5,000 contacts at a time. Now that you have started to build your audience, you’ll need to start engaging them. Give your Facebook page fans a reason to stick around with pieces of engaging content.

Ways Dealerships Can Engage a Facebook Audience

  • Contests
  • Interesting manufacturer articles and videos
  • Behind the scenes photos at your dealership
  • Special Events (BBQs, charity events, etc.)
  • Ask the Mechanic Live Facebook Chats
  • Quick 15 or 30 second videos (These can be taken with a cell phone)
  • Special Offers (Once or twice a week at the most. Don’t be sales pitchy!)
  • Get to know the staff or staff bios
  • Screenshots of positive reviews from Yelp or other social media channels
  • Stop selling!

Facebook Strategy for Customer Service

Consumers should feel confident that if they ask a question on your Facebook page that they will get a timely response. Onlookers of your Facebook page can see these interactions and not only receive answers to their questions, but will find comfort knowing that the dealership is responsive to customer service inquiries. This could mean the difference between selling a unit and a missed opportunity because the consumer got the answer they were looking for somewhere else. These tips will help your powersports dealership create a winning Facebook strategy.

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Under the Radar over the Hump

*As written and published on December 10th of 2013

That’s Us Technologies is a driven, growing, and optimistic bunch

Rising in the ranks among young business leaders in Tampa, FL Matthew Brown has architected a growing internet business in the world of classified marketing for auto dealers called LotVantage. This following his success since 2006 after launching a SAAS model for the eBay consignment niche with a product that has become the industry standard to this day named SellerVantage. With his growing team of developers, as colorful and witty as one would expect a team perpetually living in “startup” mode, became interested in an apparent opportunity during the automotive industry’s slow transition from print to online advertising.

“Automotive purchasing begins online period.” says Matthew Brown.

“Let’s build a workflow that puts all of the relevant automotive channels right at the dealers fingertips.” The momentum created by this fundamental transition of print to online advertising posed opportunities to simplify this new world of automotive marketing. Internet directors at dealerships scrambled to get their arms around all of the nuances related to data feeds, posting ads, and lead management. There was no shortage of consumers not only beginning their auto searches online but also getting attune to buying cars in new formats like eBay auctions and from dealers advertised on classified sites like Craigslist.

Many advertising and website providers migrated to this arena as well to join the party in this dealer services space. “We were certainly not the first solution to market but our focus on the classifieds ads niche gave us our clear path.” says Matthew Brown. Many services have come and gone over the past couple of years but LotVantage is finding itself peering over the top of the heap in this highly competitive space.

According to Matt Brown he attributes the success to a day in day out drive towards continuous improvement and staying agile.

“When you can be agile and create software workflows for moving targets, you get to be the leader in the space.” says Matthew Brown.

The LotVantage software is an on-demand web-based product that is integrated with many powerful partner APIs. These APIs, in addition to Oracles JAVA technology extend our software’s capabilities around ad posting, vehicle data, lead delivery, multimedia and telecommunications. Integrated APIs include Google, Twilio, YouTube, Backpage, Chrome Data, Vinlink, NeoSpeech and others. The software delivers a full classified marketing solution for auto dealers to post ads and collect leads from landing pages, call tracking phone numbers, and mobile consumers.

LotVantage supports automotive business models of all sizes from small independent dealerships to franchise groups. LotVantage is also architected to support various value added reseller models through features such as single sign-on and scalable monthly pricing. That’s Us Technologies is poised to support exponential growth for LotVantage through strategic reseller partnerships and dealer direct sales channels. That’s Us Technologies will continue to expand LotVantage’s network by adding relationships in vertical markets.

Posted in Auto Industry, Backpage, Craigslist, CycleTrader, eBay, Facebook, LotVantage, software development, Tech Trends, That's Us Technologies | Leave a comment

Craigslist Changes, A Winning Formula

Have you ever looked at Craigslist’s styles and wondered how a site that looks unchanged can be so successful? Just because their minimalistic approach to web design appears to be from years past, don’t be fooled into thinking that they aren’t constantly improving the experience for both the buyers and the sellers on their site. If you take a closer look, the amount of improvements over the past couple years are vast in numbers and also in how they improve the lives of users everywhere.

Here’s A List Of The Most Recent Features That Have Been Added For Buyers:

  • Hide Ads – Sick Of Seeing A Car? Click The X And Hide It
  • Favorite Ads – Want To Remember A Car? Click The Star And Add It To Your Favorites To Follow Up On
  • Maps Of Vehicles Close To You, By Address, Dealership – Want To See All Vehicles Close To Home To Start Your Search? Use The Map
  • Search By Specific Fields In Each Category – Want To Limit By Transmission, Price, Color, Etc? Use The eBay-Like Filters
  • Scroll Through Images On Gallery View – Quickly Flip Through All Photos On The Gallery View Without Opening The Ad
  • Email Alerts – Like Your Search For That Classic Car? Setup An Email Alert To Notify You Of New Items
  • Save Searches – Want To Remember The Search For Later? Save It
  • Printable Flyers With Contact Info, QR Codes, All Photos Of Vehicles – Going To See A Vehicle And Want To Remember The Ad? Print View Works Like A Brochure With Photos, Contact Info And Even A Map!
  • Search Nearby Areas – Looking For Something Obscure? The Search Nearby Areas Option (Or Auto-Suggested Nearby Items) Will Help You Find More Specific Things

Here’s A List Of The Strongest Recent Features For Sellers:

  • Show My Other Listings — Maps Your Dealership, Shows All Inventory In One Place
  • More Required Fields — Direct Buyers To Your Specific Vehicles And Get Better Qualified Leads
  • Text, Email &Amp; Call CTAs — More Ways For Buyers To Reach You All Available From The Reply Button And On The Printed Flyer
  • “Search Nearby Areas” — Bring In Buyers From Surrounding Areas Without Having To Post Multiple Times.

On the surface, things may look the same, but there is a resaon that craigslist is still one of the top classified portals on the web. Keep your eyes peeled! We expect many more great changes to come from Craigslist in the near future.

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5 Reasons Why Craigslist is Still the Best Place to Shop for a Vehicle

It’s a consumers’ world in the car business. Shoppers have the advantage over dealers in many ways thanks to an increase in information available on the internet. Craigslist has been a strong way for car buyers to find local vehicles and that hasn’t really changed. If anything, it’s even better now.

Here are some of the things we like about Craigslist that make it superior to other automotive classified websites:

  • Every Listing is Created Equal: Unlike most of the other platforms out there, Craigslist does not offer car sellers a way to make their vehicle listings premium. The default listings come in chronological order, or visitors can sort by price. It’s a “pure” listing format, so there are no distractions through advertising. In other words, you won’t see a Hyundai ad next to your search for Honda Accords.
  • They’re Raw: Reminiscent to the old days of newspaper classified vehicle searching, Craigslist offers a raw methodology to their listings. Clicking on a vehicle yields some listings that are large, some that are small. Some are loaded with details, others have very limited information. It gives the consumer the ability to dive in and see the information they want if it’s available or to skip listings that are lighter.
  • Big Pictures: Before driving out to a dealership or a parking lot to see a vehicle, it’s great seeing big pictures. Other sites have images, but they’re usually not as big as the ones on Craigslist. We’re visual creatures – show us the pics!
  • Search is Simple: Every listing site has search. Craigslist search is by far the best, particularly with the keyword search component. Because the site allows so much information to be put on a vehicle listing page, the ability to hone in on the right car with the right features is better than the drop-down menus that many sites utilize.
  • The Best Deals: It might just be a perception. In fact, that’s almost certainly exactly what it is. It doesn’t matter. People feel better about getting a deal from Craigslist than on other sites. Still, the site itself invokes the concept of getting a great deal and there’s nothing you can do to burst that bubble.

Consumers love shopping for cars on Craigslist. Car sellers should love it as well.

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Quick Note: Posting in ALL CAPS Makes Your Listings Hard to Read

Caps Lock

There’s something strange happening on Craigslist, eBay Motors, social media, and other inventory listings pages. More dealers seem to be trying to highlight their listings by use all caps. Let’s see how that looks in the next paragraph.

THIS IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS. WE SEE STUFF LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME ON THESE LISTINGS SITES. IT IS MORE THAN JUST ANNOYING. IT MAKES THE LISTING HARDER FOR MANY PEOPLE TO READ. IF YOU’VE MADE IT THIS FAR, THAN YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE, BUT SCIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT SOME PEOPLE HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME READING IT. EVEN IF THIS LOOKS OKAY TO YOU, IT DOESN’T LOOK OKAY TO SOME OF THE PEOPLE VISITING YOUR LISTINGS.

This isn’t even as long as some of the paragraphs we see on dealer listings.

There is an argument that can be made that all-caps can be effective in headlines. For this, we have no objections because it’s much shorter. In fact, it may very well have an effect, though our data shows little difference. The words themselves are what really matter.

On listings sites, having the right message is more important than how you publish it, so if you’re dead set on all-caps, we won’t object. With that said, we recommend against it.

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Why Filling the Sidebar is Imperative on Craigslist

 

Fill it Up

Data is everything online. Consumers love more information. They will spend a great deal of time researching a computer or getting more information about an appliance they’re considering. In the automotive industry, the love of data is even more pronounced.

Why, then, do most dealers leave some of the most important information off of their inventory listings? On some of the third-party sites, the reason is easy to see. They simply won’t take in as much information as the dealership wants to give or that the consumer wants to see. They are often limited to the basics – photo, price, miles, VIN, phone number. Sometimes, these listings don’t even allow for a map to the dealership.

Craigslist has mastered the art of data for consumers. It’s the reason that it has been so popular and continues to grow. They have the capacity, but many dealers are unable to take advantage of all of the space they have available for many reasons. Perhaps it’s because their posting software is limited. Maybe they aren’t able to get the information from the DMS to match up with the categories on the site. Regardless of the reason, many dealers have incomplete listings. This hurts in two major ways.

We’ve already discussed that people love information, but they really love the data that is potentially available in the sidebar. It’s very underutilized by many services in the industry, leaving incomplete listings floating around and not giving the dealer the best chance to sell the car.

Perhaps a more important problem with incomplete listings is that they help with searches. People will often search for particular keywords and a good chunk of these can be found by giving complete sidebar information to the listings. With incomplete listings, there are opportunities missed.

As Craigslist continues to be an exceptional source for leads and foot traffic to the dealership, the need to maximize the platform continues to rise. Shouldn’t you have a partner that specializes in innovating around these important listing sites?

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Car Shoppers Want All of the Details Before They Come In

Car Shoppers Want All of the Details Before They Come In
by Chastity Mansfield

Vehicle Details

The continued rise of information available online has made it easy for consumers to find every bit of information they need in order to make an intelligent decision before buying. Through the internet and mobile technology, there is no longer a need for obscurity. They want all of the details up front before they even drive to a dealership to see a vehicle.

There was a time in the automotive industry when everything was answered in person. It didn’t matter if someone asked whether or not a particular vehicle had wheels on it. The standard answer was, “Come on down and take a look for yourself.”

The reason for this wasn’t because car dealers were trying to be obtuse. They understood that the transaction, the excitement, and the communication was easiest when people were face-to-face. Nothing could happen over the phone. Even simple questions didn’t always have a simple answer, particularly when it came to price.

The internet has allowed consumers to have a better understanding before they leave their couch. Now, it’s up to dealers to be as transparent as possible with the information they make available to consumers while they’re online. Whether it’s on third-party sites or on the dealership’s own website, being descriptive in the form of images, videos, and vehicle details is extremely important for making consumers feel comfortable working with a particular dealership.

According to inventory posting company LotVantage:

A picture might say a thousand words, but the details you can put into the descriptions of your vehicles have a big impact on your ability to move those units. Sites like Craigslist and eBay Motors offer plenty of room to be as descriptive as you want, so use that space to its fullest potential.

It goes beyond the words. Images and videos give consumers a closer view of the vehicle before they make the drive. This can be especially important for distant consumers who are shopping online and forming a plan of action to come out to see a dealership.

Another thing to consider is the possibility that consumers will start buying cars online. It’s hard to imagine a good number of people purchasing cars through their computers, but as trust in online transactions rise and the stability of new vehicles improving, the possibilities that were once considered remote are becoming a reality. Sites like eBay have been selling cars directly online for a while now with some degrees of success while other companies are pioneering the idea to a broader audience.

According to AutoBroadcast:

The comfort zone is expanding, particularly for new vehicles. It’s harder to imagine buying a used car without a test drive, but new cars tend to perform consistently and at high levels. With the ability to see reliability studies, consumer reviews, and every possible specification regarding a new vehicle, we’re now in a place where the industry is ready for more eCommerce.

As society embraces the digital world as part of their everyday lives, giving as much information as possible to consumers is an easy way for dealers to differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

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