Brent Albrecht

VP Business Development | Friendemic

Brent Albrecht is currently the Vice President of Business Development at Friendemic. Friendemic provides social media and online reputation services for clients and agencies across the globe. Specialties: Marketing Strategy, Product development and launch, Social Media Marketing, Business Development, Lead Generation, Sales Promotion, Digital Marketing, Database Marketing. 
Get More Traffic to Your GMB Pages with User-Generated Content

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If your goal is to grow the number of searches and referrals you see from your Google My Business pages, step one should be to see what to expect as a baseline. Friendemic conducted research recently, examining hundreds of auto dealer GMB pages of various sizes. Following is what a dealer sees from their Google My Business page in an average week, based on data from September-December 2020: How do you compare? Track your Insights on your GMB page to set a baseline, and check how you compare to the average. There are multiple methods to grow the number of searches and interactions you generate on your GMB pages, one of which is to start or increase your posting of specific sales and service content to your corresponding GMB Sales and Service pages. Content that gets the most engagement is User Generated Content (UGC), but questions are common about what specific content fits into this category, so we will break down content into more specific categories for clarification. User-Generated Content is very much what it sounds like: any content — text, videos, images, reviews, etc. that is created by people rather than by the brand. The confusion sometimes occurs where the dealership uses software that allows salespeople, or other employees, to capture photos and videos, especially of customers, for social posting. Some will count this as UGC - since it contains a photo of the customer...others consider UGC only content captured and posted by consumers themselves. Since we love acronyms in the automotive space, we'll create our own here to break this all down. Let's break out UGC into two types: Consumer Generated and Dealer Generated, which both are separate from branding content from the OEM. Here is how we use these in our GMB posting strategy. Consumer-Generated Content (CGC) Consumers are more likely to trust a buying experience when it is shared by other consumers. This is the main reason online reviews are so critical to your business. Online reviews are the most critical type of CGC you can add to your GMB page. Another type is photos. Photos are highly viewed content on your GMB page (see above chart). Getting consumers to post photos of their visit to the dealership can help build your photo library, so encourage consumers to share photos/videos on their next visit. It also adds value to reviews when customers add a photo to their review as well. We see this all the time with restaurant reviews. Food photos add to the story. Follow their lead. The last type of CGC is when consumers post to the Questions section on your GMB page. Be sure to answer promptly, Answers, is one type of content you want to be strictly generated by the dealership, but Google allows consumers to answer if you do not. Dealer Generated Content (DGC) What about those happy customer photos? We will categorize this as DGC since the dealership staff is capturing and posting, but it will still see increased engagement because it is consumer-focused. Photos/Videos of customers sharing their happy experiences at your dealership in many ways is at valuable as a 5-star review. In some cases, more valuable because a consumer will view photos and videos at a much higher rate than text-only content. By the same token, encourage (or incentivize) your team to capture customer photos/videos/testimonials for use on your GMB page. Also, don't limit DGC to customer posts. Use the Offers option and post-sales and service specials (only to their corresponding page); at least monthly, weekly is better. Manufacturer Generated Content (MGC) Generally, this is referred to as OEM content for dealers. There is value in posting content from OEM, but the objective with this content is much more on branding vs. engagement. Just as with advertising, repetitive exposure has value, so it can help promote your brand by posting similar content as your OEM, but because it lacks the local factor and is typically not unique to your dealership, the benefit is less. While good to build into your posting schedule, this should be the lowest priority of our mix. I know there will be some uncomfortable with the idea of encouraging consumers to post photos and videos to your GMB page. However, there is a disconnect between the content consumers seek and what dealers/marketers are creating. According to a study by Stakla , 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, yet only 13% said content from a brand is impactful. The focus of your posting then is for DGC to get the same love and attention that CGC receives. To clarify, Google doesn't treat UGC differently than other types of content; however, Google does rank content based on relevance and quality, and if consumers engage more with UGC, it will be seen as more relevant and better quality than content that gets ignored. Remember, our goal is to get our GMB page showing up in more searches. Better engagement with your posts will improve your SEO and get you more views. If you enjoyed this article, take some time to listen to the latest podcast episode on Experimarketing  with  Colin Carrasquillo
The Importance of Reviews in Your Google AdWords Strategy

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In our last article, Online Reviews: The Golden Key to a Solid SEO Strategy , we dove into how reviews can impact your Google SEO investment to increase your appearance in consumer searches. Reviews will also impact the ROI of your Google Adwords campaigns, and so it's important to understand how reviews come into play for advertisers before you commit to a substantial pay-per-click budget. First and foremost, your reviews impact your Google Seller Score, specifically, it is your average rating that counts here. Google Seller Ratings showcase advertisers with high ratings (must be above 3.5 stars) aggregated by Google from reputable business review sources. This should be seen as a base requirement, and the good news for dealers is that the vast majority are above this threshold. A point to keep in mind is that better seller ratings display higher in search results reaping the benefits of building a strong reputation. Better seller ratings also have higher conversion rates, which can influence the ROI of your AdWords spend. Google states Seller Ratings can boost your text ads' CTR by up to 10%, which can make a big difference to any company battling with their competitors on Google ads. Looking past seller ratings, we can see in a study by Brightlocal (below) how your average review score on Google impacts your click-through rate. You can see that a 5-star dealer can expect to get 24% more clicks than a 3-star dealer. The obvious benefit is that you get more clicks to your website, but ad campaigns that get a higher click-through rate get a higher quality score from Google and are thus rewarded with a lower cost per click. The bottom line here is that a 4.5-star dealer can spend significantly less to get the same amount of clicks that a 3.5-star dealer would get, and why would anyone purposely want to spend more for the same end benefit? On a side note, if you have recently invested in separating your Google Service and Parts pages, and a primary focus now is to generate more calls, driving directions, and web clicks, then it's important to know that Google has a new ad format which allows a dealer to promote their GMB listing and their reviews in map search results (the map pack) to drive these actions from your Google My Business page specifically. The final point here is to reiterate what was said in the beginning and that dealers need to stop thinking of review counts and average ratings solely as a measure of customer service, but instead that your reviews, specifically on Google, are a basic building block to a successful advertising and SEO strategy, and so an integral part of your marketing program.
Online Reviews: The Golden Key to a Solid SEO Strategy

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We seem to finally be getting to a point where I estimate a significant majority of dealers track and care about their review scores. However, the motive for actively managing reviews focuses on a couple of different objectives. One is to comply with OEM standards or excellence programs. For example, both General Motors and FCA require that dealers enroll in a Reputation program as part of their dealer programs (SFE or CFAFE).  The other reason to have an active reputation program is an excellent reason . . .because they believe, correctly, that potential car buyers read reviews and look at dealer review scores to determine which dealership they will purchase a vehicle from. While that is enough justification for focusing on getting new reviews and keeping a high average rating, another benefit of a strong reputation management strategy I do not frequently hear is that review management is a part of your Google advertising or marketing plan. Truly this is a missed opportunity. Investing significant dollars into an SEO program to increase your organic search results on Google can be a primary source of new visits to your website. What often gets missed is that reviews can significantly impact how Google displays your business in organic searches. If you are investing in SEO on Google, ignoring the impact of reviews on your results could cause you to waste your precious marketing dollars. The Impact Reviews Have on Your Google Search Results Google my business is some of the best quality traffic a dealer can get, giving you the bottom of the funnel purchasers that can be reached and converted. This result is true not only for new vehicle sales but even more so for service. An easy example would be to consider any search a consumer would enter on Google, such as "brakes service near me" or "oil change service in (my city)." These are not searches a typical consumer would make because they are curious. With new vehicle sales, we know that car shoppers might be searching 90 days out for their new vehicle, but have you ever heard of consumers shopping 90 days out for an oil change? Consumers are making these searches in the market...right...now!   So it is incredibly important that when the bottom of the funnel shoppers is searching on Google, your business displays, whether that is the search results, the knowledge panel on the right, or in map searches. However, just having a complete Google My Business (GMB) listing won't get you there. What Does Google Look At? We have already established that a dealer needs to have both a complete Sales listing and Service listing on Google. That complete listing gets you "relevance" and means Google could start displaying your listing in relevant searches, but that is only half of the equation. You want more than to show up. You need to be near the top of search results if you expect to get clicks to your website or clicks to call or for directions. The other half, according to Google, is "prominence," and this means reviews. Actually, this means more than just having reviews. Google looks at: 1) The number of reviews 2) Your average rating 3) Recency of reviews 4) Reviews with likes 5) Review responses 6) Review keywords The Consumer Buying Process Back to your SEO strategy. You create Google Sales and Service listings and then pay an agency to manage your SEO for your business to show up more frequently. However, without reviews, you have tied their hands and limited the results they can deliver. Reviews are a basic requirement if you want to optimize your investment in Google. What about your website? Isn't the value of SEO to get more webpages to display? Yes, that is true. However, as Greg Gifford recently shared, you need to think of Google as your new homepage.   The consumer buying process begins with searching on Google. While many websites display in the search results, the Knowledge panel for a GMB page dominates the right side of the screen. On map-based searches, GMB powers those results. The journey for a consumer then is:  Without a steady influx of reviews (with responses), you will be limited in your efforts to get #2 of this process to display, and without that middle step, purchase intenders will find other GMB pages and end up on competitive websites. In your next marketing meeting, when you address website visits, before committing a budget to spend a dime on Google, check the associated GMB page and make sure you have a recent influx of good reviews, with responses. Part 2: "The Importance of Reviews in Your Google AdWords Strategy " Read the full study here .
A Facebook Ad Secret to Find Your "Next Ready to Buy" Customer

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If you have been managing ads for your dealership on Facebook, Google, or other sites, you have likely heard the term "in-market buyers." However, the concept of targeting in-market buyers gets thrown around a lot, to the point where many advertisers are not really sure what this audience is and how it is defined. For example, is a consumer "in-market" if they intend to buy in the next 30 days or 90 days? What about the next year? Another common question is, "What actions define a consumer who is "in-market?" Is this based on online searches, visiting a dealership, paying off their current vehicle? According to a recent Cox Automotive study , car buyers are spending less time shopping for a vehicle, so overall, they are spending fewer days "in-market." Car buyers are now spending an average of 96 days in-market. That provides a good frame of reference, but if you dig into the data available from Oracle or IHS Markit (Polk), you will see numerous options available when using in-market audiences for your Facebook Ads Campaigns. IHS Markit's in-market is broken down into the following: In-Market, within 0-6 months  Future In-Market, within the next two years – which would be a very high funnel.  Oracle models out other time frames such as 30 days, 90 days, or 12 months. Understanding this data is the first step in deciding how to use them to optimize a strategy for Facebook Ads. Where does in-market data come from? IHS Markit data is pulled from multiple sources, beginning with state registration data from titles, which is then combined with OEM sales data, lease and loan data, and service transactions.   The data includes points such as New/Used, Year, Make, Model, Body Style, and Lease/Buy. When all of this data is collected over time, data companies can model owner purchase behavior to determine the likelihood of a purchase and around the issue of brand loyalty, which can be equally important for targeting. What factors make someone in-market?  The profile of an in-market shopper is mostly based on past purchases, and in some cases combined with online search activity. For example, have you always bought a Ford? If so, how often? Maybe you have not always bought a Ford, but you always buy an SUV, and how often do you buy a new SUV? Do you buy New or Used? Do you purchase or lease?   All of this history paints a picture of each consumer and allows you to reach these various segments as an advertiser. Does loyalty  really  matter? Loyalty data presents an opportunity to refine your targeting. IHS Markit Loyalty audiences break out buyers into Loyalists, Super Loyalists, and Nomads, all pretty much just what they sound like.   It is essential to know what each loyalty audience represents. For example, according to IHS Markit, Super Loyalists are 72% brand loyal - challenging to convert in a conquest ad campaign and likely resulting in less effective use of your ad dollars.  If you want to target conquest brands, Nomads are the group you want to reach. A recent study by Wards Auto supports this showing that of car buyers who were replacing a prior vehicle, almost 70% switched brands from the car they owned before. Historical data also shows that Nomadic buyers are more likely to switch brands when times are tough and money is on the line. In those cases, price becomes an increasingly important factor, brand loyalty less so. The art of matching an audience with an ad strategy Running a Successful Facebook Ad campaign is similar to any other data drive marketing campaign, where you want to balance effectiveness with efficiency. This means not only targeting the right audiences but also suppressing the audiences least likely to respond.   Can a Super Loyalist be converted to another brand? Of course, but it is less likely to happen as opposed to converting a Nomad, so go with your best odds.  Before choosing your audience, decide on the strategy of your campaign. If you are promoting an incentive for all of your brands, then target by brand. If the incentive is for select models, target by model.  IHS Markit has over 400 different in-market model level audiences available, so this will be your most specific targeting option. With either of these strategies, you might also target Nomads of brands you want to conquest, as well as your own Nomads - they have bought your brand but are not loyal, so you need to "sell" them over and over again. Understanding your competition and how strong they are will help you determine whether conquesting other brands makes sense.  Is your brand offering stronger incentives right now, or if there is a competitor getting lots of bad reviews, could both be good opportunities to target their customers. Whether to target in-market by brand, model, or body style will also be a function of your budget: a smaller budget needs a smaller audience and more precise targeting, so target by model, or brand. A larger budget allows for a larger audience, then broader in-market categories, such as Body Style or Luxury vehicle could be better options.  How do you know the audience is the right size? For the best results with any campaign, your budget is the best factor determining the optimal audience size. If you create an audience too small for your budget, you will either not spend your budget, or you could get a very high frequency and waste ad dollars on unnecessary impressions.   On the other hand, an audience that is too large for the budget means frequency could be too low. Many people need to see an ad multiple times before they respond, so a good frequency goal would be three to four times. An audience that is too large also means you won't reach everyone and could represent a missed opportunity. Using in-market and loyalty audiences allows you to refine your ad campaigns' targeting, to reach consumers most likely respond and eliminate the waste of prospects not likely to convert, giving you overall a better return on your ad spend.
An Automotive Service Center Marketing Secret Using Google Reviews

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Some forecasts project new vehicle sales in 2020 to be down 20% or more this year due to the COVID Pandemic. So while doing everything you can to maximize vehicle sales is critical, is there an opportunity to increase the revenue in your service center to offset some of this? I see more digital marketing solutions (and agencies) with specific strategies to market your service center. However, one strategy that is often overlooked is how service reviews can fit into that marketing strategy. This strategy is not just a means to promote how great your service department is, but rather a tool to drive more web traffic and leads to your Service center. It really hit home when you conduct a Google search for auto-related services – oil change, brakes, tires, etc. you will notice that franchise auto dealers are not the usual suspects to display.  It is the Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys of the world that are on the top of the search results. Some of this is a function of how you built your website and SEO.  Focus on the Content If you want more traffic to your Service Center pages, step one is to invest more in the content on your website promoting those services. Also, skip scanning in your coupons if you still go that route as those images will never index well on Google.  Develop a Focused Google Listing The extra step to consider to aid in driving traffic to this web content is to create a separate Google listing just for the Service Center. Many have seen this happening already. Either a dealership in your market has proactively created multiple GMB (Google My Business) listings for their different business units, or Google has done it for them.  One issue to note is that the appearance of an additional listing does not always appear obvious, and searching "Dealer Name Service Center" is not guaranteed to display the listing. The best way to check is to go to Google Maps, search for your location, and zoom way in. The multiple listings will then display, and you should claim the listing if you haven't already.  An example here is it is common when searching for a FCA dealer to see a second GMB location for "Mopar Express Lane" that is unclaimed, and you should claim and change the name to include your dealership. There are several advantages to having two separate listings for your dealership (assuming Sales and Service, but you could also have listings for Parts or Collision/Body Shop). Make It Easy to Do Business As with any digital marketing, one key to success is to make it easy for customers to do business with you. Separate listings can aid here, assuming you make them easy to find. Common goals of going to a Google page for a business is to find an address, phone number, hours, or have a look at what past customers have to say. Most dealerships have different hours and phone numbers for Sales and Service, and by providing separate listings, the customer gets the best information right from the start.  Consumers interested in auto repairs will also be most interested in other customers' repair experiences with you. Someone's experience in purchasing a new vehicle is much less relevant if they want an oil change, tires, or brakes. A separate listing for your Service Center makes all of this easier for your customers. What and How Much Is Said Matters When it comes to SEO on Google and even running PPC (Paid Per Click) ads on Google, the reviews for a business have a significant impact. Google has said that review count and review scores are factored into local search ranking; therefore the more reviews and positive ratings, the better your dealership's local ranking will be.  In a study on 2018 Local Ranking Factors: Reviews accounted for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business. Keep in mind that Google is not focusing solely on review count, so the best practice is to set goals for 1) Average Rating, 2) Review Quantity and 3) Recency of Reviews. Number three means you can't sit back and relax once you hit a specific milestone.  Reviews have a similar impact on your PPC (Paid Per Click) campaigns. Your rating on Google impacts your quality score too, which affects the cost per click you pay on Adwords. There have been multiple studies showing that higher review scores get better click-through rates on ads. The result is that better reviews will save you on ad spend. If you have a review invite process in place, adjust so that reviews written by sales-related customers push to the main GMB (Google My Business) page and service-related customer reviews are directed to the Service GMB page. Check Your Stats As a final thought before driving all service customers to a new GMB page, make sure your main GMB listing has a robust and competitive rating and review count. Service customers provide volume for review invites that might be needed to improve the primary listing. The big takeaway here is that if you want to make growing Service revenue a priority in 2020, then giving that department its own GMB page and actively generating reviews for that page will increase your web traffic at a lower cost. With a web site built to convert Service leads this will be a key to accomplish that goal. 
Facebook Ads for Your Dealership: 10 Ideas To Get You Started

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In my last article, the message was focused on running more Facebook Ads campaigns , and to put your focus on targeting: the right message, the right audience, with the right goal. The goal was not to create just one ad campaign that would appeal to absolutely everyone. The logical follow-up question then would be: “So how many campaigns are you saying I should run?” Let’s work through some ideas. Promote all inventory (with a value-based message: price, inventory, etc.) – we will consider this targeting “Near Market Prospects,” which is people likely to buy within the next 12 months. Promote current OEM incentive(s) – Here we are targeting “In-Market Buyers,” prospects looking to buy within the next 90 days. How do In Market prospects differ from Near Market? The In Market prospect is most likely actively searching for their next purchase. They have narrowed down the vehicle choices, and are now focusing on factors such as pricing, incentives, and which dealer to buy from. With Near Market shoppers, they have not started searching yet, or if they have, they could still be trying to narrow down which car to buy. If you really want to be ambitious, break incentive ads into separate campaigns for each model. This allows for better optimization of the campaign, and you can be more specific with your offers and targeting, instead of adjusting the language of the offer to apply to all the models you sell. Promote pre-owned vehicles - use different price segments, under $10K, $10K-$20K, $20K+) – Again for each price range of pre-owned vehicles, consider separate campaigns that target different consumer groups: by age, income, lifestyle, etc. The buyer looking for a $5,000 - $7,000 vehicle is very different from the buyer looking for a $15,000 - $17,000 car. Promote trade-in or buyback program – Sometimes the best way to get a new car buyer on your lot is by buying the car they currently own. Using Oracle data, you can target vehicles by make, model, age, and purchase price so you are building your pre-owned inventory with vehicles you know you can sell. Target Lease owners and lease expires – in theory, these are similar to the “In-Market Buyers” we referenced above. What makes lease expires different? They have a deadline, and therefore a greater sense of urgency. Using your CRM list, you know exactly when that lease expires, so you can control the timing of when you reach them. Promote Service specials – as with new vehicle incentives, more specific offers broken up into separate campaigns can perform better than one ad with all service offers. For example, an offer for brakes or tires won’t be relevant for vehicles less than 2 or 3 years old. If you create a separate campaign for tires, you can target vehicles of a specific age, while with oil changes and other services you want to reach buyers with vehicles of any age. Promote your people – focus on their expertise and experience, or the level of customer service they offer. You can do this by sharing testimonials or reviews. Most dealerships focus their ad budget on what a consumer is buying (the vehicle), and very little advertising spend is invested in who a consumer is buying from. The reason online reviews get so much traffic is because buyers care about the “Who.” Take advantage of that and promote how awesome your customer experience is. Promote the Service Center as a whole – use ads to inform customers of your convenient hours, pick up and drop off services, extra free service you include, coffee and donuts, anything that sets you apart from the low-cost service centers. Customer Appreciation – Again, using your CRM you can create a small, targeted list of your customers and offer them something unique and special. They have purchased from you before, let them know you want the relationship to continue. Parts & Service Conquest – Using Oracle data, you can target people who spend a lot or are frequent customers at Auto Parts or Auto Service businesses, such as Napa, AutoZone, Jiffy Lube, Pep Boys, Goodyear, Firestone, etc. Create an offer compelling enough to get them to switch. If you are using an agency to run your Facebook Ads, running this many campaigns has the potential to get expensive. One answer is to find an agency that will run multiple campaigns for a flat fee vs. a per campaign fee. Another option is to find providers that offer options to let you run additional campaigns on your own. Some of your campaigns will be short-run or very small budget, and it could make sense to create them yourself and save on fees. Using an agency platform to run ads on your own will allow you to take advantage of more sophisticated tools, such as using Oracle data for targeting, and inventory feeds for dynamic inventory ads, especially valuable when used in re-targeting your website traffic. These ten ideas are just aplace to start. Creative minds could come up with even more ideas to matchspecific ads to specific audiences.