Measuring The Success of “Keys In A Box” Video by Oak Lawn Toyota

oaklawn toyota keys in a box video


First of all, I would like to congratulate the musicians, actors, and producers who created the video “Keys in a Box,” which is a parody of the Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit entitled “The Lonely Island’s “$@%& in a Box.  If you have not had the opportunity to watch Oaklawn Toyota’s video “Keys in a Box“, take a minute to do that now.

It is refreshing to see a dealer think “out of the box” and allow his team to create a fun video that has obviously struck a chord with the online community. The video was recently a featured story on the AdWeek website and the views have just started to accelerate. On November 18th,  just 8 days after launching, the video has close to 40,000 views.

Measuring Brand Impact

Oaklawn Toyota isn’t the first dealer to create a viral video on YouTube, but this video has a very catchy tune. If you are a SNL fan it is hard not to fall in love with it, however, I must admit I had to watch the original SNL skit first to fully appreciate their work.

Obviously it was fun making this video and the video could easily exceed a million views over time, but was it successful in helping the auto dealer’s online brand?


Creating Online Evidence Manuals To Increase Showroom Visits

DME Auto Shopper Data

According to the latest research from DME Automotive, consumers are visiting less showrooms before purchasing a vehicle. Since this is the stark reality for auto dealers, the sale must be first won online. Dealers need to find a way to develop strong bi-directional communication with online shoppers to get them to visit their dealership otherwise they will go to another dealership. According to DME, 42% of new car buyers will only visit one physical dealership.

A recent article on DealerRefresh from Justin Brun and Ben Koller outlined why dealers need to create a “Why Buy From Us” message. Their timely article prompted me to write this companion piece.

Every sales professional in the dealership must have a “Why Buy From Me” message.

In the book “Selling Cars in the Digital Age” there is an entire chapter dedicated to developing a “Why Buy From Us” and “Why Buy From Me” strategies. The chapter includes examples on how to create a “Why Buy From Me” email template and the need to create an online evidence manual. If less consumers are visiting your dealership, you need to create a way to get interested buyers into your dealership first.

Creating An Online Evidence Page

evidence page layouts

Let me speak to automotive sales professionals directly for a minute. An online evidence manual can be used in both your phone and email communication processes; you make have a physical evidence manual on your desk.

A link to your online evidence page can be texted to a customer while you are on the phone. A link to your evidence page can be included in an email message generated by the CRM, but always customize the message if you can.

An example of what this evidence page can look like is shown on the right. In the upper left hand corner should be a professional photo or video of yourself. In the yellow area should be your direct phone number, email address, and the address of the dealership.

In the green area should be a short statement about yourself and your passion to work in our industry. The orange area should be a list of customer reviews that are dynamically generated as they are written. and other platforms have RSS feeds to enable this to happen very easily.

Lastly, on the right you should have at least three customer testimonial videos. They should be from people from all walks of life. Don’t show three videos of just young car buyers; mix it up to appeal to more local car buyers.

Build An Email Template

email template for why buy from meA strong Why Buy From Me email will introduce you to the consumer by sharing some personal information. Think of the email as a starting point in your relationship.

A Why Buy From Me email can answer some of these questions:

  • ♦ How long have you been in the car business?
  • ♦ How long at current dealer?
  • ♦ Why did you come to work for current dealer?
  • ♦ What did you do before the car business?
  • ♦ Where were you born?
  • ♦ Where do you live now?
  • ♦ If married, how long?
  • ♦ Do you have kids/grandkids and if so, how many? Boys? Girls?
  • ♦ What do you enjoy when not at dealership?
  • ♦ Do you do something unique?
  • ♦ Do you have any Pets, and if so, what type and what are their names?

Once you create a strong email template, I suggest that you end the template with something like this.

“I know you have many choices where to purchase your next vehicle. I also know that you may have some reservations about buying a car. Let me assure you that you will have a first class experience with me at (dealership name). But don’t take my word for it! Click on this link (bitly link) to read and hear what other local consumers, just like you, had to say when they bought a car from me.”

The key is to include some statement that allows the consumer to come to their own conclusion about your reliability and professionalism. The link to your personal evidence page will have photos, videos, and written reviews for the potential customer to read. The more professional looking your evidence page is, the more success you will have.

Most website platforms allow for unlimited website pages to be created, so creating a page just for you should be without any hard costs. You will just need to get someone to create the page for you.

Tracking Views

Now, let me switch back to speak to automotive management professionals. By using a link in the email templates, your sales team can see how many people actually click through to their online evidence pages.

If you store all the evidence pages in a sub-directory called “/evidence/” you can easily set a Google Analytics goal when an evidence page is viewed. These simple steps can help you see how your sales team is leveraging this tool and how consumers are engaging with the content.

Get The Book

If you like the ideas shared in this article, be sure to pickup a copy of “Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing” today. There are hundreds of ideas, tips, and strategies that can benefit your dealership today.

brian pasch


Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Consulting


Interviewing Your Next Email Marketing Provider

email marketing
By Brian Pasch

If you are not managing all your email marketing campaigns centrally, you should get serious about this valuable communication channel. I encourage you to stop damaging your customer marketing lists and start shopping for a competent email marketing partner.

An auto dealer can have 3-5 different companies and/or platforms sending emails to their customers. 

In most cases, there are no central records being kept! A customer can receive multiple emails in the same month with conflicting messages. Emails are being sent to customers of auto dealership’s through their CRM, third-party newsletter companies, reputation management surveys, equity mining alerts, and through DMS marketing companies.

Each of these email communication strategies are unaware of the way in which customers interact with these email messages. If a customer changes their email delivery address when they receive a newsletter, that new data is often never updated in the DMS or CRM system.

Search For A Competent Email Partner

Search for a competent email marketing partner will take some time. You must call other auto dealers once you narrow down your vendor list to see if the company’s claims are truthful. Please make sure that you ask questions about data hygiene and the opt-out rates that you have noticed.

Potential email marketing partners should be able to answer all of these questions in writing:

  • ♦ How will you pull the initial email marketing list from the dealership? What sources and data formats will you need?
  • ♦ How will you process any previous requests from customers who asked to be excluded from email marketing from our CRM system and/or previous email marketing partner?
  • ♦ How will you process future requests to be removed from email marketing campaigns that you send as well as those requests we get from our CRM/DMS and marketing partner emails?
  • ♦ How often will you pull additional or changed records from the DMS and CRM platform to update the email marketing list? Will you send an updated list of unsubscribes and bounces to us?
  • ♦ Do you offer list-cleaning services to protect our domain from getting blacklisted?
  • ♦ How do you handle duplicate email addresses assigned to the same customer and/or same family address?
  • ♦ How will you segment email marketing lists? How often do you plan on sending emails to each segment? Please explain your methodology.
  • ♦ How will your company A/B test email campaigns and what type of customer engagement data do you collect?
  • ♦ Are your email templates responsive so that they are optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile phones?
  • ♦ Are all email embedded links using proper campaign tagging parameters to appear in Google Analytics properly?
  • ♦ Do you design landing pages for email links or is that the responsibility of the dealership?
  • ♦ Will all your email campaigns be OEM compliant? How much insurance do you carry for errors and omissions?
  • ♦ What type of reporting will you give us so we can measure the effectiveness of our campaigns as well as our ROI?

You will need to be very clear on who will take responsibility for emails that are not compliant with OEM, State, and/or Federal guidelines. If you are not careful, your OEM may impose fines for non-compliant artwork or the messages in your emails are not compliant with current manufacturer guidelines.

Don’t Forget Mobile Readers

I read most of my emails the first time on my smartphone; complex messages I will revisit from my laptop. Emails that are optimized for my smartphone keep my attention longer. Your company’s email marketing campaigns must WOW mobile customers. Any links that are placed in your emails must go to a responsive website page.


The percentage of consumers reading emails on their mobile devices is on the rise. Over 42% of emails are now being read from a smart phone or tablet, according to statistics shared on the website

Before you choose any email marketing provider, have them send you a few emails that represent their “WOW” designs and check them out on your smartphone. If your dealership does not have a multi-screen compatible design, you should discuss with your email marketing partner if they can create responsive landing pages for your email campaigns.

A few well designed conversion pages, that can adapt to any screen size, can significantly change the results of an email marketing campaign.

Don’t Leave Email Marketing On Autopilot

Email marketing is not dead, but some of the current email strategies that are being used in dealerships are outdated and harmful to their business. I encourage you to invest in a serious email communication plan that meets the needs of all business units. You must have a process to inspect and test the success of your campaigns.

Your email marketing campaigns should all be tagged properly so that click-traffic can be inspected in Google Analytics. For example, if you send out an email marketing campaign to promote a new car model, you will want to see how many Search Results Pages (SRP) and Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) were viewed when customers clicked on your email links to your website.

With a centralized email marketing strategy that recognizes the need for mobile enabled email messages, you will be surprised to see open rates and engagement with your offers significantly increase. If you would like more information on email marketing strategies for your dealership, purchase a copy of my book “Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing” or drop me an email for specific recommendations on email marketing strategies.



Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Consulting


Automotive Website Vendor Caught Keyword Stuffing


It amazes me that in 2014, auto dealers tolerate obvious lame tactics to “fool” Google for the hope of improved organic search rankings. It also surprises me that dealers put up with poor English grammar on their websites -which creates a bad visual experience for auto shoppers that visit their home page.

The dealership’s home page is their most visited website page.

Take a look at the website shown on the right for Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac. It is the new responsive website platform created by DealerOn. The home page has two distinct sections; one white area and the gray area.

White Hat vs. Gray Hat

The white area is visually attractive and has clear icons for the consumer to navigate this dealer’s website. I like the design of this first section.

The second section, the area in the gray (a shade of black) is a completely opposite experience. The run-on sentences are filled with old school keyword stuffing tactics that once worked about 10 years ago and now are dangerous to have on a website.

Today this gray area is viewed by marketing professionals, (and likely Google) as a deliberate attempt to “fool” the Google search algorithm. When you read the text in the gray area, it was definitely NOT created for a consumer to read and value.

In fact, Google defines keyword stuffing on this page, ( and cites that stuffing this includes jamming the names of cities on the home page of a website. The DealerOn website examples are a clear match to this definition by Google. They are also jamming vehicle model names, as you can see.

Additional information on this topic is provided by Matt Cutts from Google in this video:


Here are some excepts, taken directly from the home page of Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac:

Crookston Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC Dealerships

Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac in Grand Forks North Dakota is one of the premier Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC dealers of new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC & Used Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC vehicles in Fargo, Crookston, Thief River Falls, Grafton, Grand Forks. We carry the most complete selection of new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC & Used North Dakota Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC available vehicles. At Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac in Grand Forks North Dakota, we are your one stop shop for all your Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC needs. At Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac, customer service is our number one priority. If you plan to buy a Enclave, Encore, LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, ATS, CTS Coupe, CTS Sport Sedan, CTS Sport Wagon, CTS-V Coupe, CTS-V Sport Sedan, CTS-V Sport Wagon, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, SRX, XTS, Avalanche, Camaro, Captiva Sport, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express, Express Cargo, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Silverado 2500HD, Silverado 3500, Silverado 3500 Chassis Cab, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Volt, Acadia, Savana, Savana Cargo, Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500HD, Sierra 3500, Sierra 3500 Chassis Cab, Sierra Denali, Terrain, Yukon, Yukon XL, you will always find the lowest prices and the best service at Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac.

Grand Forks Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC Dealer

We hope that you find our website helpful to your Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC needs. Although Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac serving Fargo doesn’t stay open 24 hours a day, the Rydell Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Caddilac website does. On our website you can research the new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC car, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC truck, or Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC SUV van that you would like to purchase, search inventory of all the used vehicles that we offer at the lowest prices, request a vehicle price quote, find the value for your trade, view pictures and data about the Enclave, Encore, LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, ATS, CTS Coupe, CTS Sport Sedan, CTS Sport Wagon, CTS-V Coupe, CTS-V Sport Sedan, CTS-V Sport Wagon, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, SRX, XTS, Avalanche, Camaro, Captiva Sport, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express, Express Cargo, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Silverado 2500HD, Silverado 3500, Silverado 3500 Chassis Cab, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Volt, Acadia, Savana, Savana Cargo, Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500HD, Sierra 3500, Sierra 3500 Chassis Cab, Sierra Denali, Terrain, Yukon, Yukon XL, learn about our latest specials on new Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC cars and pre-owned Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC cars that we sell.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

This type of website design has to stop because it will hurt auto dealers’ online marketing investments. Good content takes time and money to create, but it has a great payoff.

Cheap text, like shown in the gray area of the home page, is foolish.

A consumer reading this page will think that the dealer is illiterate. The example I cite from Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac in Grand Forks, ND is not the only case I found of this shoddy work.  This is a pattern of design that I was able to find on many dealer websites created by DealerOn.

Does this text make any sense to you?

“We at Old Saybrook Kia Mazda, serving Old Saybrook Connecticut, look forward to serving your Group needs and we hope that we can help you with your next new Group or pre-owned Group purchase. We have helped customers from Old Saybrook, Clinton, Groton, Madison and Guilford with their Group needs and we look forward to helping you.” (Source Here)

Here are other websites that have odd spammy text at the bottom of the home page which impacts all OEM brands.

As the auto industry evolves, we must be more conscious of the rules that Google sets for the marketplace. Dealers must be conscious of the consumer experience on our website. The examples I listed were just a few of the dozens of websites that I was able to find with keyword stuffing on the home page.

How long will dealers tolerate the risk that this style of content presents to their search engine rankings?

Are The Dealers Doing The Keyword Stuffing?

Of course an auto dealer could add any text to the home page that they want. Content Management Systems (CMS) allow dealers to create their own custom content. So am I being hard on DealerOn?

There is a pattern here that goes past any specific dealer’s actions. Follow some of the links above and you will probably come to the same conclusion that DealerOn thinks this is an acceptable marketing practice. It is part of a template that they use for select dealers.

It is important to note that not ALL websites created by DealerOn have this problem.

The “ugliness” of this style of keyword stuffing on the home page is exemplified by this example from Younger Toyota shown below:


There is no way that this is good for the brand impression of the Toyota dealer, and it is obviously not good for the consumer experience – yet this continues as if it has no downside for the dealer.  I hope that this article brings to light this outdated website practice and that DealerOn takes immediate steps to stop this dangerous practice.

What do you have to say about this type of content strategy?

Automotive Website Research

awa-logo-200Each year PCG Consulting reviews all the automotive website technologies used by auto dealers as part of the Automotive Website Awards selection process. The awards ceremony this year will be held on January 22, 2014 in San Francisco just prior to NADA.

PCG’s 300+ page annual report is the trusted buyers guide for automotive websites, CRM platforms, and marketing tools used by the dealer community.

Automotive professionals are invited to the awards ceremony and tickets can be purchased in advance online.

P.S.  We did call Brian Rydell, owner of Rydell Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac to advise him to have this keyword stuffing removed from his website. He agreed with our findings and is in the process of correcting his website content.

The Best Online Reputation Management Process for Auto Dealers


I enjoy scanning my Twitter network each day. Yesterday, I was included in a Tweet from Bob Jass Chevrolet which asked a simple question:

“Who’s the best reputation management company out there?”


Their tweet inspired me to write this post because there are many companies who are offering “Reputation Management” services and software tools to auto dealers. It would be a mistake to hire ANY company or purchase ANY review management software tool without the dealership’s management team’s full commitment behind the investment.

The dealership’s management team must clearly understand the influence that online reviews have on the the auto shopper’s journey and their bottom line. I’m not going to rehash third-party research regarding the influence of online reviews, and I am sure many dealers reading this post have already seen enough PowerPoint slides on this topic.

However, there is a great study to read about the power of online reviews for those of you who need ammunition to present to management. ( Visit:

Online Reviews Are Your Most Visible Online Asset

I want to take a different approach on justifying a renewed commitment to online reviews. I want to speak to dealers from my practical experience traveling to dealerships in the United States and around the globe. Most auto dealers I speak with underestimate the number of times a month their online reviews are displayed to consumers who are shopping for a local auto dealer.

Type in any franchise brand and the word “dealer” or “dealership,” and you will see a listing of Google “My Business” listings, as shown below: (more…)