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WHAT’S NEW AT FORDDIRECT
Warmest Wishes of the Season
From our team to yours, Happy Holidays! As the year draws to a close, it’s nice to reflect on all we’ve done and thank those who have helped make it possible. And for us here at FordDirect, those people are you – the Dealers, ISM and BDC managers, and your staffs of Internet salespeople who have helped contribute to our mutual success. Because of you we have sold Leo Hillock, Executive more than 1.4 million vehi- VP, Dealer relations cles through FordDirect and and development DealerConnection referrals. We thank you for that and wish you continued success in the coming year and during this Holiday Season.
What subject lines do you use to ensure that emails get through and get read, instead of bounced by spam filters?
We try to do things that are not generic that would be picked up by a spam filter. One of the subject lines we use for follow up messages is “Am I a pest?” For some reason it seems to generate a lot of response. We try not to send it too often and use it for someone who hasn’t responded after several attempts to reach them. The message would say something like, “I hope I’m not being a pest. It’s a fine line between providing outstanding service and becoming an annoyance.” We haven’t done any testing of lines that would be factual but we do know the “Am I a pest?” line seems to generate some response.
– Candy Fontz, BDC Manager Academy Ford, Laurel, MD
Normally, I put something in the subject line like, “Response to your inquiry on…” (followed by the name of the vehicle they inquired about). On follow up emails we would do something like “Reference to… first email, phone conversation, or additional information.” Sometime I’ll use my name in the subject so they know who it is from. We do bulk emails every two weeks and we’ll use things like, “Vehicle incentives from Jarrett-Gordon Ford” or “New 2008 Focus on site at Jarrett-Gordon Ford” and things that will grab their attention.
A Look Back at 2007
FordDirect was founded in 2000 by Dealers on the National Dealer Council as a joint venture between FMC franchised Dealers and Ford Motor Company. Dealers own 80% of the voting stock and make up a majority of the Board of Directors. Today, sales from FordDirect referrals represent 15% of total Ford and Lincoln Mercury retail sales. This year, Dealers are on track to sell more than 265,000 vehicles from FordDirect referrals (a 10% increase).
– Mike Ozella, Internet Sales Manager Jarrett-Gordon Ford, Winter Haven, FL
What we put in the subject line is the name of the dealership and the dealership phone number. We do it in normal writing style with lower case letters except for a capital letters on proper names like Ukiah. For the phone number I won’t use any dashes between the numbers. I‘ve found that most of the emails get through. I used to use things like “your quote request” or the year and model of the vehicle and I found that most of my customers weren’t getting my emails. Now, with just the dealership name and phone I’m getting a pretty good response rate.
2007 FordDirect Service Recap
New Vehicle Marketing Services – Markets
your vehicles everywhere buyers are online and delivers them to your dealership from Ford sites, leading automotive portals like Yahoo! and key independent sites like KBB. In 2007, Dealer sales from FordDirect new vehicle referrals are projected to exceed 265,000 vehicles.
– Russell Gussman, Internet Sales Manager Ukiah Ford Lincoln Mercury, Ukiah, CA
If we’re responding to someone, we’ll use all lower case and say things like “this is the information you requested.” I’ve found that if you put anything like “sale” or anything like that in the lines those are going to get filtered out. “Price quote” is starting to get filtered out more frequently, especially by AOL; it’s probably the worst for filters. We just try and keep it simple and stay away from buzz words like “sale” and “50% off.” Anything along those lines we just stay away from. And we always use lower case. When we send bulk emails we’ve found that “specials” gets bounced quite a bit. So we’ll use things like “this week’s cars” or “this week’s trucks” etc. It’s all just simple and there’s no hype to it.
2007 Enhancements – FordDirect launched the
Referral Contact Service FREE of charge to drive additional sales to you. The Referral Contact Service contacts customers who submit an Internet referral through FordDirect and identifies prospects who require immediate attention or would like to schedule an appointment. These “hot leads” are then faxed to the dealership so that salespeople can more efficiently prioritize their contact lists.
– Les Dalrymple, Internet/CRC/IT Manager Suburban Ford, Sandy, OR Editor’s Note: In October, the ClickZ Network ran an interesting article on testing
subject lines to find the lines with the highest opening rates. The article covered personalization vs. non-personalization, shorter vs. longer and putting the brand name in the line. Their recommendation: test, test, test. You can’t keep on using the same worn-out subject line, especially if you send out weekly or monthly email. If you’d like to read the entire article you can find it at www.clickz.com/3627435.
Current Enrollment NVMS: 4,166 Dealers Current Enrollment RCS: 5,100 Dealers Pre-Owned Vehicle Marketing Services –
Advertises your entire pre-owned inventory with detailed descriptions and pictures online on FordDirect.com and leading automotive sites like AutoTrader. (…continued on page 2)
(What’s New at FordDirect continued...)
2007 Enhancements – FordDirect added several additional marketing
affiliates to expose your used inventory to more online buyers and increase the number of email, phone calls and walks ins to your dealership.
COMMENTS ON SUCCESS
Sunnyvale Ford, Sunnyvale, CA
Sunnyvale Ford in Sunnyvale, CA averages a 17% close rate in their Internet department. What’s their secret? “Treat every lead the same and set up a process and follow it,” Internet Manager Derrick Kidwell and Sales Manager Bill Benak agree, “The system breaks down when an individual salesperson handles a lead and gets hot or cold on it depending on how they feel how much the customer is in the market or not.” As for their process, Sunnyvale Ford operates a Business Development Center that answers the phones, deals with emails and sets up the appointments for the salespeople. This allows them to get back to the customer faster.
Sales Manager Bill Benak (L) and Internet Manager Derrick Kidwell (R).
Current Enrollment: 2,807 Dealers Call Tracking – Advertises a toll-free phone number for your dealership
and captures high-quality Internet phone referrals that increase your lead volume and provide additional sales opportunities. All calls are recorded for training purposes and automatically entered into your CRM.
Call Track-10 – Provides a call monitoring system that tracks and
measures all phone calls generated by your advertising. Call Track-10 identifies where your calls are coming from in real time and records calls for training purposes.
2007 Enhancements – Several updates were released that make it
easier to use the Call Tracking tool and administer the dealership’s toll free numbers. Additional functionality and reporting was also added.
Current Enrollment: 2,319 Dealers FDAF Digital Marketing Package – There are now more than 45 FDAFs
participating on FordDirect’s Digital Marketing Service, which is a turnkey advertising solution that promotes FDAF offers on FordDirect sites and major search engines and drives online customers into the dealership. Leads generated by the service are closing at more than 20 percent!
“Once the BDC sets up the appointment we take a copy of the lead down to the sales desk and give it to the sales manager,” said Bill. “The manager will then select a salesperson to ‘up’ that customer.” Derrick added, “If the salesperson does not sell the customer at that time, the BDC team will start following up with the customer.” Sunnyvale Ford also depends on Call Track-10. Bill said, “We utilize Call Tracking extremely heavily. On a monthly basis we probably receive an average of 1,500 unique in-bound phone calls. If a customer calls more than once in a month it’s only counted as one call. We SUNNYVALE FORD INTERNET METRICS actually have 86 different call tracking Closing Ratio (Sept.) 17% numbers. We need them because we market in so many different ways. Enrolled in FordDirect: I want to know whether every single • New Vehicle Marketing Services way is working or not working. We use • Pre-Owned Vehicle Marketing Services the numbers to see how many phone calls we get from each particular • Call Tracking source. Plus we use the service to see • Call Track-10 how we handled each of those calls by • SPOT Insurance going back and listening to them.” “The Internet has really leveled the playing field for the customer,” said Bill. “Everybody kind of knows your cost on new vehicles so they have a strong negotiating point.” Derrick said, “So you have to utilize the Internet or you’re pulling yourself out of probably half of your business. We see customers who contact us and we no sooner send them a response than we see them on the floor.” Bill said, “The Internet is no different than the telephone, a drive by, a newspaper ad. You just have to have a process in place to deal with it. And that’s what we do.”
DealerConnection – Provides a website for your dealership that
consumers find when searching for a Dealer on Ford-brand websites or when searching online using search engines such as Google and Yahoo!
2007 Enhancements – FordDirect transitioned your sites to a new
platform and we’ve been adding additional features throughout the year. As a result, sales this year from DealerConnection referrals will double, and are projected to be more than 55,000 vehicles. FordDirect has integrated pricing on the site with Ford national and regional incentives, added reporting capabilities, the ability to create complete custom pages, flash capability, clickable central theme image and much more.
Current Enrollment: 5,500 Dealers Premier Customization Service – FordDirect has also launched the
Premier Customization Service which helps you sell more cars and trucks by creating and maintaining a customized DealerConnection website for you.
Current Enrollment: 309 Dealers
Special thanks to the FordDirect Dealer Advisory Board
Dealers from all markets have representation on our Advisory Board. They represent you and help guide us. So we would like to thank: Jim Bass, Fred Beans, Victor Benitez, John Bleakley, Michael Chapman, Jerry Chase, Jr., Kevin Collins, Mike Devon, Ron Ewer, George Gorno, Dick Heaton, Vernon Krause, Mark McMullen, David Menten, Doug North, Sam Pack, Mike Pallotta, Don Price, Richard Savino, Mike Saxon, Vince Sheehy, Alan Skobin, Dennis Snyder, Casey Stoudt, Larry Stovesand, Bob Weikert, and Colin Wickstrom.
4 Parklane Blvd. Suite #675, Dearborn, MI 48126-4218 (Toll Free) 866-550-7812, (Fax) 866-259-8667 General questions: email@example.com DealerConnection and SalesPoint Techical Support Center: 866-762-3673 Operations Managers: Heather Blunt Marc Carlton Mike Dailey Howard Witzke
313-248-5427 firstname.lastname@example.org 313-845-5664 email@example.com 313-317-7311 firstname.lastname@example.org 313-323-7247 email@example.com