Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An Ode to Branding

Marketing teams are often viewed like the right side of this image.

Creative. Colorful. Qualitative.

Brands that truly know who they are - and can communicate it - harness these traits to connect with their audience in an emotional way, subconsciously instilling value and trust for their products. With so many options to choose from, brands - and the experience they provide - is what drives loyalty, growth, and advocation.

Before consumers had a multitude of choices, marketers could get by with distinguishing their product using facts -- our brand has 50% less sugar, helps you sell 75% more units, makes you 100% faster. But as consumers became more savvy, they realized numbers can be manipulated and their loyalty came at a higher cost. Now - they want brands that are not only superior, but also understand their perspective. 

Powerful brands - like Yeti - have done such a great job tapping into the experience of their consumer that people follow along with them solely because of the story they tell. They have a great product - but spend more time focusing on lifestyle and emotion-invoking imagery than they do truly pushing their product. And even if the majority of their 1.1 million Instagram followers haven’t purchased a cooler - they might - and either way, they provide invaluable organic marketing and brand awareness for Yeti.

So how do you get some of that for your dealership?
Thankfully, motorcycling is a passion-based industries. You don’t have to convince your followers - like toilet paper or detergent brands - to be excited about what you have to offer. They’re going to be passionate whether you’re involved or not. So their loyalty is yours for the taking. 

The more you get to know your consumers - the more likely you are to develop campaigns that resonate long beyond buying and selling -- keeping them coming back to you no matter where they are in the lifecycle or what their needs are.

Branding is certainly not only for big, national brands. Some of the most successful brands are small, local organizations that are rallying a geo-targeted audience for support. So all the same things you see these brands trying - you should consider too. 

Remember - buyers are looking for something to follow along with, so push yourself to use imagery beyond the literal - showing your buyers more than just what’s for sale. Include images of units being used, pictures without units at all - focusing more on the lifecycle - or giving consumers an inside peek at your dealership and all the goofiness and work that happens there. Give them something to connect with. Something that resonates with them and makes them want to follow along. Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery - so encourage check out other companies - in your area and nationwide, in your industry and outside - to see what’s working for other businesses and then adapt that strategy for yourself.

Brands have staying power. It’s why they are so important. There will always be someone else who comes along that can do what you do - but it’s the brand, and the emotional connection you’re working to develop with your followers, that is designed to withstand the competition. The stronger you make your brand - the stronger you are.
Trader Online Web Developer

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Seasonality: How to Guard Yourself During the Winter Months

Seasonality is like a dirty word in our industry. The weather turns cold and riders across the country roll their bikes into the garage for the season. Not only are they not riding - they aren’t buying - which can put a strain on the bottom line of your dealership.

If we had a solution that could completely remove seasonality - we would definitely be your favorite people around. But since that magical power doesn’t exist yet - hopefully Elon Musk is working on it - we can at least provide you with some tips to help you get through the slower months of the year.

Don’t stop your advertising campaigns
We don’t have to tell you that buyers are passionate about riding - so they don’t stop thinking about it when the weather turns cold. They are shopping year round trying to decide what bike they want to be on come spring. And here’s the cold hard truth - if you stop advertising during the winter months, these buyers may have already decided on another dealership by the time you restart your campaigns - solely because they didn’t know your dealership existed since you weren’t present where they were searching.

Engage your current community
The off-season is a great time to build brand awareness within your current community. You know they won’t be distracted by nice weather or the promise of a great ride - so help fuel their passion for the industry and your dealership while you can capture their attention. Think about hosting a DIY workshop with one of your mechanics or have any first-time buyers come by the dealership for some riding advice. This is a really powerful community for you to engage because they chose to buy from you - instead of someone else - making them ideal candidates to be true brand advocates for your dealership. Spend the winter months showing them how much you appreciate their business and how you will continue to serve them post-purchase.

Plan for busier months
Once warmer months roll back around - your dealership will be busy and it gets harder and harder to continue with your engagement and marketing plans because you are focusing on sales. We get it - that’s what keeps your dealership afloat. Take advantage of the quieter season to build out as many plans as you can - so when the busy season rolls around, you can just “pop them open”, so to speak, and they’re ready to go.

Think about creating evergreen content that you can easily use when the time is right. You could write a number of generic unit descriptions for popular makes and models you carry so that they can be adjusted slightly for a specific piece of inventory - taking some of the work out of putting up listings during the busy season. Or work on developing a content repository for your social media efforts so you have some of your posts already scheduled.

You can also take this time to evaluate the pictures you’re using on your inventory. If most of your imagery is stock photography - take the time to update those with actual pictures of your units. Then as you receive new inventory in - you can photograph those on the fly. By doing this work ahead of time - it will alleviate some of the stress come high season - so you can focus on implementation and selling.

By viewing seasonality as a time to build and refine - you’ll see that these quiet months can actually be some of the most beneficial for your dealership. It’s your time to distinguish your dealership against the competition and get ready for the inevitably busy season to come. If you back off during the colder months - you’ll lose momentum - and that will put you behind the competitor who capitalized on seasonality come selling season. It’s hard to catch up once you’re behind. Don’t take the risk.

Trader Online Web Developer

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Importance of Employee Appreciation

It’s crazy to think Thanksgiving is right around the corner and the holiday season will soon be in full swing. It’s a time when people count all the things they are thankful for -- and friends, family, and health usually top that list. But, have you ever thought of including your employees in that list as well? Your team is the life of your business - that’s why it’s crucial to make sure they feel valued and appreciated year-round. We’ll dive into why employee appreciation is so vital to a business and give you a few ideas on how to step up your gratitude game. 

So, why is employee appreciation so important?
Happy people make happy employees - it’s as simple as that. It might sound obvious, but when your team feels valued, morale and motivation tend to rise. According to a survey by Recruiter Box, the number one reason most Americans leave their jobs is they don’t feel appreciated. It’s a sad fact that can be avoided. The same survey stated that organizations with effective recognition programs have 31% lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective programs. So, if you’re trying to keep your employees around it may be time to start an employee recognition program. We’ll give you a few ideas on how to show gratitude for your employee's hard work year-round. 

Public Praise - There’s nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned recognition by simply telling your employees they are doing a great job, but if you want to go the extra mile, try sending a company-wide email or giving a shout out to your employees on your dealership’s social media pages or on the homepage of your website. When you show off your team’s hard work it shows that you are proud of them and that you value them as employees.

Provide Fun Benefits - If your employees are going above and beyond and are exceeding their goals there’s no doubt they should be rewarded. Providing fun benefits to your team can boost morale and can provide motivation. Hosting a happy hour or team lunch, leaving them a small gift, or letting your employees leave early are just a few ideas on how to show your gratitude. Get creative with the benefits you provide, after all, you know your employees best.

Get Your Team Involved - It’s always nice to hear praises from the boss, but it’s also a great idea to get your team involved in your appreciation program. Ask employees to nominate their peers for employee of the month or start a kudos board in your break room where your team can praise each other's efforts.

Make Small Dealership Updates - If your dealership has the financial means, making a few small updates to your space can go a long way for employees. You could start small by buying an updated coffee maker or adding a variety of snacks, tea and coffee options for your employees. Creating a dedicated space for your employees to gather and relax shows your team that you care about their well being and enjoyment in the workplace.

These are just a few ideas to get the wheels turning on ways you can show your employees how much you care about and value them at work. Do you have an employee appreciation program at your dealership? Share your ideas in the comment section below.
Trader Online Web Developer

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Retargeting Explained

There’s a ton of technology out there focused on marketing to people who have already been in contact with your brand online. And if we’re being honest, the sheer amount of technology we have access to can be overwhelming at times. But we’re here to help. Do the terms remarketing or retargeting sound familiar? These strategies are becoming increasingly popular ways for brands to connect with consumers. So let's break down the difference between the two strategies, review exactly what retargeting is, and talk about how it’s being used to reach customers.

So, what is the difference between retargeting and remarketing?
Glad you asked. A lot of people get confused about retargeting and remarketing because the terms are often used interchangeably, but they are different. The biggest difference between retargeting and remarketing is the strategy that's used to reach potential customers who have left your website. Retargeting works to engage consumers who have left your website without making a purchase or completing a desired action, and typically relies on cookies to drop ads. Remarketing, on the other hand, usually relies on email - but can also encompass any marketing to a consumer known to your business. It’s a great option rather than blind advertising because the consumer has already shown some kind of interest in your dealership, heightening your chance of a conversion.

But, let’s dive into retargeting..
As we mentioned, retargeting is a form of online targeted advertising where the goal is to reach the large percent of people who might have interacted with your website but left without completing the desired call to action (making a purchase, completing a form, submitting a lead, etc.). According to Outbrain, the average conversion rate for first-time site visitors is just 2%, so retargeting was designed to help reach the other 98% by following website visitors through either online or placement ads after they have left your website. Have you ever visited a website and clicked on a product without purchasing? We all have. Have you seen that same product in ad space on a different website? That’s retargeting, and it’s all possible thanks to cookies - which is a small piece of data sent from a website that’s stored in the browser of the user which allows tracking of the websites they visit.

Check out the image below to see the flow of retargeting:


Has retargeting seen positive results?
Retargeting has been a huge success for many businesses and is becoming an increasingly popular marketing strategy. In fact, according to a survey by Invespcro, retargeting customers are three times more likely to click on your ad than people who haven’t interacted with your business before. In the same survey, 26% of customers said they will return to a site through retargeting and these numbers are expected to grow as 50% of marketers say their retargeting budget will increase in the next six months.

Are you interesting in retargeting?
If so, you’re in luck. We’ve just released brand new retargeting offerings for our dealers, and many have already seen huge success. We are offering the following retargeting product offerings:
  • Display Retargeting 
  • Dynamic Retargeting - Unit Ad Listing 
  • Dynamic Retargeting - Social Unit Ad Listing (Facebook & Instagram specific) 
If you haven’t talked to your Cycle Trader representative about integrating retargeting into your package, what are you waiting for? The best part of our retargeting product is that we do all the work for you. Call your Cycle Trader representative today at 888.747.1192 - they’d love to walk you through our various retargeting products to find which will best fit your needs.
Trader Online Web Developer

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Tips for Hiring the Right People

It’s no secret that hiring the right people can either make or break your business - especially in our customer service-focused industry. That’s why it’s so crucial to have a solid team in place at your dealership. Sounds simple, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Finding your next great employee isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help. We’ll give you 5 quick tips on hiring the right people so your business can continue to succeed and grow in new ways.

Be honest and clear about what the job entails - To find the right employee, you’ll want to start by writing a detailed job description to avoid wasting your time on unqualified candidates. Be sure to include all duties and responsibilities that will be expected of the position (even less glamorous aspects). This shows future employees what’s expected of them and will help them decide if the position is a good fit even before formally applying. It’s also a good idea to include “Other duties as assigned” just to make sure you leave some room for additional tasks not explicitly covered in the description.

Interview more than one person for the job - It’s okay to be picky when hiring a new employee, in fact, we encourage it. Even if you feel like your first candidate’s interview went well and they would be suitable for the job, interview at least two or three more. It’s always a good idea to have a large selection of candidates when hiring so you can be confident that you’ve chosen the ideal fit for the position. Don’t have a ton of applicants for your role? It’s okay to hold out for the right one - and sometimes talking to candidates who aren’t the right fit helps to show you who the right fit would be.

Know exactly what you’re looking for - You’re likely to have an abundance of applications come in once you post a job, even if they all aren’t necessarily qualified, so the tricky part is weeding out applicants. It’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for in an employee and it’s a good idea to have a list of non-negotiable qualifications that you’d like to see on a resume (ie: sales experience, customer service experience, etc.). If the applicant doesn’t have all of the qualifications you require, move on to the next. 

Have a list of questions ready - Having the questions you plan on asking written down will keep you on track during an interview and will ensure candidates remain on a level playing field when it comes to questions. Scenario questions are great options that can help you get a real feel for the candidate and you can easily compare how others handled the question. We always like to throw in a few abstract questions - like what’s the best compliment you’ve ever received - to see how quickly a candidate can think on their feet, and get to know them a little better.

Keep personality in mind - Personality is so important when it comes to hiring a future employee. Keep in mind how the candidate’s personality traits align with the potential job as well as the company culture. In some cases, it’s a good idea to get your current team involved in the hiring process to see if everyone jives together and if your team has any feedback on the particular candidate. Plus, it will help them feel more invested when their new co-worker starts, helping ease the transition. 

Every dealership needs a strong team in place, and it all starts with the hiring process. We hope these tips will help you take a deeper look at your own process to see what’s working and what might need tweaking when it comes to hiring future employees.
Trader Online Web Developer

Friday, October 5, 2018

Top Searched Makes and Models of Q3 2018

Another quarter has flown by, and we’re here to hit you with all the info you need to know when it comes to the top searched makes and models of Q3 2018. We’ve seen a few consistencies, as well as a few changes, we think you’ll find interesting and informative when it comes to what consumers are searching for on our site. Let’s break them down for you.

Top 5 searched models of Q3 2018:
  • Dirt Bike 
  • Trike 
  • Cruiser 
  • Sportbike 
  • Scooter 
Dirt bikes took the top spot in Q3 with 13% of all total searches, but are down 1% from last quarter. We have, however, consistently seen them rank in the top spot for searches, and we predict that this trend will continue. Trikes came in second place with a total of 12%, remaining consistent with last quarter's numbers. We did see a change in rank this quarter as cruisers move up to third place, with 10% while sportbikes move down a rank to fourth, with 9.8%. Cruiser searches have increased by roughly 2% as compared to Q2 - and we’re interested to see if they remain in third place next quarter. Scooter searches were up 1% from last quarter, and remain in fifth place coming in at 9%.

Top 5 searched makes of Q3 2018:
  • Harley-Davidson 
  • Honda 
  • Yamaha 
  • Kawasaki 
  • Suzuki 
Harley-Davidson remains in the top spot for most searched makes in Q3 2018 at 21% of total searches. Honda comes in second with 18% (1% higher than last quarter), and Yamaha comes in third with 11%. Kawasaki rounds out fourth at 8%, and Suzuki comes in fifth at 7%. All top makes remain fairly consistent in their numbers as compared to Q2 2018 and rankings remain the same as well. We’ll have to wait and see if a manufacturer shakes up this list in Q4.

Stay tuned for our Q4 report coming this January and let us know how your dealership compares with our findings in the comments below.
Trader Online Web Developer

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tips for Using Live Chat

We’ve covered the benefits of live chat before, but now it’s time to dive into a few useful tips on actually using this popular feature. And just to give a quick recap - live chat is beneficial in a variety of ways because: 
  • It makes communication more personal 
  • It gives consumers the ability to get an instant response 
  • It builds customer relationships 
  • Last but not least, it’s easily accessible 
In this day and age, customer service is everything and live chat can make a huge difference in communication if you know how to use it properly. We’ve got a few quick tips to make sure both you and your customers get the most out of the online chat experience.
  • Answer customers in a timely fashion - Let’s face it, no one likes waiting. We live in a world of people who want answers and they want them NOW. Keep in mind when a consumer chats you, they want a response quickly and are likely to move on to a dealer who will answer faster rather than wait around for a response. 
  • Introduce yourself - Start your conversation by introducing yourself rather than just soley jumping into answering the question. Consumers are used to speaking to robots or being left on hold, so this is your chance to stand out. Stating your name, your position, and how you are going to help reassures them that they are speaking with a real person. Consumers want to feel a personal connection even though the conversation is just over the computer. 
  • LISTEN to your customer - This might seem obvious, but it’s crucial to really listen to the consumer and to stay attentive during the entirety of your conversation - don’t just think of them as a sale. Read their questions or concerns thoroughly so you can avoid repeat questions throughout your chat. 
  • If you don’t have an instant answer, let the customer know - Sometimes you won’t have all the answers immediately and that’s okay. If a customer asks about a bike spec that you don’t know, let them know you are going to look into it and will follow up immediately after you get the correct information. Yes, consumers love immediacy, but they will appreciate you taking the time to get the answer correct. 
  • Use full sentences and correct grammar - Internet slang might work in chat rooms or when texting, but we suggest avoiding it during your live chat conversations. Consumers want their questions answered and want to know they are speaking to a true professional during the conversation. 
  • Avoid “pitching” during live chat conversations - While locking in a sale is the ultimate goal, we recommend avoiding pitching customers via live chat. Feel free to add in additional plugs about a specific unit, but only as it relates to their initial question. All in all - don’t bombard them with too much information in the beginning, just see where the conversation takes you. 
We hope these tips will enhance your next live chat experience, and if you haven’t talked to your Cycle Trader representative about integrating live chat into your dealer page on our site, what are you waiting for? Our live chat product can be easily added to any package and offers you the chance to connect with potential buyer’s in a whole new way. The chat box appears on each of your Cycle Trader listings, so if consumers have questions about a specific unit, they can ask you in real-time. Call your Cycle Trader representative today at 888.747.1192 - they’d love to walk you through this increasingly popular feature.
Trader Online Web Developer

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Engaging New Riders - Tips for Capturing the Millennial Market

In our industry - the term ‘millennials’ feels like a curse word. They seem impossible, are unlike any set of buyers that have come before them, and honestly, are making all of our lives a little difficult these days. They don’t follow the same formula that previous generations have, and that makes them especially difficult to market to and ultimately convert. But the reality is that we are stuck with them - and as of this year, according to Forbes, they will have more buying power than any other generation. So - as the saying goes - if we can’t beat them, we might as well join them. And the key to joining them, is understanding them. So here are the top five things you need to know to help capture that impossible and elusive millennial market.

They’re all about community and the experience — Both locally and within the larger community. They are looking for a way to find other like-minded people to share their passion with - which, at the end of the day, is the core of our industry. But, it can be hard initially to get involved in a community - so make sure to highlight to your potential millennial customers some ways they can get involved right from the initial point of purchase. You could host a first time riders night, have weekly meet-ups at a local brewery for existing customers, or host a motorcycle licensing class to help them get started.

They are into brands that stand for something  According to Forbes, 81% of millennials expect brands to publicly share their plans for corporate citizenship. While you often hear about corporate citizen on a large scale, that doesn’t mean they don’t expect you to be giving back as well. Millennials are focused on building a better country and community than what they inherited from previous generations - and they expect your help. This could be putting on a charitable ride or donating a portion of a sale to a larger, charitable cause - but no matter what you do, share it loud and proud so they know exactly what your dealership stands for.

And along those lines - they also care about the environment. This is an easy win with this group, as motorcycles are gas friendly and definitely easier on the environment than a huge SUV or even a four-door sedan. Even if they aren’t the millennials primary commuter vehicle, a motorcycle could be a great in-town car that lets them sub-out their regular car on the weekends or in the evenings. Many consumers might not think about the environmental impact of owning a motorcycle as opposed to a traditional car - so make sure to point it out to them.

Debt is not their thing — According to How Stuff Works, despite having control of the buying power in this country, the millennial generation is the product of a recession and the first generation that might not make more than their parents did, which makes them hesitant to take on too much debt. Luckily, motorcycles are often less expensive than some other options - think boats, cars, RVs, etc. - and allows them to purchase their dream unit without tying them down to huge monthly payments. While helping a buyer understand the full purchase price of a unit is important, make sure to highlight how low their possible monthly payment would be to help them see the affordability of their new ride.

They rely on their parents — and we don’t just mean because they are living in their basement. No matter their housing situation, millennials got their first financial advice from their parents - and, according to Reuters, 78.5% of millennials still turn to their parents for this type of guidance. And, here’s why you should care, they may even bring them into the dealership to check out units with them. So - tread lightly when you see parents with their children because you never truly know who the one buying the bike might be.

At the end of the day, millennials are here to stay, whether we like it or not. They are going to be a big part of our economy moving forward, and finding a way to bring them into the motorcycle industry is a big focus for us all.
Trader Online Web Developer

Monday, August 13, 2018

What’s the Deal With Live Chat?

Customer service is everything in the business world, and as technology continues to change, the way we interact with customers is changing as well. For many consumers, live chat has become an increasingly important feature when communicating with a seller and vice versa. The current generation is used to getting anything they can dream of in an instant, and they expect the same service when it comes to communication from various businesses.

Live chat is an extremely comfortable way for buyers and sellers to quickly communicate and problem solve when used properly. Countless companies have added this feature to their websites in order to provide real-time answers to their customers - and consumers are LOVING it. According to Super Office, more than half of all customers prefer to chat with someone in real-time and online, rather than call a company for support. Don’t get us wrong, phone calls are still extremely important, but it’s becoming crucial for businesses to offer a variety of communication options for their customers. In fact, the same report mentioned that 79% of customers say they prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels.

And live chat isn’t just great for your customers, there are real benefits to your business as well. Of the companies they’ve surveyed, Zoho reported that 43% claimed to have a better understanding of their customers after interacting with them in a live chat software - and understanding who your customer base is and what they care about is vital. According to another study by Forrester, live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate - the results truly speak for themselves.

So, what are some other benefits of live chat?
  • Consumers get to talk to a real person - There’s nothing worse than being put on hold for an indefinite amount of time, just to speak to a robot. While live chat is solely online, it still lets the consumer talk to a real-life human in a timely manner. 
  • Instant customer satisfaction - We live in an instant gratification world and consumers want answers fast. Live chat gives you the ability to quickly answer any question a potential buyer might have on the spot. 
  • Easily accessible for customers - Live chat allows your customers to easily contact you wherever they might be with just a click of a button. 
  • Builds customer relationships - If you respond quickly and efficiently, consumers are bound to come back to you if they have specific questions. 
Have you thought about integrating live chat into your dealer page on Cycle Trader? If so, we can help. Call your Cycle Trader representative today at 888.747.1192 - they’d love to walk you through this increasingly popular feature.

Stay tuned for more information on specific tips for using live chat, coming soon!

Trader Online Web Developer

Monday, July 30, 2018

Check Out Our New TraderTraxx App

Love TraderTraxx? Now you have the power to access everything you know and love about TraderTraxx in a new way with our app. Not familiar with TraderTraxx? No problem - we’ll break it down for you.

TraderTraxx is a completely free platform for Cycle Trader customers - that’s right, we said free. It’s included in your membership and it provides in-depth reporting to give you a clear picture of how your inventory is performing, insight into what Cycle shoppers are looking for and gives you the ability to manage your listings.

TraderTraxx also provides two amazing tools you should be taking advantage of, the Price Analysis Tool (P.A.T.) and Market Insights. P.A.T. gives you the power to easily pinpoint the optimal price in your local marketplace, as well as nationwide for your listings based on their make, model and year - taking the hassle out of manual research. P.A.T. also helps you understand if you are priced competitively in your local marketplace, as well as nationwide.

The second tool TraderTraxx provides is Market Insights. Market Insights is made up of three individual reports each designed to give you a better picture of the supply and demand for your inventory locally and nationwide, and also lets you check in on what units are piquing customer interest. Within each report, you have the ability to view the top model years for each unit and how many are available on

Pretty amazing, right?

We think so too, and we’re excited to be able to offer all of the great things you are already familiar with plus some new features in our new easy-to-use app like:
  • The option to add, remove, edit, and take pictures and videos of your listings without an internet connection, and then sync up later when you get back online. 
  • The ability to turn on push notifications so you can reach out to that interested buyer right away - don't worry, you can toggle this on or off when you need to. 
  • Lastly, you can listen to phone calls and reply to emails from within the app, giving you the ability to reply to your potential buyer right away. 
The app is currently available for iOS & Android users today!

Trader Online Web Developer

Monday, July 16, 2018

Top Searched Makes and Models for Q2 2018

Keeping you in the know is important to us, especially when it comes to the latest industry news and consumer trends, and in Q2 2018, we saw some interesting data. We’ll catch you up on the makes and models Cycle Trader consumers were searching for in the second quarter of 2018. Let’s break them down.

Top 5 searched models of Q2 2018: 
  • Dirt Bike 
  • Trike 
  • Sportbike 
  • Cruiser 
  • Scooter 
Dirt Bikes took the top spot in Q2 2018 as the most searched model with 14% of total consumer searches. Trikes came in second place and resulted in 12% of all searches, while Sportbikes came in a close third at 12%. In fourth place at 10%, Cruisers are slightly down from last quarter, but we continue to see them rank in the top five searched models. Scooters came in fifth place, with more than 8% of total searches on Cycle Trader. We are eager to see how this data might change as we are still in the thick of buying season.

Top 5 searched makes of Q2 2018: 
  • Harley-Davidson 
  • Honda 
  • Yamaha 
  • Kawasaki 
  • Suzuki 
Harley-Davidson remains in the top spot for most searched makes in Q2 2018 with 21% of total searches (that’s more than seven million consumers searching for the manufacturer). Honda comes in a close second with 17% and Yamaha rounds out third place with 11% of total searches. Kawasaki comes in fourth with 8% and Suzuki takes fifth coming in at 7% of total searches on Cycle Trader. The rankings of the top makes this quarter remains comparable to last quarter - it looks like consumers are staying consistent.

As the year progresses we’re interested to see how these numbers might change. Let us know how our findings compare to consumer interest at your dealership and drop us a line in the comments below.

Trader Online Web Developer

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Guide to Making Your Listing Photos Great

The buying process for nearly everything has changed over the past few decades. With the consistent growth and evolution of technology, online research has become increasingly important to buyers when they make a purchase - large or small. Having top-notch photos is crucial to get more eyes on your listings. Check out these 8 easy tips that will make sure your photos paint a clear picture for potential buyers.

1. Make it Shine - Make sure the unit you're selling (new or used) is clean. Buyers want to see their potential bike in tip-top condition, so make sure you give the unit a detailed wash before putting it out on the floor or your lot. Sponges and brushes are great for the intricate details of a bike, and they remove dirt and grime with ease.

2. Use the Right Camera - Are you using a camera that produces high-quality photos? If not, you’ll want to make sure your camera is fairly recent so your photos are clear and not grainy. Most smartphones have amazing cameras, which is a great option that won’t require you to purchase a new camera, but if you’re wanting to take your photos to the next level, consider investing in a new point and shoot model. Most newer point and shoots are very easy to use and take crystal clear photos. It’s also a good idea to get an extra memory card with your camera to make sure you have enough storage for all of your listing photos.

3. Shoot at the Right Time of Day - Lighting is important when it comes to taking photos, so you’ll want to keep in mind the time of day you choose to shoot. Avoid taking listing photos midday when the lighting is harsh, and instead, opt to take photos in the morning or late afternoon where the lighting is “warmer” and less likely to wash out your photos. Cloudy days can also be great photoshoot days, but make sure it’s not too dark and avoid taking photos at night where flash would be required.

4. Keep in Mind Positioning and Location - When taking listing photos, you’ll want to keep in mind where you’re positioning the bike. It’s important that the one bike you are trying to sell is the focal point of your shot - you don’t want to confuse potential buyers by having multiple bikes in the photo or in the background.

5. Take a Few Test Photos - It’s important to take your time while shooting your listing photos, as they are a crucial part of your entire listing. Take a few test photos of your unit to make sure the lighting is right, the camera is clear, and that you are satisfied with the outcome. If you aren’t pleased with the photos you can take a step back and see what might need to change to enhance your photo (positioning, lighting, etc.).

6. Have a Variety of Photos - We cannot stress this enough - take a lot of photos. Buyers want to see every angle of the bike before walking into the dealership so they can visually picture themselves on a new ride. Take a few full shots (showing the whole bike) as well as detailed, close-up shots. We suggest having a full bike shot as your main listing photo to grab the customer’s attention right off the bat, then they can explore more photo options as desired.

7. Be Honest and Authentic - For our used sellers out there, it’s extremely important to be honest to your customers. Don’t hide the imperfections of the bike you are trying to sell. If the unit has a few dings or scratches, consumers deserve to know - they really don’t want to be surprised when they come to view the unit in-person. As for new units, it’s also a good idea to stay away from using stock photos of your unit - consumers appreciate authentic photos.

8. Highlight Special Features - Does the bike you’re selling have any special features? Make sure you are highlighting them in both your listing photos AND descriptions. As we mentioned earlier, consumers want to picture themselves on the bike, and showing them unique features will have a higher chance of piquing their interest.

We hope that these 8 tips have helped you realize taking listing photos doesn’t have to be difficult. Getting the right photo takes some practice, but your buyers will thank you in the end. If you need additional help creating a description for your listing, click here.

Trader Online Web Developer

Monday, June 18, 2018

What You Need to Know About Co-Op Advertising

Have you ever wondered if co-op advertising could work for your dealership? Not sure of the process? We’ll break it down and show you how to maximize your advertising dollars.

What is Co-Op advertising exactly?

Co-op advertising is essentially a partnership between a manufacturer and a dealership to share the cost of local advertising. While a manufacturer may advertise their products nationally, that doesn’t give them the ability to tell the consumer where to buy their product locally. To help facilitate local advertising, the manufacturer relies on local dealers, just like you, to determine the best way to spend advertising dollars on their targeted consumer.

It is important to note that co-op reimbursement is for new inventory, and you have the ability to accrue funds during a predetermined period based on the vehicles purchased from the manufacturer -but there is a limited time period in which to spend these funds. Unused funds don’t carry over to the next advertising cycle so many funds are unfortunately wasted.

So, why wouldn’t you use all of your co-op funds?

Co-op is complicated and can take a lot of time out of your already busy schedule. We asked some dealer directly why they don’t use their co-op funds and the most popular responses were:

“Co-op is more trouble than it’s worth,” “I don’t know how much co-op funding I have,” “It takes too long to get reimbursed,” “I don’t have someone to manage the program,” “I don’t have someone to create the graphics,” “My claims often get rejected,” and more.

How can Cycle Trader help?

Lucky for you, we offer solutions to make co-op quick, easy, and turnkey. And - as a bonus, we’ve been helping dealers like you manage the co-op process for years and have the staff to assist with all stages of the co-op claim - so you can spend more time running your dealership and less time doing extra paperwork.

Although we can’t determine how many funds you have accrued, we can help guide you to the sites where that information can be found. All manufacturers have co-op resource centers that can give you the details you need to know about their specific co-op funds.

The co-op process is easier than you might think, considering our experts can assist and manage the program for you. We get pre-approval of every graphic, we compile the metrics of each campaign, we make the required screen grab of every banner, and when permitted we submit the claim directly to the manufacturer. For manufacturers that require you to submit your own claims, we will provide all of the paperwork and send them directly to you with instructions on how they are to be submitted.

To top it off, you don’t have to worry about creating graphics. We have a graphics team that utilizes the artwork available from each manufacturer to create banners that follow all of the co-op guidelines. Because we use manufacturer supplied graphics, we can guarantee that any claim that utilizes our graphics will not be rejected due to incorrect content. We’re so confident of our process that we include a guarantee with all of our signed agreements.

Interested in our co-op offerings or have additional questions? Give us a call today and let us help you advertise for less (757-448-4555).
Trader Online Web Developer

Friday, June 8, 2018

Using Video for Your Business

With the rise of the digital age, consumers have undoubtedly changed over the years - so as businesses, the way we market to those consumers has had to evolve as well. With all of the changes happening in the marketing world, it’s more important than ever to keep up with the latest consumer fads & trends, and trust us - we’ve seen them all. But one trend we know is going to stick around for years and years to come is video marketing.

Consumers love video content - and we have the stats prove it. According to WordStream, one-third of all online activity is spent watching video, and it’s projected that by 2019, Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic. This means, while having a video strategy might not have been an important part of your business in the past - it will be in the future as more and more buyers rely on video as a crucial part of their search, and we expect this to increase as our world becomes more digital. 

Consumers don’t like wasting time and they want to see exactly what they are considering buying even before walking into a dealership, both on your website and in your listing - this includes video. So with all that said, what do consumers expect from your video presence? We asked them.

If you decide to put videos in your listings, 80% of Cycle Trader consumers are hoping to see a detailed walk around and an in-depth review of the unit. While photos are great and should be included in your listing, videos have the ability to show consumers the true look and feel of the bike in a more personal way. The video should highlight the unit in its entirety and you should also take some time to talk about its perks and any features unique to that specific model. Videos are also a great way to showcase yourself and your employees as industry experts - reputation is everything in the business world.

If you’re looking for a way to host these videos so you can include them in your listings or elsewhere, YouTube is a great platform you should be taking advantage of. By uploading a variety of videos to your page, potential buyers have the opportunity to engage with your dealership even before visiting. YouTube makes it easy to upload your videos, then you have access to share them on your website and various social media platforms. When creating these videos, consider this:
  • 40% of people said they’d like to see product reviews and testimonials videos 
  • 19% would like to see how-to videos 
  • 14% want to see a behind the scenes look at your dealership 
If you consistently provide unique video content, consumers are bound to come back for more. In fact, 54% of Cycle Trader consumers said they would watch more than one video, and 61% they are more likely to view your website after viewing your videos.

If you haven’t explored the world of video marketing, what are you waiting for?

Trader Online Web Developer

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Move to Digital

It’s no secret the advertising space is ever-changing. Through all the change, one thing remains constant - the digital marketplace. But why exactly is digital marketing/advertising taking the world by storm? We’re here to shed some light.

Chances are if you look around a crowded room - anywhere these days - you’ll see the majority of people glued to their smartphones, tablets, or computers - and it’s easy to see why. The way we receive information has changed, therefore the way we put out information & promote ourselves needed to change as well. Print, radio, and other forms of traditional media had a large impact on consumers (and in certain cases still do) before the rise of the digital revolution, but the world is evolving and technology isn’t slowing down any time soon. In fact, according to the Technology Review, time spent online by the average American has grown from 9.4 hours to 23.6 hours every week since 2000. Of that, time spent on the internet at home has risen from 3.3 to 17.6 hours a week.

Those stats aren’t surprising to us because we have seen the value of digital marketing first-hand. Digital marketing is a great option for a variety of businesses because:
  • It can be more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods - Print, radio, direct mail, and billboards often come in at higher price points and digital marketing allows businesses to choose certain packages or advertising options that will give them the most bang for their buck. 
  • It helps reach a more targeted/segmented audience - Digital marketing also allows businesses to tailor campaigns to certain audiences and demographics for more effective marketing. 
  • It’s more easily tracked & monitored - Digital marketing can help companies see what’s working and what might need to be tweaked/updated to improve results. It also helps businesses see what methods are bringing in the most prospects and leads. 
  • It caters to the mobile consumer - In this day and age consumers are always on the move, so having a responsive digital marketing platform that caters to consumers on the go is crucial in today’s tech-centric world. 
  • It provides small businesses with a level playing field - In the past, larger, well-established companies took over the marketplace - plain and simple. Digital marketing now allows equal opportunity in the online marketplace by letting businesses remain competitive no matter their size. 
Digital marketing still has similar benefits to traditional marketing, but in a more in-depth and advanced way. For instance, at Cycle Trader, we have the ability to track your dealership’s performance to help you learn more about your business’ performance and also help you take a deeper dive into your customer’s behavior. With traditional methods of marketing, it’s a little harder to determine exactly who was influenced by your advertising and what impact it had on your business. Digital marketing is not always perfectly trackable, but there are countless benefits.

Companies across the globe are recognizing digital marketing as a necessity for a successful business - but don’t get us wrong, traditional methods of marketing & advertising can still offer successful options for many businesses depending on the type of audience you’re trying to reach, so it’s important to still cater to them, while focusing on the digital consumer as well. As always, your marketing mix should be diversified and varied - but digital should absolutely make up a decent portion of your overall strategy. People are consuming digital content faster than ever before and with the trends we’re seeing the way of the future is undoubtedly digital. And as a digital platform, we’re privileged to provide you with a wide array of modern and effective advertising/marketing solutions to reach those consumers.

Trader Online Web Developer

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Top Searched Makes and Models From Q1 2018

Here at Cycle Trader, it’s our goal to keep you in the know about the latest consumer trends and insights. With the unique ability to track millions of consumers’ search habits on our site, we want to share valuable information that can impact your bottom line. And in Q1 of 2018, we’ve seen some interesting data. Let’s break down the top searched makes and models from the first quarter of the year.

Top 5 searched models of Q1 2018:
  • Cruiser 
  • Sport Bike 
  • Touring 
  • Dirt Bike 
  • Dual Sport 
Cruisers lead the charge, with nearly 13% of all Cycle Trader consumers searching for this particular type of bike. Cruisers held this top spot in Q1 2017 as well - so this consumer interest is clearly not just a fad! Sport bikes come in a close second accounting for 10.5% of all searches, followed by touring models at 7.6%.

Top 5 searched makes of Q1 2018:
  • Harley-Davidson 
  • Honda 
  • Yamaha 
  • Kawasaki 
  • Suzuki 
Harley-Davidson dominates the top spot when it comes to top searched makes of Q1 2018 with 20% of all Cycle Trader consumers searching for the manufacturer, dropping just 1% Y.O.Y. Honda comes in second place at 14%, and Yamaha takes third place with 10% of all searches. The numbers for the top five searched makes of this of Q1 2018 remain comparable Y.O.Y. And, even though Indian didn’t come in the top five searched makes - they placed 11th - we are interested to see where they fall in the future as they continue to rise in the industry.

It’s hard to believe Q1 has already come to a close. As manufacturers continue to focusing on growing new riders with new bikes, we are interested to see what Q2 will bring. Did you see similar trends at your dealership? Let us know in the comments below.
Trader Online Web Developer

Friday, April 20, 2018

Are You Using Market Insights?

According to Hubspot, half of shoppers spend at least 75% of their total shopping time conducting online research. So, if you’re customers are doing their research, shouldn’t you be doing yours? As you know, TraderTraxx is packed with a variety of helpful tools designed to enhance your business. We’ve touched on the the Price Analysis Tool, but another feature of TraderTraxx that can help on the research front is Market Insights.

Market Insights is a series of three reports that were each created with your business in mind. The reports in this suite makes research easy by allowing you to understand supply and demand in your local market as well as nationwide, and also lets you check in on what units are piquing consumer interest. Within each report you have access to view the top model years for each unit and how many are available on, meaning you don’t have to conduct a manual search - we’re all about saving you valuable time. You also have the option to customize the report to see what’s relevant to you with filters including:
  • New and used 
  • Make, model, and trim 
  • Cycle, ATV, PWC, and Snowmobile 
As we mentioned, Market Insights is made up of three separate reports - each giving you a detailed 30-day snapshot. Let’s break each of them down for you:
  • Market Interest: Focuses on ranking inventory by listing pageviews 
  • Market Connections: Highlights the number of connections generated by each unit 
  • Market Activity: Shows what other interactions a consumer has had with a particular unit - including printing the listing, sending it to a friend, or viewing a video 
Market Insights can help you strategically plan your inventory, and give you a first-hand look at what units consumers are really looking for in their next unit. We are all about getting you ahead of the competition and the tools in TraderTraxx are designed for just that reason - and the best part is they’re only a few clicks away.

If you need help navigating TraderTraxx and any of its tools, feel free to contact your Cycle Trader representative at 888.747.1192.
Trader Online Web Developer

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Making the Most of the Price Analysis Tool

One topic we see come up time and time again in the cycle industry is price. It’s without a doubt one of the top driving factors for buyers. In fact, when asked what is most important when searching - 28% of buyers confirmed it was price. As a dealer, it’s important to know how your pricing stacks up to the competition - and that’s not always easy. But lucky for you, as a Cycle Trader customer you have access to our Price Analysis Tool in the TraderTraxx platform. So, what exactly does the Price Analysis Tool actually do and why should you bother checking it out? We’ve broken down the nuts and bolts of this tool to show you how it can help your business thrive in new ways.

The Price Analysis Tool represents the first time motorcycle and Powersports dealers just like you have access to real-time pricing insights and makes it super easy to:
  • Determine if you are priced competitively as compared to similar inventory in the market 
  • See the volume of competition in both your local market and nationwide 
  • Excel in your inventory management and purchasing strategies
We know how important it is to have competitive pricing, as it increases your chances of attracting buyers; which is why this tool has one-of-a-kind features that can help you pinpoint exactly what the median price is for a model listing of a specific make and year, without having to manually research and keep track of similar listings - saving you valuable time and energy.

The Price Analysis Tool makes it easy for you to see if you are pricing too high, too low, or somewhere in between. It automatically informs you of how many other listings are currently for sale of the same unit, helping to further position the price of your unit based on the current volume available in the market. When analyzing the price positioning, you also have the option to view by specific trim, or roll up to the main model - so you can get specific. You might be wondering, what if the bike I’m selling has upgrades and/or accessories? We’ve got that covered too. We provide an easy-to-access link so you can review other listings with those same features.

As you can see, the Price Analysis Tool provides a wealth of valuable statistics and insights exclusively available to our Cycle Trader dealers (at no extra cost to you). To take advantage of this tool, all you have to do is log in to TraderTraxx - it’s that simple. If you need help navigating TraderTraxx and any of its tools, feel free to contact your Cycle Trader representative at 888.747.1192 - they’d love to walk you through it.
Trader Online Web Developer

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dealership Loyalty

We know - cycle buyers are loyal. They know what kind of bike they want - and they will do just about anything to get it. But what about their loyalty to the dealership that sold them that bike? Honestly? It doesn’t run as deep. We asked buyers directly if they feel strongly about purchasing their next bike from the same dealership as their last - and 78% said no. But, we also asked them what a dealership could do to earn their loyalty, and we’ve got those answers for you here - because we both know that second and third sale is as important as the first. 

What the vast majority of these buyers value most when they are deciding between dealerships - and it should come as no surprise - is price. Behind manufacturer, price is the biggest motivator for these buyers. They have a budget - and they are sticking to it. After that - service (14%) and reputation (13%) were neck and neck, which makes sense. These buyers want someone reputable that can help them through the process and keep their bike running afterwards. This is where proactive reputation management comes in. You should be on top of what’s being said about your company online - whether it’s on social media platforms, review sites like Yelp, or search engines. You should check regularly to make sure that your information is correct and consistent, monitoring any reviews that may come your way, and actively respond to questions and comments - basically engaging with the buyers. All of these platforms are also great places to promote what else you can offer buyers beyond the sales process - like service - and can help you build a strong reputation that extends beyond just word-of-mouth. 

While that’s all great for attracting buyers who haven’t purchased from you before - what about keeping the ones you already have? In either case, the basics are still the same. Buyers shared they want you to give them better sales incentives (35%) and better service options (28%) than the competitor. This feels like the best and worst news they could offer because it’s so black and white. These buyers are deal motivated, so they want to feel like they’ve gotten something from you that they couldn’t get elsewhere - so keep that in mind when you are engaging them in the post sale process. Consider putting programs in place to eliminate buyers remorse - for instance, maybe you review the NADAGuides price estimator together to see how their bike falls on the scale or offer them a percentage off for being a repeat customer. Or try to coax them back in when they are ready to sell with programs designed to get them more money on their trade. When it comes to service, you could give them a discount on the anniversary of the sale or send them reminders to come in for milestone services with a coupon. Make sure to call these things out on your social platforms and website - and gather testimonials when they are successful for your customers - people love to know about other success stories.

At the end of the day - knowing that price and service are driving the buyer’s decision will help develop targeted strategies and campaigns to address those needs - and hopefully, win their loyalty.
Trader Online Web Developer

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What Consumers Really Want from Your Website

When you think about all the things your website does for you - from keeping your hours to housing your available inventory to giving potential buyers a deeper look into your dealership - it’s obvious why it’s such a crucial part of your business. It’s as much the face of your business as the sign out front. And the craziest part? You might have no idea who these buyers are that browse your website because they might not have reached out yet - so it’s important to have a website that can help close the deal for you. Think about it as your “soft” salesman, keeping leads warm until they’re ready for one of your main guys to step in and close.

And having an updated design and modern functionality may not seem like the most important thing you need to worry about - but 78% of buyers do say it will influence their perception of your dealership and the experience you’ll offer. If your website is a mess - shoppers may worry that the experience in your dealership might be a mess too. And no buyer wants that. This purchase is one that they are looking forward to - and they don’t want to make it more difficult than it needs to be.

We know you don’t want that either - so here are some things to keep in mind:

Build a Mobile Friendly Website
More and more buyers are checking out bikes on the go. They see a bike riding down the street or sitting in a parking lot that they’re interested in - and they’re automatically whipping out their phone to look it up. Same thing in their free time. Waiting to pick the kids up from school? Let’s see what bikes are available.

Mobile traffic on Cycle Trader went up by 17% as compared to this time in 2017. I don’t know exactly what your website analytics look like - but I’m guessing your numbers went up too. As for the buyers - 64% consider mobile functionality an important feature of a dealer’s website. They want the convenience - and anything you can do to fuel their passion, we’re all for.

Call Out Your Most Valuable Assets
Buyers come to your site to check out bikes - so it’s no surprise that 69% of buyers said that your vehicle detail pages are the most important thing on there. So when you are thinking about where to devote your time, that’s a good place to start. And the great thing is, the effort you put in here can be used in the other places where you advertise your listings - so by spending a decent amount of time here, you can actually knock out your listings across the board. We call that a win win.

The next closest page of importance at 18% is your Homepage. And that makes sense. Your homepage gives them a look at your dealership and what you have to offer. They may be able to see service or sales deals, interesting testimonials, etc. Having good info here helps set you apart from other dealers in the area that may carry similar inventory. Offer new rider classes? Have a group of moto-mommas who race nearby and buy from you? Putting on an event in a few weekends? This is the place to tell them. Homepages are the place for the not-so-humble brag.

While the Contact Us page may seem like a very important page from your perspective, only 6% of buyers felt the same - and it’s because buyers know how to get ahold of you if they want to talk. The page that shocked us with its lackluster love was the Service Page. Only 2% of buyers felt this was the most important page, which we guess makes sense since so much of our traffic is active buyers and they aren’t thinking about service now, but since service is such an important part of their bike’s future - we thought it might get some more votes. With that said - and this doesn’t happen often - despite what the data says, we would recommend putting some time into your service page. While buyers might not feel it’s the most important page - we’d bet that they rely on it more than they’re letting on here. Tell them why your service department is the one to keep them on the road longer - and, in case they’re new to riding, help them understand what milestones they should expect.

Keep In Mind Why Buyers Call - And That Might Not Be A Good Thing 
If a buyer can’t find the information on your website, they might give you a call - which is great news, right? Well - yes and no. Yes, because now you have the opportunity to talk with them, hopefully turning them into a qualified lead, and bringing them into your dealership. But also no - because from a best practices point of view - the digital buyer expects to be able to find what they are looking for on your website and can sometimes be annoyed if they have to call looking for additional information.

The majority of buyers on Cycle Trader said they would call either about a pricing question (40%) or to check the availability of the bike (48%). In our opinion, this is information that should be included on your website. While we understand that sometimes getting your inventory updated in real time can be tough, including a price should be the standard. If you want to read more about why we think including a price is so important - you can check out our article all about it here.

The experience that a buyer has on your website could determine if they are choose to do business with you. That can be tough to hear if you haven’t spent a lot of time on your site - but there’s no time like now and the power of websites is only growing.
Trader Online Web Developer

A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words... And So Is A Description

We all know that riders are buying more than just a bike - they’re buying a lifestyle. They’re ditching life on four-wheels for miles of open road. They’re often looking for life’s next big thrill -- and you want to encourage that. There are riders who know exactly what they want in their next bike and then there are riders who are so overwhelmed with options and have no idea where to begin -- as dealers, it’s your job to cater to both.

So, when they come across your listings online - are the pictures and descriptions you provide helping them to picture this lifestyle they’re thinking about? Most of the time - the answer is no.

We live in a digital and visual age -- so it’s no secret buyers want to see pictures (and lots of them). Having a large variety of high-quality photos helps eliminate any element of surprise when a buyer shows up to your dealership. They want to know up-front exactly what the bike looks like, what kind of condition it’s in and if there’s any damage -- honesty is always the best policy, especially when building trust with your buyers. It’s also important to have a top-notch feature photo that will quickly grab a buyer’s attention while they are scrolling through bike options. We suggest avoiding up-close, detailed shots for your main photo (those should be included in your additional gallery shots). Pictures that show the entire bike right off the bat excite buyers and make them more apt to click your listing over other competitors.

Once you’ve gained the attention of a potential buyer through photos -- it’s crucial to provide a detailed description of the bike you’re selling (especially for first-time buyers). Put yourself in the customer’s shoes -- why would they choose your bike over a similar model? Make sure to point out everything the bike has to offer a future rider. Does it have modifications or upgrades? Write about them. Is it a great option for first-time riders? Highlight why. It’s important not to overwhelm your customer, but that doesn't mean leaving out key details they need and want to know. Your listing should be well thought out, easy to understand, and most of all - helpful. Try to think of common questions a customer might ask and be sure to answer them in your listing.

Buyers want to imagine themselves on their next ride and you are the link that can help them understand what a particular bike can do for them. Putting the extra time and energy into creating your listings will pay off in the long run, and your customers will be sure to thank you.
Trader Online Web Developer

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Building your Business on Instagram: 3 Tips to Expand your Audience

It’s no secret that Instagram has become one of the most prominent social media platforms and the idea behind it is actually pretty simple - a digital online scrapbook. With nearly 800 million users as of September 2017, interacting with your audience on Instagram is a great way to showcase your dealership in a very visual and engaging way.

To help you hone your social strategy on Instagram, we’ve come up with three key tips to grow your following, engage your audience and get customers interested all through the simple use of this social platform.

  • Get your company's profile completely filled out. Without all of your information - including a profile picture - users may think that your Instagram account is actually spam. If they don’t trust your presence -- they could block or unfollow your Instagram account -- or even worse, you could even be reported. Don’t let that happen. Be sure your Instagram profile includes all of the following elements in full:

  • A clear profile image, featuring the most simplistic version of your logo possible. The amount of space provided for a profile photo is incredibly small, so you want people to be able to identify your business identity easily and without straining their eyes.

  • A link to your website. Instagram has a section on your profile where you can include a website or link, take advantage of that space. If a user notices you on Instagram and visits your profile, that is your chance to introduce yourself to them as who you really are. This way, they aren’t having to exit out of the app, open a browser, and search you on Google- they are directly linked to your website for information.

  • A short bio. You have a very limited number of characters to fill the “About” section of your profile so grab their attention right from the start. Include something about yourself being a business (“The best Harley dealer in Southwest Florida”), but add something to help them remember you by. Try not to be too corny, but whether it’s your company slogan or a quote, this can help draw your audience in and get them scrolling through your feed.

  • Engage with your followers to grow your audience. The thing about Instagram for business is that it isn’t an exact science - it's more of an art, with stable practice over time. You’re not going to grow by 20,000 followers overnight, but you definitely can grow by at least 20 a day with the proper tricks on hand. Try a few of these strategies known to grow business’ follower numbers exponentially over time:

  • Use hashtags in your posts. When people are searching for something on Instagram, such as a travel trailer, they will type into the searchbar “#traveltrailer.” You want to make sure your dealership’s profile and related posts to show up in their search - so make sure to include relevant hashtags to help that customer find you. The most successful and engaging posts include at least 11 hashtags, so depending on your niche, primary models carried, etc., choose the best ones that work for you. At least one should be focused on your company name, and most of the rest should be focused on the type of different makes and models carried by your dealership.

  • Engage with Instagram users regularly - treat them all as though they were all your prospects. One way to find new followers is by searching one of your target hashtags (i.e., “#indianmotos”) and liking posts you find. It may sound tedious, but by liking at least 50 posts a day - focusing on the most recent posts, which have less likes - you can get your name on a user’s notifications as someone who liked their photo.  

  • Another way to do this - scroll through those hashtags, and when you see a photo you find especially interesting, comment on it. Even if it’s just a statement such as “Great photo!”, users love engagement. Talk to them, and whether it’s through a like, follow, or simple response back, you are putting your name out there - and once you comment on their photo, it’s now in front of that individual’s followers, too.

  • Pay special attention to the quality and type of photos you post. Don’t take the same photos of different units over and over again. Rather, try to mix your messages. Include images of your staff, people searching the lot or offer up a helpful tip to guide buyers in their search for the perfect unit. This will communicate to your audience that yes, you are a dealership, and your goal is to get units sold, but you also care about the experience they have with your company- both online, and in person.

We hope these tips have helped you gain a clearer vision of what steps you can take to refine and develop your presence on Instagram - be sure to tag @cycle_trader and hashtag #cycletrader and #cycletradernation to gain the most exposure possible for your photos- and possibly even get featured on our own Instagram page.

Trader Online Web Developer