Archive for June, 2011

Following Up: Tire Business and TCS Facebook Q&A Session on Social Media

Monday, June 13th, 2011
Social Media & SEO Work Together - TCSTire.com

Social Media and SEO Work Together - TCSTire.com

On Tuesday, June 7th, Tire Business hosted a Facebook Q&A session on their Facebook Fan Page. The tire industry community was invited to participate and get answers to their social media questions from TCS.

Tire Business’ Alaina Scott, circulated news of the event in her AboutTBlog post: “Getting Answers to Your Social Media Questions”. 

In her post, she extended an invitation to the tire industry community to consider social media strategy. “If you haven’t started crafting a basic strategy for tackling social media, hopefully by now you’ve recognized you may have a problem and need help. There’s a lot to absorb and yes, it can be overwhelming. That’s where Tire Business hopes to help.”

The Tire Business Facebook Q&A session yielded a few direct questions about social media.  One question that was posted asked: “Is it more important these days to focus on a strategic social media campaign for our business instead of the typical SEO campaign?” 

The answer given by TCS answered the question this way: “Great question. Both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are important aspects of a successful and complete online marketing strategy. 

SEO and SMM accomplish different goals, so the question that an online marketing expert would ask to help make the decision about where your business should focus its online efforts would be: “Would you rather me put you directly in touch with customers that have money in hand and are ready to buy your products or services by using a Search Engine Optimization strategy, or would you rather me help you build a network of loyal supporters that maybe one day will need your services, or possibly refer someone in need of your services by using a Social Media Marketing strategy?” 

If you are new to the online marketing world, you may want to focus heavily on SEO activities to establish a solid web presence & rank well in the search engines prior to engaging in social media. Once you have a set of ongoing SEO services in place to build your web presence, definitely shift focus to your SMM strategies and activities. 

Using SMM to drive customer interaction with your brand via promotions, applications and contesting is a creative way to expand your online influence. So the answer is, it depends on where you are in the online marketing life cycle and what your company goals are for your online web presence”

If you’d like to read the other questions and answers from the Tire Business Q & A session, please visit Tire Business Facebook Fan Page.  If you have questions about how your business can benefit from social media, contact TCS today.

Independent Tire Dealers Need to Sell Tires Online

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
"Walmart Finds Another Way to Take Your Customers Away" - Modern Tire Dealer | TCSTire.com

"Walmart Finds Another Way to Take Your Customers Away" - Modern Tire Dealer | TCSTire.com

Back on May 18, 2011, Modern Tire Dealer posted this breaking news article, Walmart finds another way to take your customers away. In this article, Modern Tire Dealer noted that, “By June, the world’s largest retailer is expected to have a new program in place nationwide that will allow online tire buyers to pick up their tires within hours of their purchase.”

Modern Tire Dealer’s Editor, Bob Ulrich, discussed the subject further in his blog post: Walmart: always playing catch-up, but always trying, to further discuss what this means to independent  tire dealers nationwide.  “Walmart already offers a “Site to Store” program, which offers free shipping on tire purchases. ‘Orders typically take 1-2 days to process and usually arrive at the store 7-10 business days later,’ says [Andrea] Woroch.”  Wal-Mart’s “Pick Up Today” tire program “…will make tires available faster than that.”

There are slight advantages for independent tire dealers over big corporations like Wal-Mart or Sears.  Independent tire dealers generally carry at least 11 different brands of tires in their stores versus the five tire brands that Wal-Mart will carry: BFGoodrich, Continental, General, Goodyear and Michelin.

Independent tire dealers also have the advantage where long lasting, personal relationships with loyal customers and a history of being part of the community are concerned. But these advantages may not be enough, when it seems that consumers are driven by convenience of online shopping and its perceived value.

What Can Independent Tire Dealers Do to Compete with Corporations?

Walmart and Sears both have big marketing and advertising budgets.  But there is one arena where independent tire dealers have a chance to compete with big corporations: Online.  Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing do offer ways for an advertiser to pay for the highest spots in their Pay-Per-Click ad space. However, if you want to take up a spot in the natural/organic rankings, you need:

1)     A basic website or Google Places Page

2)     A Keyword Optimized, Ecommerce enabled website with a tire finder for convenient  online shopping & ordering

3)     SEO services & online marketing support you can trust from a tire industry expert

A Basic Website or Google Places Page

If you do not have a web presence of any kind, you cannot begin to compete in the online space for a share of your local customers.

A basic website, without a shopping cart or ecommerce ability, cannot help you transact online sales.  However a basic, informational website can direct online searchers to your physical location.  A Google Places Page is a free local marketing tool that can at least let potential customers know that your company exists and where you are located.  If an independent tire dealer wants to begin to create awareness online, these are two of the most basic ways to do so.

A Keyword Optimized, Ecommerce Enabled Website with a Tire Finder
As you can see from the Modern Tire Dealer Breaking News and Blog items, tire sales transactions are happening online.

In an online tire buying article by Edmunds.com from June of 2010, Edmunds.com describes the benefits of shopping for tires online, “…thanks to easy-to-navigate Web sites, consumers can provide their car’s year, make and model and quickly be shown a wide selection of tires that fit their vehicle.

The choices are easily sorted based on the driving requirements, prices or other factors. The tires are then “drop-shipped” to a local tire store for installation at an additional cost. Consumers we have talked with have been amazed at how smoothly the online tire-buying process works. In fact, one shopper called it, ‘One of my best online-shopping experiences.’ Another tire buyer stated, in less than 5 minutes of searching online, I was able to order the tires I needed.

In the Edmunds.com article, consumers additional advantages such as prices are often lower online and the excellent selection of hard-to-find specialty tires and wheels online were noted as well.  Wal-Mart is not going to be offering more than five brands of tires.  An independent tire dealer who has a website with access to an online inventory wins the battle of product selection against a big company like Wal-Mart quite easily online.

TCS has been in the tire and wheel business for over sixteen years.  We have the background on your business, your customers and your industry.  Based on our tire industry experience, TCS developed the TCS ePower product that allows independent tire dealers to have a website with real time inventory and pricing, one-stop order management and tools to analyze customer trends.  TCS provides exactly the type of website that an independent tire dealer wants and the type of website that customers want to shop.

If you are an independent tire dealer who is ready to explore the possibilities of selling tires online, contact TCS today.

Digital Marketing Support and Guidance to Grow Your Website’s Online Presence

TCS understands that there is more to online success than having a website.  You can have the greatest prices and the most amazing website, but if you’re not marketing your website, you will miss out on website traffic and sales.

Many independent tire dealers with websites are aware that there are thousands of companies who will sell you Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services and other online services.  Unrealistic promises such as, “We’ll make you #1 on Google!” for wide range of fees or the lack of transparency as to what they can do to help you market your site online is very common.  As per Google Webmaster Central: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google” and “Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do”. Read more about Google.com’s Webmaster Central SEO service guidelines to learn what a quality SEO service provider can provide.

TCS has a team of experienced online professionals who understand the different aspects of digital marketing.  Online marketing done right can identify online opportunities and set up strategic services that will help independent tire dealers to compete with corporations such as Wal-Mart, Costco or Sears.  If you haven’t contacted TCS in regard to SEO services yet, now is the time to do so.  With SEO and online marketing, time is of the essence.

Big corporations are not going to stop finding ways to take as much of the tire market dollars as they can.  TCS encourages independent tire dealers to watch the trends of online tire sales and to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them.

Social Media Marketing Event with Tire Business & TCS

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Social Media Marketing is a way that businesses and organizations can proactively engage their customers via channels such as Facebook.com, YouTube.com and Twitter.com.  These social media channels are the places where customers, your company’s customers, are spending many hours of their days and weeks.

The Importance of Social Media Marketing | TCSTirePower.com

The Importance of Social Media Marketing | TCSTirePower.com

In the past few months, both Tire Business and TCS have published information about Social Media Marketing.  TCS advises clients that participating in Social Media Marketing provides your company fairly instant communication with your customers about special offers on your products or services.

TCS also advises that companies use Social Media Marketing as an opportunity to give tips of advice that solve their customers concerns.  Social Media Marketing builds credibility and value for your brand in the online world.

Aside from the customer interaction it provides, Social Media Marketing goes hand in hand with the importance for ongoing Search Engine Optimization for a website.

SMM drives three critical elements of Off Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

1)     Traffic: There are hundreds of millions of people using social media every day.  Participating in social media gives your company the opportunity to direct some of that traffic to your web site or offerings.

2)     Leads: People who come to your website from a social media referral are already interested and think that you might have a solution to their problem. As such, site visitors from social media channels are primed to turn into leads that you can then work to turn into customers.

3)     Links: Every link back to your website from social media is an opportunity to get more traffic. Even if your reach is beyond your target market – i.e., even if there are people following you on social media who aren’t likely to become your customers or even leads – they can still provide you with valuable links and help you grow your trust with the search engines.

All three of these elements combined are critical to a website’s online visibility and success.

Social Media Marketing Tips Tire Businesses Need to Know

Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
You may already have social media accounts, but if you do not, get accounts set up today.  Create a central email account that will receive all the responses and account information from your social media accounts.  This is a great way to track activities as well as centralize your login information for ease of use.  If you do not have social media accounts, today is a great day to start.

Ensure That Your Social Media Accounts Have a Consistent Look and Feel
Your business needs a consistent look, feel and messaging across all mediums. Consistency in appearance and messaging communicates that you are serious about this venture that you have put thought into what you are doing in the “socialmediasphere”.  Be sure to post that your accounts are the “Official XYZ Company Fan Page” so that your customers and potential Social Media followers can trust the messaging as authentic.

Commit to 6 Months of Consistent Social Media Marketing
Six months may seem like a long time, but if you know what your goals are and plan out the topics and purpose of your postings, you’ll find that Social Media Marketing is not as daunting as it seems.

Convert Your Social Media Traffic
Social Media Marketing is about thought customer relationship management, public relations, leadership, web site and social media site traffic, online visibility, brand credibility and much more.  But Social Media Marketing is also about lead generation.

As you work with a Social Media Marketing Specialist, such as TCS, we will be able to show you how after the months of building trust and credibility socially is accomplished, that there are myriad opportunities to then present special offers to your social media following.

Would You Like to Ask Additional Social Media Marketing Questions?
If you have additional Social Media Marketing questions, we invite you to join Tire Business and TCS for a Social Media Marketing Q & A Session on Facebook on June 7, 2011.  More information on the event can be found on the Tire Business Facebook Fan Page or on the About TBlog.  While you are there, we invite you to “Like” both Tire Business and TCS for more Tire Industry news and Social Media Marketing information.