What is Twitter? Can Twitter help my RV Company?

What is Twitter?
Twitter, by it’s own definition is a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question:  What are you doing?  Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message or on the web.

Twitter started as a side project in March 2006 – built in two weeks and launched publicly in August 2006.  It has grown into a real-time short messaging service that gives people all around the world the ability to follow people and sources most relevant to them – from breaking news to updates from friends.

How I use Twitter.
When I first started using Twitter, I would post what I was doing at that moment or going to be doing.  As I’ve gained knowledge of the service through use and my Twitter friends, I’m using it to post new RVUSA.com sign-ups, when I add a new blog post, etc.  These posts on Twitter include a link to the dealers inventory on RVUSA.com or a link to their member listing, which ever applies to them.  To see my Twitter page, go to:  www.twitter.com/cindy_spencer/

How to start an account with Twitter.
All you have to do is go to:  www.twitter.com, click the “Get Started – Join!” button, enter your full name, username (I would use your dealership name here), password, email address, type in the captcha words so they know you are an actual person and click the Create My Account button.

Once your account is setup, you can then customize it by changing the background, color scheme, picture used, etc.  If you look at my Twitter page you’ll see that I’ve created a custom background to promote myself and the services I can help RV Industry companies with.  For you, creating a background that has your logo, company info, website address, toll free number, description or images of the products / services you have would be beneficial.

The next step is to add followers and you do this by clicking the Find People link at the top of the page.  If you know the persons name (Cindy Spencer), type it in and it will display all the matching results.  Go ahead and follow me and I’ll follow you.  You can also type in company names or use the email invite tool on the right side if you know their email address but can’t find them on the site.  There’s also a link for “Find people on other networks” that will allow you to login to your Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and/or MSN account to search for anyone in your contacts list there and follow them.

You can also go to:  http://search.twitter.com and type in topics to find followers.

How you can make money using Twitter.
Think about who your audience (followers) should be, those who will be interested in what you are doing and will help you make more money, generate leads and sales for your company.  Typically if you follow someone, they are going to follow you back.  If you can, each day post about something that’s on sale, or a special you have going on, along with a direct link to it on your website.  This should take about 5-10 minutes of your time.

I know at first this may seem silly but it works.  I’ve seen companies post job openings, Open House invitations / details, Inventory blow-out sales, etc.

If you have questions or need help creating a customized background for your Twitter page, let me know.

Cindy Spencer  🙂

The person that takes care of my RV listings is not with the company anymore. What do I need to do?

I don’t think I need to tell you the importance of listing your RV inventory on the internet, making sure that information is accurate and that each unit has pictures, pricing and a good description at the very least.  For many RV dealers, their online presence is the backbone of their sales department.  That’s why it’s so important for you to go through a process, that may or may not include a number of the items below, when the person in charge of your online listings leaves the company or is dismissed for any reason.

I’ll get to the “to-do” items in just a minute.  First I wanted to mention that you, as the owner of the RV dealership or General Manager, should have from your Internet Manager a list of all the websites he/she is advertising your inventory on, usernames and passwords for each of those websites, a flow chart of how your inventory gets from your website to the others, what email address the sales leads from each of those websites are going to, what number the phone leads are calling from each of those websites and your reps name and number for each website.  This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – below is an example I created in Word.
sampleinventoryinfo
Click Image to View Larger Format.

Having this information and keeping it up-to-date is going to save you a lot of time that otherwise would have been wasted trying to track it all down.

Now here’s your To-Do List when the person in charge of your online RV listings leaves the company:

  1. Get in touch with your main Inventory Listings source, in the example above RVUSA.com would be the main source, and have them change the username and password on your account.  This is VERY Important because this one source feeds all the other websites.
  2. If needed, change where the email and phone leads are going for each website your inventory is sent to.  Keep in mind, some of these websites may send out periodic stat reports, which may be sent to a different address than the email leads, so you’ll want to inquire about that as well.  If you do have them make changes, ask them to send you a test email through their system to confirm your leads are coming through to you correctly.

Sometimes when a new Internet Manager comes into the picture, they make changes to their online advertising campaign; cancelling websites, adding new websites, switching website providers, changing email address, etc.  If they don’t know how the current inventory data distribution flow is setup, this can cause real problems for your dealership that could take weeks or longer to straighten out.  During that time period you could be losing sales leads and sales.

MY EXPERIENCE:
A couple years ago an RV Dealership I work with dismissed their Internet Manager and did not change the login information for their Dealer Management Console before hand.  For whatever reason, this person deleted all their inventory listings without the dealers knowledge.  A couple days later when the dealer realized all their inventory was gone, they called me to find out what happened and that’s when we told them they had been deleted.  Unlike most providers, we run backups of our databases so we were able to retrieve the majority of his inventory and pictures.  If they were not using us, they would have had to re-enter all those units with pictures, which would have been at the very least 600 images to retake and upload.

Protect your RV Dealership by putting together this simple document.  An hour or two of work compiling this information is well worth the effort.

Cindy Spencer 🙂

NEXT BLOG:  What is Twitter?  Can Twitter help my RV Dealership?

Visitors on RVUSA.com are looking for Campgrounds & RV Parks

Since January 1, 2009, we’ve had 28,839 visitors searching on RVUSA.com specifially for a Campground, RV Park or RV Resort to camp with their families.  

As with the previous 10+ years, we expect that number to double in the next 2 months.  Then in June, July and August we are expecting over 100,000 visitors on our Campgrounds page.

     •   We have 5,800 listings in our campground category
     •   Our visitors can locate campgrounds by state, city and/or zip code radius 

We would like to make sure we have the most up-to-date information for your campground on our website and we need your help to do that. 

All you need to do is:

     •   Go to RVUSA’s “RV Parks, Resorts, Campgrounds” page
     •   Click on your state and locate your listing on that page (in alphabetical order)
     •   Review your complimentary listing
     •   If you have changes, email webmaster@rvusa.com so we can get it updated

You’ll notice on the Campgrounds page the map has orange triangles on it, which indicates a Member Listing in that state. 

If you click on one of those states, you’ll see the Member Listings at the top of the page with their name, address, toll-free number, local number, fax number, email link, website address link and a complete amenities list. 

The Member Listings gives us the ability to push the RVers on RVUSA.com to your website, where they can get more information about your campground and call or email to make reservations to vacation or plan an extended-stay at your facility.

Take advantage of the exposure we can offer your campground by signing up for a Member Listing. 

     •   It’s only $159 per year!!
     •   No contract required
     •   No setup fees required
     •   Credit Card and check payments accepted
     •   To get started, email us for an Insertion Form

Do you need a professional, easy-to-maintain website? 

We can get your website online quick and easy with our website solutions exclusively designed for campgrounds.

campgroung-templates

We are here to help you succeed online!!

For more information on the complimentary listings, member listings and/or website solutions, please feel free to contact us.

Give us a call Toll-Free:  1-866-643-4625
Send us an email:  webmaster@rvusa.com 

provided by:  Cindy Spencer

Who should host your RV Dealership Website?

I think this topic applies to just about every company in the RV Industry, if not all.  I’ll focus on RV Dealers for now and then move on to other types of companies in a later post.

All RV Dealers, no matter how big or small, have the ability to host their website with a company like RVUSA.com, who provides website and email hosting as part of the package for listing your inventory on their RV Portal website.  There’s really only one other company that provides website hosting, inventory management and advertising to a large network of RVers and that’s RVTraderOnline.com.

Sure there’s other RV Industry “website hosting” companies that provide website hosting and inventory management, but they don’t have an RV Portal or RV Community website that drives RVers to your website.  They try to pick up that slack by doing Google Pay-Per-Click campaigns but that can get expensive and is only a temporary fix.  I’ve talked to some dealers who are paying double or triple what they would pay at RVUSA.com and they are only getting website hosting and an inventory manager.  They soon realize that their website doesn’t really get any traffic, it’s not optimized for the search engines, it’s not a custom website like they were told and/or the email leads have dwindled down to just about nothing.  Unfortunately, by the time they’ve found us they are locked into a 12-month contract.  At that point they have to signup with RV Portal(s) to stay in business, which ads more expense on top of what they are already paying their “website hosting provider”. 

I want you to spend your money wisely when it comes to website hosting.  Make sure your getting the most bang for your buck and take these things into consideration: 

  • What tools or features are the most important to you? 
  • What will help you save time and money?  
  • Have you compared all the hosting options? 
  • If so, are you comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges?

I know some RV dealers tend to host with their local Internet Service Provider, but there are pros and cons to that scenario as well.  Yes, it’s probably inexpensive hosting but…

  • Will your website get enough traffic to keep the email leads rolling in?
  • What is the up-time for the server your website will be hosted on?
  • Are they backing up your website on a nightly basis in case the server crashes and wipes out everything?
  • Do they have a plan of action when a catastraphic failure does happen to get your website back up and running quickly?
  • What is their customer service response time and are they friendly?
  • What is their technical support response time?

More often than not, if you do decide to host with your local company you’ll still have to sign-up with RV Portals to get your dealership and inventory out in front of RVers.  So unless you are a small RV Dealer who does not want to grow the business (and I’ve come across some of you) hosting your website with an RV Portal is truly spending your money wisely.

I personally don’t like companies that prey on those who don’t understand search engine optimization, website design and maybe aren’t as computer savvy as the next guy.  Integrity, honesty and just plain kindness has just gone right out the window with some of the RV hosting companies that I’ve been talking to dealers about.

My goal is to help individuals and companies in the RV Industry, whether they are a customer of mine or not.  I’m not going to blow smoke up your behind and/or promise you the moon and stars just to get your money – that’s just not how I operate.

If you have questions about website hosting, providers, etc., let me know.  I’ll be happy to help.

Cindy Spencer  🙂

NEXT BLOG:  The person that takes care of my RV listings is not with the company anymore.  What do I need to do?