Dealer Authority New Director-Me

Below is taken from the DealerAuthority site announcing my addition to the team. It was written by the one and only JD Rucker! I am so happy to be joining the ranks of superstars joining the DA team like Subi, Tyson and BMW

Automotive SEO and Social media

Micah Birkholz-Director of Dealer Relations

See what he wrote here:

In our continuing quest to search the galaxy for the best talent to bring to our dealer clients, we are pleased to announce the hiring of Micah Birkholz as Director of Dealer Relations. His strong personality and uncanny ability to help dealers succeed make him a perfect fit for our team.

After spending a decade on the retail side of the automotive industry, Micah has spent the last seven years with automotive digital marketing agencies honing his skills and learning new ones that he can bring to his clients. His consultative style and aggressive nature will prove to be beneficial to both his clients as well as the company culture at Dealer Authority.

Micah is no stranger to controversy, particularly in his choice of attire. This should work to our advantage as the company’s tendency to break free from the boundaries imposed by large vendors fits nicely with Micah’s willingness to do what’s best for dealers regardless of the obstacles placed before us. Dealer first – that’s the mindset that we have adopted and Micah has demonstrated time and time again that he is willing to step out on behalf of his clients in order to bring better marketing in the face of the mediocrity that has spread throughout the industry.

If you would like to work with Micah directly, please feel free to contact us. Between our delivering of incredible social media marketing and search optimization and Micah’s understanding of the industry and the marketing practices that drive dealers to be the best in their market, his clients are sure to have tremendous success knocking on their door. Fill out the form below and Micah will contact you personally.

We’re excited to have him on our team.


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Ride With Cox Recap – Buck Hill & Lester Beat Downs

Originally posted on Social Cox Team:

I realized this morning that #RideWithCox hadn’t been updated since our smash hit “10 Ways You’re In New Richmond” – a post that reached nearly 4,000 people.  I’m not going to pretend like this is as awesome to the general public.  Afterall, the gif count in this is substantially lower.  Here’s one though for good measure.

Danny Macaskill tearing it up.

Danny Macaskill tearing it up.

See that guy? Yeah, that’s nothing.  I do that every day.  Not really.  I would be in the emergency room getting fed through a tube if I remotely attempted that.

However, the Minnesota State Series has been in full swing and Ride With Cox has been showing up for the brutality.

Buck Hill Birch Bump

First and foremost, Sammy’s not a climber.  Sammy used to be, then her lungs vanished into the night and vowed never to return until Sammy cared more about her cardiovascular system.

Buck Hill…

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Ed Brooks, Carbucks and old man Ruggles

If you are in the automotive industry it is hard not to run across Carbucks, one of the very coolest places on the interwebs… It is filled with lively discussions and forward thinking people. Debates and some truly master debaters as well, heck the business is filled with colorful personalities isn’t it.

carbucks ed brooks and david ruggles

Scooby Doo solved another one

One truly fun ongoing saga of discussion is between Ed Brooks and David Ruggles… Two men who banter back and forth but always do so in a playful and respectful manner. Unfortunately not everyone gets along with David… he is as old school as they come(however the guy is on facebook and quite knowledgeable about digital marketing strategies), and in some cases misunderstood. I for one have yet to agree with much of what he says but I do respect his perspective. He has even received the nickname of “old man Ruggles” in a Scooby Doo-sh type villain reference.

The best part of an open facebook group is the ability to see and learn opposing viewpoints. Below is an exchange, just as an example of the conversations you will find in the group…. Enjoy


oh to connect with Ed Brooks Click here:

send smoke signals to chat with Ruggles…



Alan Smith discusses how the Internet has changed our world over the past 15 years and talks mobile both today and in the future..

How are your potential buyers shopping for a new vehicle?
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  • David CraderCraig Darling and 3 others like this.
  • David Ruggles Certainly MANY people, the vast majority, use the Internet to shop for a vehicle as well as most everything else. But they all don’t shop the Internet equally. And the certainly don’t know how to interpret the information they get from the web. Hell, its so complex most sales people either can’t interpret it or don’t have access to all the information anyway. This is all by design. Since it is none of a consumer’s business what a dealer pays for a vehicle, a complex system has been devised to make it virtually impossible for anyone but the dealership comptroller to figure out what the cost of a vehicle is. One thing we know for sure. Consumers to day have more information than they ever have. They typically take delivery of a new vehicle for less than the dealer has to pay of at his/her floor plan source. And consumers have never been unhappier if you believe the self serving surveys published by vendors with their own agenda. There’s a message in here somewhere.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • David Ruggles A LARGE portion of consumers come to the dealership with an strong idea of what they want to buy but leave with something much different. Why is that? Perhaps AutoTrader can explain that? Consumers spend more money on a new vehicle than on anything else other than their house and only need to test drive one vehicle? And many want to buy a vehicle like they buy a gadget? HINT: Only about 20% of consumers have “fast track” credit. And many of those as well as their less credit worthy brethren have negative equity in their trade. Fully a third of auto buyers are sub prime or BHPH candidates. Perhaps the survey questions should be worded by people with actual retail experience rather than those with a wish to “prove” results that further their own agenda? There is nothing like life on the front line to take one from theory to reality.
    38 mins · Edited · Like · 1
  • Ed Brooks What “survey” are you talking about David Ruggles? Alan it’s talking about hard data!
  • David Ruggles There are any number of surveys that have been taken that don’t reflect actual consumer sentiments. I’d feel a lot better if companies like AutoTrader would drill down to the real meaning rather than skimming over the top. Real interpretation would be helpful but can only be done by people who understand the difference between what consumers say and what they really mean. Survey questions need to be crafted to reflect that. If you assume that most consumers have fast track credit and can buy what they want, the Internet model as portrayed by AT, KBB, TC, etc. might have legs. The reality is it is MUCH more complicated than that where the rubber meets the road. Interpretation of “hard data” is as important as the data itself.
  • David Ruggles IMHO. I guess I’m supposed to add in a little sugar coating these days. 
  • David Ruggles BTW, this is NOT to say that AutoTrader, KBB, vAuto, etc. don’t do a lot of good. But every now and then I think you guys go off the rails in your search for growth and revenue, compromising your underlying relationship with your dealers. Then there are the vendors selling the same leads over and over again in the search for “growth.” Ever see Maryann Keller’s research results on this? More dealers need to be aware of this.
  • David Ruggles I’m off to watch some NBA summer league basketball….
  • Ed Brooks That will probably be a good use of your time 
  • David Ruggles Probably better than trolling FB, right? 
    26 mins · Like · 1
  • David Ruggles I really enjoyed Fran Taylor’s workshop. It was the REAL car business with REAL car people involved. The world of theory doesn’t mesh well with reality. When you’re in a room with a bunch of real and top producers you get the true picture. I used to spend a LOT of time in dealerships all over the country. Then I had to stop traveling so much and my life began to revolve around the conferences I could attend. There is nothing like being around real car people to keep one grounded. But they had to come to me this week. I did enjoy my time in the Quad Cities recently, however. Those are some real car guys.
    23 mins · Edited · Like · 1
  • David Crader Now every industry expert is wrong too? You’re too much dude. Seriously. Go away.
  • David Ruggles @ David – You really like putting words in my mouth don’t you. Who is an ‘industry expert?” The theorist who never owned a dealership or sold cars on commission or an actual practitioner? What makes Alan Smith an “industry expert?” What are his credentials? What are Scott Painter’s credentials?
    13 mins · Edited · Like
  • David Crader I’m not even going to engage you. You’re a fool. Go away.
  • David Crader Done now. Bye.
  • David Crader See what I mean Nancy? Can’t do it. Thanks for the memories CARBUCKS.
  • David Ruggles What are Jim Ziegler’s credentials? Fran Taylor? Maryann Keller? Cliff Banks? If you can find where I EVER said EVERY industry expert is wrong I’ll kiss your ass and give you a half hour to draw a crowd. Do you need to just make stuff up?
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Inspirational, Motivational Images, Get SOME

I am pretty much convinced that we no longer need therapists or motivational speakers. The “get them up and rocking” sales trainers have become obsolete. The Tony Robbins and Ted Talks are nothing more than regurgitated fluff… mehbe.

Now I can picture you reading this post all smug and snarky, and I am sure you can taste the sarcasm I am cooking up in this post. Fact of the matter is simple, you need motivation? You need to be inspired? Google the $#*+ and get some! There will be more motivational posters online than socks in my drawer(obscure #sockswag reference).

Here is my latest contribution to making the world a better place… you are very welcome.

motivational car dealer quotes success make it happen

The Most Inspirational Image Ever

In all seriousness you need to be lifted up check out this guy Joey Little and the #livealittle project.

Here is a bit about it…

Will You Make the 5 #LiveALittle Promises?

1. Become a healthier more active person


2. Don’t sit around complaining to be bored. Make a life. Get out and do things. You have no right at all to complain about being bored.


3. Stop making excuses. All excuses. Stop lying to yourself.


4. Cut all negativity from your life. Situations, people, choices, vices, you name it.


5. Inspire others to find a #LiveALittle lifestyle and make the same five promises to themselves


Thanks for taking the time to allow me to rant….


Be well be blessed…

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Automarketing Social Media Conversations

One of my absolute favorite places to “Hang Out” is a little place on Facebook called Carbucks. This is the coffee house for car people created by Nancy Simmons and automotive true pro. I have shared some screen shots and conversations here before but found this one most shareabble. I gotta say David Crader rocked it.

Are email leads declining? If so, why?

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  • You and Susan James like this.
  • Eric Miltsch Yes, because mobile conversion is all about phone calls.
  • Christian Salazar Tom who is writing content for you on a monthly basis?
  • David Crader My response would be that while lead counts haven’t gone down much the QUALITY of the 
    Leads have gone down hill significantly over the last three years, and I think the reason is because OEM’s basically beg customers to give us bad info by requiring them to fill out a form submission just to get pricing from manufacturer websites. Ford Direct leads are downright abysmal and it’s due in large part to this. We get about 50 leads a month from the OEM that have flat out bad email addresses and bad phone numbers. We usually get another 10-20 with bad phone numbers. When the OEM’s get un”internet smart” like they THINK they are now lead quality would likely jump back up. They’ve (OEM’s) realized people were flocking to the internet because they didn’t want to play the traditional ‘car game’ and it worked well for years, then the OEM’s decided to capitalize (I must note, capitalize for their own gain not for dealer conversion) on lead submissions by a) requiring name, phone number, and email to get said pricing and b) charge the dealers for every lead even when they know they’re bad. It’s sad and makes ALL of our jobs harder.
  • Tom Gorham Christian Salazar, don’t draw the wrong conclusions. VDPs are up – Phone calls are up – Map Views are up -Total Prospects are up – Sales are up… But emails are down. I believe that is a trend and requires us to adjust our priorities.
  • Tom Gorham Eric Miltsch, that’s my analysis. It also means that the sale is taking place online (not the test drive and paperwork… the sale) in people’s minds. They visit 1.4 dealers now vs. 6 a few years ago.
  • Mike Phillips People are being groomed to provide bogus info, because the bulk of sites (including some that we work with) have bad autoresponders, poor custimization and poorly trained people that don’t want a bunch of email responses. I believe we (car people) have assisted in creating the result. So the public view is, “Let the SPAM begin, if I give you my info.” Customers then don’t want to give accurate info sometimes online, until they are truly ready to purchase, or sometimes inside the dealership. I agree with Eric that lead conversion is coming back to talent and skills ON the phone. (Let the opinions begin…)
  • Joe Webb Statistically, lead submissions have only gone down 2% over the last 5 years. However, I believe leads will continue to decline for one reason.
    We, as dealers, have not proven to the consumer public that there is truly any benefit to expedite the sales process when they submit a lead in advance. The same tired road to the sale is taken when a any customer walks in whether they’ve been in touch with us or not. There is no expedited, exclusive process regardless of what the templates we send tell them.
    With more transparency taking place on websites, their need to contact us in advance will decrease.
  • Tom Gorham Joe Webb, you are right on. As a consumer, I see no reason to place an email quote request when I can call and ask, “Is that price for real and do you have that vehicle?” If I’m on a smartphone, I would rather click one button to call than fill out a form with all my information. 40% of our website visitors are now on mobile. When we started posting sale prices on new cars, the quote requests started dwindling. Common sense? Duh! The sale is now won online.
  • Craig Darling The only leads that I can count on to be solid… the ones that are generated from our web site… That is why it is so important to drive traffic there… 10K new hits a month…. with about 4.8 page views… Stellar month.
  • Tom Gorham Craig, I certainly agree that your website leads are the BEST! But how many of them are deciding not to submit an email lead, but to call or come in instead? The answer to that question can change our priorities in training and personnel.
  • Craig Darling Tom… one of the first things I did when landing here a few years ago was remove the phone number requirement… I don’t want to waste time calling a bad number… or worse someone else’s phone number… It improved the success rate on phone calls by triple.
  • Craig Darling Another point… we are not allowed, by Infiniti, to have any price online except the retail price…
  • Tom Gorham Craig, I find that interesting, because the OEM is preventing you from transparency. Good or bad, what do you think? It certainly continues the practice of receiving email requests for a price quote, doesn’t it?
  • Craig Darling Don’t require any info… If it is a bad email.. your CRM will pick that up… If its a bad phone number… you discover that and waste some time… If someone is truly interested… they will provide current information… Just a suggestion… always have a tag that reminds people to look in their spam folder when they submit a request… Primary reason for unopened emails sent through a CRM…
  • Lindsey Boom Shaker I love when Joe Webb throws down his stratistical data tidbits. It makes me laugh picturing his vids hahah
  • William J Smithies Jr Email leads are declining and I would imagine they continue to do so moving forward. Why? Because the consumer no longer has any need to contact the dealer anymore other than to confirm the vehicle is still available. There are enough choices and alternatives in the market to validate any concerns they have regarding pricing. The consumers have the ability to remain completely anonymous through out their shopping online. They no longer need to have any contact with the dealer until they choose to do so. If our vehicles are marketed properly with strong photos and compelling descriptions and they are priced visible and appropriately in the market they will draw attention. You’ll see srp and vdp data rise and those are the metrics (in my opinion) we need monitor and analyze to achieve a greater understanding of how visible we are online. Most consumers that end up in your store looking for a used car are at your showroom for one reason. They found your car online amongst the others and yours proved to be a greater value to them for one reason or another. If they are in your showroom and didn’t see the vehicle online first it’s pretty safe to say that while you are at the desk getting numbers they are on your site or a third party site validating that car on their mobile phone.

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Automarketing Rant-Unformation Time

Okay time for a quick #automarketing rant: 3rd party lead providers, from what i am seeing, deliver less than 2% total traffic to a dealership website, have a far lower close rate, and compete with a dealerships own SEO strategy, yet these “sources” make up 50-75% or more of a dealership web strategy budget in some cases.

autotrader and cars are competitors not freinds


Let’s be clear, Autoraider and are not complimentary to a dealers’ web strategy it is competitive to it. These sites are now no better than the newspaper but far more dangerous as they monetize dealerships’ data against them.

It is time for a serious look at your numbers. If your traffic, leads and close rates are so low why are you paying them so much?

Solution: Partner with or invest in building up your own digital assets and increase you own profitability and efficiencies…Drive traffic to your own site, create targeted campaigns that increase engagement with your content aka inventory. Cut the cord.

Okay rant over… now back to examining your horrific ctrs and cpcs….

Photo of Nate Sieveking used with permission… kinda, mehbe.. okay it was a complete surprise for him…

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Massage Boosts Performance-Jessica Birkholz

Originally posted on Massage in stillwater:

My husband, Micah, is a fanatic about running. He not only runs he dreams about it and is constantly looking for ways to improve his time. Now he hasn’t always been this way, but since I have been trying to get him to take a healthy approach to exercise I figured this was a great way to get him to listen to me. Below is an article regarding Massage Therapy and how it can help boost the runners performance.

Jessica Birkholz

How Massages Will Boost Your Performance

By: Marisa Walker (Woman’s Running)

runners health massage therapy massage in stillwater

Sports massage stimulates muscles for physical activity and helps the recover post-run. For a runner, a regular massage is important to stimulate blood and lymph and to keep the leg muscles, joints, and tendons in optimum shapes. Sport massage is a blend of several techniques that can be tailored to suit your activity and the muscles used…

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