Business Tools

SEMA Show Seminar Pays Off Big for Member Company

Brian Offenberger’s seminar, “10 Steps to Revving Online Sales,” conducted at the 2008 SEMA Show provided insight on current website marketing strategies, which SEMA member David Kearney put to use immediately.

David Kearney, owner of Michigan-based OAKOS Automotive, knows how essential it is to stay current with online marketing strategies. So when he reviewed the list of seminars being offered at the 2008 SEMA Show, he made it a priority to attend Brian Offenberger’s seminar, “10 Steps to Revving Online Sales.” After observing his own sales visibly increase as a result, Kearney is confident that the seminar alone has made his Show experience well worth the trip.

Established in 1999 by Kearney, OAKOS is an online retailer of aftermarket engine and performance parts. Kearney is aware that online marketing is integral to the company’s performance, and his goal going into the seminar was to learn new tactics that would increase sales. “E-marketing is always evolving, and new tools are often introduced,” he said. “If you don’t stay on top of it and do your research, then what you are doing is going to quickly become out of date.”

One of the tips that left a strong and lasting impression on Kearney was to allot a fixed amount of time in his schedule for web analytics. He had been studying his online traffic data, but often pushed this task aside when things would get busy. Kearney now makes sure to budget a couple of hours each day to web analytics. “Our conversion rate was fairly low, so we needed to optimize the visitors we had and turn them into buyers,” he said.

Offenberger stressed the importance of web analytics and provided tips on how to keep a website running efficiently, with an emphasis on turning visitors into customers.

The company did this by personalizing its website in order to instill trust in customers. The website was updated to include the names and titles of all employees, and for a bit of a personal effect, a list of their current and previously owned vehicles. A photo of the warehouse facility was added, as well as the SEMA logo. The website also clearly displays all contact information.

“We wanted customers to see who we are as a company by introducing me as the owner along with the rest of the team, so they know that there are real people behind the website and that we are actually a large company with the infrastructure to fulfill their orders in a timely manner,” Kearney said.

After implementing these changes into the website, he noticed a marked improvement in company sales.

“Lack of trust is one of the top four reasons people do not buy,” Offenberger stated. “Trust building improves conversion rates an average of 14%.”

Another strategy that Kearney executed was to establish an e-mail campaign. The company now sends out semi-monthly e-mails to its customer base and finds this measure to be a cost-effective tool. “Our mailing list is comprised of previous customers, so basically we want to make sure they remember us by introducing them to new products and offering them specials,” Kearney said. 

“Automated marketing has the highest return on investment out of any online marketing strategy,” Offenberger said.

OAKOS has also increased its paid online advertisement, most notably with Google AdWords.

For Kearney, the most valuable lesson of the seminar was to be dedicated to the company’s marketing program. “It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and push the marketing tasks aside, but if you do that, you will ultimately lose sales,” he said.

Offenberger, president of BizGrowth Solutions, is a prominent presenter of the SEMA webinar series, and his past SEMA webinars, as well as a calendar of future webinars, is available on A PowerPoint presentation of Offenberger's “10 Steps to Revving Online Sales” seminar can be downloaded at

"It's often knowledge and application of knowledge that makes the difference in tough economic times,” Offenberger said. “Our seminars and webinars teach the right things for positive impacts on your business and will help you survive the tough times and prosper when you are healthy."