One of the biggest missed opportunities for dealers is this division that has entered the digital marketing conversation that there is some kind of competition between SEO and SEM. So often people argue that SEO is dead, that they shouldn’t pay for clicks when they can rank organically, and that they often choose between putting their efforts towards one or the other. It’s time for that conversation to change though and to recognize what the first two letters of those acronyms stands for – Search Engines.
The reason that both SEO and SEM are both important strategies is because they both target a low-funnel, in-marketing audience where people are typing into search engines specific queries that signal they are looking to purchase vehicles or services that dealerships have available to sell. Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are about gaining visibility in this important arena where people are demonstrating intent or shopping behavior and creating as much visibility and opportunity for the dealer to influence that low funnel auto intender.
So what should dealers do? It starts with research. There are many tools available to digital marketers today that signal the specific keywords and queries that people are typing into search engines and that information is readily available in real-time.
Start with determining the high volume demand signals here and then benchmark where you show up for those. Then begin building specific content around these buying signal keywords and optimize the pages to rank organically through SEO efforts and drive paid search traffic to these pages that are more relative to the specific searches. Remember – the easier it is for a shopper to find exactly what they are looking for, the less likely they will bounce or exit your website and the more likely it is they will convert and demonstrate shopping behavior.
Once the landing pages are built with SEO best practices in place and paid search keywords and ad groups are built to drive traffic to these specific pages the next step is to measure conversion. Dealers often will tell digital marketing companies in our space that clicks don’t sell cars – and they’re right! But clicks do represent real people demonstrating actual online activities. What all dealers should incorporate into their digital plan is to leverage the reporting power that Google Analytics can bring.
The two basic things to create in every Google Analytics are filters to ensure that bad data (spam traffic and internal dealership traffic are two examples) as well as set up specific shopping behavior goals to measure beyond website leads and phone calls. If you’re only looking at those two metrics, you are likely missing out on the behavior of more than 90% of your website audience.
Measure vehicle page views, chat sessions, trade appraisal reports, service schedules – basically anything on your site that correlates to an increase in sales and in-store traffic should be measured. This data then allows you to hold your SEO, SEM and other partners accountable for the traffic that is being delivered. It is also insightful to know which cities convert better than others, which pages have higher shopping rates, which devices produce better engagement and more.
Don’t miss Dave Spannhake, President, Reunion Marketing, in his session “Dominate Your Market by Combining SEO & SEM” at Digital Dealer 21 on Monday, August 8th, 8:00am to 8:50am.
Author: Dave Spannhake
Dave Spannhake is the President and Founder of Reunion Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency that specializes in using data and consumer behavior to create highly effective marketing strategies. After tremendous success during ten years working for a 33-store dealer group in North Carolina, the opportunity to create the same kinds of results for other dealerships across the country led him to launch Reunion in early 2015. During his time as Marketing Director at the dealer group, they experienced a more than 400% increase in both website traffic and total leads, contributing towards sales growth that outpaced the market by nearly 600% during his final three years with the company. He continues to drive home the importance of leveraging data in all digital marketing decisions and proudly boasts that more than three-quarters of Reunion partners have had all-time highs in organic traffic. Dave is certified in both Google Analytics and Google AdWords and strongly encourages dealers to use the data between the two to increase their sales and opportunities. His professional mantra – data beats intuition.