How to plan, fine-tune a profitable online marketing campaign
A little planning goes a long way. That’s true whether you’re writing a business plan for a new rooftop or preparing to leverage online marketing to attract more local shoppers. The key to success is starting with the end in mind.
Think about it. Before you opened your doors you had to make three critical decisions:
1. What am I going to sell?
Your choice of OEM(s), models and service offerings formed the core of your business. What you decided to offer was influenced by buyer demand in your local market. Which leads us to your second big decision:
2. Where am I going to locate?
Careful research was needed to know exactly where to open your rooftop. As you chose the location, you were also thinking about what kinds of customers you were trying to attract, and what calls to action you’d use to attract them to your business.
In other words, what was going to make you the best choice in your unique market, and what value (pricing) would customers put on your offerings?
3. What’s my expected return on investment?
You needed to fuel your business with an initial investment, with an eye towards offering vehicles and services that would generate a healthy profit.
3 Decisions, 3 Levers
These three early business decisions match perfectly with my three levers of online marketing success. To grow, every business must set a budget for marketing and sales activities. The budget should also contain measurable goals along with an expected ROI (return on investment).
At Netsertive, we power results with our patent-pending Digital Marketing Engine. But like any engine, it must be carefully tuned to help you win the race.
That starts by setting measurable business goals. Do you want to sell 100 cars a month? Double your used sales? Increase your fixed operations activity? Once these are in place, we have three levers we can manipulate to power maximum results.
List your business categories – makes, models and services – in order of importance taking into consideration profitability as well as sales volume.
Success tip: Smaller dealers should start with 3-5 advertising categories. Most clients start small and grow their campaign and investment over time as we tune the engine to deliver results.
The more categories you add to your Internet campaign, the bigger your budget will need to be to penetrate your market and appear in a strong position for a wider range of research activity that will deliver phone calls and website clicks.
Target Market (Geo’s)
List specific cities (geo’s) within a 10, 20 or 30 mile radius around your business where you want your online advertising to appear. Where are you sourcing shoppers today, and where do you want to reach more customers tomorrow?
Success tip: Start with 1-2 target geo’s each with a 10-20 mile radius. The wider the area you try to target with your online ads, the larger your investment will need to be in order to sustain clicks to your website, phone calls – results.
The population of your target markets, as well as the demographics of your idea buyers, all come into play when considering where you want your marketing messages to appear online.
Digital Marketing Funds
Once you’ve carefully locked in your initial advertising categories and target geography, it’s time to match those with an appropriate budget. The more categories and geographies you choose, the larger your monthly investment will need to be to ensure that you’re being found consistently over all 30 days each month, and able to sustain a larger number of ad clicks and phone calls.
Success tip: Start with a monthly budget that allows you to advertise for your top 3 to 5 categories within a tight radius around your business. Your phone will start ringing, and new customers will see you online everyday. As you feel the results over the first few weeks and months of the campaign, you’ll want to add additional categories, new target geo’s and additional budget to match to drive increased results, month after month.
Tuning the Engine
Just starting your online marketing engine is the key to reaching buyers where they spend time – online. To get the maximum return on investment, you’ll want to set aside time each month to review your results. Measure, measure, measure!
Your client success manager will carefully monitor your campaign, and you’ll receive emails and access to a comprehensive platform that makes it easy to see where you ads are running, what’s getting the most activity, and more.
Within a few weeks, you’ll know whether you’ve set the three levers properly. Be assertive in pushing and pulling the levers to enhance your results. If your budget is small, reduce the number of categories and size of your geography to boost your results. If you’re able to invest additional funds, add new categories or geographies to attract more customers and pay for additional clicks and sales activity.
After two or three months, your Digital Marketing Engine will be humming. Your phone will be ringing more often, you’ll sell more products and services, and you’ll “feel” it in your bottom line.