It wasn’t so long ago when dealer principals and general managers held a bit of skepticism toward digital marketing. Fortunately, there have been platforms like Digital Dealer that have brought together the brightest minds who offer the most impactful data. The automotive industry has since moved at a rigorous pace into connecting with a car shopper’s 19 online touchpoints.
According to the NADA, the average dealership spent 55% of its advertising budget on digital strategies in 2017. That’s up from 33% in 2016.
One of the driving forces behind the selling point of digital is that it’s less costly than traditional advertising. Still, the advertising cost per car sold has remained largely unchanged: $629. This coupled with many other factors have cut into a dealers’ gross margins.
Thus, the traditional versus digital debate rages on; however, this is an outdated mode of thinking. These strategies work toward the same end goal: more sales.
Dealers will find greater benefit by understanding that all channels — both traditional and digital — have a unique purpose. These range from broad stimulus objectives to raise brand awareness all the way down to getting shoppers onto specific purpose pages (the ones that sell) with as little friction as possible.
By refining the strategies for the Intent channels, a dealer can begin to focus on driving more traffic and generating more conversions with the greatest emphasis placed on what’s needed more. That will ultimately lead to breaking the industry average of $629 for every car sold.
In order to track more than clicks and analyze shopping behavior, dealers must first properly set up their Google Analytics account. This allows a dealer or marketer to understand where the greatest opportunities lie. From search queries to Google Ads campaigns to exit pages and much more, there’s a multitude of data one must examine.
So let’s break this down.
The most critical piece to increase traffic is to understand what and how local car shoppers are searching. Consider this simple but often overlooked question:
Do you know what your shoppers want?
You can leverage Search Console to see various local search queries, as well as the clicks and impressions you get, as well as where you rank in the results pages.
You may also access Google Ads to understand which ad groups and individual ads produce the greatest number of conversions.
By analyzing this information, dealers can formulate a content marketing plan of attack. That’s because they are honing in on creating content that is married to search intent. From service to the brand’s model lineup, that query data affords dealerships to develop relevant information that shoppers will value. These are called “right to win” searches because your dealership is primed to leverage local SEO coupled with strategic, intent-based content — so it’s their right to win those top rankings.
So let’s talk about you for a second.
Here’s how you can quickly check if you’re winning those searches. Open up a new tab for www.isearchfrom.com. Fill out the necessary information, including the city, and conduct a few searches. Where do you rank? Are you ranked? And are you satisfied with what you see?
The truth is that not all SERPs are created equal, so it takes a concerted effort across time to begin to dominate the market.
Are your ads properly built?
It’s essential to have effective headlines and copy, a specific URL related to the search, and all of the applicable extensions that follow best practices as outlined by Google. That, however, is not merely enough. Google Ads are continually changing, so it’s vital to remain updated with all of the latest that the search giant has done to more efficiently deliver value to consumers.
Are you tracking the right keywords?
You may have heard someone say that keyword tracking is dead. Those marketers are dead wrong. Prioritizing your efforts by winnability and intent is important. In other words, is there a chance that your dealership can rank in the top spots (what’s the competition look like?) and how can you marry your page’s content with the searcher’s intent.
Research shows that the shorter the query, the higher the intent to buy. Across a nationwide network of dealers, more than 95% of search queries that they showed up for in search and had impressions for were five or fewer words.
Content is just one facet. Are you optimizing these other pieces?
Search engine optimization is not just one task. It’s a name assigned to a bunch of tasks that occur both on your site and off your site. Those tasks include the following:
- Structure data
- Link building
- Photos / Alt text
- Directory optimization
- URL structure
These and other strategies will help you rank well in searches that matter to your business objectives. In fact, did you know …
35% of organic clicks happen at the first position.
If you rank third for a relevant search term that receives 2,000 searches, you’re missing out on 500 more eyes looking at your inventory.
Do You Have a Plan for Your Website?
- Start with your purpose pages (the ones that create conversions) and match them to search behavior.
- Use tools that help you monitor user behavior (like Hotjar).
- Be smart about strategies on your homepage.
- Monitor your CTR from your homepage to your SRPs.
There are plenty of ways to help you create a better user experience. Keep in mind that every extra click car shoppers make, the more likely they are to leave your website.
You can find out more details about these strategies and insights at Digital Dealer 25 in Las Vegas. See the data first-hand in on Thursday, October 18th, at 10:05 a.m. For more insights about automotive digital marketing like this, please also check out our blog.
Don’t miss Dave Spannhake’s session at Digital Dealer 25 on Thursday, October 18, 2018 from 10:05 AM – 10:55 AM. Dave will dive into the data science to share a number of features about the current automotive marketing landscape, setting up expectations for the results you should achieve.
Author: Dave Spannhake
Dave Spannhake is the Founder/President of Reunion Marketing, a full-service Digital Marketing agency delivering best-in-industry solutions to auto dealers across the U.S. Dave spent 10 years at a 33- store dealership group in N.C., where he created digital strategies that increased website traffic and lead volume 400%+, contributing towards sales growth that outpaced the local market by 600%. He continues to use the same data-driven strategies to create the same success for Reunion Marketing’s clients today.