OH NO, IT’S A ZOMBIE! Actually, it’s where some people see print advertising in a few years. While print advertising may not actually be dead (or un-dead, as the case may be), there is no doubt that it is rapidly acceding to the push of online advertising in today’s market. There is no easy answer to the debate of print vs. online advertising, yet there remains one unavoidable truth: online advertising can no longer be ignored if you want your business to succeed. Everyone and their grandmother searches online these days, and the statistics show it. In the case of car dealerships, 97% of car buyers now search online before purchasing a vehicle. Sources also project that total online advertising dollars spent will surpass print advertising within just a few years. According to recent IAB reports, the internet is now second only to television in terms of the share of total Canadian advertising revenue:
Online Advertising Is A No-Brainer!
If you’re not advertising online right now, you might as well be in your basement preparing for the zombie apocalypse. And when I say online advertising, I don’t mean a couple of display ads here and there. Don’t just take my word for it; here are some reasons why Online Advertising should be an important part of your car dealership advertising budget:
1. Results are Easy-To-Measure
David Ogilvy once said that 50% of advertising works, we just don’t know which 50%. Not true with online advertising. Sophisticated tools like Google Analytics allow you to follow your customers through each step of the purchase process and see how they make decisions. This gives you the ability to refine your methods to attain the best Return on Investment (ROI). With online advertising it is easy to run two separate campaigns and see which performs better: This is called split or “A/B testing.“
2. Advertise on a Global Scale
Running a print campaign to reach a global audience would be prohibitively expensive. What would be out-of-reach to any but the largest companies and marketing firms becomes accessible to anyone with online advertising. Online ads will reach a global audience without a huge budget.
3. There Are More Ways to Advertise Online
Websites , Pay Per Click (PPC), Display Advertising, Remarketing, E-newsletters, Social Media, Videos, Mobile websites — the list of online advertising methods continues to grow. Take the example of remarketing, also known as retargeting advertising. If you aren’t taking advantage of retargeting advertising right now, then you are missing out on customers that visit your website and leave to browse the internet. Watch Strathcom’s Duncan Cochrane describe this form of marketing:
4. Lower Advertising Costs
Online advertising can be cheap, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Take Social Media Marketing: when done in-house, the cost is negligible (unless you pay for advertising on social media networks). A well-done social media campaign can reach impressive audiences online and while there is no guarantee that a campaign will go “viral,” it’s always worth a try.
5. More People are Researching Online
We have said it before, but we’ll say it again: 97% of potential customers now research online before physically going to a car dealership. After researching online, on average these customers only visit 1 – 2 dealerships before making their purchase. Having a strong online presence will make sure your dealership is visible where it needs to be.
6. The Mobile Marketplace is Growing
Marketing for online and mobile devices is one of the fastest growing sectors for online marketing, and just having a properly optimized mobile website can give your business a competitive advantage over those who are behind the trend.
While there may still be a place for print advertising in a well-planned budget, current trends suggest that online marketing is the leading method to capture customers and the key to maximizing your advertising ROI. A budget solely focused on print advertising is becoming a thing of the past. So, whatever you do, don’t let the print zombies get you!