How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?

While there is a good chance that your dealership is currently running a Paid Search Campaign, there are still (surprisingly) a good portion of dealerships that aren’t.

There can be many reasons for deciding not to: lack of marketing dollars, lack of expertise, lack of knowledge, lack of time, etc.

Nowadays, it goes without saying that businesses have a plethora of digital marketing options to choose from, but I’d like to make my case on why dealerships can’t afford not to be running a paid search campaign. Continue reading “How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?”

Click-to-Message Ads: Starting Conversations Even Quicker

The latest and greatest from Google AdWords: Click-to-message ads.

Earlier this year, Google announced a new beta that would allow advertisers to augment their search ads with an SMS feature so customers could send the business a text message. With Google Consumer Surveys reporting that 65% of customers would rather learn more about a product or service through a message, it was only a matter of time before such an extension was developed. After a couple of months of successful testing, Google is now rolling out click-to-message ads out globally.

So how do these click-to-message ads look? Google played around with a couple different layouts throughout the beta testing and promises to keep testing different layouts, but it looks like the final layout has the feature sit at the bottom the ad, accompanied with a custom call-to-action.

Click to Message Image

When a customer taps the message icon on their phone, the texting feature of their phone is opened with a pre-populated message (as set by the advertiser) to help streamline conversations even further for the customer. For those who are looking to send a more creative message, the customer will also have the opportunity to edit the message before sending it off.

Be sure you are catering to your mobile customers and take advantage of this stellar feature today. Stay tuned for some best practices and initial performance highlights!

Why Conquesting Should be a Fundamental Part of your Dealership Strategy!

brand loyalty strathcom media canadian car dealer website advertising

Every year, Google shares some valuable insights with their automotive partners in the form of their Think Auto study. Sifting through this goldmine of data, it made me realize that not enough dealers focus on conquesting and as a result they are missing out.  To set the stage, here are a few points from Google’s research I found particularly valuable:

  • 75% of the automotive research process is done online
  • The average consumer only visits 1.5 dealerships in person compared to 5 back in 2005
  • 87% of people consider multiple brands during the research and shopping process
  • 71% of people switched brands with a new purchase (was driving a Ford and bought a Chev)
  • 81% of people are using search engines during the shopping process and search leads to brand discovery
  • People are open to influence from the start
    • 63% start with a competitive brand in mind and buy something else
    • 14% start with a brand in mind and buy it
    • 23% have no brand in mind

Okay, so we can all agree that a bunch of stats can be boring, so what does this actually mean?

We know that the research and shopping process is predominantly done online, no surprise.  However, what most dealers and manufacturers don’t want to admit is that brand loyalty is low, VERY low.  Only about 12% of shoppers are brand loyal and about 14% of shoppers buy the brand that they first have in mind.

This is why you need to focus on conquesting!

So how can we do this?

Here are three steps to start a good conquesting strategy:

  1. Brand and model comparison pages on your website. Few dealers actually do this.  You might have heard about this strategy in the past but did you actually go and write why the 2016 Ford F-150 is better than every other truck in the market?
  2.  Incorporate a conquest strategy into your paid search campaigns. People use search engines in the research process and then discover new brands as a result.  If you’re a Chevy dealer trying to compete with the new Tacoma maybe you want to come up in this search:
  3. conquest searchDon’t forget about the 2nd most popular search engine in Canada, YouTube. Leverage the popularity of YouTube and film some comparison videos.  Walk around your Dodge Ram 1500 explaining why it is superior to the Silverado and Sierra.  With some simple editing software you can even loop in some stock footage of competing models.

The reality is people are not brand loyal, they are open to influence and you can take advantage of this.  Why focus on first time buyers when they only make up 17% of the market, focus on the 71% of people who are open to switching.

Get Conquesting, Get More Leads.

Make sure your Dealership Doesn’t Hit the Holiday Slump

 

We all know that December and January aren’t stellar months for the automotive industry, but that’s no excuse to roll over and accept defeat. Yes, the market may be slower, but that means every deal is that much more precious and we as marketers should be doing our utmost to squeeze out every lead possible.

Do not fall prey to the dreaded holiday slump, use these strategies to end 2015 off on a high note and ride that momentum into the New Year.

Use Paid Search to Increase In store Traffic:

Don’t Play Follow the Leader: Many dealerships lower their advertising spend over the slower months, in an effort to cut back. Instead of following this tradition, break the mould and stay ahead of your competition. As others lower their campaign spend (or pause it altogether) the competition over keywords decreases. This allows you to get more clicks at a lower cost, and steal leads from others in your market. It also ensures your account maintains a healthy quality score with Google , so when everyone inevitably comes back to the party, they will be paying more than you and working harder for their clicks.

  • Bullseye your Prospects: Christmas is prime shopping season. What better time than the present to look for ways to increase foot traffic to your stores? This can be beneficial for both Sales & Fixed Ops. Because of this, it is recommended to set up tiered geo-modifiers around store locations in order to bid highest for people nearest the store, slightly lower for a broader radius, and even lower for an even broader radius. This will ensure the biggest bang for your buck during the holiday crunch.
  • Show ‘em what you got: A Google study asked participants what information was considered “extremely helpful” in planning a store visit. Seventy-five percent responded price, and 74 percent responded availability; those were the two highest-ranked answers. Ensure you have ads running of your actual inventory, with your real photos and pricing, and watch your click through rate skyrocket. If you aren’t running dynamic ads, talk to your provider to get started.

 

Use Social for Lead Generation:

  •  Be Santa’s Little Helper: Most dealers are using social media in some form, but the holidays is a great time to step up your game. Your consumers are stressed and frenzied over the festive season, so use promotions to make their lives easier. Create ads, posts and events that show them you’re here to help. Help them avoid the anarchy of the shopping mall and maybe have Santa come to the store for photos. Offer stocking stuffer gifts like 4 for 3 oil changes, winter ready gift sets in a variety of price points, emergency kits or detail gift cards. If you offer a shuttle service or loaner program, blast that messaging out on social channels- nobody likes being stranded in a Canadian winter.
  • Get Snap Happy: Instagram has opened up their advertising product to all advertisers, internationally. No brand, budget or idea is too small to take advantage of this next wave of social media advertising. Mercedes Benz USA was able to increase website visits as much as 54% through their efforts, according to a case study put together by Instagram. Couple your photo, or 30 second video, with the geo-targeting that best fits your goals. Take advantage of Instagram’s sponsored ads to run a giveaway or promotion that requires users to follow your page, share your photos and/or interact with your posts. (Think: “Enter to Win a Detail Package by Sharing & Following Our Page!” or “Take a Selfie in a 2016 Ford Fusion & Tag Us to Win a Free Gas Card”)

 Master the Content Game:

  • Get Organic: With less people coming in over the holidays, it’s a great time to get your sales team building out stellar content. It doesn’t take a wordsmith to get some quick and easy blog posts together. Maybe a section on everyone’s favorite car in the 2016 line-up and why? Explanatory seasonal posts on fixed ops (winter tires, snow safety, cold weather tips). Search Engines love regular page updates & blog content so getting into this habit for the new year will pay off with more traffic long term.
  • Light, Camera, Action: Get on YouTube. This segment is highly underutilized by Canadian car dealers. You do not need to be Spielberg to do this. A small investment in a couple good tools and dedicated sales rep is all you need to get started. Purchase a good quality phone, mic and some sort of tripod or stability system. Ask your sales people to film themselves doing walk arounds, introducing themselves and the languages they speak or showing the coolest features of a new vehicle. Most dealers know this is all it takes, but they do not consistently do it. Consistency in content is key!

We at Strathcom Media hope you enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season and wish you all the prosperity of the New Year. Get ready to kick ass in 2016!