Trying to make decisions about your digital advertising investment going off one person’s opinion of online consumer behavior can be a costly mistake. History shows it’s a quick way to cost your dealership an enormous amount of money.
I am in meetings all the time where someone doesn’t spend on Facebook because they say, “I’m not on Facebook, so I don’t want to spend money there” or “Who reads a blog? Why am I spending money to write a blog? I would never read a blog.” The answer is simple in this situation: “You are not your customer.” So, how do you not base your budget and your digital spend on what your own gut feeling is or what your personal habits direct?
The facts show that more people use Google, Facebook, and YouTube to search and find information than any other digital source. So, while you may spend your money in different proportions in each of these areas, these are the three most important channels to focus on to reach the largest audience. Have a professional in these areas estimate the level of spend that you will need and provide an expected outcome for impressions, clicks, and conversions. If you are using the facts and want to build a digital presence that isn’t solely reliant on third-party providers, then you have to fish where the fish are. Focus your dollars on areas that get in front of the most people.
Metal sharpens metal. Having routine dialogue about what your digital investment is doing and what it produced is the only way to be able to trust the facts and not solely rely on your gut feeling about what you are getting. Once the money is spent, that investment is either going to show a positive return or a negative return. But, a detailed review of performance is the only way you will be confident in your understanding of what you were able to generate. It is never going to be increasing or perfect 100 percent of the time. Metrics are fluid and go up and down all the time, but having the ability to review and know why things are happening will alleviate the need to rely on your intuition or your focus group of one to make decisions.
I can always tell when someone has just gotten back from a 20 Group or conference by the questions that they ask. Just because someone stands up in the idea session talking about new technology, or a new factory expert spoke about “product x” that only your manufacturer is pushing, doesn’t mean you need to drop what you are doing and reinvest all your money into it. The dealers we see perform the best are the ones who are the most consistent with their digital spends and are willing to test new things but don’t rely on one-liners from others to divert their foundational strategy.
Sticking to these principles and not jeopardizing your success (which ultimately comes from your traffic) is the key to making your dealership move successfully forward.
Ever heard the phrase, “Your number-one source of business is the person you are currently doing business with?” Think about this phrase as you evaluate where you spend your marketing dollars. How many previous customers do you have in your dealership’s DMS? How much time and money gets spent on these prospects versus new prospects that have never done business with you? The overwhelming answer is that nowhere near enough gets spent on an existing customer for what gets spent to create a new customer.
John Paul Strong: As owner and CEO of Strong Automotive Merchandising, John Paul Strong brings more than two decades of advertising experience to the table. He is the author of Next Day Traffic and leader of 100+ employees servicing more than 230 clients across the country. In 2018, John Paul was listed in the Birmingham Business Journal's Top CEO Awards and 2013's Top 40 Under 40.