I talk to a lot of dealers every month and it’s a well-known fact that the majority are spending more money on paid search than ever before. In fact some paid search budgets are now outranking those of electronic media and direct mail. These budgets have the ability to grow with market demand in the search engines. The market right now is as hot as it’s ever been. With all that said, I think it’s pretty interesting to hear people boast about how much they spend on paid search but can’t explain the first thing about their campaigns. What percent is focused on new cars versus used cars? How much is trolling for bad credit and if any is running for service?
I was talking to a prospective client the other day and asked him how frequently he gets reports on his paid search, but he couldn’t give me an answer. The issue was not that he didn’t know (I wouldn’t expect a dealer to know all the intricate details of any other media plan) but that he had nobody watching it for him.
Every dealership has strengths and weaknesses making paid search such an effective tool at driving traffic. If you are not a good used car store, then paid search can drive all the traffic that you’re willing to buy. If traffic converts it will be due to the right inventory with the right descriptions and the right price. If you are not a good truck store you can go buy all the truck search traffic you can shake a stick at but it will only convert into possible business if you have what the shopper is looking to buy.
The very basis of what paid search does is truly amazing. The shopper types a question into a search query and any number of advertisers looking to sell that product pop up. Yes, they are ads and having the first organic rank is hands down where you would want to be, but not everybody can be there. This makes paid search so effective at filling the deficiencies in your business.
You have the power of the most effective form of customer connection in the history of the world. It is by far the easiest way to attract interested customers to look at your product. But just like a farmer tends to his crops, you must tend to your campaigns. Paid search for automotive dealers can create immediate and identifiable visibility. It’s just that simple. But you are only going to be found in the areas that you invest and too many companies who manage dealers’ paid search campaigns have no idea where they should be investing.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.