I wrote a quick guest column for the Mosely Automotive Newsletter this month, 3 Tips for 2007.
You can read it below or read it here.
Here is the quick column;
Every year I review, reevaluate and make the necessary changes to my internet marketing and sales efforts. Of course I’m doing this throughout the year as well, but my yearly mark is where I tally my TYD reports and make the major adjustments and forecasting.
Now let’s take a look at 3 of your online marketing efforts and see where we can make some adjustments for 2007.
- Your Dealer Website
- Search Engine Marketing
- 3rd Party Leads
1. Your website! Last year chances are your dealer website was nothing more then an inventory merchandising portal. You have your used inventory, new inventory (some not) with some photos and a nice description about the vehicle (hopefully), a contact us form and your phone number listed. The “About Us” page is usually blank or still reads the general copy your vendor uses for all their websites. I bet your credit application is too intimidating for most to fill with their personal information.
This year, take your dealer website to the next level and start branding your dealer and your message. This can be achieved with the right copy on the right pages (like your About Us page). Think about some videos on specific pages like the credit application to help consumers feel more confident with leaving their personal information on your secure credit application. It’s time to use your website to merchandise your dealer and not just your low price inventory!
2. SEM (search engine marketing), Ad Words, whatever you prefer to call it. IS SEM REALLY WORKING FOR YOU and if so, how do you know?
Are you landing your shoppers on a specific landing page that can be tracked for conversion? Is your SEM vendor able to show you what search engines and keywords the consumer used to find and fill out your contact form? If so..start tracking what keywords are converting into a leads and more importantly what keywords are converting into sales. Track the demographics of these leads and sales and see what area of consumers you are converting into sales. This might be area you should be targeting in other marketing efforts as well.
Tip: get your dealer listed in the “Local” listings of the major search engines. Many times it’s free and only take a few minutes to sign up. Keep your eye open for SMO – Social Marketing Optimization.
3. Have you been tracking the overall performance of your 3rd party leads? Not just your cost per lead and cost per sale but also your total ROI for each specific lead provider. Maybe your closing ratio for the particular lead provider isn’t setting the world on fire but how much front and back end are you making on your customers from this lead source? I have a lead source that only sends me 5-9 leads a month and most of the leads are from customer that are not that serious about buying, but I have a great ROI with these sold leads, averaging over 3K front and back.
Take the time evaluate where (as in distances) you’re buying your leads from. Is there a particular geographic area of customers that you can’t seem to get in the door? How much time are you spending on these customers only to find out they bought from their local dealer? Maybe you’re buying leads from too far away and it’s messing up your total ROI. Determine your ROI for leads coming from that area and make the necessary adjustments.