Article

Search Marketing Manifesto

June 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Jason Ezell - Also by this author

There’s no debate--advertising and marketing have changed vastly in the last 10 years. That being said, dealers today need to carefully watch the trends in order to get the most bang for their advertising buck. Ineffective marketing media lurks around every corner, waiting to waste your money. Let’s look at one advertising option that’s actually increasing in efficacy.

Paid search marketing is rich with benefits. It offers a way to target consumers based on a much more specific list of attributes than traditional advertising/marketing media; it provides quantifiable results and allows smaller dealerships to compete against larger national dealer groups at low cost.

Paid search marketing transcends many typical obstacles between dealerships and their target market. For example, TV commercials reach many people, but the percentage of those people interested in buying a car is very small. Because paid search ads show up only when someone has searched for a keyword relevant to your product, you only advertise to interested consumers. Additionally, paid search ads are easily editable. If something isn’t working, you can change it quickly and easily to reflect keywords with the best performance history. This is a far cry from the traditional television ad. Because of the specificity paid search marketing allows, your advertising dollars can be spent much more efficiently. 

In addition, dealers can increase advertising efficiency by targeting consumers in specific regions, during a specific time of day, based on a particular product, etc. Depending on your paid search ads, consumers in your area may search for a particular type of car, see your ad for that type of car and click directly into your inventory listing for that car. Based on your desired audience, you can strategically choose the time of day your ads appear. Because of the dynamic nature of paid search ads, you can choose to display picture, banner or text ads. If you stock a car that appeals to new drivers, you may run picture and banner ads after school to catch the attention of your young audience, then run text ads after work to convince their parents to do the buying!

From the consumer’s perspective, paid search advertisements are very helpful. From the dealer’s perspective, they are a great strategic tool. Paid search ads provide quantifiable results. With television, radio and newspaper, you don’t know when a consumer changes the channel or turns the page. With paid search, you know when a consumer has clicked on an ad and been to your Web site. Make sure your search engine marketing provider is able to provide accurate and detailed reporting. You should know which keywords are really performing, how many clicks your ads are getting and how much you’re paying for clicks. All these statistics should be readily accessible.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits to search marketing and paid search ads is that it allows smaller dealerships to compete with the big guys. Search engines award relevance based on location; consumers are interested in finding dealerships nearby. When a consumer in your area searches for “Nissan,” you can bet Nissan’s official site will show up immediately. However, your dealership will have an advantage because of your relevant location. 

To sum it all up, dealers have traditionally been taken for a ride by their advertising. Paid search marketing puts you in the driver’s seat. By all means, take the wheel!

Vol 5, Issue 5

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