5 Things to Improve Your Dealership’s Digital Marketing

Lately it can feel like a war-zone in the digital space as dealers compete with seasoned tech giants that have made their mark across the web. As dealers and marketing managers in automotive are forced to ramp up their personal strategies, we’re stepping in to give you 5 simple, yet effective ways that will set your dealership apart and improve your dealerships digital marketing.

#1 Automate your marketing structure 

There’s plenty of definitions surrounding “automate,” but we want to be clear. Automating your digital marketing structure means being able to update your messaging to fit the market and current events in real-time. This can take days, if not weeks, to do manually, across all platforms. Automation solves this by optimizing in real-time, streamlining simple tasks, and taking the place of human busywork. From website offers to inventory changes, you should be automating the lot (!) (no pun intended). It’s the only way to save valuable time and resources all while giving your customers that 1:1 personalization.

#2 Include real-time updates within your dealership’s digital marketing strategy

A sophisticated dealership digital marketing strategy recognizes that shoppers require 1:1 targeting throughout all hours of the day. Real-time updates mean considering all the data points when they are actually happening, so you can capture shoppers at just the right time with just the right message. This advanced way of marketing unlocks the ability to market every car as if it’s your only one.

#3 Give yourself a smart budget ad strategy

No two dealerships are alike, which means your success plan will look much different than your neighbor’s. And we all know that getting more qualified traffic to your site means more potential leads and sales for your dealership.  It’s time to find a solution that allows you to tailor your ad strategy with new objectives that give you more granular control. Leverage a smart machine learning engine with the nuances of your dealership and its target population that will allow you to beat out the competition every time.

#4 Always track your events in Google Analytics

Without transparency, data is worthless. And a lack of healthy data means no way to track a consistent and successful dealership digital marketing plan. Dealers need to see everything that’s happening on their website, where it came from, and how it got there directly from Google Analytics. Having website events set up properly in Google Analytics allows marketers to track different patterns like understanding where leads are landing when they convert, what traffic source they entered from, and the types of pages they viewed (Homepage, SRP, VDP, Specials, Service, etc.)  So make sure you’re fully integrated from the start!

#5 Successfully measure your dealership’s digital marketing success

What’s the point of researching best practices and putting them into action if you don’t know how to measure success? Integrating with Google Analytics is a great first step, but successfully interpreting your data is what will give you a competitive edge. And besides, there are so many myths about what success actually means that even pinning down goals can get slippery. For example, some dealers argue that you’re getting a great ROI if each metric shows improvement. When in reality, your ROI might be good if your metrics are looking up, but the truth is, you can’t say for sure unless you have two things: metrics that actually measure something of value to your dealership, and a unified source of data. No doubt it can be difficult to properly analyze data, but the faster you are to accurately measure your data, the faster you can prioritize what’s working, and in turn, claim your success.

These are just a few steps in the ultimate guide to improving your dealership’s digital marketing efforts. It’s important to remember that your dealership’s strategy will be individual to your own business objectives, inventory, and website. We encourage dealers to start with these 5 best practices to create a successful digital marketing strategy for your dealership to seize growth opportunities and boost revenue.

How to Actually Measure Your Dealership’s Digital Marketing Success?

If you’re like most dealerships, successful marketing and advertising is on your list of priorities for this year. The problem? There are so many myths about what success actually means that even pinning down goals can be elusive.

So in honor of the new year, let’s walk through some marketing myths and facts. We’ll clarify a few misconceptions that can help you make the most of your dealership’s digital marketing efforts.

Myth: You’re getting a great ROI if each metric shows improvement.

Fact: Your ROI might be good if your metrics are looking up, but the truth is, you can’t say for sure unless you have two things: metrics that actually measure something of value to your dealership, and a unified source of data.

For example, you may see an uptick in ad impressions, but that’s only news to be excited about if ad impressions are your goal. If your goal is to increase sales with your ad campaigns, your impressions don’t tell you much about your success. In that case, impressions look good, but aren’t a good measure.

That’s also why you need a unified source of data. You won’t see your true ROI unless you can connect each marketing investment to sales. Simply assuming you are on the right track without sales data to back that up would be a mistake. More often than not, you have room to improve.

Myth: Closing rate is the best assessment for a lead vendor.

Fact: Your overall closing rate is dependent on many factors, including your traffic quality, your BDC process, and yes, your lead vendors and tools.

Let’s say you have a low close rate on a particular vendor. That vendor is doing poorly, right? Not necessarily. Assuming a low close rate is solely the function of the lead vendor doesn’t take into account some very important context. Does this lead vendor focus on up-funnel leads? If so, you can assume the conversion rate will be higher but the closing rate may be lower. If a vendor focuses on closer-to-buy shoppers, you will see a lower conversion rate but a higher close rate. To really understand vendor performance, make sure to take into account the context.

Myth: Google Analytics gives you a full picture of your dealership’s digital marketing ROI.

Fact: Google Analytics helps you track important pieces of your marketing funnel, but since it does not connect your ad spend with your CRM data, it can’t give you the full picture.

When you see your clicks and impressions on Google Analytics, you can see improvement in your brand exposure, maybe even your website performance and optimization. But to actually see if your ad spend is leading to sales, your ad data must be connected to your CRM data.

In marketing, there are no simple answers. Getting at the truth requires ongoing assessment, clean data, and of course, knowing how to analyze and interpret. Let’s all jump into this year with a renewed effort to dig into our assumptions, and our data, to produce more valuable marketing outcomes.

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