It’s every dealership’s dream: You launch a new ad, or start advertising on a new platform.
After just one week, the click-through rate (CTR) is 40% higher than all of your past marketing channels. Time to whip out the champagne and blast “Easy Street,” then call your marketing team and tell them to pour as much money as possible into this new tactic. Right?
Not so fast.
It’s easy to be lured into a feeling of satisfaction, or even euphoria, with a certain marketing channel or strategy based on misleading data. There are several marketing metrics that might be displayed on dashboards and in reports that don’t really make such a difference to your dealership.
These could include page views, ad impressions, and social media followers. Taken in a vacuum, these numbers mean very little—they are only meaningful if the audience being reached is comprised of the right people, and if you had actually intended to achieve these types of results.
So when you hear about some amazing marketing metrics, be sure to ask your marketing director the following questions before giving them a raise and a big pat on the back.
1. Is this actually what we wanted?
A big, positive percentage increase might look nice on a piece of paper, but it doesn’t mean much if it isn’t bringing your dealership closer to achieving its goal. If you don’t have a specific goal for your efforts, you have an even bigger issue.
Before deploying any new marketing strategy, there are several questions to answer: What are our goals? What are we trying to accomplish? How will we measure our success? What is our target metric, and what is our time frame? What happens if we don’t reach our goal in the designated time frame?
Ensure that everyone invested, from the social media manager to the marketing director to the general manager, is on the same page and shares the same definition of success. If they don’t, resources will be wasted while you attempt to satisfy everyone’s goals.
All goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, instead of simply saying, “I want to sell more cars on social media,” set a goal of selling five cars as a direct result of Facebook advertisements over two months, while spending about $1,000.
If your goals are well-designed and expressed from the outset, you can more easily determine if the metrics indicate that you are closer to accomplishing them. If your goal is to increase sales and your CTR has tripled, but sales haven’t increased, you need to change strategies.
Keep your eye on the prize and don’t allow flashy numbers to mislead you.
2. What is the ROI?
Results should always be seen in the context of how much money and resources were spent to achieve them.
If you spend $300 on one lead generation tool and $1,000 on a second, the second should generate more than three times the amount of leads as the first. Calculating the ROI of all of your tools, systems, and tactics is vital to understanding your metrics.
There is no reason to rely on your gut when determining if a tool or tactic is worthwhile. Compare your results with the goals that you laid out from the outset.
Calculate how much you had to spend to achieve each of your results. If the figures match what you had planned—keep it up. If not, changes should be made.
This type of analysis takes all of the guesswork out of marketing, and ensures that you always get the most bang for your buck.
3. Are other variables involved?
Before jumping to conclusions, try to put your results in perspective—is there anything else that might have impacted these figures, besides my marketing efforts?
For example, was your website down for a few days, which might have caused a dip in numbers? Is this month always “hotter” for you, potentially inflating the numbers? Did you introduce a different tool or strategy at the same time?
Isolating factors will ensure that you’re investing in strategies that will continue to bring you the best results.
4. Did we test it?
Let’s say your new marketing strategy passed all of the tests: It achieved its goals, had a positive ROI, and is doing exactly what it should.
Unfortunately, it shouldn’t become your go-to strategy just yet. Your dealership can conduct further A/B testing to ensure that it is performing as well as it possibly can. Excellent metrics don’t mean you can’t be doing better.
Change one single variable to see how the two versions perform against each other. For example, if a Facebook ad has generated leads, try experimenting with a different image or copy. Did the numbers stay the same? Did they increase?
Look for subtle ways to change a strategy that might increase your ROI and success, then test them. There are several online tools, like AB Testguide and Kissmetrics, that offer free calculators to help you understand the results of your A/B tests.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the numbers and results from your various marketing tools and systems. To be sure that you are getting the most from each and every one of them, you need to take a critical look at your successes, as well as failures.
The only way to identify the best tactics and strategies for your dealership is to keep experimenting and analyzing. Put on your data scientist hat and make the most of those marketing decisions to start seeing even more incredible results.
Shoshana DuBow is the sales operations manager at AutoLeadStar. She is passionate about helping dealerships drive more sales through digital personalization and superior customer experience online. Shoshana holds an MBA and brings a wide variety of professional experience to her position, including real estate management, teaching, and marketing. She is constantly looking for creative ways to improve sales processes for efficiency and success.
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