We have a lot of statistical data at our finger tips that shows the effectiveness of internet marketing, but many dealers are still afraid to come out of their old comfort zones and into the new digital reality. No matter what dealers do, however, consumers are already changing the way they consume media. Consumers are now able to access their wants at the moment they see fit by using smart phones and search engines and these consumers have put up filters to a lot of traditional media.
The truth is, people who are watching TV are actually TV shoppers interested in viewing a show they like, not car shoppers. People that are listening to the radio are shoppers of music, news, talk radio, and current events, not car shoppers at that moment. Although many consumers talk on the cell phone, or worse text, while driving a car, I haven’t heard of a lot of people who drive down the road with a notepad writing down engaging billboard advertising. Nor have I heard people say they turn on the TV or radio to shop for a car. Traditional media does have its place, but to be the most successful, usually means being the loudest, consistently; the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
The fact is, over 90 percent of today’s car shoppers use search engines to shop for vehicles and then come to the dealership with a lot of information ready to make a deal. In fact, 70 percent of car shoppers use Google to research their choice before going to the dealership, Ever heard the phrase “did you Google it?” The catch is, however, 95 percent of car shoppers don’t go past page one of the search results, so if you show up on page two, you might as well not show up at all. We are a country of “get it now” and we don’t want to have to sift through a gazillion results to find what we’re looking for.
The basic formula is to make sure you are all over the page one search results, for your product and market area, on search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. This is where your car shoppers are; you need to be there too. Google is like a Monopoly board: the goal is to own the most real estate. Just like in Monopoly, over time the one with the most spots on the monopoly board wins, because players have to pay you to pass go, or in marketing terms, consumers have to pass by your ads before seeing those of your competitors.
The more first page Google listings you have, the less your competing dealers have and the less third-party lead providers have. Third-party leads traditionally close at a lower rate and gross as the lead providers take your own local buyers and resell them back to you and other dealers, so your lead gets numerous calls from dealers competing for the same buyer which creates havoc.
Become your own lead provider by maximizing first page Google exposure with a complete digital strategy which compromises PPC, websites, micro-sites, Google maps, Google reviews, blogs, press releases, images, listings, and video SEO, just to name a few. Video SEO listings, by the way, have a 41 percent higher click through rate in search listings than regular text listings, so make a lot of videos!
It isn’t enough to just compete anymore, you have to dominate or you get dominated.
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