Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

By Michael Sweigart on Oct 6, 2008

This is the first of a series of posts about what to do, what to buy, how to prosper (as best we all can) in a slowing economy. Feel free to add comments and contribute any other ideas and strategies, so that we can all help each other in these tough times. Here are some thoughts in n particular order:

Buy more results-oriented and track able opportunities

  • Internet Pay Per Click Advertising: Typically this is Google adwords but also includes Yahoo and MSN “paid” advertising. The reason why this is on the top of the list is because month after month our clients view their website results and state that the lowest “cost per opportunity” comes from the Internet. Plus, you pay per click. If they do not click you do not pay. Simple enough. With the right words, ad, and destination or landing page, this can add up quickly to a success story. Alternatively, if purchased the wrong way, this can end up eating up an incredible amount of budget very quickly. This is a very trackable expense. You set a budget and will know how many people saw your ad, clicked on it, visited your site, and took an action such as a phone call or email. Sometimes, you do have to sift through some deceiving reports on things such as “web events” and understand that a visit to a credit app does not mean that a credit app was filled out.
 
  • Search Optimization Services: Again, back on the Internet focus, but there is a reason this will be a recurring theme. Most customers are online and if a good automotive search optimization expert can help you get top results online, they usually last a good amount of time. Over the long run, this will help your business even when you need to trim costs and cut expenses. If done right, it becomes the “gift that keeps on giving”. This is typically an ongoing effort but not one you can ignore since it takes time to build good results and they should be maintained once established. This can be a great return on investment.
 
  • eMail blasts: These can be inexpensive ways to replace your expensive direct mail marketing. For under a nickel a piece, you can send out offers to people in your DMA that match your criteria including household income, demographics, age, sex, etc. Plus the turnaround time is quick and the results are trackable. Take the dollars spent divide by the clicks/visits/calls and there you have your cost per conversion. For the cost of a full or half page newspaper ad, just imagine how many people you could target that perfectly match your desired audience.

Buy less non-trackable “feel good” opportunities

  • Advertising on specific media just because you listen/read/view them: OK, we all have certain patterns, habits, and tendencies to watch, view, listen to or read certain media. It is just human nature. However, just because you do it, that does not mean that everyone is just like you. There are still dealer principals out there that will buy a certain radio station because that is what they listen to on the way to work and they feel other people are just like them. It is human nature (take it from a psych major) to want to assume the world is filled with people that share your viewpoint. However, if you put some accountability in place to track the conversions, the truth comes out. It may make you “feel good” that you hear your spot every afternoon on the way home, but you may not be getting the best bang for your buck.
     
  • Buying media just because you always have: This ties in with the previous idea of acting based on old habits. “I’ve been buying the “Big City Post” ever since my Dad taught me to sell cars.” Well, the Big City Post is down to 20,000 readers and you are paying out the wazoo to buy an ad still. In the words of Bob Newhart, STOP IT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE Again, just because you always have and because the other dealer is buying it, doesn’t make it right.
     
  • Buying opportunities because they are such a good “deal”. What is a good deal any more? With the bottom dropping out of the economy it is time to renegotiate all of your traditional advertising to start and your online as well. You may think they are a good deal, but if you track your calls or emails from each source and figure out a conversaion ratio, you will know which is the best and which needs to be cut. Sometimes you end up in a “contract” but even those can be renegotiated if you ask. Most media outlets are in the same situation so they are losing ad revenue and would rather get something than nothing…

Part 2 will focus on:

Get more Accountability in place

  • Call tracking Services
  • CRM and Lead Management
  • Internet tracking
Make Offers
  • New Vendors
  • Existing media that you have or have not tried 

Testing, testing, testing: New Concepts, marketing ideas, and advertising:

  • New Media ideas, concepts, and methods
  • New Marketing ideas such as new strategies on this blog

 

Comments

Hey I like this guy!

Feb 5, 2013

Comments 1 - 1 of 1

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Michael Sweigart's Recent Posts

  • With the slow Economy, sluggish car sales, gas prices going up and down, what is a dealer to do? Do you need a hatchet or a scalpel to fix things? Wi...Read post

  • This is the first of a series of posts about what to do, what to buy, how to prosper (as best we all can) in a slowing economy. Feel free to add com...Read post

Related Posts

  • How to Create Better Content in Less Time

    One of the problems most individuals and businesses face with content production is the amount of time it takes to create great content. Whether you’re a nutritionist trying to build an incredible blog, or a car dealer that wants to improve your automotive SEO, content takes a lot of time and it can oftentimes feel like there’s never enough of it to do quality work. In this post, I’ll provide step-by-step details on how you can stop feeling overwhelmed by and start creating better content in less time:   Do Research in Bulk If there’s one thing that slows down content production, it’s on-the-fly research. You should be gathering resources and taking notes before committing to anything substantial. Not only will this help you better understand the topic at hand, it will allow you to reference things quickly without getting lost in a sea of resources. You need to have a plan ahead of time in order to efficiently produce content. In the end, bulk research also helps yo...Read post

  • Digital Marketing Journey....What's Next?

     We have a Hyundai store that has been in business for quite some time. We have always had a straight talk branding message in our advertising efforts. We have also had always a very generous budget to work with. About four years ago we really started working on our digital presence. While we started these efforts a little behind everyone else we have outpaced most of the dealers in our area. We started by looking at the processes that we have in place at the dealership. We needed to make sure that the leads were being handled properly. Once these were in place, we started working on our SEO for site. We took a long term approach to this along with our digital vendor. We also started working with our website vendor and tweaked our website. Once we had the site looking good we started spending money on sem advertisements. Originally all of our efforts were directed at Google. Once we started looking good on Google we started to tackle Bing. W...Read post

  • Dealers Taking Control of DMS Data & Operating Costs

    Operating margins for dealers continue to be razor thin with requirements for set rate financing and automobile sales and service pricing transparency driving these trends.  Taking control of certain operational functions is simple and logical for dealers to eliminate unnecessary expenses and the trickle down of layered costs incurred through business partners. We see the direction that the DMS companies are moving for adding access fees through the guise of certification and security measures. The incremental costs being added are exorbitant (200, 300 and up to 500% increases in DMS access fees) to dealer partners, and end up coming back to the dealer in the form of higher monthly service fees for all applications using the dealer’s data (i.e. – advertising/marketing services, service retention applications, connected car features, equity calculators, inventory & reputation management tools, lead generation & vehicle history information, etc.). Since these are all necessa...Read post

  • Dirty Advertising, The Man vs The Little Guy

    There are plenty of providers that exist to help automotive dealers with products and services.Read post

  • Keep Your Summer Momentum Going with Back-to-School

    Can you believe it? The back-to-school season is already in full swing. If you’ve visited any major retail outlet, checked your mailbox, or watched commercials, you’ve probably noticed that marketers are promoting back-to-school savings. This means, now is the perfect time for your dealership to capitalize on the season with relevant back-to-school marketing. Here are three ways you can promote your dealership, drive business to your store, and generate additional traffic and revenue to keep your summer momentum going. Offer Back-to-School Tips With the hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season, many parents are thinking about new schedules, prepping their kids for the first day, and getting organized. Chances are these parents are not thinking about their vehicles or the maintenance it will need to be ready for the carpool lane. Think about offering customers helpful back-to-school vehicle tips and service savings to ensure their vehicles are in proper working order for the ...Read post

  • Leverage Your Biggest Brand Advocates to Increase Sales

    In today’s fast-paced world, it’s hard for businesses to cut through the noise. Consumers are bombarded with advertising messages across all mediums from companies that claim they, or their product, is the best. Generally, these messages go in one ear and out the other.   So, how do you get the attention of today’s message-fatigued consumer?   It’s a well –known fact that people do business with people and companies they like.  Think of all of the Disney fanatics, Starbucks loyalists and Nordstrom shoppers. They experienced a magic, or some sort of experience, that resonated with them. Who knows exactly how a customer becomes a brand advocate. The point is that they did. Every business wants customers raving about them to their friends, family, associates and others, through social media posts.   True brand advocates are typically those customers that have had great experiences with your dealership.  However, the tricky part is that potential customers don’t know ...Read post

  • The Best Web Presence is the One that Represents Your Dealership Properly

    One of the things that I do now more than ever is listen to other vendors pitch their products. I hope this post doesn't scare any of them from reaching out to us; don't worry, I'm not naming names. I'm focused on a particular practice, not the practitioners. The practice I'm talking about has many faces. Some present it with fear by telling dealers that if they're not participating in the latest fad or growing trend that they're missing out on business. Others put on the face of trickiness and present their products as a way of getting around this system or that roadblock in a slick manner. The most common face they put on their product is one of simplicity as they demonstrate how their service magically gets them in front of billions of local car shoppers. They're all talking about presence. Being present on a network, website, device type, ad platform, or vertical search property is great, but the one thing that I don't hear nearly enough is about how the dealership is portrayed...Read post

  • The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. The Crazy?

    How would you classify the results from your website specials? If you can honestly say that you are seeing GOOD results, chances are the process needed to get you there is UGLY. It’s a time consuming and pull-your-hair-out undertaking. If you are seeing BAD or UGLY results, then you might say that the process isn’t all that bad…why? Because you aren’t doing it! You either:  don’t believe that great specials pages can and will yield great results, or  you are just too busy to maintain them and the process is too overwhelming I sincerely hope that the majority of you who have ugly specials pages, or non-existent ones, fall under the latter category. Otherwise…well…you officially fall under the CRAZY category. Ugly, in this case, is fixable. Crazy is another challenge altogether. Read post