A majority of car buyers will begin their search for their next vehicle online, and that means dealerships need to have relevant and optimized ads running for their inventory.
At the first breakout session of the DrivingSales Executive Summit 2017, Keith McKinzie of Sonju Two Harbors and Sean Stapleton of Dealer Teamwork laid out a basic framework that dealerships can follow when setting up their paid ad campaigns.
First, assess your dealership’s website to prepare for conversions. To do this, ensure it’s optimized for mobile traffic since a majority of your visitors will be using a mobile device. Include transactional data, including pricing, colors and inventory counts. Include highly relevant content on each landing page you run ads to, since the more relevant the ad is, the cheaper it will be to run. Also be sure to optimize for search engines. Think like Google and Bing, and how they’d want to serve their customers (those who are using the search engines).
Next, build a good foundation for your paid search ads. This means sending SEM traffic to your own website, and not microsites. Next, you’ll want to include proper hierarchical structure in your website navigation, to ensure visitors are able to get to where they want to go. Be sure not to rely on too many images to communicate the offer you’re advertising, since search engines can’t read or rank these. Finally, use dynamic, mobile-responsive and model-specific landing pages. Remember the ad copy should match the landing page copy. This will help to increase the quality score of your ad, and drive down the costs.
Secondly, Keith and Sean discussed best practices when running Adwords.
This is a great opportunity to highlight what makes your dealership unique. Keep in mind that your store’s inventory is not what makes you unique, since you don’t actually produce the cars. This is a chance to highlight prices, promotions and exclusives that set your dealership apart from others.
Include at least one of your keywords in the ad. What are people searching when they’re in a transactional mindset?
Here are some best practices when it comes to setting up your paid search ads:
Use a linking strategy with your landing pages. This means ensuring the website visitor ends up in the right place once they click from the ad to the landing page, and finally to either schedule a test drive or connect with a sales person.
Don’t land your paid search ads on VDPs or your home page, since these landing pages won’t be relevant to the search. Ensure you’re matching paid search ads with real-time, relevant transactional data on the landing page. Utilize the latest ad formats in Google, including “call-only” ads that are highly relevant and actionable for local searchers.
“I believe the GM of the future is the Internet Manager of today…” That means there’s an incredible responsibility on the Internet Manager’s shoulders, but with that responsibility comes with upside to driving revenue for the dealership.
Where do people become informed and educated? Before the internet, people would use encyclopedias and libraries to search for solutions to their problems. Now, information is at their fingertips with search engines, and if people can’t find your dealership, how can they buy from you?
Here's a checklist of action items: