Notifications & Messages

Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
David Bowman

David Bowman Owner

Exclusive Blog Posts



We all seek growth, personally and professionally. What I’ve come to understand is that growth in a business isn’t measured by ROI alone. …

Develop Your Next-Gen Leadership from Service Employees

Develop Your Next-Gen Leadership from Service Employees

Service employees work hard, really hard. The service department is a baptism-by-fire style of teaching, especially in busy domestic dealers where there is…

4 Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing

4 Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing

Marketing is becoming increasingly complex, with the proliferation of ‘Big Data,” predictive analytics and new mobile and digital channels. To …

Digital Finance SOS – Is Digital Retailing the Answer? (Part 4)

Digital Finance SOS – Is Digital Retailing the Answer? (Part 4)

Part Four: Summary - Digital Retailing, Done Right, is the Answer! The automotive reality in today’s era of ecommerce is that Digital Retailing ha…

Why New Doesn't Always Mean Better for Auto Industry Marketers

Why New Doesn't Always Mean Better for Auto Industry Marketers

Global advertising spend is expected to exceed half a trillion dollars for the fourth year in a row, and American brands are once again fueling t…

Sink or Swim: Where You SHOULD Be Spending Your Marketing Budget in 2018

Navigating the modern digital marketing landscape is enough to quickly make your head throb. In our industry, sales is the dominant driver of our successes and failures. How can we equip our sales teams for success?

The answer is simple: smart marketing.

I’m not talking about old school marketing like print ads and junk mail that we send out. We know that doesn’t work very well.

I’m talking about creating a digital empire online — and empires take time to build. So how can we grow efficiently, quickly, and support our sales teams? We focus on the marketing channels with the highest overall ROI:

Highest Marketing ROI Per $1 Spent

- Email - $40

- SEO - $22.24

- Internet Display - $19.72

- Mobile - $10.51

- Catalogs/Print - $7.30

- Banner Ads - $2

At Bowman Auto, we focus on the top 2 channels the most: email marketing and SEO. Together, these two channels create a powerful cycle that fuels our growth online. Let me explain:

The 2018 Marketing Strategy for Dealers - Prioritize Email Marketing


Let’s start with email marketing strategies. Email marketing has an average of 4,000% ROI for every dollar spent. And while building a healthy, organic email list is difficult to do in our industry, the effort pays off.

When you have built an email list, these are typically people that either have: 1) already bought a vehicle and done business with you or 2) shown interest in potentially buying in the future.

Most dealers are sending out sales emails, chalked full of sales jargon. Instead of giving out value, we are asking for a sale or asking the potential customer to “come check out our incentives.”

This just doesn’t work anymore in 2018. We need to find unique ways to provide value to our prospective customers. What do they want? The simple answer: not sales emails.

They want relevant emails based on where they on in the buyer's journey. Sending unique content and tracking how they respond to it with opens, clicks, etc. will give us the insight we need to move them along further in the sales cycle.

We can start to remedy this by segmenting our email list into multiple lists:

- New email subscribers

- “Hot leads” - high email opens/CTRs

- One-time purchasers

- More than one-time purchasers

You can get more granular and segment into make/model lists if applicable. The key here is to segment your lists so well that your email recipient will be happy to read your emails, because they are tailored for them and feel personalized.

When we align this strategy with SEO efforts, we can really see improvement.

SEO Based Content Marketing will Rev Up Your Email Marketing Efforts

We need qualified traffic coming to our site - visitors who are on our website to buy a vehicle or browse our inventory. Keyword stuffing and other poor SEO practices don’t work because if a landing page is irrelevant to the searcher, they will simply click the back button and go find another website.

We want to create landing pages that are exactly what our visitors want to see. This means that if someone is searching for a “new Land Rover” they probably don’t want to see “used Land Rovers.” Seems simple right?

By optimizing our pages with keywords to specifically only show what our visitors want to see, we can increase our chances of conversion.

Strategy Example: Create Content About Solving Automotive Repair Problems in Hondas

I know, it seems crazy. Why would we want to tell the potential customer how to fix their problems, if we want them to buy a car from us?

Here’s why: by giving value, you’re establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource and an authority. If they do end up getting their Honda fixed, then they won’t be buying a new car from us soon. But when their car inevitably does kick the can, or they are ready for another purchase, we have already established ourselves as a credible, trustworthy source and they are more willing to buy from us.

Another fact of the matter is people will not want to go through the trouble and cost of paying for repairs. Once you detail what needs to be done to fix a problem, cover how much it costs to fix, etc., many will not want to deal with the trouble and will start looking to buy a replacement vehicle. And now that they are on your site trying to figure out whether to invest in the cost of repairs or buy a new vehicle, they are only one or two clicks away from browsing your inventory.

And once you have content based around specific makes and models, you can then send these articles to your tailored email lists.

Instead of “Hey, we know you just bought a Mitsubishi from us, so here’s another marketing email asking you to buy another car from us” it is now “Hey, we know you were looking at a fuel-efficient Mitsubishi, so here’s a free gas-mileage calculator to help you cut back on costs.” Link the customer to free tools, helpful articles, and provide value to help them to actually open your emails, click the links, and potentially convert.

It might seem counterproductive at first, but this is the evolution of marketing. The customer holds all the power now.

Conclusion: Dealers Need to Invest in Email Marketing and SEO in 2018

Don’t fall into the old school way of sales and marketing. Focus on the customer and providing value first, and your dealership will always come out on top through referrals and 5 star reviews. It’s time to make a change and invest your marketing dollars the right way!

Kelly Kleinman

The issue with email isn't always click count, rather it's bounce rate. If you're good with 75-90% bounce rates, then your bar is set pretty low.  If you're a vendor and you're driving measurable email traffic to a site, best be certain it wants to be there.

Bart Wilson

Good advice David.

Today, it's about online and offline providing the same message and experience.  I would encourage dealerships to discover "who they are" and who their customer's are.  Defining the value props that resonate with that audience is another way to deliver the right message.

Grant Barmby

Other than an "Owner" contributor, who is David Bowman? He does not have a profile on Driving Sales and there are no links.

Paul J Daly

There is some confusion when it comes to the true ROI on marketing investments when I'm working in the automotive space. One major problem is that CONTENT CREATION isn't typically accounted for anywhere. I understand the reason to be that content is often created for "free" at best. At worst, it is thrown together internally. 

I'd like to contribute that there is true and untapped leverage  in creating great content. Especially in automotive. Of course email ROI is high...distribution is super cheap. This is why our inboxes are full of spray and pray junk. 

I really appreciate the authors approach to tailoring content to the identified needs of the audience! Yes. All day, yes. However, ALL costs of creating that content must be accounted for in the ROI. If that is being done in the numbers in presented in the article...BRAVO!


Mark Rask

Good advice....This gives me some good benchmarks 

 Unlock all of the community & features  Join Now