In the dealership world, there is a common misconception that to attract consumers in your city, all you have to do is target your city and its radius as your advertising strategy. The truth is, if you settle for this single tactic, you are cutting yourself too small a slice of the advertising pie.
I often find dealers making one of two mistakes. The first mistake is targeting cities that are too small and selling themselves short of potential customers. The second mistake is they target a city so large that they spend money on irrelevant traffic and don’t show up as often as they could to their customer base.
A better practice is to take the focus off mere geography, and think more broadly about real consumer behavior. Put yourself in their fingertips: what terms would someone living in your city likely type to research buying a vehicle?
Target the locations of your surrounding competitors: As a consumer, if I know there is a Chevy dealer in my area, I will likely type in some sort of geo-targeted search such as “Chevy Dealer Kirkland” or “Smith Chevrolet Bothell.” This geo-targeted term is specific to an area where the consumer knows a dealership is located. By targeting this city, I am putting myself in the running to show up against my competition. Note: Because the search still needs to be relevant to the consumer, you should only target your local surrounding competition.
Colloquial Terms: These terms are often overlooked, yet well-utilized by consumers. An example would be “Long Island” or “Puget Sound” or any slang-type term that consumers use for their area. Although this is not technically a geographical city, it is still a relevant term that several consumers may type in, and therefore should be used a geographical keyword.
Multiple Locations: Many consumers do their research and comparison shopping at work. By adding large metro geographies to your advertising strategy, you can target a larger pool of consumers. If I lived in Bothell, but I worked in Seattle, it would be very common for me to type in “Seattle Chevrolet Dealer.” As a consumer, I assume that all the dealers in the local area will show up including those that may be located in Bothell. Both a Seattle dealer and a Bothell dealer would be relevant to me. I may visit the Seattle dealer after work and the Bothell dealer on the weekend. As a dealer, it is important that I show up for consumers both where they are researching and when they are comparison shopping.
Overall, when setting up your automotive advertising strategy, think more broadly about real-world consumer behavior. Ask yourself “What would someone who lives in XXXX type in to find an auto dealer?” and the creative targeting techniques are sure to follow.