1. Identify Keywords That Under-Perform or Perform Incorrectly (Negative Keywords) – Google Analytics will give you insight into which keywords are working, which are not, and which broad matches are pulling traffic you aren't specifically intending to draw. An example of this could be words that have multiple meanings or are demographically undesirable. Knowing which keywords do not work is just as important as knowing which ones do. A quick example would be "Dealer near me". This could be any kind of dealer right? "Car dealer near me" would be the more specific (exact match) phrase. Adding a modifier like "used car dealer near me" would be even more strategically sound. I would assign "dealer near me" to the negative keywords list in my campaign. Check carefully in the "search terms" section and you'll see which terms are being used to find your site. For terms that are confusing or not relevant, make sure to add them as a "negative search term", and you'll no longer pay for them again. Meanwhile, you'll also find keywords and keyword phrases that you never thought of that you can add as keywords and assign to the specific Ad Groups in the campaign with the push of a button.
2. Your Landing Page and PPC Campaign Need to Jive – If your PPC ad is about your dealership's wide selection of used cars, when shoppers click on that ad, it better take them to your used car section. Furthermore, the use of keywords in that ad better match the copy of the page the ad clicks to. Failure to do so is met with Google's wrath! Ignoring Google Best Practices will saddle you with low quality scores, and that means increased ppc costs, and lower ranking of your website and overall visibility. On the flipside, good synchronization means high quality scores, better organic ranking, and lower ppc costs and consistently higher positioning. *Remember, match keywords in ad copy with the same keywords on the landing page at the very least.
3. Adjust Your Bid Strategy Accordingly – Along the lines of experimenting with your campaign ideas, targeting methods, and keywords, adjusting your bid and campaign budget during a campaign is crucial. Always check out your impression share and see if you're spending enough to make your ppc campaign worthwhile. If your pulling a 48% impression share, you may not be spending enough to keep your ads up all day long - although there are other reasons as well why your ads aren't being shown (see above).
Depending on what your products or services are, you may or may not want to allow Google to default Max CPC which means you're willing to exceed your competitors max bid by a minimum of 10%. If a keyword fetches $3.28 a click, and you set to max bid at $6.20, it will only charge you $3.28 plus 10%, not $6.20. If your website is tight and you have a high quality score and abide by Google Best Practices, you'll rank consistanty higher at a lower cpc than some guy bidding the same way you are. This is why SEO ES MUY IMPORTANTE!
I believe in being #1 in all searches because it's been proven that you get the best ppc traffic, and although it's not the most cost-effective means of running a campaign with a limited budget, I rarely take on those kinds of budget-limited clients. For smaller budgeted concerns, Google Analytics will tell you when you're getting the most traffic, so you can always adjust your ad schedule accordingly.
At times, you may want to pause an account and activate it during the busiest hours based on your GAs. I have to plug Tracie at DealerAnalytics.com for providing a great agnostic service that helps dealers make heads or tails out of how their vendors are truly performing based on what Google Analytics clearly and sometimes not so clearly suggests...at a fair monthly price. For those who need help on the ppc campaign front, CarDealerppc.com has a good grip on Google Best Practices soooo, you may want to check them out as well as some of the great marketers that post on this platform.
4. Know Your Market – The most important thing for all businesses advertising online, especially dealerships, is knowing who your customers are, and tailoring the content towards them. If your city or town is comprised of middle-class families, target those who are looking for leases on SUVs, mini-vans, or used, off-lease cars and trucks that you may have in stock. Just like television or radio, when you pay to advertise online you want to maximize your investment. Test your PPC ads and see which ones are most effective.Test and learn is every marketer's mantra. NEVER assume in marketing. Companies that build PPC campaigns for dealerships have the tools to make the most of targeted advertisements online, and Google makes it easier. Work with your AdWords campaign manager by providing them with as much info about your client base as possible. It's not a bad idea to point a bird dog towards the bird.
5. Do Not Be Afraid To Experiment – When you are creating an effective PPC campaign, you need to be comfortable with throwing different things at the wall and seeing what sticks. As I mentioned before, test and learn. Experiment with keywords, experiment with ad copy, targeting and bidding strategies. I know more than one dealership that dumped all of their classified ad budget (AutoTrader, Cargurus.com, and Cars.com) and put it back into traditional ads on TV, and radio. They went from #6 in their market to #1 in one month. It was an experiment that paid off in a big way.
It never hurts to engage in multiple trial campaigns and observe the results. Dump the bad ads, and under-performing AdGroups, and stay creative with fresh ad content and video, see what delivers and what doesn't. It's called A/B testing and surprisingly few actually do it. You should be as creative and engaged in this process as you can be. Don't rely on any one vendor's word or opinion. There's a lot of hot gas out there in the consulting world, the kind of gas you hear before you smell it.
PPC is an extremely effective way to drive legitimate, bottom of the funnel buyers into your dealership. Make sure you have a certified Google AdWords, and certified Google Analytics personnel on your team to make sure your SEO and PPC (SEM) campaigns are fully optimized, else you'll be overpaying like someone driving a flaming pie (Ford Taurus) on a subprime loan at 11.75%. There is virtually NO difference.