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One of the more difficult decisions facing a dealer every month is determining exactly how much to spend on advertising. If you overspend, you'll feel it in your bottom line for months to come. But if you under-spend, you miss critical selling opportunities. So how does a dealer determine their budget intelligently from month-to-month? For many, the infamous quote "I know half of my advertising budget is wasted, but I'm not sure which half" probably hits very close to home. But the truth is; it doesn't have to be that way when it comes to your digital spend.
Three Simple Strategies for Getting the Most Bang from your Monthly Online Advertising Budget:
Strategy 1: Track and Forecast Changes in Inventory
Do you have a surplus of Used or CPO vehicles on your lot this month? If so, next month why not dial back the new vehicle advertising and run a targeted used vehicle campaign? To some it may seem like a no-brainer, but it never ceases to amaze me how many dealers are not taking the time every month to match their advertising budget to the specific needs of their business.
Unlike traditional advertising, digital solutions allow a dealer to be nimble and adjust their spend quickly as inventory and market conditions change. In fact, some of the more advanced digital advertising solutions available today feature online ordering systems that give dealers the control and flexibility to shift advertising funds between profit centers (New, Used, Service & Parts) every month.
Strategy 2: Pay Attention to your OEM
Automotive manufacturers are spending millions of dollars each year on advertising intended to inspire and stimulate consumers in a dealer's local market. TV, radio, print and online campaigns from the OEM all combine to saturate today's automotive marketplace with everything from seasonal events and model sell downs to special lease offers.
While it's understandable that many dealerships strive to be unique, to stand out from their market competitors, there is also huge value in aligning your local, online advertising with the national campaigns. The simple truth is, consumers are constantly exposed to the manufacturer's message, and this often serves as the inspiration for their Zero Moment of Truth before they go online (check out the article: Google Releases "The Zero Moment of Automotive Truth").
Do you have a plan to make sure you get the most out of your manufacturer's promotions? Does your advertising budget meet local demand when consumers go online to research? If you answered "No" to either of the previous questions you are leaving money on the table by not aligning your advertising to the national message.
Strategy 3: Review Previous Results and Performance
Your advertising strategy should be nimble, not static. While it's been notoriously painful to measure results for traditional advertising on TV and radio, online advertising provides immediate visibility into the efficiency and effectiveness of a dealer's campaigns. Your TV advertising guy may be able to tell you how many spots you're getting and when they will air, but how useful is that information when you are trying to predict how much to spend next month?
With digital, dealers can run their campaigns with real-time access to reports showing how many people saw their ads, how many clicked on their ads, and what exactly consumers did when they got to the dealership website.
By taking just a few moments every month to review their previous results dealers can eliminate any doubts around where the budget is being spent, gain insights into what type of ads or channels are performing best and of course, maximize the return on their investment by eliminating any wasteful or poor performing campaigns.