If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Remember what it was like in automotive Internet marketing before programs like AdWords? I do. Even six or seven years ago, it was a much simpler time for dealerships looking to get in on the action of the big, new world of online marketing. Back then, you had a choice of only a few providers, and little competition for keywords.
Nowadays, there is a new online marketing firm popping up hourly and intense competition in keyword bidding. With so many choices for an online marketing provider, how can you know who to trust?
I've laid out a few of the basics:
- If they sound too good to be true, then they probably are. If you get a sales rep coming into your dealership promising you #1 rankings on Google or thousands of clicks on your PPC campaign, don't fall for it. IN the world of SEO, there are no guarantees for ranking placement - and you should be wary of any provider that tells you otherwise. Likewise with PPC campaigns. If a company is guaranteeing a certain amount of clicks per month, are they really driving qualified leads to your site? A million hits to your dealertship website won't help you at all if none of those visitors are in-market shoppers.
- In regards to SEO, be sure your provider is submitting you to the search engines on a regular basis. Search engines change their algorithms all the time, and if you just submit your site once and forget about it, your organic rankings will suffer. Look for a partner who is qualified by the various search engines (i.e., Google Reseller, Yahoo Ambassador, etc.) A reputable SEO provider will be able to give you an audit of your current website and talk about strategies to improve your organic rankings.
- Beware of agencies that pitco only SEO or SEM campaigns as the solution to all your traffic problems. A single, prolonged approach to Internet marketing will only take you so far. You need a multi-level approach to online marketing to truly be effective. A good mix of SEO, SEM, and online display will give your dealership maximum exposure. Find an Internet marketing agency that can coordinate an entire campaign to fit your needs.
- Select a provider that "gets" the auto industry. Dealerships are unique and need a provider that understands how their business works - one that specializes in the industry. An automotive-focused agency knows what kinds of keywords your dealership needs to focus on, and an experienced agency will know staticstics on what kinds of keywords convert.
- What kind of reporting does the provider offer? Great internet marekting campaigns need real time reporting in order to adjust underperforming strategies before it's too late. Work with a company that offers transparency, instead of just taking your marketing budget and telling you they spent it on a campaign. You should be able to view a list of your most popular keywords, as well as a search engine ranking report monthly to see your ROI.
The Internet marketing arena is changing daily, and dealerships need to work with a provider that is ahead of the curve. Finding a true Internet marketing provider will increase conversions to your site, as well as let your team do what they do best: sell!
If you have any other tips for selecting an agency, please share them on my blog.