As an auto dealer, you rely on marketing more than other businesses.

Because people aren’t coming to you on a whim to buy a car, you have to make sure that your strategies are having the right impact.

Unfortunately, many auto dealers focus solely on customer interaction, not online presence.

While closing the deal and ensuring that your client is satisfied is crucial, it won’t necessarily bring new buyers in the door.

Today we want to go over five essential steps you should be taking with your next search marketing campaign.

These steps are not necessarily “in order,” but each one should be an integral part of your overall strategy.

Let’s see how you can maximize your online presence and increase your success rate.

Master Search Marketing

Step 1: Assess Your Inventory

While it’s true that having more volume on the lot can be a good thing, it’s not worth much if most of your inventory doesn’t sell.

Why waste both physical and digital real estate on cars and trucks that no one wants?

Therefore, if you want to make sure that you’re getting the most from your online marketing, you have to be sure that you’re promoting the cars that are going to get the most hits.

You’ll want to analyze your sales numbers and find out which vehicles are the most popular.

Overall, you want to try to maximize your productivity by having higher-demand cars on both your site and your lot.

Increasing productivity and efficiency are going to be essential parts of any marketing strategy, so keep that in mind with these next steps as well.

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Step 2: Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Just like having cars that won’t sell is pointless to your bottom line, so is getting traffic from people who aren’t interested in buying a car.

This is a significant purchase, so it’s much better to search for qualified leads, rather than trying to get as many hits as possible.

One thing you should know about already is the conversion rate.  This is the percentage of new leads that you convert into sales.

As with most car dealers, your conversion rate is probably going to be low.

However, if you want to get more out of your search marketing, then you should focus on increasing that number as much as possible.

While there are many ways to do this, the most critical element is making sure that your leads are coming to when they’re already in the market for a new vehicle.

It’s not worth the time or effort to try and entice people who don’t want to buy a car.

While you can sometimes plant a seed that can pay off down the line, it’s impossible to quantify those results, so focus on leads that are more immediate.

How can you qualify your leads better? Here are some options.

  • Change your landing pages and, by extension, your calls to action
  • Adjust your sales funnel to target high-profit leads only
  • Don’t spend too much time on leads that are not ready to buy


Step 3: Know Your Audience

While it’s easy to say that you have to qualify your leads, the reality is that you have to know as much about them as possible to ensure that you’ll get the responses you want.

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As a car dealer, you need to put yourself in the mind of a prospective buyer.

Think about what matters to them and why they’re looking for a new car.

Are you hoping to attract families? Business professionals who just got a promotion? Young drivers buying their first car?

Each demographic will have different needs and desires for their vehicle, so you have to customize your content to match.

In each case, build a customer profile so that you can be sure that all of your marketing materials speak to them directly.

Once you do this, you will see a much better conversion rate.

Know Your Demographics

Step 4: Analyze and Optimize

Yes, the ultimate goal is to sell more cars, but how can you be sure that your tactics are working? Too often, dealers will assume that a particular campaign or strategy will work without having the numbers to back them up.

Any professional marketing firm will tell you that analysis is the best way to increase your ROI.

Until you have quantifiable data that shows what elements are working and which ones are costing your bottom line, it’s impossible to improve your sales.

When it comes to analysis, there are dozens of tools out there at your disposal.

Pay attention to things like click-through rates (when someone clicks on an ad or call to action), A/B testing (using different layouts to see the responses), and purchase history.

Overall, the more data you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to focus your attention on high-profit customers and leads.

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Step 5: Stay Local

Finally, you have to make sure that your search marketing isn’t reaching out too far.

In many cases, dealers will try to cast a wider net in the hopes of increasing site traffic.

However, most people aren’t going to travel more than 50 miles to buy a car, so doing this won’t add much to your bottom line.

Instead, you want to stay focused on a smaller area.

Not only should you be turning up in local searches, but you want to analyze all of your competitors nearby so that you can find ways to upstage them.

Local search marketing is going to be a valuable tool, so be sure that you’re investing as much time and effort into it as you can.


Bottom Line

Online marketing doesn’t have to be confusing or an uphill battle.

In fact, it should be one of the best ways to get more customers onto your lot.

Using these steps and various marketing tools should help propel you to the sales numbers you crave.