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I frequently get asked what the best way to market a car dealership is. What does a dealership need to do to be successful? My recipe for marketing success is always SEO, Social Media, Equity Mining, TV and PPC. I believe that TV and Internet create a powerhouse marketing system that, when done correctly, few can touch.

Now, PPC is a tough marketing tactic. Many dealers treat it as a bottomless pit, and dump money in it hand over fist. In really small markets that makes sense. You can truly blanket the region with a few thousand dollars each month. In a larger town or city, though, you need to be strategic. Analyzing every keyword for it’s ability to generate quality visits to the website, and the overall ability to convert into leads.

Why Leads Aren’t Everything in Automotive PPC

Leads aren’t everything with internet marketing. That sounds silly, right? Everything we do is evaluated on generating leads. However, the best automotive websites are only converting at 4%, with an average site converting at 1%. That leaves 96% of website visitors unaccounted for. So, while leads are a fantastic indicator of a quality visit, it isn’t the only one.

What we look for is lower bounce rates, typically in the 30-60% range, several pages visited and 2 plus minutes on site. These aren’t golden numbers, but it is what we use to determine if a keyword is valuable.

Why You Need a Real Strategy for Car Dealer PPC

The intent of the keyword needs to match the content on the website. Consider where the customer is in the research process when you are building your strategy. If they are searching for “Toyota Camry” they are most likely high funnel, and just starting to research the vehicle. Landing them on your inventory isn’t going to produce the best results. Instead, this visitor should land on a page talking about the vehicle, and the great features it offers. Your PPC strategy needs to consider the intent for every search, and provide a valuable page for them.

Without a strategy you are wasting money on pointless visits.

What’s The Next Step

If you are already working with a PPC vendor, then the next step is evaluating what they are doing. There are several great PPC vendors in the auto industry, and you may be using one currently. Ask them for a report showing the CTR, CPC, Quality Score, Conversion Rate and Bounce Rates at the Campaign, Ad Group and Keyword levels. There is no campaign level quality score, but with this report you will see the breakdown of all of your ad groups, and determine if they are providing a quality service. A quality score of 5 is the new average for PPC, and you will see discounts in your cost per click (CPC) for a quality score higher than a 5. A 10 is the highest score you can get, and it brings massive discounts. Lower than 5 is costing you more money.

If you aren’t currently doing PPC, then we welcome you to contact us for a free consultation. We can go over the best automotive keywords to target, the strategy that we would suggest and how you can get started.  We can also talk about the benefits of a cohesive SEO and PPC strategy.

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