The Pitfalls of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

The Pitfalls of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Branded Search and Keywords

Google is smart, arguably smarter than you or I. You certainly aren’t going to crack the code in any case. If you could, you wouldn’t be selling cars any more.

Suffice to say, when you do a search on Google, its goal is to give you the most relevant information possible. There is a heavy weighting for local results, but it really comes down to relevance.

Google Adwords

 Pay per click advertising (PPC) can be a good strategy for many businesses, however, there are some pitfalls, especially for vehicle dealerships, that you need to be aware of before you pour your entire marketing budget into a black hole.

When it comes to selling vehicles, there are standard keywords and there are branded keywords. For instance, car, truck, SUV are standard words that have significant competition as manufacturers and dealerships across all brands compete for them. Then you have branded words such as specific car models or your dealership name. The former would have competition from all brand dealerships, while the latter would only have competition from local dealers looking to steal directly from you.

When building your keyword strategy, you have to balance your budget depending on how much national and local competition exists for your keywords.

Simple enough?

Here are the pitfalls however.

Competition

There is significant competition for generic keywords from dealerships and manufacturers alike and branded words like models show the same trend; Corolla, Cruze, it doesn’t matter. When you set your budget, you could easily spend a lot of money when people click on your ad. Unfortunately, a click on an ad doesn’t mean a sale, so you could be competing with your own manufacturer and who do you think has more money? Furthermore, those people searching for those particular keywords may not necessarily be car buyers. You have to be careful you aren’t competing for keywords that don’t translate into sales at all.

Branded keywords

Sometimes your keywords may convert well, but there aren’t many people searching for them. Your dealership name is a good example of this. Unless people are specifically looking for your dealership name, then spending money for pay-per-click won’t generate any clicks. On the other hand, if competition is tight because you have dealerships within walking distance, they may take the strategy of using your name as a keyword. At that point, you need to spend money to protect your own real estate.

Strategy is KEY.

Crafting your keyword strategy takes time and a lot of research. You don’t just sit down and vomit out the words you think your audience is searching for. You need to use the keyword planner to carve out the most relevant and cost effective keywords. Beware of vendors trying to sell you strategies of combining your name with generic words that have high competition and little relevance or correlation. You could easily spend 50 or 60% of your budget on an audience that has no intention of buying from you.

As always, no piece of your marketing should be done in a vacuum. Digital marketing has inherent feedback that will tell you what works and what doesn’t. Invest in the elements that convert your audience to clients most effectively instead of wasting money on what doesn’t. This may include PPC, however don’t get sold on hopes and dreams.

Ask for the proof and invest wisely.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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How to turn any situation into a learning experience

How to turn any situation into a learning experience

How to turn any situation into a learning experience

When we fail

Failure!   You know that feeling.

You were prepared. Everything was perfect. You had an amazing campaign, great objectives, good goals, and had layered in appropriate marketing strategies and channels. Everything should have translated into one of the most successful projects, but didn’t.

No, we all want to wallow in it, wrapping ourselves in a cocoon so the world doesn’t look at us.

Don’t blame yourself. By all means, take responsibility as necessary, but don’t blame.

 

Don’t blame yourself. By all means, take responsibility as necessary, but don’t blame.

 

Blaming leads you down a dark path, one where failure isn’t a good thing.

That’s right.

 

Today, you gain a new perspective. It takes effort, but failure doesn’t have to be the dark path you take towards the end. Where would the car industry be if Henry Ford gave up because of failure? He had several failures before his first car rolled off the line. And Honda Motor Company  might never have existed if Soichiro Honda didn’t pick himself off the ground when his factory was destroyed; twice.

Failure is what you make of it. Here are 7 things you can gain.

1. Learn from it.

There is no greater teacher in life than failure. You can see what elements worked and what needs to be adjusted so you can try again.

2. Builds Character.

A person with tenacity will always start again, not letting failure eat away at their resolve. That failure will make you a stronger person so you can deal with everyday issues easer.

3. Build a stronger team. 

Everyone is a little upset, asking what the client or the boss will think or say. That’s normal. It’s even normal to seek out who caused the issue. Don’t dwell. Pick yourselves up and start again. With every failure, you will collectively work on your emotional strength which will lead to a stronger, more communicative team.

4. Set your priorities. Fail once and you try again. Fail twice and you undoubtedly question yourself. Good. Are you sure you’re where you want to be? Take a look at your goals and see whether they align with your plan.

5. Change your perspective.

Knowing what failed in one project gives you a new perspective when looking at others. You have the opportunity to adjust before failure can stymie something else.

6. Become fearless.

When failure doesn’t mean the end, then you’re ready to take on challenges too daunting for lesser people. Never be afraid to fail.

7. Push the limits.

If you’re pushing your message out there and it fails, you are doing the right thing. Failure teaches you to explore unconventional solutions so you’re always on the cutting edge.

 

This isn’t a pep talk for the Friday night game. It’s an intervention. You can either let failure destroy you or you can embrace the mistake and learn from it. Failure isn’t the end. It’s an entirely new beginning. We need that failure to better ourselves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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Changing Up Your Sales Approach

Changing Up Your Sales Approach

How to Recognize The 3 Stages of The Purchase Journey

Changing up Your Sales Approach

One of Henry Ford’s most famous quotes about the Model T was, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.”

That sentiment, though cheeky, has carried forward over a hundred years, establishing the marketing and sales’ techniques that we still see today.

After Henry Ford’s famous quote, cars started coming with different options. When a guy came to the lot, you’d ask him a little bit about his needs like what he was towing. You would review the four different cab sizes and the three bed sizes, three different engine options, two transmissions, and four rear differentials. You’d go through it all to figure out what they needed.

The process has changed with the advent of the internet.

We’ve said before that we need to assume a client has been referred to us through an internet source. That assumption makes it easier to suss out their needs and get to the heart of their deepest desires.

The meet and greet and qualification process happen online before you meet the client. YOU are actually the one going into the conversation blind. You don’t know whether they’re ready for a presentation or a test drive. It represents a monstrous shift that many salespeople haven’t caught up with, but have to if they wish to remain in the industry. 

As sophisticated salespeople however, we know there’s more to the story. Even though 80% of the clients that come into the dealership have visited the website, that doesn’t necessarily define WHERE they are on the buying cycle.

They’ve done the research online.

Stop qualifying the customers to your product. They’re in your dealership already. Don’t use the old qualifying questions because they often know exactly what they want.

We can’t just start by asking who the car is for, how they’re going to drive it, or even if they will be the primary driver. You need to more observant and identify where they are in the sale’s process.

3 positions on the sales process and how to identify them

1. Research

When considering your chances of selling a car to a client, this is the optimum stage for them to be in. When clients are higher in the funnel, you have a better chance of creating a solid rapport which will translate into a better chance of selling to them and making more on that sale.

These buyers will indicate they haven’t done much or any online research. They may have driven to the dealership with a different brand than those you sell and their questions will be more vague, unsure of the specific products that you sell or the competition for that matter. The body language from a client in this group will be more reserved, but curious. The demographic will likely be older as younger buyers have a longer time horizon for purchasing and do considerably more research.

 

2. Shop (middle)

You aren’t just buying your own clients’ data, you’re buying data from your competition too. That means that while it will be good for the first few hundred dealerships that sign up for the service, over time, the market is saturated to a point that it will no longer work.

In the end, your marketing will cost more and won’t go as far. Both Google Adwords and Facebook Marketing will cost more and more just to get in front of the same people because more dealerships will be looking to buy that data. In essence, collectively, every dealership that signs up for the service will be responsible for running up the price of that service like an auction with no limits.

3. Buying portion

The language used by someone in the bottom portion of the process is very direct and much faster. They will be asking about the specific details such as colour and trim or about specific promotions and time frames. They are legitimately prepared with cash in hand as long as you don’t screw it up. Look for cues like their wallet or cheque book in their hand or paperwork for a credit ap.

Adapt or fail

Research indicates that old sales techniques not only fail to produce results, but often push clients away. It isn’t just convenience that leads people to do their research online. Many feel pressured in a dealership when the salesperson jumps them further up the purchase process than they really are.

 

Source: Autotrader

As salespeople, our job is to change our qualifying questions to clearly define where they are on the journey so they feel the process is fair for them and for everyone. We can certainly assume they came from the internet, but we need to do some research by putting ourselves in their shoes and determining what info to present. We need to adapt our process to the buyer, speeding it up only as we determine where they are in the journey.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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Selling Your Traffic Back To You

Selling Your Traffic Back To You

Why a dealership shouldn’t buy traffic from an online marketplace?

Marketing your inventory can be complex. In fact, that’s why online marketplaces exist. Over time, the marketplaces have evolved. In the beginning, they offered their services for free to dealerships to establish an inventory, then as they hit a critical mass of vehicles, they started to charge a nominal fee, and then more recently have raised that rate to a point where it’s borderline ridiculous, almost thievery.

Like many other marketing channels, evolution is inevitable, almost necessary. It makes sense to charge a fee for listings to increase the quality of the inventory. It’s okay to increase that fee to a point where the marketplace is sustainable. It helps you sell your inventory to an audience outside of your immediate location.

Change Isn’t Evolution

 Marketing; however, can take a darker path when the channels become too powerful, or as it is in online vehicle marketing, when they have a monopoly. For instance, take an online marketplace that has so much power that they start using your inventory as bait. The theory is you pay for a listing, but then they charge other dealerships to place their own vehicles next to yours. Your vehicle may be the best option found through search, but what should be seen as your space turns into a cluttered page with the ads surrounding your listing. Your base membership isn’t enough when others are diluting your message with ads. 

 Selling multiple product lines makes sense for many marketing companies. What isn’t acceptable is turning around and selling the traffic that you built for them back to you.

The practice comes from the concept of cookies, the digital tether, a small piece of data that a website pushes to a web users computer or phone to track their online use. Originally used to help remember concepts such as what a user had in her shopping cart, cookies have seen their own evolution and market pushback in recent years.

This is only designed to let the marketplace stick their hands deeper into a dealers pocket. And this is why:

It’s your traffic.

It was your inventory that brought those clients to the marketplace and now that marketplace is putting a premium on what should be considered YOUR hard work. You’ve ALREADY paid for this traffic with your membership.

It comes with a hefty tether.

It isn’t raw data, but more services you are getting, so not only are you paying a premium for the information, but you have to buy their services to get the leads. They are selling it to you in the form of Google Adwords and Facebook marketing.

There is no separate of data.

You aren’t just buying your own clients’ data, you’re buying data from your competition too. That means that while it will be good for the first few hundred dealerships that sign up for the service, over time, the market is saturated to a point that it will no longer work.

In the end, your marketing will cost more and won’t go as far. Both Google Adwords and Facebook Marketing will cost more and more just to get in front of the same people because more dealerships will be looking to buy that data. In essence, collectively, every dealership that signs up for the service will be responsible for running up the price of that service like an auction with no limits.

Spend Your Marketing Dollar Wisely

Over time, we’ve developed a love-hate relationship with online marketplaces. There have been some great inroads to reaching new clients. Unfortunately, they’ve gone too far, hyping up a product that is essentially crap. Enough is enough. It’s time for dealerships to stand up for themselves and stop throwing away their money on marketing tactics that are only designed to make the marketer rich.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

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