Most car-buyers begin their journey on search engines, primarily trying to figure out and explore the kind of vehicle, budget, and financing options that are out there. Even though this is far from the purchase stage, making an impression at an early point in the car-buyer’s journey is advantageous to your dealership. That’s why it is essential to have a strong foothold in SEM. Whether it’s an automotive agency or a dealership that runs SEM in-house, owners have to nail local targeting with better search tactics.
The key is to avoid irrelevant clicks. First and foremost, this means tightening up your location targeting. This is more than just adding your address and specifying your parameters. You will then need to periodically check your CRM to identify unwanted leads (usually from locations outside your target market) and add them to your exclusion list.
We recommend selecting a radius as your target location instead of opting for larger areas. If you know the exact zip codes of your potential customers, this can be an effective strategy. Or if you have a list of addresses, you can upload them in bulk to target specific households. Make sure you tailor your content to be location-specific and optimize based on the performance of each location. Increase your budget for the highest performing locations and exclude the areas that are underperforming.
When you’re creating these landing pages, make sure that the location-specific ones are relevant to your ad copy. If a buyer is attracted by an APR deal you’re running, the deal should be easy to find on a local landing page once they click on a banner. If you’re running different campaigns for more than one location, it’s worth using conversion-rate optimization tools that personalize landing pages based on location. To leverage dynamic ads, use your database and create inventory-specific ads that are hyper-relevant and eliminate unwanted traffic.
To really get this step right, it will likely mean working with an agency that has a proven strategy in place to seamlessly integrate your data. This way, you can hit the ground running in no time flat. Very few agencies have honed this step though, and any errors can result in multiple clogs in the workflow. Dealerships end up spending weeks or even months on campaigns that do little to improve their business. In fact, the confusion and frustration caused by these campaigns can actively hurt your revenue. When you implement a more intuitive approach, you get a better return on each dollar instead of paying for unnecessary setup fees or higher commission margins.
The right agency can also help you avoid ad fraud of any kind at the top of the funnel. From double-clicks to bot attacks, IP blocking can go a long way to minimize waste. These automatic solutions detect and block in real-time and can stop bored hackers or malicious cybercriminals before they even have the chance to start. Dealerships are free to integrate these tools on their own, but it often makes more sense to leave it to the experts.
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(This blog post is an excerpt from the eBook ‘Automotive Marketing Playbook’)