We’ve been in the local marketing business for a while now. It’s one of those things that’s forever changing. And that makes it exciting and frustrating at the same time. Because you always need to be on top of your game.
Through the years we worked with many industries such as health & sports, medical, home services and eventually we started working with car dealers and disrupting the online marketing scene forever when Facebook introduced Automotive advertising capabilities.
But when we started we noticed something weird. We don’t expect much from local businesses when it comes to branding and quality of websites, but in the dealership industry, we saw an alarming amount of bad websites. You name it: poor design, poor user experience, plugins that didn’t work, corrupt pages, ugly animations, security flaws.
So then we dug deeper into the roots of this situation and eventually, we found a pattern. In the early days of automotive digital marketing saw the rise of third-party sites like AutoTrader.com, Cargurus.com, Cars.com and so on. Many dealerships spent their budget to display inventory on these aggregators while neglecting their own website. Dealers soon realized the power of their own online presence and how they can systematically grow their own brand and audience to get local car buyers directly interested in them without putting their inventory on these overcrowded websites hoping they will be fished out of hundreds of other dealers doing exactly the same thing.
They needed to implement their own paid search strategy and compete against third-party sites while also paying them to drive traffic.
And we’re gonna show you the most effective way to do that here.
The Search Engine Advantage
Advertising today is basically divided into two main categories: intent-based advertising and proactive interest advertising.
CarGurus, AutoTrader, and manufacturers duke it out for basic searches, like “2015 Hyundai Elantra”. That’s intent based advertising. You’re trying to outrank your competitors for specific keywords so that you pop up in front of people that have shown that they have intent to buy that specific model.
Using Google Ads, Youtube Ads and Google Analytics you can learn how to outrank most local websites in the search engines. You can build low funnel offers for keywords such as “for sale”, “in [city name]”, “downpayment offer” etc. Once you own these search queries, you can pursue broader terms and adjust the budget according to each ad’s performance.
Unless the dealership is located in a major metro — such as New York City or Los Angeles — third-party sites aren’t pursuing high-intent, low-funnel keywords based on analyzing local shopping behaviors. By focusing on local search terms and implementing the right strategies, dealerships will have a higher chance to find winning campaigns and pay a lower cost per click.
To make this approach work effectively, you have to leverage the power of Google Analytics so you can track every stage of your marketing and adjust accordingly. You control everything and that’s extremely powerful. You don’t compete in a red ocean anymore trying to stand out. You’ll build your own blue ocean where you can measure and control the growth of your business. You’ll naturally build content around search intent and the expectations of your local shoppers.
The Winners Formula: How To Become A Local Superstar
We mentioned that you can use Google Ads to get better Search Engine Results. Even though high intent buyers are great you’re still competing on a page that has limited (and expensive) real estate space.
What if you could eliminate competition altogether and directly find those people that are interested in buying a vehicle in your local area even before they start typing anything in Google?
Well… thanks to the advanced targeting algorithms of Facebook Advertising for automotive you can proactively put your offers in front of people that have shown car buyer behavior based on their online activity even before they ever completed a Google Search.
Imagine being able to target buyers 50+ miles around your dealership and have them sign up directly for your offers and nurture the relationship with them through email campaigns so that they gain trust in your brand and decide to stop by for a test drive directly. Using Facebook’s advanced targeting algorithm, professional copywriting and design in your ads and then referencing your targeting with data from IHS Markit (former Polk) you can display your ads to people that have different interests such as in market buyers for new or used cars or even target buyers interested in Domestic or European car models.
Local Marketplace Domination
If none of the above information has convinced you why you should start using Facebook Ads in your automotive marketing, here’s the cherry on top of it all.
Not all people interested in buying a vehicle actually buy right away. It takes an average of 7 contact points across multiple channels until someone decides to take out their wallet. Even if someone sees your offer and they really like it they might get distracted and leave your sales page before taking any action.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could take all those people that visited your website from all your traffic sources like 3rd party websites, Google search, Yahoo search, Facebook Ads that didn’t sign up for your offers and remind them to return and sign up for a test drive with the vehicles they browsed before.
If you have an amazing offer, you can also follow people on other websites outside of Facebook like news websites such as CNN or NY Times and remind them to take advantage of the offer before it runs out.
You can now do this with Facebook Retargeting. For a very cheap cost, you can stay top of mind in your local area and keep interested buyers engaged with your brand every day.
Furthermore, you can create powerful Look Alike Audiences. Imagine taking the most engaged 1000 visitors that ever landed on your website and then out of those 1000 – take the hottest 10 buyers from that audience that fit your criteria (the top 1%) and tell Facebook to find you 100000+ new strangers in your local area that are the most similar to those 10 hot buyers and also display your vehicles and offers in front of them.
How could all these strategies change the way your market and sell vehicles in your local dealership?
Of course… you can keep sticking to the one-dimensional old ways of advertising by just using 3rd party lead websites competing with everyone else, getting the same results as always (or even less since we’ve seen digital marketing is constantly evolving) or you can decide that you want to become a Local Superstar Dealership and take over the market.
If you’re tired of leaving money on the table but don’t know where to start we can help you.
Dealers in the US and all over the world use our program to deliver their current inventory to shoppers on Facebook, drive leads into their CRM, and match vehicle sales to their campaigns. If you want to learn more about how our proprietary automotive marketing system can change the way you reach new cars buyers in your local area then Contact Us right away to Schedule A No Strings Attached Discovery Call by sending us an email at the following address firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Andrei Constantin and I’m the founder of Atom Leads a digital marketing agency that loves creating results-based online customer acquisition strategies for local businesses to help them dominate their local market and help bring in more customer opportunities day in day out.