Monthly Archives: August 2009
With the economy and the auto industry in turmoil, dealerships are jumping on any cost-savings strategies they can. I often hear dealers talking about taking their advertising in-house as a way to save money. But does this strategy really save money, seriously? Or could you end up spending even more than with an agency? Well, that depends.
You could consider bringing your Internet marketing in-house if:
- You have staff with time to spare. Lots of time. Managing online marketing campaigns takes time and planning to ensure success. If you don’t have the time to manage budgets and tweak ad copy, don’t bother. You’ll end up costing yourself more in the long run. Trust the Diva on this one.
- You (or your staff) have experience running campaigns. Dealers aren’t in the position to be guinea pigs for trial campaigns. You need experience working with the major search engines and writing effective ad copy to run a solid campaign to achieve a good quality score; otherwise valuable time and money could be wasted.
- You know your business. I know this seems like a given, but in order to build a list of keywords that will convert for your dealership you must know what people are searching for to find you. Of course “manufacturer + DMA” is a start, but what other keywords drive traffic to your site? Professionally run campaigns typically begin with hundreds (or even thousands) of keywords mixed with short and long tail keyword phrases, and are narrowed down over time to keep the best converting terms.
- You have measurements and goals set to keep the campaign accountable and on-track (VERY IMPORTANT). Clear metrics defining campaign success are imperative. If analytics aren’t in place and conversion rates aren’t tracked then there is no way to see if bringing the advertising in-house actually saved money. This is a key point for all advertising, whether in house or out.
If you agree with all of the above statements, good for you – this can be a good option for dealerships with experienced staff that makes in-house advertising a priority. But for many dealerships just hoping to save a few bucks this generally isn’t a real cost-saving option and you spend more money spinning your wheels, or even worse begin to think online advertising is a waste. Noooooo!
Take it from your Diva,
The Television Bureau of Advertising announced last week that television revenue fell by 27.6% in the first quarter. Adding to that, spending in the automotive category of local broadcast TV fell a whopping 52.1% in the first quarter of the year.
Traditionally holding the top spot among individual spenders, autos are hitting local stations’ revenues particularly hard. While bad for local broadcast stations, I think there is some silver lining to this dark cloud. Has the economy finally forced local automotive dealers to rethink their television advertising budgets? I certainly hope so.
Television is a traditional medium that offers questionable ROI or tracking ability. In today’s world, dealerships are looking to advertise more and spend less. This isn’t going to happen with TV ads. Dealers have long loved this medium where they can catch consumers’ attention, usually at the expense of their dignity. Am I calling for an end of “Crazy Eddie’s Used Cars” commercials where Eddie literally saws something in half to demonstrate their slashed prices? Well, kinda. While TV spots can be useful for dealers, there are so many other ways (more ROI and tracking friendly ways) to reach targets. Only you know what works for your dealership, but some advertising methods that will show a true ROI are:
- Email marketing
- Social Media
- Direct Phone calls to customers (especially for service work)
- Targeted PPC campaigns
- Microsites (with a specific internet strategy attached)
So what are you doing with your ad budget?
From your Diva,