Most ADM members already "get it" when it comes to the advantage of organically grown leads developed through a well integrated SEO plan tied to conventional media driving traffic to your virtual showroom as well as your real one. If not, just reply with your question and challenges to that statement and I will either refer you to the dozens of previous forums on ADM that support that truth or I will reply with the facts and experiences that have matured the shared opinion that I relied on in making it.
Even a well designed and budgeted SEM plan presents a "conflict" with your own SEO efforts. It places you in competition with yourself for Internet shoppers that are already seeing your organic position in the top left corner,(hopefully), of the search engine screen which has been proven to be more "ergonomically correct" since it is the first section of the page that customers see - literally!
The purpose of this forum is to remind us all that no comprehensive automotive advertising plan should put all of your eggs in one basket! Even conventional radio, TV - and yes PRINT and Direct Mail - have an earned position in the budget. Our current recommendation to our auto dealer clients and affiliated agencies of AdAgencyOnline.Net
is a split of 60% Conventional Media to 40% Internet and internal processes.
The point, after investing in self generated leads earned by their individual SEO and conventional media, a dealer should market themselves with a monitored position on high profile third party websites that gather inventory to leverage their own SEO plan supported by their own marketing plan using conventional media to drive traffic to their site over yours.
An individual dealer can't compete on an even playing field with these GIANTS who use the leverage of inventory sourced directly from the OEM's and willing dealers who may not have as comprehensive an SEO and extensive an advertising budget as you do! If you can't beat them - JOIN THEM!
I live to leverage and one example of this communal marketing effort is being applied by one of the newest players in this field - www.EveryCarListed.Com
. They already have over 19,200 dealer inventories online - two million plus vehicles and growing - with 7,000 more dealers waiting to post. The OEM's contributing inventory to the site include GM, who started the "gold rush" by posting their CPOV vehicles, followed by Chrysler and Ford with all of their dealer's inventories painlessly collected and posted by their established RSS feeds including DealerSpecialties, HomeNet and the like.
Cars sell cars! That old school real world wisdom survives in the virtual world and the established Yellow Page "real world" sales staff and infra-structure of the printed Yellow Pages is now being directed to focus traffic onto their virtual showroom - EveryCarListed.Com. More importantly - they are FREE - so how is that for an insured R.O.I.!
Of course added value is offered on enhanced postings and marketing packages - like the original Yellow Pages business model that offered free listings with upgrades in the form of display ads and color - but the momentum of the FREE listings has an already earned SEO that can't be beat!
Other forward thinking inventory based third party websites - like DealMaker.Com
- have an even more futuristic approach to attracting FREE inventory with the anticipated draw for online consumers that should earn them a position in your future marketing plans. Their "market driven" transparent pricing policy built on a multi-variant software application that can compare vehicles on a granular level to allow open market "negotiations" between EVERY dealer and EVERY online customer in a real tme online selling process is guaranteed to attract OEM's and customers when they hit the US market.
Now, for the final reference in this forum - third party lead providers. Similar logic to the third party websites has earned them a place at the table but in a more dated form. Sure, we helped them develop a market based on our ignorance and inability to do it ourselves, BUT - they have a strong presence that can't be ignored - YET!
Limit your thrid party leads to a manageable daily flow that can be assimilated into your internal processes without impacting your effectiveness in handling your own self generated leads and your ability to respond timely. Monitor your R.O.I. daily and make certain that they perform as expected. If not - say goodbye - and try another one! At least for the time being they should be included in your budget but frankly, since there is no dealer based branding or long term value in their message they should be the first to go!
Feel free to disagree but rest assured that I have always "borrowed" the best ideas that I have ever had and I have borrowed the above from the best in the business - fellow members of ADM, friends and customers earned over 25 plus years as a General manager and Dealer Principal, vendor clients with market based analytics to prove the real and projected R.O.I. of all of the above and my own experience for almost ten years in managing a national network of affiliated automotive advertising agencies representing auto dealers in all markets and with all types of budgets.
That said - I could be wrong so please share your opinions with me and the rest of ADM so I can "borrow" your opinion in tomorrow's forum.
After all, what are friends for!