onths in and its amazing how much we've been missing. It's been a bit overwhelming, but my internet sales director and I have been learning as much as we can, and this week really helped. We are still small (20-30 units/mo online), but look forward to applying alot of what we learned this weekend. BTW, the seminar you did on cutting traditional media budget was terrific - I was laughing to myself what an opportunity it was in that the majority of our traditional advertising budget is spent in radio...
I meant to ask you who you might recommend for microsite work - we are a R&R dealer with a dealerskins website, so not sure if you guys work with us, but any advice would be great.
The Faricy Boys Chrysler Jeep…
in complicates things much for GM, that would cost less to adjust for than the Digital Rewards.
GM has created a market for overnight leads. They also tried an eBay effort that went south. In both cases, I suspect that what could have been, and still could be, a good program was designed and executed by people who imagine what the Internet can do rather than by people who actually use it. Ivory towers . . . nothing strange to find them in corporate America.
//soap box ON
What GM *should* be spending money on is not just answering leads but also on enabling dealer social media, etc. and measuring Digital Rewards on that. This type of program, I guarantee, is authored by a person at GM with 3-4 weeks of yearly vacation, works few weekends, who offices above the 20th floor of some building, and who has never, ever sold a single car on a floor, much less the Internet. Measuring lead response on a 24x7 clock is a lazy and non-productive way to apply pressure to improve business, which is supposedly what Digital Rewards are all about.
//soap box OFF…
like to sell you. I've lived in Detroit twice spanning almost 2 total decades, and if you didn't hear of La Fontaine, you had no pulse; so getting exposure through this Groupon campaign (which was not the primary reason for the campaign in the first place) was insignificant from a brand exposure standpoint. In addition, any exposure they got from a national standpoint is meaningless...they aren't a national brand nor will they ever be. That would be like Winn-Dixie marketing in California...irrelevant to both parties. Third, Detroit is not a transient market like L.A., NYC, etc., so this exposure has minimal incremental exposure value to the dealership in that regional marketplace. 4th, these three brands are not exactly high on the Groupon demographic list to begin with. 5th, no serious marketing strategist would ever say that "any exposure is good exposure." I can get 3,000 people to physically show up at a dealership in a single weekend for very little money...but if you don't get any significant ROI in terms of brand equity, exposure, or sales, what is the point? Again, dealers need to focus on the fundamentals of a sound comprehensive marketing strategy across multiple mediums and execute that strategy/plan flawlessly FIRST, and then dabble in these "shiny objects" as desired.…
ked to see their ads for the weekend. Just as I thought...they ran your basic run-of-the-mill "No Credit, No Down Payment, No Problem!" message. That prompted my next question: "Exactly what kind of traffic did you think you were going to get by running that ad?!"
Just because you can reach or draw in a lot of people into the dealership, or into a Facebook Fan Page, is not always a good thing; it's about the quality of the engagement and the ROI. After all, it's not difficult to get a couple thousand people to show up at any dealership on any particular weekend...but I won't guarantee you'll sell a single car with that type of promotion either. The same goes for Facebook Fan Pages...having lots of "fans" doesn't mean success, and could actually hurt you with mismanagement.
Most people know I'm generally not an advocate of dealerships even having a Facebook page. Yes, I know social media is all the rage, which puts Facebook at the top of any social media "to do" list. But no one has ever shown me anything substantive to convince me that a majority of dealerships should have one at all. I do believe that there are a handful of dealers out there with enough brand mojo to create and sustain a meaningful Facebook page...yet truth be told, even most of those strong brand dealers barely have any Facebook fans either!!
Like it or not, the reality is that most dealers don't have a brand worth connecting with because they either don't have a meaningful brand message/image in the first place, or they don't have anything relevant to say on a regular basis, or they don't understand how to connect with customers through social media, and so on. And if you don't have anything meaningful to say, why broadcast that fact (that you have nothing meaningful to say) into the entire social media world? That's a quick way to tell a lot of "fans" that you're boring and irrelevant.
I had a discussion with someone recently about this subject, and he swore up and down that he knew dealerships that had "very successful" Facebook pages. So I asked for an example, which we promptly pulled up on my laptop. Just as I thought...a "whopping" 496 "fans." Assuming that nearly all 100 employees were probably "fans," and another 200 were either friends or family members of those 100 employees, that leaves (at most) about 200 "fans" that were likely to be REAL customers. Seriously, is it REALLY worth all that time, energy, and social media marketing expertise to connect with 200 people (when you have a weak brand message in the first place), when you have a database of tens of thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of customers that you can market to more effectively through other means?
Jumping on the social media bandwagon/fad before you get your house in order (marketing, branding, operations, etc.) is putting the cart WAY before the horse, and does nothing but give you the tremendous opportunity to tell the entire social media world that you still have a wardrobe full of plaid sport coats...…
then immediately semi-redeems himself), and that is when Mr. DeCecco states:
"If your PPC service is not measuring the lead generating ability of every keyword they buy for you and bidding based on the actual effectiveness of the words, then find another company because you will see lower conversions because you’re blind bidding."
In my personally extensive experience of using both a hands-on manually managed approach, as well as some fairly sophisticated Search Advertising Optimization Applications, I have come to the conclusion that there are several factors that far outweigh the "keywords" themselves as the sole and single cause of success or failure for PPC bids converting into phone calls and submitted web forms on a cost effective basis. What i have seen is that the nature of the message, as stated in the actual search advertisement (sponsored link) and the corresponding landing page and it's continuation or completion of the offer hinted at within the sponsored link itself, has FAR MORE IMPACT on conversion rates than the keywords being bid upon...
Let me illustrate... For example, i was working with a dealership in the San Francisco Bay Area and we decided to experiment with different search advertisement "constructs". Using an "A-B" strategy, we created 2 search advertisements, one of which was generic to used Ford Mustangs as a category of used vehicles, as in (I am paraphrasing from memory):
Used Ford Mustangs
Best Selection in San Francisco
See Our Entire Mustang Inventory
(Ad pointed to deep-link of all used Mustangs as a pre-sorted search result)
The other ad we created was something like this:
2006 Ford Mustang V6 MPG
Red Sport Coupe, AC, 14K, Auto, FI
Like New, Bose, Full Ford Warranty
(The ad pointed to the inventory detail page for this specific vehicle)
Here's what we ended up with... High Click-Through-Rates (CTR) for the first ad, but very low conversion rates into phone calls and completed web forms... Not horrible, but resulting in a Cost per Conversion of around $82... Which is actually not terribly poor and we did get some appointments...
However, the second ad, for the specific Mustang, had a CTR of about 10% that of the first ad, with a conversion rate that was OFF THE CHARTS! Try between 20% to 30% depending on the day and the geotargeting! Oh yeah, we sold that V6 Mustang the first weekend after my visit to the dealership...
NEXT SCENE; I was at Dick Smith Ford near Kansas City, MO when their deal on one of only 1,500 or so 2008 Ford Mustang Cobra KR's fell apart due to financing (August 2008). I thought back to the lesson we learned in San Francisco and convinced the dealer to run a NATIONAL Search Advertising campaign with an ad that listed the vehicle and the serial number... With the ad pointing to the inventory details page for the Mustang KR inside the dealership's web site. After about $600 in clicks over a 48 hour period, one of over 100 phone calls/web forms was a woman calling in from Los Angeles... She arrived that weekend and paid $25,000 OVER WINDOW STICKER for the Mustang KR.
So... Does the content of the ad itself matter? DOH!
Does the landing page and the offer it contains matter? DOH!
When do I SERIOUSLY use PPC Seacrh Advertising? When I REALLY need or want to sell a specific vehicle!…
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