Online Campaigns: Digital Dollar Investment

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Where you spend your digital advertising budget, and how well you cater to the needs and wants of your target demographic, will make or break any online campaigns.

What have your digital advertising dollars done for you lately? Chances are, these dollars could be working a lot harder. But it’s up to you to point them in the right direction.

How can you get a piece of Facebook reach in your dealership’s pocket? Actually, there are lots of online portals like Facebook where you should consider investing your ad dollars. A few additional Canadian examples are Yelp, N49, Yellow Pages, 411, Instagram, RedFlagDeals and also ethnic portals. Consumers go to these portals to source information, ask for referral business, feel con dent in voicing an opinion, look at business reviews, and so on.

You want to invest in a community platform targeting a certain demographic, which is servicing your community and the surrounding area. You want to engage with these forums, where your customers can vouch for the service or product that you sell and become an advocate for you. In marketing terms, this is the pinnacle moment, where your customers are selling your story, which will always provide the best ROI.

Get systems in place

But before you start spending your money, make sure that you’re equipped to handle the traffic that will be coming your way. What does that landing page look like? Do you have the systems in place to deal effectively with leads?

You should have your ducks lined up with your website and its infrastructure. You need to be able to track, monitor and capture these hot leads with analytics alongside informative landing pages, lead forms and call tracking numbers. There’s no point in exercising this type of strategy if you don’t have the system to back it up.

If you have the resources in-house to build a good web experience, then do so. Otherwise, you can bring in a third party that has the skills and experience to quickly activate a compelling digital presence for you. Alternately, you can bring in a third party to do a consultation. Once you know you’re approaching this correctly then you can continue internally, also tweaking the strategy based on your team and resources. You can periodically bring back that consultant to make sure you’re on the right track.

Target based on parameters

Start small—each of these portals has a business section, with resources to help you optimize your spend. It’s a good idea to have your marketing person or one of your managers, or both, read through and get some highlights.

You can target people specifically based on many different parameters. If you only wanted to look at Honda buyers, you can do that. Start in your own backyard, with your own brand and models. Through any of those portals, you can segment demographically—for example, women from 25 to 45 who drive a Toyota.

You can start with a sales campaign, perhaps with your four top models, and apply additional incentives from your sales managers. Take those incentives and create a campaign around each model. For example, Facebook will allow you to create four di ffrent campaigns around each of the models, and then you can push it specifically to a RAV4 demographic, a Sienna demographic, a Corolla demographic and a Highlander demographic. You’ll need separate landing pages for each, which will replicate the sales message and provide additional reasons to shop or submit a lead, eventually allowing customers to book an appointment. There should be consistency with graphics and messaging.

For service, base it on what’s hot, like changing winter tires or alignment. Those two could be separate campaigns.

You might want to consider some ethnic portals to target certain ethnic groups, like a Chinese or South Asian demographic. Here, it’s wise to consult with any staff you have that have connections to an ethnic demographic. These individuals can help develop the campaign, suggesting how it can better target their community.

Three month trial

You’ll want to do about a three month trial to see how your campaign is performing. Make sure you do so when customers are buying—avoid summer and the Christmas season! Once the campaign has concluded, invite all your managers into a room and get their feedback. Find out what kind of traction the campaign received. How many impressions did the campaign generate? How many click-throughs did it get? You should be able to know how many leads it generated. Then you can find those leads and those emails and compare with your sold list from the last three months.

Test one portal, and if you like the results, set it and keep an eye on it. Then you’ll want to initiate another one in three months—you don’t want them running parallel, but to activate them every quarter, to help track those specific results. If a portal is doing well, keep that same budget or increase it, depending on both the digital and in-store results.

Once you’ve done that for all these different portals, you’ll have your marketing mix. You’ll know your budgets and how the ratios of those budgets work. Don’t forget, this is a long-term strategy. Give yourself two years, to make sure each portal shows how it performs for you. With the right planning, the right resources and the dedication, you’ll get the ROI on your digital advertising dollar that you deserve.

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