Auto Dealer Marketing: Do You Make These Online Marketing Mistakes?

By Tim McLain

It’s nev­er been eas­i­er to “get into the game” of auto deal­er mar­ket­ing online. But if everyone’s doing it, why aren’t you see­ing a sig­nif­i­cant increase in phone calls and sales activ­i­ty?

That’s because not all deal­er­ships are doing it cor­rect­ly. Here are some com­mon online mar­ket­ing mis­takes that may be dilut­ing your results:

Sen­so­ry Over­load

Prob­lem: You think your web­site is cool and excit­ing, but you’re not con­vert­ing online vis­its into test dri­ves, ser­vice appoint­ment, or sales.

Diag­no­sis: You’re ignor­ing web­site fun­da­men­tals. Web­sites are not TV com­mer­cials or print ads. They don’t need to grab someone’s atten­tion but should reflect your brand and pro­vide easy nav­i­ga­bil­i­ty to exact­ly what the shop­per has come to find.

Pre­scrip­tion: Cus­tomize your site expe­ri­ence to local buy­ers. If they click on a text or ban­ner ad high­light­ing one of your mod­els, take them to a spe­cif­ic page for that mod­el. Cre­ate land­ing pages that con­vert search­es into test dri­ves, phone calls and sales. Don’t just send your vis­i­tors to your home page and hope that they find what they’re look­ing for.

If vis­i­tors do start at your home page through an organ­ic search or key­ing in your Web address direct­ly, pro­vide sim­ple prompts that will guide them toward spe­cif­ic mod­els and ser­vices.


Prob­lem: You’ve allo­cat­ed a large por­tion of your bud­get to an on-going search engine opti­miza­tion (SEO) cam­paign. So, you’re ready to sit back and just watch the traf­fic stream in, right? After an ini­tial bump, your traf­fic seems to be lev­el­ing off or even declin­ing.

Diag­no­sis: You’ve fall­en for the mis­per­cep­tion that SEO is the end-all, be-all of online mar­ket­ing.

Pre­scrip­tion: Set aside mon­ey in your bud­get for text (search) ads, tar­get­ed dis­play ads, mobile mar­ket­ing, email cam­paigns and oth­er strate­gies. SEO is just one part of the crit­i­cal online mar­ket­ing mix.  A Google study (2012) found that turn­ing off search ads result­ed in an 89% drop in qual­i­fied web­site clicks. Resist the urge to be a one trick pony with SEO alone.

Mem­o­ry Loss

Prob­lem: You’ve launched or relaunched your web­site. You gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cant ini­tial traf­fic but not a lot of return traf­fic.

Diag­no­sis: Your set-it-and-for­get approach has led to mem­o­ry loss. Your search terms and Web con­tent are not refined and up to date.

Pre­scrip­tion: By all means, revis­it your search terms and your web­site. Use real-time ana­lyt­ics to con­stant­ly refine your search terms. The beau­ty of the Web ana­lyt­ics is that it pro­vides imme­di­ate and quan­tifi­able feed­back.

Does your web­site look the same as the day you launched it? Update your web­site to reflect new pro­mo­tions, incen­tives, rebates, tes­ti­mo­ni­als, acco­lades, etc. While you don’t need to update con­tent every week, you don’t want your site to appear stale and aban­doned.

Cre­ate reminders on your cal­en­dar to reg­u­lar­ly add new con­tent. You can also tie in your web­site to your social media chan­nels or a blog posts. Since search engines notice when new con­tent is post­ed on a web­site, you’re also help­ing to boost SEO in a small way.

Tim McLain, Senior Mar­ket­ing Man­ag­er at Net­sertive, offers advice to deal­ers when mar­ket­ing to cus­tomers online, point­ing out five sim­ple mis­takes, three of which are pre­sent­ed here. Read the full arti­cle to get all five.




    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required field are marked *.