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A Day In The Life Of A Digital Performance Manager

I sat down recently with one of our Digital Performance Managers, Kelly, to get an inside look an inside look at her daily life and best practices.

Kelly was asked what she feels as the most important aspects of her job, which she stated, “I think the most important part of my job is helping our clients. We play a role in generating leads for them. It's just as important to follow through and help them with their processes so they can close the deal. At the end of the day, leads won't do much if the dealership doesn't handle them correctly.” 

In order to properly help our clients Kelly and our other Digital Performance Managers have instilled best practices, which they follow on a daily basis. “The big picture of best practices for digital is to have an understanding of what's important for each platform and how to implement an appropriate strategy for each. What works on Facebook doesn't necessarily work for AdWords. It is also key to differentiate clients. Much like the different platforms, what works for one may not work for another. Attention to detail is also critical. There are so many moving pieces in what we do and it's critical to not lost track of any of them.”

During their day they are faced with challenges, highs and lows, as well as misconceptions. Kelly let me know that the biggest high for her is “Making conversions and seeing successes. It's gratifying to notice a trend and capitalize on it to get more conversions. Seeing a strategy pay off is a good feeling. At the same time, seeing a successful campaign that a client wants to pull the plug on is a bit of a low.” Although it is a low for us, we move forward with what the customer wants, giving our suggestions and feedback along the way. Retargeting is great for our clients and us, we understand that it can be slightly creepy for someone who is shopping online and then they see an ad on their Facebook page for the car they were just looking at. It isn’t meant to feel like Big Brother watching you, simply a way to stay in the forefront to keep from being forgotten about. Customers are retargeted, or followed, so that the chance of making a conversion becomes higher.

The next time you are shopping online, then later see ads following you around the Internet, keep Kelly in mind and all the hard work she and her team members put into building these campaigns.If you would like to hear more about the campaigns Kelly puts into place, contact us today!

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Turn Your Website Into A Sales Machine!

Even if you can't interact face-to-face with web customers, you still can demonstrate old-fashioned salesmanship. Here are some simple, straight forward ways to turn your website into a revenue producer.

Fully test as a customer - This might sound obvious but if you've got the visitor traffic levels and nobody's calling or buying, then there could be a problem with your site. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and run through every process that they would, ensuring that everything is fully functional and working as expected.

Is everything simple and easy to use? - With websites, you want to keep it simple. If you offer too many choices and options, then you risk distracting your customer from the most important aspect - actually becoming a customer. Too many sites have confusing text and distracting elements that take the customer's attention away. It is a good usability and web development practice to remove every unnecessary distraction and just keep it simple.

Credibility is everything. Many people are still a bit wary of purchasing from dealership that they haven't used before. You need to inspire confidence in your site and in the service you provide. Many aspects influence the perception of credibility, such as having a professional website design, ensuring you list an actual phone number on the site, clearly displaying address and contact information and displaying customer testimonials.

If your first thought is to direct website visitors to a homepage when they click through an ad on Google, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Success is in the design. There needs to be serious thought and care put into the development of a successful landing page:

  • When considering a title, make sure it is relevant to your call to action
  • Put all of the content "above the fold" on the page
  • Keep content short and sweet; leave the opening and closing paragraphs to around three to five sentences.
  • Use bullet points to direct the visitor’s eye to the most important value propositions
  • Include an image that is relevant to your offer to draw in visitors
  • Leave off the navigation bar of your site while visitors are on the landing page, as it can increase your conversion rate by upwards of 100%

Another great way to gain customers is to start a contest or promotion. An online contest or promotion can help attract attention in social media channels and lure potential customers to your site. Giving away a high value item can stir up the most attention but frequent, simple contests with smaller perks can also be effective. It can also be an excellent way to capture consumer information.

Speaking of gathering visitor information…

When people visit your website, it should be set up to bring them to a targeted landing page that can capture the information necessary to stay in contact with these potential buyers. The pertinent information you should cultivate from their interaction with your landing page would be their name, email address, and possibly even their phone number. This way if the visitor leaves before becoming a customer, you have a way to continue the conversation with them!

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You’ve invested in a website and you’re running a successful dealership. You’ve heard about PPC Advertising, but might be a little bit skeptical. It can be a bit scary to see the dollars start to pileup after as searchers click on your ads. Here are 7 key reasons your dealership simply cannot live without PPC.

 

You MUST be on Page 1

Studies have found that 93% of consumers begin on a search engine when looking for a vehicle. That’s HUGE. But what’s even more important is that 95% of people never scroll past the first page of search results. This means that in order to get that 95% of business, your site must fall on page one for all of the vehicles that you offer.

 

Immediate Exposure

Your ads can appear on page one of Google, Yahoo! and bing within minutes! Unlike Search Engine Optimization, it doesn’t take months of content generation and link building to show up on page one. PPC is immediate, and can get that website you invested thousands of dollars on in front of your potential customers as soon as it is turned on.

 

Increased Visitors

PPC ads provide 50% incremental visitors EVEN when your dealership is first in the organic search results. That’s 50% more opportunities to get a searcher to your site to buy a car from you. Of these visitors, 91% say that they found what they were looking. Simply put, your dealership needs these additional visitors in order to increase revenue.

 

Track-ability

If done with a professional PPC group, like ReachLocal, your online program will provide 100% track-ability. This means that you will know where each and every one of your dollars is going. We do this by tracking every search term down to the conversion – a phone call, email, form submission, booked appointment, live chat, etc. So unlike traditional advertising like print and radio, you will know exactly what your return-on-investment is.

 

Scalability

PPC is highly scalable. Once you find the right approach, you can open the flood gates for new leads and sales opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have had before. Your keywords and ads can, and will, become the blueprint to your dealership's success.

 

Geographical Targeting

So what if you only want to target a certain area? PPC has the ability to reach only your ideal geographical market, making your campaigns super targeted. Let’s say you own a dealership in Charlotte, but you also do work in cities in the Metropolitan area of Huntersville. PPC allows you to only show your ad only in the areas where you service, making each dollar you spend on PPC count.

 

Your Competition is Doing PPC

Dealerships are now spending more of their advertising budget online. It’s predicted that in 2015, online advertising will grow to be a 35 Billion dollar industry, up 14 Billion from 2011. And in 2012, online advertising surpassed all forms of print advertising. What does this mean for you? More and more of your competitors are spending their advertising budget on the search engines. Unless you shift your dealership's marketing to PPC, you’ll be missing out on that 93% of consumers who search online for a vechicle. What’s worse – your competitors will be getting their business.

 

Ready to learn more? Contact me today!

nicole.jobes@reachlocal.com

704.989.3710

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Spanish Language PPC

Pay-per-click advertising, such as AdWords and Bing, is a popular way to bring qualified traffic to a website. Spanish speaking customers are one market segment that is widely ignored on these platforms. Spanish Language PPC is a concept that can bring great potential clients to an automotive dealer's website.

In America, most PPC defaults to English when Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords are set up. However, many fail to utilize the language targeting options to enable Spanish Language PPC. In most cases, a separate campaign can be formed that concentrates on creating advertising geared towards the ever-growing Spanish-speaking population in America.

One way to help ensure success with Spanish Language PPC is to have someone that speaks Español build out the Ads and Keywords, or help in doing so. Conversational (and successful) Spanish language marketing is a bit different from what sites like Google Translate and Babelfish can generate. Getting an authentic speaker of the language is a must for dealerships looking to tap into the under-served Spanish speaking market.

In conclusion, Spanish speakers represent a large market segment that buys vehicles and therefore should not be ignored. What are you all doing to tap into the Spanish-speaking community and bring those customers back to your websites?

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I really don't know who I'm going to offend on this one. We've been researching so many vendors over the last couple of months that work with chat, lead-gen widgets, and website platforms themselves that we haven't taken the time to explore PPC vendors. Maybe that's why I was blindsided to find out that there are at least two vendors out there charging 20% and one that we found who is charging 25%.

Is it me or is this insane? We'll put aside the 25% vendor for now. I'm hopeful that it's some sort of accounting mistake or something. Focusing on the 20% charge, it really bugs me that this may be more common than I ever knew. I've always hung around the organic side of search, so PPC hasn't been a focus. With that said, I've managed dozens of PPC campaigns over the years and I could never imagine charging anything other than a flat fee.

To me (and again, I might be on the wrong side of this argument and would be very open to some education on this one), if a dealership is spending $10,000 per month on their PPC, $2,000 of it going to management seems high. If the software is driving the bidding and the feeds are generating the dynamic ads, wouldn't it seem that very little manual effort and development costs are going into the service on a monthly basis?

I've always been a fan of flat fee PPC management because of transparency. I want to be able to recommend to a dealer that they raise their budget without them wondering if I'm just trying to make more money and I want to be able to recommend that they reduce their budget without reducing my service fee. To me, adjusting a budget is a matter of changing a number or two in the backend and I cannot justify charging hundreds of dollars more per month for clicking a few buttons.

Here's the math:

  • 20% service fee
  • $10,000 per month initial budget
  • Dealer wants to raise to a $12,000 per month budget
  • Vendor clicks a few buttons, adjust some daily budgets
  • Additional monthly cost for clicking those buttons: $400/month
  • Yes, that's $4,800 a year for 5-10 minutes of effort

I'll say it again. I'm willing to hear why I'm wrong. I'd love to see the additional monthly effort that goes into a bigger budget. If that's not the case, I'm open to hearing why the cost is justified. If there are vendors out there charging a lower percentage or a flat fee that dealers (or vendors) are willing to recommend, I'd love to hear about those as well.

Someone, please set me straight on this issue. It's bugging me.

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Everyone knows that im a big advocate of all things Google.  Heck, I even rooted my brand new Galaxy s4 so I could get the Google edition ROM.

This morning though, I received an email with a title that I feel may be intentionally misleading.

The email linked to a blog post by Google AdWords Titled:

New research shows that 88% of ad clicks from mobile search are incremental to organic clicks
Posted by +Mark Burke, Google Engage Ireland
(Link is below)

http://adwords.blogspot.ie/2013/07/new-research-shows-that-88-of-ad-clicks.html?m=1

This article basically says that when companoes paused their pay per click campaigns the clicls were not replaced by clicks in the organic search, so basically if you stop your adwords campaign you are in effect losing all those clicks.

It even showed a pretty infographic with Automotive being one of the biggest areas of loss with 86% of adwords clicks not being replaced by organic.

image

Here's why the post is BS

If you have an adwords campaign that gets 100 click per month [random number for easy math] you are usually buying that campaign because you want to be visible on Page One of Google and usually you resort to ppc because you're not on page 1 in the organic results right?

Everyone's research,  including Google research, shows that above the fold page 1 organic results get more clicks than any ppc adwords ad which is why this latest blog post by Google is so offensive.  It shows that even the great Google is willing to mislead us good old automotive industry folks if it will help keep the revenue flowing.

The problem that car dealers have is that companies lile Cars.com amd Edmunds and AutoTrader have millions of dealership vehicles they are using to optimize search for each market, plus they have your dealership name amd address in those listings too [obviously they should so a consumer knows it is your car and that they need to contact you to buy it] but what is happening by listing your cars on these sites is that  organically their links are competing with yours and in many cases you lose.

Well,  you dont necessarily 'lose'because the consumer may go through the third party to contact you but let's face it,  the third party wouldn't be in existence without your inventory and if they didn't exist you're more likely to be visible on page one because you would be a more likely relevant search result. ..I digress.

The other challenge with AdWords is that you are competing with 3rd party sites like Cars.com AutoTrader and Edmunds there too.

When I worked at Cars.com, I was told internally that we were spending as much as $20,000 per day on AdWords / pay per click to make sure we were visible when people searched for cars in local dealer markets.

Of course this was in the dealership's best interest because the more shoppers on Cars.com means more opportunity foror dealers right?

Sort of, except for the fact that they bid to grab the brand names, models and in some cases the dealership names which means dealers have to pay MORE to Google to compete with the 3rd parties that theyre already paying too much for as it is.

I say F that!

Be smart, organize, optimize, visualize and work on conquering organic results and see if you really need that adwords campaign after all.

If you're going to invest inan adwords campaign, Ask your local cars, autotrader and esmunds and CarGurus rep to get you a list of keywords they buy in your market (they have it in their adwords dashboard so their boss can get that list easy enough) and see if they are edging you out by bidding on your own name so b yiure not spending a pile of cash bidding against a company you're paying to advertise with. Heck,  if you're already paying cars.com it doesnt make sense to pay more money to compete with them via ppc.

Obviously If you are visible above the fold on page one in the organic search as it is, with relevant results of course, the chance of consumers clicking someone else's adwords ad over you is greatly reduced anywaybso let the other guys spend their money on PPC while you sneak in and crush them all using organic search. Heck, go click their ads a bunch of times so they waste budget, that'll teach them not to compete against their own dealer customers. [Just kidding, they never learn]

While I spend zero on ppc amd organically dominate my soace, I do believe at the end of the day there are great ways to use adwords as a dealer but I recommend partnering with a company that does more than just spin out an ad for you. The guys at AdSmart Online do a good job and actually create inventory level ads and my clients who use them are happy so you can see their info at www.adsmartonline.com

I would love to hear other thoughts and comments.

Helping the best get better,
Mat Koenig

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Hands Talking To Each Other

Let’s first take a moment to let the cover image of this story wear off a bit. It’s pretty freaky, I know. Once that’s done, let’s talk about how the evolution of search marketing has come to the point that we need to use freaky images to get your attention.

SEO and PPC are very different which is why for years it has been okay to have one company running one and another company running the other. They have always been complementary of each other but they didn’t necessarily have to talk to each other. The separation between paid and organic has for some time been considered a positive – trying to do both is hard because of the potential conflict in strategy and purpose.

Things have changed in 2013. The two must talk to each other. Whether it’s two different companies working each separately or through a single company that handles both with different departments, the best way to have a solid search marketing strategy is by making sure that efforts on both fronts are truly working together. When done properly, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Here’s why:

  • PPC Focus on Organic Weaknesses – SEO takes time. PPC is instant. When there are important keywords that are lagging from an organic perspective, the fastest way to bridge the gap is through PPC.
  • Organic Cannibalization – This is a debate that I would love to have with any search professional. If you’re ranked at the top organically for a mid-level search term, you don’t need to pay as much for it (or even buy it at all). Studies have shown that for the types of mid-level search terms that garner clicks based upon choice rather than position, PPC can take organic clicks away and yield the same basic results as not buying that keyword in the first place. In other words, the money is spent but the clicks don’t measurably increase. There is a very specific strategy behind identifying these types of keywords that would take more than this blog post to flesh out, but when the two sides are communicating, money is saved on the same number of clicks. In essence, ROI goes up as a result.
  • Double Down Principle – There are certain keywords with which it makes sense to dominate from both a paid and organic perspective. This is where having a shared understanding of the analytics driving both comes into play. For example, is a page ranks at the top organically, a consolidated strategy would have the paid listing pointing to a different landing page. When people click through to one, then the other, they’re greeted with two different types of propositions.
  • Rightsized Budgets – This is arguably the most important reason to have organic and paid talking to each other, even being the same entity. There are times when services should compete, but this isn’t one of those times. When the dollars are being managed separately, both sides want more of the budget to prove success. When the budgets are consolidated, the goals align to achieve the most high-value clicks for the amount of money being spent regardless of which hand is doing the spending. It’s the best path to achieve the highest ROI on search marketing spend.

Take a look at your paid and organic search companies. Are they talking to each other? Are either saying that they don’t need to talk to the other because they work independently? If so, it may be time to look at someone else because that sort of thinking is antiquated. Get the two hands talking to each other as soon as possible.

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Mercedes-Benz Dealership Drives 200+ Website Leads Per Month With PPC

A Mercedes-Benz dealership, who is part of a large auto group in North Carolina, invested in online Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising with ReachLocal in November 2010. Their goal was to reach potential car buyers in their metro region, and to win business that might otherwise buy a vehicle from a competitive Mercedes-Benz dealership, or buy another Make of vehicle altogether.

The dealership worked closely with their Internet Marketing Consultant to build out a comprehensive list of keywords that a car buyer might use in searching the web for a vehicle. This list included every model of new and used vehicle they sell, as well as competitive keywords that might attract other buyers online. Their final keyword list was comprised of hundreds of keywords, both stand alone, and those paired with the major city names their customers likely come from.

Text ads were created to describe the dealership’s strengths and to create a compelling “call to action”. Effective text ads work by attracting the right searchers, and deterring the wrong ones. These ads were then mapped to the appropriate pages within the dealership’s website so that the searchers experience was seamless.

Once all of the elements of the PPC program were created, ReachLocal implemented them across 98% of where people search, including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, AOL and Ask. Tracking was set in place to identify any phone call lead that came in through the campaign, as well as any email or request for more information.

The program ran for 12 months, averaging 157 inbound leads per month for the dealership. After the first 12 months, they were so pleased with the performance that they increased their budget. After the budget increase, they experienced an average of 220 inbound leads per month. This averaged out to be an $11 - $12 cost per lead. Not only was the volume of leads impressive, but they were also highly qualified leads. People searching online for a vehicle are doing their research and have a better idea of what they want when they do make contact. So the leads that came in through their PPC program were better quality than those they were receiving from offline forms of advertising.

The Mercedes-Benz dealership not only grew their own PPC program, they also expanded to create similar programs for the other dealerships within their automotive group. Currently their entire group is advertising online with ReachLocal to generate qualified, inbound auto leads.

To learn more about how you can implement a successful online PPC program for your dealership, Respond to this post-

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