10: Buy outside of your dealership’s geographic area:
Every car dealer wants their customers, their competitors customers, and will go to great lengths to buy zones or marketing areas well outside of any reasonable area. Often, it’s a naive marketer that buys a 100 mile radius on new car leads. What’s the REAL CHANCE you will sell a NEW Chevy when a customer will have to drive past 53 other Chevrolet dealers on the way down? Used cars is another story. We have some great success stories of selling cars outside of the state, region, even country.
9: Buy keywords for models you do not sell:
Of course people are cross shopping vehicles. Yes you may put a Cayenne buyer into an FX45 but first and foremost, get the proper keywords before you even think about buying any other automotive keywords. Then, if and when you do buy competing models, closely watch the clicks, conversion rates to see if these are even turning into automotive leads or are just a wasted effort.
8: Buy generic phrases:
If you are buying phrases like “cars” and “used” then you have purchased a one way ticket to spend budget quickly. You will attract all sorts of crazy requests especially if you buy a “broad match” which may include such wonderful phrases as “cars for demolition derbies” and “used jeans just like Madonna”. Automotive marketers beware but a click is a click to Google and they will charge you if you are not smart enough to prevent it.
7: Don’t match your ad to your destination page:
You ad says “Toyota Camry’s for $199/mo” and your landing page is a homepage that is still 3 clicks away from finding the Camry inventory. As a special bonus to your customer, they can’t find this $199 special because someone forgot to load it into your special offer section of your dealership’s website. Talk about a time waster. Another one-way ticket to find another dealer on Google is coming to a customer near you. Could you envision a situation where a customer walked into your showroom, asked about a Camry, and you walked him around your entire dealership, showed them the service department, F&I, and led them to a few doors which may or may not lead to a price on that car?
6: Make crappy boring generic ads
This is an automotive marketing staple. Boring, generic ads with no compelling reason to click on them. Sure it’s great you are on top of Google but that will not last long if you have a low click through rate, and customer’s are going to click on the ad that excites them. We run many automotive ads simultaneously and constantly make them compete to beat the next ad. This is why we can see a 15% or more click through rate on some ads and other dealers say that pay per click just does not work.
5: Spend too much on “gotta have it” keywords
I was at a dealership the other day, who shall remain nameless, who said “I have to win the word Honda”. I don’t care how much it costs, but anything Honda, I need to be #1 in paid search.”. This dealership would have put together a pay per click campaign that resulted in clicks on Honda motorcycles, Honda outboards, Honda used, Honda jet planes (yes take a look at them) and anything else. Plus he may end up paying $10 per click on competitive words. Insane.
4: Ignore Analytic reports and focus on traffic:
90% bounce rates on pay per click ads mean that 90% of your customers are leaving almost immediately. If you are not looking at analytic reports then you are spending money on the wrong keywords, ads, sites, etc. We just left a dealer who was buying the word “free” in their PPC campaign. Sure, tons of clicks. Duh. Bounce rate near 100%. Duh. I can’t even imagine how much they paid per click. Factor in the exit rates (what pages people are leaving from) and the new visitor ratio, and you can get a good idea of the best sources of traffic. Buy more good, buy less bad.
3: Let Google run your campaign
Sure it is easy and may be good to get you started, but Google suggestions will often just give you irrelevant phrases, or provide you with odd budgets. Buy what you need, leave the rest. Remember, Google wants to spend your automotive budget.
2: Spend too much per click
Sometimes, coming in 2nd is a good thing! When the price between being a first place listing and second place listing is $2.00 per click, it pays to let go of first sometimes. Often, we can buy several times as many clicks for our clients just by avoiding the “bid to win 1st” mentality. Sometimes, the “long tail” philosophy can lead to a boatload of clicks at a low price.
1: Buy your own name
Here is our favorite one of all, bidding on your own name. There is a very popular and well known automotive marketing company who can get dealers a ton of clicks and “phone calls” as well. It’s easy when you buy the dealers name. If you are already #1 with your own name (most dealers are) and there is no competition, the DO NOT buy your own name. They will find you for free. That is buying the cow, AND paying for the milk. It’s insane that a major, well funded business has built a business model around redirecting a dealers own traffic back to the dealer, and getting full credit for it. There are cases where you do want and need to buy your own name but in most cases, it is not necessary.