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marketing (6)

Gerardi: Measuring Impact

Often the hardest thing for car dealers to do is get a true understanding of their marketing investment. What's working? What's not? Is it worth the money? Is there a return on investment? Ryan Gerardi tackles this concept on Driving Sales:

With more advertising channels comes more ways to reach potential consumers, but also more complicated analysis to determine if your investment is working. Effectively, your ability to attribute sales to specific marketing initiatives has evolved, but so too have the intricacies.

So where should savvy marketers start?

In marketing, attribution means the tracking of your marketing investment through each stage of path-to-purchase from creating awareness to driving traffic to close. Attribution allows you to understand which elements of your marketing mix were involved in the purchase decision process, and ideally, which were the most effective.

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Glackin: Domain Authority Shouldn't Be Ignored

One of the worst sins committed by vendors in the automotive industry is that they tend to promote the things they're doing well while bashing the things they aren't doing well (or not doing at all). Domain Authority as it contributes to the overall organic rankings of dealer websites has been shown as a very clear indicator of success and should never be ignored, but that's exactly what many are doing. As Jeff Glackin points out on ADM, this is a mistake.

It’s not a metric to be obsessed with, but why would anyone recommend ignoring any metric, particularly one so universally respected, when it comes to your website? That’s a good question. First let’s cover what Domain Authority is and how it is calculated.

Domain Authority is a third party tool created by Moz, used for scoring your site’s credibility as compared to similar sites in your industry. Since, I also believe that a site worth having is a site worth optimizing, I see it as a very credible resource for gauging the overall health, as it pertains to search. You can download the toolbar here. It’s free.

Read more on ADM.

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Buying a Car is a Visual Experience

As the internet becomes more and more important in the overall sales experience in the car business, the visual aspect of digital marketing enters more squarely in focus. People love to see cars online. They can easily find the specs and read the reviews, but the point that usually makes them get away from their computer and drive down the road to the dealership is the moment they can visualize themselves driving it.

For this reason, images are still arguably the most important component of digital marketing. It's not just about how many pictures you put; most dealers are starting to plug in images inside and out from every possible angle on their listings. It's also about the quality of the image, the emotion it invokes, and the way that it's positioned on the screen (and therefore in their minds).

In an article we found on AutoRemarketing, LotVantage's Jim Jabaay breaks down the importance of pictures in the modern car-selling strategy.

The good part about improving the way you position images on your website and third-party sites is that it’s really easy. Small changes are usually all that are needed to make your images stand out better to potential customers.

The bad part is that many dealers do not consider it a priority. They don’t know what they’re missing out on because it’s not a glaring hole in their marketing at initial glance.

Read more on AutoRemarketing.

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Car dealers have no shortage of choices when it comes to how to spend their money. The growing need for "smart dollars" to help dealers achieve the highest ROI is making it necessary for stronger data discernment.

We all have the data available to us. Sometimes, there's too much data. It's important to break it down in a way that is meaningful and allows dealers to take actions based upon where the numbers are pointing. This can be in the form of targeting locations, parsing out individual models to focus on through different channels, and putting dollars towards online and offline venues that reach a particular demographic.

An article we read from String Automotive breaks it all down very nicely. As they put it, there are decisions that are made at the macro level and decisions that are made at the micro level. It's not just about picking out the right vendors or putting more or less dollars to different marketing channels. It's about identifying how best to position every dollar spent so that the maximum return on investment can be achieved.

One of the most important things to consider when you're building and enhancing your strategies is that the data allows for decision making on the macro and micro levels. We see trend reports, analytics, and test cases that can influence decisions on both sides of the spectrum.

Dealer no longer have to be in the dark with their advertising. With the right data and an intelligent engine deciphering it, car dealers can know where and how to spend their budgets to get the most for their bucks.

Read more on String Automotive.

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Falling Facebook Likes is a Good Thing

In the early days of Facebook marketing, many vendors and dealers focused on the number of likes they could get to their page. This was important because those who liked a page were the most likely to see the posts in their news feed. Today, with organic reach pretty close to being dead, likes have take a backseat to reach and engagement.

Facebook is furthering the call for a lowered focus on likes by going directly after them. They are killing off zombie accounts and this is a very good thing. If you see the likes on your page reduced, you know that it's just Facebook's way of dissolving the fakery that's been happening on the site for a while.

As Willis Williams put it on ADM:

The important thing to remember is that Facebook filters out fake profiles better than anyone else. That’s why it’s always been hard for people to “buy likes” for Facebook in recent years. You will lose likes during the purge but it won’t be catastrophic.

Read more on ADM.

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The car business has always been one that is very insulated. Many of the promotions that happen at companies are either internal or from other companies in the business. Most dealers promote from within as well and many of the general managers and owners of dealerships started off on the sales floor or in the make-ready department.

There's an exception to this trends. Automotive marketing vendors tend to pull talent from the outside. A lot of companies start as non-automotive marketing vendors and either branch off automotive departments or form entire new companies, filling the talent roster from top to bottom with non-automotive people. This should change.

In an article on Driving Sales by Tyson Madliger, we explore the idea that the majority of talent brought into an automotive vendor should come from the dealership level itself.

Things have changed. A valid argument can be made that the car business is the most savvy industry that's not based in Silicon Valley and that we're trendsetters for digital marketing practices. It's not just the vendors doing the innovating anymore. Anyone who has been to a Driving Sales Executive Summit knows that the best ideas come from dealers.

Read more on Driving Sales.

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