When we conduct our initial consultation with small businesses that reach out to us, we notice that all businesses have the same core problems. Large or small, millions of dollars in revenue or thousands of dollars in revenue, we hear the same complaints. Surprisingly, everyone complains about how they need to generate revenue and implement a marketing strategy that works better.
To help out small businesses, we have begun a writing series of articles on content marketing strategies for various industries. Our first article focused on the real estate industry. Today, we are shifting our focus to the automotive industry.
Each industry has its fair share of unique challenges in reaching their consumer. Let’s shed some light on some of the well-documented problems facing the automotive industry. We will provide some unique solutions for the automotive industry that are transferrable to any other line of business.
Check your dealership’s Google rankings
Let’s do a quick activity to demonstrate the problem. Open up a google search by clicking here. Then, pick the first automobile maker and model car that comes to mind. For me, the 2020 Infiniti QX50 was the vehicle I chose. Search the year, make, and model of the car you have in mind and click enter. Let’s compare the results I found to the results you found in your online:
Notice that your top 10 searches do not show a car dealership. Do you see any car dealership names? If so, do you see a dealership name associated with an ad? The names you predominately see are 3rd party automobile review sites like:
People Prefer Natural Links Vs Paid Advertisements
So let’s get something straight with the aforementioned data in mind. If a consumer is going online to look for a car, the only thing they are going to see online is a bunch of automotive review websites. They will see a few ads from dealerships, but let’s be honest, people don’t click google ads. In fact, people prefer organic rankings 94% of the time as opposed to 6% of the time with google ads. Virtually all the online traffic for car searches goes to 3rd party review sites and that is where people are submitting their requests for more information on a vehicle of interest. Sadly, most dealerships depend on a 3rd party review sites to generate automotive leads for their business because that is where the consumer is directed.
When people shop for cars they don’t actually shop at the dealership. That’s not good news for the automotive industry at all. People can’t find a dealership online without looking at an add. Surprisingly, you will have to go to the 3rd, 4th, 5th and even the 10th pages of google before a dealership shows up. We all know that consumers rarely look at multiple pages on search engines. Here is an illustration that shows google traffic percentages by page number.
90% Of Internet Users Only Focus on Page 1 of Google
So, if you cannot find a dealership Page 1 and 2 of google. You better hope you are on page 3 where you can at least get 1% of google search traffic. Unfortunately, most dealerships don’t crack the top 5 pages on google results for ANY of the cars they sell. So, as a result, the ENTIRE industry pays for leads in an attempt to get access to consumers instead of trying to increase their rankings for what they sell.
What’s wrong with relying on lead generation services?
Inherently there is nothing wrong with spending dollars on advertising and marketing in exchange for sales revenue. After all, you have to spend money to make money. However, there comes a time when you have to evaluate the rate of exchange. How many dollars are given for the “x” amount of revenue? The industry close rate for sales leads hovers around 2% to 12% depending on the supplier and how much is paid per lead. Each lead can cost anywhere between $50 and $500. Let’s assume the more ideal scenario where you sell 10% of the leads you paid for. If that is the case, then 90% of the people will attempt to contact will not buy a vehicle from your dealership. In actuality, a 5% close ratio is an accurate number for many car dealerships. With that being said, 95% of internet leads result in a no-sale scenario.
Is A 10% Close Ratio Acceptable?
An industry-best 10% close ratio is not a really great closing rate. One reason why the close rate is so low is that many of these 3rd party lead generators send lead contact information to multiple dealerships in the same market. 3rd party review site leads are not exclusive. Each dealership pays the same amount of money to reach the same consumer. Thereby leaving each store to fight and claw at each other for the right to sell the consumer a car.
To add insult to injury, many leads that are deemed legitimate will never answer the phone. Another portion of the leads are not really serious about buying a car, some are cross-shopping other brands. An infamous type of lead is simultaneously shopping for the same exact car at a dealership across town seeking the lowest price. Ultimately leaving you with the 5 to 10% of consumers who will actually buckle down and buy from you at the end of the day.
Outbound Marketing Strategies – Pound the Phones!
Instead of looking for a better way to generate sales for the store, management and marketing teams all across the nation simply throw their hands up and say, “that’s just the way it is.” In the coming sales meeting, the managers and sales executives will gather around. The managers will state the objective, “We need to sell X number of cars today.” Followed by a hoo-ray speech ending with “Let’s get on the phones and make it happen.” Sadly, many times the team falls short of their goal, the dealership is behind in the region and you don’t do as well as you’d have hoped.
Pound the phones and blow up customers. Keep dialing people who never intend to answer the phone or buy a car. This philosophy assumes there is a correlation between the number of phone calls made and the number of units sold. If that were true, more calls would equal more sales. You would see the percentage of internet leads that purchase vehicles increase. Unfortunately, it’s just not the case.
The key to sales is connecting to people who have a strong interest in your product, which applies to all industries. Creating a base of educated, well-informed consumers leads to more engagement than bombarding someone through smiling and dialing. Besides, mandating an employee to dial excessively to reach someone is not effective. Our culture is continually being influenced by the millennial generation regardless of your age group. As a result, consumers purchasing patterns are fundamentally changing.
Inbound Marketing Resonates with Consumers
Today it is about educating your clients in an unbiased manner. Letting them know what their options are, who your competition is, and how well you stack up to them. It sounds odd, but what is most important now is being the educator, not the first person that makes the first contact. You first have to start generating content that engages a consumer, listing all the pros/cons plus the risk and rewards. Generate your own review of your product vs your two closest competitors in an article/video combo. Inform consumers about finance options, warranties, and accessory options BEFORE they even set foot on a showroom floor. Hence, you’ll have a better chance of closing a client that has narrowed down their options and knows what they want versus dealing with someone who is uninformed and just started exploring.
If you educate your clients, make it convenient, and provide the black-and-white facts upfront, they make decisions sooner. When they walk into your store, reach out to you by phone or submit leads on your website, your chances of closing them are far greater than the 5-10% I mentioned earlier. In fact, you won’t have to blow up someone’s phone in hopes of reaching them. When you do call, customers are excited to hear from you and he/she is expecting a caller from an unknown number versus screening unknown callers.
Generate Sales Leads through Content Marketing
The current winners in the auto industry are the companies generating reviews about cars that I previously mentioned. Unfortunately, dealerships are getting the short end of the stick. The simple reason why is that they do not write blog article content on their own website! Remember it is all about providing useful information to consumers. That is how you win. If you are not generating useful content on a regular basis, you are losing royally. Why? People are sitting at home on their computers and smartphones looking for a vehicle that fits their lifestyle. Follow a content marketing strategy, write articles about cars, and share articles with consumers. Write articles about SUVs in your inventory and share those articles around the web. Share what consumers love about your brand in an article. Click here for a list of content marketing topics that you can blog about.
Website Authority builds rankings, and rankings lead to exclusive leads.
A natural byproduct of consistent content writing is what is called the Domain Authority (DA). It’s simply a measure of how likely a website will rank on Google search engines on a scale of 1 -100. The more DA you have, the more terms you rank for on google. The better your rankings, the more often people see dealership names online. Long story short, you will receive more phone calls, more walk-ins, and more exclusive website inquiries because more people are visiting your website as a result of having a higher domain authority!
Generate your own leads rather than buy them through 3rd party websites – It’s a more effective way to spend a dollar and leads close at a higher percentage. If you don’t have high domain authority for your dealership website, you’ll always be forced to rely on buying leads to generate business.
Car Review Sites Domain Authority vs Dealership Domain Authority
Dealerships need to focus on battling with review websites for rankings for cars as opposed to buying leads from them. Currently, all the review websites get all the attention online, but it does not have to be that way. The solution to bypass purchasing low-probability leads is to generate your own exclusive leads. Produce helpful articles, host them on your website, and consistently blast it out to your prospects. Ultimately, you’ll become an authority in your industry, people will go directly to one place to learn about a product and subsequently purchase it. Effectively bypassing the likes of companies like cars.com and truecar.com etc…
The Byproduct Of Content Marketing Produces Website Views
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the top search results for the phrase “2020 Infiniti QX50”. Now I’d like to highlight the number of times that exact search is entered on google on a monthly basis. On average, people use that exact phrase 6,600 times a month. So, holding the 10th position on 1st-page google you will receive about 2.4% of the total search volume or 158 viewers on your website per month for that one model vehicle.
If we look at the monthly search volume for the “2019 Infiniti QX50” we see that is it searched 33,100 times a month. That’s a lot of searches! If an auto dealership held the 10th position on google they would receive 794 website viewers a month for that one model year.
If you truly want to sell a higher volume of cars, the better way to do it is by improving the ranking of the new or used car in your inventory. The same goes for any business model. To sell more products or services and generate more revenue, improving your online visibility is the key.
- Content marketing has a long-term effect on revenue generation as it continually produces a return, while sales lead only produces short-term results.
- Helpful content creates trust and loyalty in the eyes of the consumer. Therefore, the demand for your products and services increases tremendously.
- It allows a business to significantly reduce its marketing budget and improve outcomes simultaneously. After all, inbound marketing cost less than outbound marketing.
- You can attract your ideal clients and can be more selective about to who you provide services to. Work with people who don’t mind you making a profit from your services as opposed to dealing with jackwagons that just want the cheapest price in town.
- Content Marketing improves all sales metrics: It increases inbound phone calls, walk-in traffic, online leads, conversion rates, close ratios, customer loyalty, and profitability.
Here at Next Generation Payroll, our goal is to go beyond payroll solutions to provide resources that make businesses better. Contact us for strategies on how to better your dealership’s lead generation strategy as we can customize a marketing solution for any make and model you have in mind. New or Used! If you are outside of the automotive industry, we are happy to help you implement a growth strategy for your business applying the same concepts. Contact us anytime!