Digital marketing is a crucial way for your dealership to reach today’s online shoppers. But where do you start? There are essentially three main ways you can handle your dealership’s digital marketing efforts:
- In-house digital marketer. Depending on the size of your dealership, this may or may not be feasible, but it gives you the most direct control over your campaigns.
- A dedicated digital marketing vendor. Specialists bring expertise to the table—and hopefully, they have data and experience in the auto world. This will add to your costs, but in most cases lets you scale your campaigns beyond what an in-house person would be able to do.
- Dealer management vendors. Some digital dealership providers also offer paid search as part of a comprehensive package of services, like inventory management, website management, CRM, or other so ware. That route is often an easy venue for getting started, as you’ve already got a relationship and a technical integration with them. On the other hand, digital marketing might not be a core skill.
To do digital marketing at scale, you’ll need to take on a technology partner. And needless to say, you need to be picky when choosing a partner to run a program like this. Here are some of the key questions to ask as you look for the right fit for your dealership:
- Can they scale? For channels like paid search, you need to programmatically generate keywords in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Ask if they can handle bidding changes at that volume. And ad copy generation? And can they automatically react to changes in your inventory?
- Can they optimize to different goals? Whether it’s price, days on the lot, or new vs. used, you should look for a partner who can hit the goals that matter to you.
- Do they have performance data to start from? Learning which keywords perform is time and resource intensive—and it takes millions of dollars of paid search spend to generate that kind of data. Look for a partner who can provide this type of data for you no matter what channel you’re optimizing.
- Are they auto-industry knowledgeable? Some digital marketing vendors have lots of expertise and data from marketing in other industries. The data they have isn’t going to be directly relevant—and neither is their expertise.
Digital marketing should be central to any savvy dealer’s strategy. We know that’s not a revelation, but it’s important to understand. And to do it successfully, you need to find a partner who can provide the expertise, the technology, and the data to succeed.