Getting Started with Car Dealer Digital Advertising by Ralph Paglia


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Getting Started with Car Dealer Digital Advertising by Ralph Paglia

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Getting Started with Car Dealer Digital Advertising by Ralph Paglia

  1. 1. How to Build an In-House Digital Advertising Program at your Dealership By Ralph Paglia Introduction There is an ever-growing supply of vendors starting to sell a variety of digital marketing and advertising “widgets” to dealers… And, there is no doubt that the automotive Internet space continues to evolve. However, what there really seems to be a shortage of, are resources that introduce dealers and dealership managers to the idea of doing it in-house, as a regular marketing activity managed by people in the dealership. Just like the way managers usually are responsible for managing their dealership web site content with updated specials, lead routing addresses, sales people and other employee listings, etc. So, the purpose of this article is to provide the key issues and tasks any dealership management team should consider prior to implementing a program for ongoing dealership advertising campaigns. The first thing we need to do, so that Jim Bernardi doesn’t gag when he sees how big this article become, is to limit the scope by identifying just the 2 most frequently used types of digital advertising so we can focus on them. Since they are the two that are most widely used, we are going to focus on Web Site Displayed Image and Multimedia Enriched “Banner” Ads (Display), and the more commonly used Search Engine Advertising (Search) popular today and used by many dealerships via an outside vendor. The following section provides a brief description of each… Display Advertising – Have you ever been visiting a website online and seen an advertisement embedded into a section of the website page? Similar to newspaper advertisements, display advertising places your ads on key internet sites where you want your dealership ad to appear. These ads can be targeted to consumers in your market area. Online display advertising can be targeted by only appearing on a website when certain types of customers show up. The targeting criteria that determine when a dealer’s ads will appear to a website’s visitors (and get billed to the dealer) can be based on a variety of customer characteristics. Display ad targeting can be displayed on hundreds or thousands of websites without picking each one individually by placing ads based on the topics or type of content displayed on the website (Contextual). Ads can be placed in the background of thousands of popular websites, but only be triggered into appearing when a visitor who arrives has been previously spotted while visiting another website that we know means they are in the market to buy a new or used vehicle (Behavioral Targeting). In a similar manner, previous visitors to a dealer or dealer group’s own websites can be identified and a dealer’s ads triggered to appear when they visit unaffiliated popular national websites (Retargeting). Almost all use of online advertising is based on where the consumer is physically located (Geotargeting). Another commonly used way to target display advertising is based on personal factors such as the consumer’s gender, age, income bracket, ethnic background, marital status and more (Demographic Targeting). Shown below (next page) is an example of what online display advertising looks like, with the same campaign displayed in two ads of different sizes at
  2. 2. Search Advertising– This is primarily used by dealers to control the “sponsored links” or website descriptions and URL addresses that appear as linked listings when consumers search for information using very specific words that the dealer specifies (keywords). Dealers use search engine advertising to control what consumers in the area they specify see when they are searching for information about a new or used car. With search engine advertising, you write the “sponsored link” that will be displayed when a consumer searches for the words you specify. Your advertisement appears as a search result either on the right side of the page, or at the top, above the free (organic) listings. This is far different and should not be confused with the free listings that appear in an order that is completely and solely controlled by the search engines.* *OPINION: Many dealers confuse search engine advertising with search engine optimization (SEO).This can be a costly mistake as they are very different from each other. One of those differences is that paid search advertising is a far more controllable commodity, with very clear rules and specifications published by the people who sell it… Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc. Although there are a few high quality search optimization service providers, the business of selling search engine optimization to dealers is plagued with scam artists that charge thousands of dollars a month to “dominate the search engines without paying”. Look at a recent Google earnings report to see the truth behind those statements.
  3. 3. Getting Started If you look carefully at the dealers who claim to have experienced success with online display or search advertising, you will find that the ones with the highest performing digital advertising campaigns all share certain characteristics in their strategy and tactical execution. The following is a list of basic digital Advertising “blocking and tackling” items that you must deal with in order to be successful. This list is based on the work I do every day for dealers who are my clients at ADP Dealer Services, and on what I learned while working for the Courtesy Chevrolet dealerships in Phoenix and San Diego. Located in every area of the country, there are dealers who are growing their sales volume and market share, despite the bleak outlook for new car sales in 2008. Each of these dealerships share similar digital advertising practices… They have put the following list of action items in place while building their digital advertising strategy and processes. So, when dealers ask me what they need to do to get started, here’s what I tell them: 1. Determine who will be responsible – Whose job will it be to get your dealership’s digital advertising campaigns up and running. Who will be assigned the duty of managing each campaign to ensure that budgets are not exceeded? Part of that assignment is to ensure that campaigns are adjusted on a daily and weekly basis to ensure the maximum results for the dealership. In many dealerships that self- administer their digital advertising campaigns, a full time Marketing Manager is given this assignment along with managing other aspects of the dealership’s marketing and advertising programs. 2. Determine reporting requirements – What reports are going to be prepared and used to evaluate the effectiveness of your dealership’s digital advertising campaigns? You will need to designate a person who will be responsible for gathering the data from multiple advertising campaign sources, and then assemble that data into a format that can be used by the dealer or other key decision makers to determine changes in ad campaigns, their messaging and other criteria that determine how effective digital ad campaigns are.
  4. 4. Here’s an example of a report used by a dealer’s Marketing Manager and distributed to the dealer, GM and other managers each month: REPORT: Monthly Digital Advertising Summary and Analysis ACCOUNT: ABC Ford and XYZ Lincoln Mercury Google Adwords Accounts DATE RANGE: April-08 Combined Online Advertising Campaigns Impressions Clicks CTR Avg CPC Avg CPM Cost ABC Ford Coupons/Specials Placement CPC 13,701,169 2,413 0.02% $1.06 $0.19 $2,551.72 Ford CPC Keyword Search Campaign #1 677,660 304 0.04% $2.90 $1.30 $881.02 Automotive and SFO Site CPC Placement #1 12,116 0 0.00% #DIV/0! $0.00 $0.00 Ford CPC Keyword Search Campaign Template #1 151,864 155 0.10% $3.54 $3.61 $548.18 ABC Ford Online Acct Totals: 14,378,829 2,717 0.02% $1.26 $0.24 $3,432.74 XYZ Lincoln Mercury Online Acct Totals: 163,980 155 0.09% $3.54 $3.34 $548.18 Both Store Online Totals and Averages: 14,542,809 2,872 0.02% $1.39 $0.27 $3,980.92 Combined # of # of Cost Avg Digital Audio (Radio) Campaigns Impressions Spots Stations per Spot CPM Cost Audio Campaign #1 382,077 65 8 $24.90 $4.24 $1,618.18 Mark's audio campaign #4 444,520 214 8 $9.38 $4.52 $2,008.02 Mark's Audio Campaign #5 406,460 198 8 $9.01 $4.39 $1,784.56 ABC Automotive Campaign #3 470,410 62 8 $20.88 $2.75 $1,294.67 AC-Talk-News Radio Campaign #1 657,408 93 8 $25.49 $3.61 $2,370.17 All Format Daytime Audio Campaign #2 1,100,545 150 8 $17.02 $2.32 $2,552.41 Audio Campaign #3 2,091,499 152 8 $51.35 $3.73 $7,805.17 Unadjusted ABC Ford Audio Acct Totals: 1,703,467 539 $12.44 $3.94 $6,705.43 Unadjusted XYZ LM Audio Acct Totals: 3,849,452 395 $32.22 $3.31 $12,727.75 Both Store Radio Totals and Averages: 5,552,919 934 $20.81 $3.50 $19,433.18 Combined # of # of Cost Avg Adwords Credits Earned Impressions Spots Stations per Spot CPM Cost ABC Ford Google Audio Credits Earned: -$5,000.00 XYZ Lincoln Mercury Google Audio Credits: -$5,000.00 ABC Ford Adjusted Audio Acct Totals: 1,703,467 539 8 $3.16 $1.00 $1,705.43 XYZ Lincoln Mercury Adjusted Audio Totals: 3,849,452 395 8 $19.56 $2.01 $7,727.75 Credits Earned Adjusted Radio Totals: 5,552,919 934 $10.10 $1.70 $9,433.18 Combined Online Radio Web Site Cost Avg Combined Grand Total & On Air Impressions Spots Visitors per Spot CPC Avg CPM Google Spend Grand Totals and Overall Averages: 20,095,728 934 2,872 $20.81 $1.39 $1.17 $23,414.10 Google Credits Earned Adjusted Totals: 20,095,728 934 2,872 $10.10 $1.39 $0.67 $13,414.10 3. Check on your Phone Call and Lead Management Processes – Is your dealership properly set up and disciplined to ensure that leads and phone calls generated by your digital advertising campaigns are being properly handled? Who is going to monitor and track leads and calls generated? The worst thing a dealership with poor lead and phone call handling processes can do is to generate more of them! Make sure you are set up to not only respond quickly to Internet leads, but to be able to answer the customers questions and provide them with the information they requested on the first contact. Make sure that everybody who answers the phone understands the digital advertising campaigns that are in progress and any offers or promotions associated with them. All digital ads and the landing pages they point to should have unique phone numbers that allow the dealer and managers to see how many calls were made and then listen to those calls for quality assurance. Dealers and managers must be sure to check on the emails being sent back out to customers so that they know the messages being sent are the right ones and do not contradict the messaging contained with your digital advertising campaigns. With the right phone and lead management processes in place, and showroom processes that integrate with campaign messages, your dealership can sell more cars and trucks using digital advertising. 4. Landing Page URL’s – A dealer will need to identify and define the specific landing pages to be used for each type of online advertisement. For example, a dealer that advertises their large selection of Ford F150 pickup trucks would want to serve up their inventory of those trucks to the consumer who clicks on the advertisement that
  5. 5. they see online. Likewise, if a dealer is advertising that they provide fast and free online price quotes, the ads should be connected to a landing page within the dealer’s web site, or a microsite that provides immediate access to a Request For Quote form. Here are several examples of Digital Ad Campaign landing pages that make use of direct links into relevant sections of a dealer’s web site: a. Gas Prices Got You Worried? Check Out Our Huge Selection of Cars that Deliver More than 35 Mile Per Gallon - b. Ready to Enjoy Summer? Score a Great Deal on an Exciting Convertible, See Over 30 Models In Stock and Ready to Put Wind in Your Hair – GE_1/SORTBY_price/RADIUS_30/ZIP_/BODYSTYLE_convertible/ c. Looking for a Great Deal on a Used Car or Truck? Check out 30 Certified and Guaranteed Vehicles Priced to Sell for Below Wholesale Book - Although many dealers choose to “land” consumers who click on their ads directly on their dealer web site home page, most dealers have found that they get better results by pointing their ads to the specific topic, offer or vehicles that are being featured in the ad. In other words, do not expect consumers to wade through your web site, clicking on menu button after menu button in order to get to what your ad promised them. Send them directly to the section or page within your web site that serves up exactly what the ad promised! Using a portfolio of customized URL’s that point to specific pages and microsites is a commonly used best practice among top performing dealers. Here are a few examples: o o o o o 5. Digital Advertising Messages – Before you can properly build a digital advertising campaign, it is important to identify and define the messages your dealership wants to communicate. Part of this process is identifying who you are talking to. Who is the targeted group of customers you want to serve that message to? Keep in mind that in many cases your digital ads will be limited to three lines of 25, 35 and 35 character spaces, so your advertising message has to be very brief and very clear! For example, the exclusive availability of Ford’s Sync system and partnership with Microsoft is a great message for car and truck buyers that are known to use the types of electronic products that integrate with the Ford Sync system. Likewise, most dealers will want to show ads that feature Ford trucks to truck buyers, and ads that feature fuel efficient cars to potential buyers of those vehicles… With Digital Advertising a dealer can address highly targeted groups of customers with specific messages that are of interest to those customers. With Search Engine Advertising a dealer will know what a consumer is looking for by targeting the words that must be entered into a search query in order for the dealership’s advertisement to appear. Obviously, a consumer searching for information on a “2008 Ford Mustang GT” is a
  6. 6. great prospect to display an ad for your dealership’s Mustang inventory listing. But, it would probably be very ineffective to show an F150 ad to that same search user. Here are a few examples of Search engine advertisements that are targeted to specific groups of buyers: 2008 Ford Truck Inventory See New Ford Cars-Trucks in Stock Save Thousands on a New Ford in ABQ 2008 Ford Cars - 35 MPG See New 2008 Ford Vehicles in Stock Save Thousands on a New Ford in ABQ Albuquerque's Rich Ford Get a Ford Truck Price Quote Online from New Mexico's Top Ford Dealer! San Tan Ford in Gilbert 2008 Ford Car and Truck Inventory Listed Online for Your Convenience 6. Digital Advertising Creative Content - Decide how your dealership will generate creative advertising illustrations and artwork. Will one of the dealership’s employees be responsible for creating image files, animated GIF’s, Click-to-Play video ads, Flash based animated and multimedia ads? What about other creative assets you will need for use in your dealership’s online advertising campaigns, such as logos, video clips, sound tracks? Will you outsource this work? If so, who are the suppliers that specialize in automotive and how much do they cost? Be sure to visit and click on any of the dealership ad thumbnails to open up the full size ad and see the animation and messaging. Shown below are examples of dealership advertising creative images used in digital advertising campaigns:
  7. 7. 7. Set your budgets - For each digital advertising campaign, and for digital advertising as a whole. Keep in mind that over 70% of new and used retail customers use the Internet to get information that helps them decide what vehicle to buy and which dealer to buy that vehicle from. Do not get caught in the trap of using a lead value of $20 in order to determine your digital advertising budgets. After all, do you measure your newspaper ads by how many Internet leads are generated because you put the dealership’s URL in the ad? Do you measure a radio campaign based on how many leads come in from the dealership’s web site? Like other forms of advertising, Digital advertising budgets should be based on how many people the dealership can communicate their message to, and how compelling or effective that message is. Most dealers now agree that at least 20% of the dealership’s advertising budget should be allocated to various types of online digital advertising. 8. Determine your objectives - For example, some dealers will focus on generating traffic to their dealership’s web sites by counting click-throughs and “Visitors”, while other dealerships focus on communicating their message to as many potential customers as possible by maximizing advertising “Impressions”. Here are a few examples of Google Adwords campaigns and the performance they generated for their dealership located in Arizona during the month of April 2008: Daily Avg. Online Ad Campaign Name Budget Clicks Impressions CTR CPC Cost $50.00 69 28,506 0.24% $2.20 $151.51 2008 Escape $50.00 420 99,143 0.42% $1.83 $767.43 2008 Expedition $100.00 399 452,546 0.08% $3.32 $1,325.11 2008 Ford Focus $100.00 722 229,748 0.31% $2.00 $1,446.62 Ford CPC Search ADP Template #1 $100.00 648 140,879 0.45% $3.53 $2,288.90 2008 F150 $100.00 910 581,781 0.15% $2.85 $2,592.23 2008 Mustang $100.00 1,597 13,427,690 0.01% $1.69 $2,701.60 Ford CPC Site Targeted ADP Template #1 $100.00 2,372 4,144,723 0.06% $1.37 $3,241.90 Ford CPM Site Targeted ADP Template #1 Total - 9 active campaigns $700.00 7,137 19,105,016 0.04% $2.03 $14,515.30 In the campaign examples shown above you can see that one campaign generated over 13 million advertising impressions but had a Click Through Rate (CTR) of only 0.01%. Yet, another campaign for the same dealership had a CTR of 0.45% which is 450% higher! Can you tell which campaign had a very targeted target audience with an objective of maximum click-throughs versus which campaign was about creating awareness and floor traffic? 9. Decide what advertising networks your dealership will use - Because of the proliferation of web sites into hundreds of thousands of popular destinations on the Internet, the advertising industry has seen the creation of several networks made up of sometimes hundreds or even thousands of popular web sites that advertisers can choose in aggregate. When using networks, dealers must then define their geo- targeting, or the locations of visitors to web sites within the network that is required in
  8. 8. order for the dealer’s ads to appear. Some of the most popular digital advertising networks for dealers include several household names. Although there are at least two dozen very effective online advertising networks for dealers to use, the following networks are used by the ADP Digital Advertising Program for Dealers because of their proven effectiveness in reaching online automotive consumers: o Google Advertising Network: Site examples: CNN, MySpace, New York Post, Macworld, HowStuffWorks, Univision, AutomotiveForums, Swapalease, Kudzu and thousands more. o Yahoo! Advertising Network Site examples: Ebay Motors, Yahoo! Autos, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Email, Comcast, AT&T,, WebMD, Forbes and thousands more. o Specific Media Advertising Network ABC and affiliate stations, CBS Sportsline, Disney Internet Group, E! Online,, Food Network and hundreds more. o Jumpstart Automotive Media Network Site examples: Consumer Guide Automotive, J. D. Power & Associates, NADA Guides,,, Motortrend, Car and Driver, Road and Track, and many more. For dealers who wish to use online advertising networks, contacting each of the networks listed above, or having your ad agency do so will provide access to an extensive listing of the hundreds and thousands of web sites included within each network. For dealers participating in the ADP Digital Advertising Program for Dealers, your campaign manager can review the network budget allocations that make the most sense for your dealership’s location and advertising objectives. 10. Decide whether or not your dealership is going to advertise on individual web sites published by local or regional companies - For example, in the Phoenix, Arizona market many car dealers buy advertising placements directly on which is a local web site published by the Arizona republic newspaper and one of the most popular sites in Arizona. Other dealers have found that purchasing display advertising space on automotive specific web sites such as, and can be effective in generating awareness and consideration of their dealership. You will want to compare apples to apples, and when most dealers compare the price of advertising on these individual sites on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) ad impressions basis, they have found they can get a better buy using the purchasing power of an ad network. However, different dealers have different advertising objectives, and if you can get the right package from a publisher such as or the local newspaper’s web site, than it may be worth considering.
  9. 9. If You are Serious about Digital Advertising, Then You Gotta Have a Google Adwords Account… That means you have to find a credit card to use! Go to and create an Adwords account for your dealership. a. You will need to be the authorized user of a valid credit card to set up your dealership’s Adwords account. b. You will need to create at least one Adwords ad campaign in order to open up a new account. You can set the campaign status to “Pause” after creating it if you do now want it to be active. c. Google will charge the credit card you use a $5.00 one time registration fee. d. You will need an active email account in order to create a Google Adwords account. It is recommended that you create a Google email account for use by the dealership by going to and signing up for the free service. e. You will need a destination URL, or web site address that is valid and meets Google’s various requirements, such as no pop-up ads or coupons, in order to create your first valid Adwords campaign. f. For detailed and expert instructions on Google Adwords, visit this web site: g. Create a keyword based search advertising campaign using Google Adwords that is geotargeted to local customers and is targeted to keywords like to be used by automotive consumers seeking your dealership’s products and services. h. Use your Google Adwords account to buy display advertising (banner) space on popular websites using geotargeted placement campaigns your ads only appear to locally based web site visitors within the dealership’s primary market area. Geotargeting and paying on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) impressions or Cost Per Click (CPC) basis is required for a good ROI. There are countless numbers of various web sites, blogs and supposedly hard to get documents available to learn how to better manage Google Adwords campaigns... To this day we have not found anything with faster and more direct
  10. 10. access to the answers needed by car dealers about managing various types of Google Adwords campaigns than this site: If you haven't visited this page lately, you owe it to yourself and anyone you work for to check it out and look at all the information it provides around different types of Google Adwords campaigns, such as Placement Targeted, Google Audio and other types... Using Other Sources for Digital Advertising: • Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaigns to drive traffic to your web site. Besides opening up an account in Google Adwords, also set up your dealership with ad campaign management accounts in MSN AdCenter and Yahoo! Panama. • Purchase display advertising space in local company emailing lists and eNewsletters. Publish an eNewsletter for your dealership, or convince your regional dealer advertising association to create one for all dealers of your brand in your market. • Place display ads and buy text based links to your dealership’s web site that are published on popular automotive web sites such as,,,, and others. • Visit and check out their “Premium Site-Specific Marketing Solutions for Automotive Advertisers. Target your pay-per-click ads to focused, site-specific categories on premium web sites like Motley Fool, BusinessWeek, PC Magazine, CMP TechWeb Network and more. Dealers can use to deliver display ads to premium publisher Websites on a CPM bid basis. Brand and sell to your dealership’s best customers. • Visit to see how they provide dealers with the ability to use their Marchex Adhere solution to reach tens of millions of shoppers searching for products and services on sites beyond Google. • Go to and see how to customize their automotive ad templates for your dealership. As with creating a new Google Adwords account, the first step to running a campaign using AdReady is to customize an ad. You can select a template from their automotive campaign library, customize it and start your dealership’s campaign using a credit card and about 45 minutes.
  11. 11. Know What the Digital Advertising Purchasing Variations are and How to Pay for online ads The three most common ways in which online advertising is purchased are CPM, CPC, and CPA. • CPM (Cost Per Impression) – This is where dealers pay for exposure of their message to a specific audience. CPM costs are priced per thousand impressions. The M in the acronym is the Roman numeral for one thousand. CPM Refers to Cost per thousand impressions. The CPM model refers to advertising bought on the basis of impression. This is in contrast to the various types of pay-for-performance advertising, whereby payment is only triggered by a mutually agreed upon activity (i.e. click-through, registration, sale). The total price paid in a CPM deal is calculated by multiplying the CPM rate by the number of CPM units. For example, one million impressions at $10 CPM equals a $10,000 total price. 1,000,000 / 1,000 = 1,000 units 1,000 units X $10 CPM = $10,000 total price The amount paid per impression is calculated by dividing the CPM by 1000. For example, a $10 CPM equals $.01 per impression. $10 CPM / 1000 impressions = $.01 per impression • CPV (Cost Per Visitor) – This is where dealers pay for the delivery of a Targeted Visitor to the dealership’s website. • CPC (Cost Per Click) – This is what many dealers have been sold in recent years and is also known as Pay per click (PPC). Dealers pay every time a user clicks on their listing and is redirected to their website. They do not actually pay for the listing, but only when the listing is clicked on. This system allows what many dealers know as “SEM providers” to refine searches and gain information about their market. Under the Pay per click pricing system, dealers pay for the right to be listed under a series of targeted key words that theoretically are used by consumers searching for information related to buying a car. The sponsored listings, or ads then direct click-through traffic to the dealer’s website. You pay only when someone actually clicks on one of the listing which links directly to your dealership’s website, or in some cases a microsite or landing page set up by the SEM service provider for the dealership. CPC differs from CPV in that each click is paid for regardless of whether the user makes it to the dealership website. • CPA (Cost Per Action) or (Cost Per Acquisition) – This type of advertising is performance based and is common in the affiliate marketing sector of the business. In this payment scheme, the publisher takes all the risk of running the ad, and the advertiser pays only for the amount of users who complete a form, such as a Request For Quote (RFQ), Credit Application, Contest Entry Form, Test Drive Appointment or sign-up for that 3 day trip to Las Vegas that the dealership is giving away. This is the best type of rate to pay for banner advertisements and the worst type of rate to charge for website publishers. Usually, this is a advertising billing plan for the most desperate website
  12. 12. publishers. Similarly, CPL (Cost Per Lead) advertising is identical to CPA advertising and is based on the user completing a form, registering for a newsletter or some other action that the dealer feels will lead to a sale. Also common, CPO (Cost Per Order) advertising for service appointments, parts and accessory sales online is based on each time an order is transacted. Another good example is secured credit applications that use real-time integration with credit bureau systems and credit decision engines to give customer an actual approval while they are still completing the form. We are seeing companies that provide this technology offering dealers a pricing plan that is based on the number of completed online credit applications that are approved, with a lesser fee charged for the declines. • Cost Per Conversion – This is advertising that is placed online and then charged to the dealership based on the cost of acquiring an opportunity to do business, typically calculated by dividing the total cost of an ad campaign by the number of lead forms and phone calls generated by a campaign specific microsite. The definition of "Conversion" varies depending on the situation: it is sometimes considered to be a lead, a sale, or a purchase.
  13. 13. Low-Cost or No-Cost “Do It Yourself” Digital Marketing and Advertising Opportunities The following material is made up of actions that we have observed dealers in various parts of the country use to drive more traffic into their dealerships. Your dealership can implement any one of these or several in order to better utilize online marketing and advertising to generate traffic to your dealership’s showroom and websites. Email • Bulk email using your CRM or Lead Management Software every month with current incentives from your OEM, current interest rates from your lenders, and a snapshot of vehicle inventory counts by year make and model for new and used vehicles. Each month, select a customer of the month and show photos and a human interest story at the top of the email with the incentives, rates and inventory listed below including appropriate links into your website’s content. • Use a “Send to a Friend” Text on your emails so people can email their friends and relatives links to look at a specific vehicle or an information section within your website. • Use links in your email templates to keep people coming back to your site. • Use deep links in your automated responses to drive traffic from 3rd party provided leads that may have never visited your dealership’s site by giving them single-click access to the most popular sections, such as new and used inventory, specials, credit applications and coupons. Your Dealership Web Site • Update your site with current specials, staff and why buys unique to your dealership using your website provider’s Content Management Tool (CMT). • For more complex customization requests, mock up what you have in mind using Microsoft Word, insert images and text as you would generally like to see them place and then send the document file along with a detailed email to your dealership’s website provider. Be sure to copy everyone you know at the website provider’s company and allow at least 10 days, but set a date that you expect the changes or custom page to be built by. After you send the email, follow up with a phone call to make sure the customer service person at the vendor got the email. • Seek out affiliated product suppliers, such as insurance companies, wheel and tire suppliers, detail shops and car washes, banks and credit unions to develop web site referrals (links) and vehicle sale referral affiliations. • Add an eNewsletter mailing list subscribe form in a high profile spot on your site • Add a “bookmark this site” text in a high profile spot on your dealership’s web site • Submit your dealership’s web site to the hundreds of free directories – use the free Google indexing request form – and
  14. 14. Social/Blogs/Viral (Please remember to brand the Dealership and not the individual salesperson or manager for these examples) • Create profiles on MySpace and start networking in groups that are interested in your brand of vehicles. (complete details in the MySpace Best Practices section of this book) • Set up a site at , then write something great about your dealership or people that our customers of your dealership that is interesting and is not a direct sales pitch and email other bloggers to let them know – there’s a good chance they’ll link to you. Remember, whenever possible try to utilize content from the OEM’s web site with links to yours. • Post comments and answers within online forums, then have a signature link in forums that points to your dealership’s web site. Examples include: , , , , • Post descriptions and links to each of your dealership’s website sections on social book-marking sites such as: , , , , • Leave comments on other people’s blogs that include links back to your site (tip: look in the upcoming section for blog posts about to get a lot of traffic). • Answer questions on Yahoo Answers and reference your dealership’s web site for more information, along with links to specific content. • Post in Yahoo and Google Groups with a link to your site in your signature. • Review the vehicles you sell on automotive social network sites and popular blogs – If your review of a new or existing vehicle model is positive, email local publications and ask to be featured in their automotive section. • Write articles and submit them to online article directories. • Write a Press Release from your dealership announcing your web site, new facilities, or other events and submit it to (make sure it is newsworthy) • Submit your dealership’s blogs to blog directories such as: , , , ,
  15. 15. • Send articles to online and eZine publishers with text based links back to your website that reference specific subject matter or vehicles you have in stock. • Post vehicle brochures to and using your dealership’s name, address and links. • Have links to your dealership’s web site on community sites like MySpace, Friendster, Flickr, FaceBook, and others. • Use a traffic trading system such as what offers. • Create a free product give away campaign featured in online blog postings (t- shirts, key fobs, oil changes, gas cards, tickets to NASCAR events, etc.). • Do a group feature where you get automotive enthusiast website owners that focus on your brand to participate – ask them to submit opinions on your web site about specific new or used vehicles in stock focusing on how they are equipped. • Hold a competition for the Top 10 automotive enthusiast web sites focused on your brand – 1 month later publish the results and let everyone know who is being featured – encourage links to view rank position in the contest results. • Submit videos that feature customers and employees using your vehicles to video sharing sites like YouTube and Metacafe. Include links to the dealership’s web site in the description and within the actual video. A great example of video used by a dealership is: • Post as many videos as you can get your hands on to as many Video web hosting sites as possible and make sure you include links in the descriptions and comments for each video that go to relevant content within your sites. Here are a few free video hosting sites you can use: Google Video / BrightCove / PhotoBucket / YouTube / DailyMotion / iFilm / Myspace / Vimeo / BuzzNet / Flixya / GoFish / Kwego / Lulu / MyHeavy / PutFile / StupidVideos / Vmix / ZippyVideos / CastPost / Dotv / Famster / MeraVideo / VideoWebTown / Vidmax • Contact popular automotive web sites and ask to write some guest posts about the types of people that buy certain vehicles of interest, the ordering process to configure a vehicle the way a customer wants it, the types of vehicles that other dealers will not let go in dealer trades because they are so hot… You get it, the kind of articles they cannot get from their own staff! • Create pages with links into your dealership’s site on specialty expertise websites like and • Network! Email other dealership web site owners that you do not generally compete with for customers, phone them up tell them you have this crazy idea about each of showing links to each other’s web sites… Go to automotive industry events like J. D. Power Internet Roundtable, Digital Dealer, ENG Automotive CRM Summit, NADA, Kelley Blue Book eNetworking Brunches, etc. and get your dealership known as a leader in digital marketing and online customer service. If other dealers and enthusiasts know your dealership has blogs and online communities they will likely visit them and set up links that point to content they create on your social networking site. • Create an Amazon profile and start submitting automotive book and accessory reviews with links to your dealership’s relevant products and services. • Conduct a local consumer survey and publish the results – make sure you let people know about it using broadcast emails
  16. 16. Miscellaneous • Have an opt-in form for newsletters, specials and event announcements – Trade links with other web sites… Then, have an opt in form on your confirmation page. • Pass out business cards with your dealership’s web site URL when you go to various public events and gatherings. • Have links to your dealership’s website in vehicle for sale posts on Craigslist (but use different links with multiple vehicle entries so your site is not flagged as a spammer site) • Place classified Ads on with links to each vehicle inventory details page inside your website. Example: /ID_group1/UI_detail_group1 Getting Assistance There are several qualified sources of consulting and training that can get you started and off in the right direction, including Jim Bernardi who is the editor of the Auto Dealer Network newsletter that publishes this site. As most people reading this know, I work for the ADP Digital Marketing Group and we provide an intensive 2 day consulting package designed to get dealers started with self-managed digital advertising campaigns. At the end of the 2 day visit, the dealership has functioning ad campaigns running online. The way we get it done is with a very specific agenda and a highly focused series of action items. If your store needs to be sold on digital advertising, this is NOT the program for you! But, if you are ready to get started and just want a little assistance setting it up the first time, my ADP Digital Marketing Team is a great way to do it. Contact Jim Jensen at or by calling him at 347-678-4135. You can also get information and enroll online at . Jim is one of the best consulting team leaders I have ever worked with and he will fit the right person for your dealership from the 20+ experienced pros on his team. On the following two pages we have listed the agenda that our ADP Digital Marketing Consultants use during a 2 day Digital Advertising Implementation visit.
  17. 17. Digital Advertising - Campaign Creation and Management Process Implementation Day 1; Consultant, Dealer, GM and Dealership Advertising Stakeholders Fill in all cells that are shaded blue… Enter the start time and then the hours and minutes (hh:mm) needed for each section to be delivered In-Dealership Time Sub-Total Start Time Finish Time Action Items to be Completed prior to In-Dealership Visit: Dealer: Create Google AdWords Account, Setuip Payment, Send Customer ID 0:45 1 week prior 6 days prior Consultant: Pre-load Best Practice Templates into Dealer AdWords Account 0:45 5 days prior 4 days prior Dealer: Email Advertising Spend by Vendor Report - Last Month, YTD, Last Year 0:30 3 days prior 2 days prior Prework Time Subtotal………………………………………………………………………… 2:00 Time Sub-Total Start Time Finish Time Consultant Travel Time 0:45 8:00 AM 8:45 AM Setup-Prepare Meeting-Presentation Space 0:15 8:45 AM 9:00 AM Dealer/GM Meeting Introductions & Review Agenda/Objectives for the Consulting Visit 0:15 9:00 AM 9:15 AM Dealer or GM presents current Marketing & Advertising Strategies; Discuss Campaign Objectives and Current Tracking Measurements 0:20 9:15 AM 9:35 AM Dealer Review of Historical Advertising Budgets - Objective is 20%+ to Digital Current Key Performance Indicators (KPI) & Campaign Management Processes 0:30 9:35 AM 10:05 AM Review Google Adwords account access; Verify Dealer's Authorized Users 0:20 10:05 AM 10:25 AM Morning Break 0:15 10:25 AM 10:40 AM Digital Advertising Overview - Fact vs. Fiction PRESENT: Digital Advertising Presentation - CPC Search Value Awareness 0:30 10:40 AM 11:10 AM PRESENT: Digital Advertising CPC Search Case Study #1 0:15 11:10 AM 11:25 AM FACILITATE: GM/Dealer/Managers Case Study #1 Pros and Cons - Their "WIN"? 0:15 11:25 AM 11:40 AM DECISIONS LOGGED: Search PPC Campaign Geotargeting and Traffic Objectives 0:20 11:40 AM 12:00 PM Time Subtotal - AM Day #1…………………………………………………………………… 3:00 12:00 PM Working Lunch w/GM or Dealer; Discuss Insights 1:00 12:00 PM 1:00 PM Digital Advertising Overview - Fact vs. Fiction (continued) PRESENT: Digital Advertising Presentation - Placement Targeted Campaigns 0:30 1:00 PM 1:30 PM PRESENT: Digital Advertising CPM/CPC Site Placement Case Study #2 0:15 1:30 PM 1:45 PM FACILITATE: GM/Dealer/Managers Case Study #2 Pros and Cons - Their "WIN" 0:15 1:45 PM 2:00 PM DECISIONS LOGGED: Placement Campaign Impression and Traffic Objectives 0:20 2:00 PM 2:20 PM PRESENT: Digital Advertising Presentation - Digital Audio (Radio) Advertising 0:30 2:20 PM 2:50 PM PRESENT: Digital Advertising CPM Audio Campaign Case Study #3 0:15 2:50 PM 3:05 PM FACILITATE: GM/Dealer/Managers Case Study #3 Pros and Cons - Their "WIN" 0:15 3:05 PM 3:20 PM DECISIONS LOGGED: Digital Audio Campaign Objectives 0:20 3:20 PM 3:40 PM Afternoon Break; Consultant Assembles Notes 0:15 3:40 PM 3:55 PM Digital Advertising Strategy & Tactics Day 1 Dealer/GM Review: Dealer/GM Review and Approval of Day 1 Decisions for Digital Ad Program 0:30 3:55 PM 4:25 PM Action Plan: Review Digital Advertising Management Action Plan (MAP) Checklist 0:20 4:25 PM 4:45 PM Time Subtotal - PM Day #1…………………………………………………………………… 4:45 4:45 PM Consultant Logs Day 1 Notes into NetTrack Online Tool Enter Dealership Stakeholder Names, Titles, Email and Phone Info 0:20 4:45 PM 5:05 PM Enter Day 1 Decisions on Campaign Objectives, Assignments, Geotargeting, etc. 0:20 5:05 PM 5:25 PM
  18. 18. Digital Advertising - Campaign Creation and Management Process Implementation Day 2; Consultant, Dealer, GM and Dealership Advertising Stakeholders Fill in all cells that are shaded blue… Enter the start time and then the hours and minutes (hh:mm) needed for each section to be delivered In-Dealership Time Sub-Total Start Time Finish Time Consultant Travel Time 0:45 8:00 AM 8:45 AM Setup-Prepare Meeting-Presentation Space 0:15 8:45 AM 9:00 AM Dealer/GM Meeting Review Previous Day's Outcomes, Decisions & Results - Review Day 2 Agenda 0:30 9:00 AM 9:30 AM Dealership Advertising Stakeholder Meeting: Define Digital Ad Campaign Creation & Management Processes PRESENT: Advertising Messaging and Content; What Sells More Cars 0:20 9:30 AM 9:50 AM FACILITATE: Review DA Campaign Creation & Deployment Process Map (Template) 0:15 9:50 AM 10:05 AM DESIGNATE: Digital Advertising "Committee" - Monthly Meeting Time & Place 0:10 10:05 AM 10:15 AM DESIGNATE: Digital Advertising Campaign Deployment Responsibility 0:10 10:15 AM 10:25 AM Morning Break 0:15 10:25 AM 10:40 AM PRESENT: DA Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Optimization 0:15 10:40 AM 10:55 AM FACILITATE: Review Digital Ad Campaign Management Process Map (Template) 0:15 10:55 AM 11:10 AM DESIGNATE: Digital Advertising Campaign Reporting Responsibilities 0:15 11:10 AM 11:25 AM PRESENT: Challenges to DA Campaign Effectiveness - Internal & External 0:15 11:25 AM 11:40 AM FACILITATE: DA Assignments & Responsibilities - Who will champion execution? 0:10 11:40 AM 11:50 AM DESIGNATE: Digital Advertising Champion (GM, Dealer or GSM) 0:10 11:50 AM 12:00 PM Time Subtotal - AM Day #2……………………………………………………………………… 3:00 12:00 PM Working Lunch w/GM or Dealer; Discuss Initial Campaign Recommendations 1:00 12:00 PM 1:00 PM Dealership Google AdWords Campaign Definitions SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Search PPC Campaign Destination URL's 0:15 1:00 PM 1:15 PM SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Search Campaign Local/Regional Keyword Targeting List 0:15 1:15 PM 1:30 PM SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Search Campaign Ad Messaging Content 0:15 1:30 PM 1:45 PM SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Placement Campaign Destination URL's 0:15 1:45 PM 2:00 PM SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Placement Campaign Site Category Targets 0:15 2:00 PM 2:15 PM SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Text & Display Ad Messaging by Site Category 0:15 2:15 PM 2:30 PM SPECIFICATIONS LOGGED: Display Ad Creative Content Sourcing 0:15 2:30 PM 2:45 PM Afternoon Break; Consultant Assembles Notes 0:15 2:45 PM 3:00 PM Dealership Google AdWords Account "Hands On" Session TASK DEMO: Check Set ups: Backup Payments, Automated Reporting via Email 0:15 3:00 PM 3:15 PM TASK DEMO: Modify Best Practice Template: CPC Keyword Search Campaign 0:15 3:15 PM 3:30 PM TASK DEMO: Modify Best Practice Template: CPM Placement Targeted Campaign 0:15 3:30 PM 3:45 PM TASK DEMO: Modify Best Practice Template: CPC Placement Targeted Campaign 0:15 3:45 PM 4:00 PM TASK DEMO: Create Google Audio (Radio) Best Practices Campaign: 0:15 4:00 PM 4:15 PM TASK DEMO: Report Automation: Daily+Monthly Emails to Dealer/Managers 0:15 4:15 PM 4:30 PM Digital Advertising Campaign Management Processes Day 2 Dealer/GM Review: Dealer/GM Review and Approval of Day 2 Processes for Digital Ad Program 0:20 4:30 PM 4:50 PM Action Plan: Review Digital Advertising Management Action Plan (MAP) Checklist 0:10 4:50 PM 5:00 PM Time Subtotal - PM Day #2……………………………………………………………………… 5:00 5:00 PM Consultant Logs Day 2 Notes into NetTrack Online Tool Enter Day 2 Campaign Process Definitions, Destination URL's, Ad Messaging, etc. 0:20 5:00 PM 5:20 PM