Open Letter To Automotive Marketing Companies

shutterstock_163800221As the auto industry enters its busiest time of the year, and as dealers ignore vendor phone calls, it is a great time for me to refine my business goals for the upcoming year. I believe 2015 will be a very exciting year as automotive marketing companies continue to consolidate and core technology improves to serve the multi-screen shopper.

In 2014 I have been primarily focused on expanding our business to International markets and the further enhancement of the ROI-BOT Executive Dashboard software. Through numerous discussions with dealers, OEMS, and industry leaders, I thought I would share a few insights and recommendations to the automotive vendor community.

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Two Reasons Why Dealers Should Log Into Webmaster Tools

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Dealers who are looking to get a quick “health score” for their website’s compliance with Google SEO Guidelines should log into Google Webmaster Tools today. There are two specific areas of Webmaster Tools that provide instant insights to how Google is viewing your website platform.

Search Appearance – HTML Improvements

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You will want to see that your website platform is compliant with Google’s recommendations for HTML page structure, title tags and meta descriptions. The reports shown above is for a live dealer’s website that I took today. For the record, I am not advising this dealer on their SEO strategy.

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Unlocking The Visibility of Google My Business Traffic and Phone Calls

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By Brian Pasch
Most auto dealers know that their Google My Business (GMB) listing, formerly called Google Places, is their #1 free source of referral traffic to their website. For dealers who haven’t checked lately, take a look at the number of total views on your “Google My Business (GMB)” listing since it was created. For many readers your count will be in the hundreds of thousands.

Many auto dealers in the United States see 25-50,000 views a month on their free GMB listing. 

The total viewership numbers are shown directly on your Google+ page, as shown below for Pohanka Honda: pohanka-gplus

Google My Business (GMB) Traffic Is Normally Invisible

Despite Google My Business being the #1 free source of phone calls and referral traffic to a dealer’s website, the AMOUNT of influence and traffic generated by Google My Business is hidden from Google Analytics.

Google My Business traffic is grouped into Organic Search, and I think that’s an error by Google

Google Analytics shows six channels for website traffic, that include Organic Search, Direct, Referral, Paid Search, Social, and (Other). Even though you would think that clicks from your Google My Business listing would show up as “referral” traffic, those clicks are combined in the Organic Search traffic. When you look at the details behind “organic traffic”, the clicks or calls from Google My Business are not listed.

Yes, I know that Google My Business has a “dashboard” that shows some high level click activity but it DOES NOT show what these visitors are doing on the dealership’s website. That is very important and a missing element of most digital marketing strategies.

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Google Mobile Friendly Website Test

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Did you hear that Google is now judging whether your website is mobile friendly? That’s correct, you can now see how good or bad your website platform is responding according to Google!

You can test your own website using this link: Google Mobile Website Test

The interface screen is shown below:

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Testing Dealer Websites

So I decided to test examples of  popular automotive website providers and here is what Google said about their websites:

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Is Your Automotive SEM Company Stupid?

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I just finished a three day class course for Automotive Digital Marketing Managers and it was a blast. One of the topics of course was Automotive Search Engine Marketing (SEM). After today’s class, one of the students asked if it was normal that 40%+ of the calls from their Google AdWords campaigns, designed to SELL CARS, were generating service calls.

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This is very normal. Altought some campaigns are well optimizied, many automotive SEM campaigns operating in the United States for franchise car dealers can be sloppy. Many Automotive AdWords agencies are not using negative keywords, as seen in the example above.

In this specific example, a consumer is searching for Honda Civic tires and the agency is showing ads for Honda Civic vehicles for sale at Honda Universe.

Maybe their AdWords agency is operating in an alternative universe where people searching for tires buy cars!

Some agencies are also not considering the option of creating a secondary website for service that can have its own Google AdWords campaign to direct high quality service queries. Dealers need to have a strong online marketing strategy for after SERVICE but they will not achieve success if they allow sloppy AdWords campaigns for SALES.

Here is a simple reminder: INSPECT what your AdWords agency is doing for your advertising budget! If you don’t know how to inspect your online marketing investments, consider purchasing ROI-BOT™ software or a copy of Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing because if you delay inspection/education it will cost you thousands of dollars per month!

Digital Marketing Leadership

dmsc-logoJoin me and automotive professionals at the 2015 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) in the Napa Valley, April 12-14th.

Details can be found at http://www.digitalmarketingstrategies.org.

Only 100 dealerships can register so be the first to lock in your VIP ticket and experience new insights to your marketing strategies for 2015.