Facebook Ads - Fusionzone automotiveOver the years, Google has firmly established itself as the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to search ads. After all, it is, without a doubt, the most used search engine. And, because of that, enjoys the monetary benefits from many ads. 

In the automotive industry, to gain valuable traffic from in-market consumers, dealers compete with manufacturers and third-party lead providers for key search terms. The manufacturers and third-party listing services have a much bigger search engine marketing budget than most dealers, so it can be difficult for dealers to compete. 

Ah, but what about Facebook?

For early adopters, Facebook was the buried treasure that others had yet to find. But has since grown enormously and businesses enjoy the targeted reach, branding opportunities and leads that a correctly configured Facebook ad campaign can bring. 

And now it could be getting even better. 

According to Search Engine Journal, Facebook has quietly begun testing search ads for its advertisers. What does that mean? Instead of being limited to distance, demographics, and interests, you will shortly be able to target Facebook users by their searches a la Google. 

While the data set that Facebook uses for targeting is massive, it can be hit or miss. However, similar to Google search keywords, a Facebook user searching “used cars Dallas, Texas,” or “used Chevrolets Dallas, Texas,” is likely to be much lower funnel, and much more relevant for you to target with ads. And quite possibly not even part of the targeting your dealership uses. Not every buyer is the same, and their interests vary. BUT that doesn’t mean qualified buyers don’t exist outside of your dealership’s usual targeting demographics. 

The benefit to you is that not many dealerships are yet using this feature. It could translate into an advantage over the competition. Also, you may be able to pick the low-hanging fruit, which falls outside the demographics you were previously targeting. There is nothing more powerful than targeting users by search intent. 

Unlike, Google, Facebook search results are primarily powered by the information on a dealership’s Facebook page. This information is NOT as complicated as most websites. Dealerships who properly optimize the information on their Facebook page; and who run targeted search ads on Facebook (when it is widely available); could easily enjoy a good return on investment

I’m not at all advocating that dealerships abandon Google AdWords. Instead, that dealerships utilize this new Facebook targeting method in conjunction with their existing Facebook and Google Ad campaigns. They may be able to quickly ramp up the results of search ad budgets.

 

One critical best practice that helps drive more traffic to your website is to continuously create new content. Google crawls websites to find relevant content to provide more accurate results to searchers. However, it is sometimes hard to come up with content ideas that will be of interest to your audience.

 

Pounding your head against a desk, trying to think of good content ideas simply makes it more frustrating. Ever heard of writer’s block? It’s the same thing. Even bestselling authors experience it.

 

But the best thing about providing new content on the dealership side is that there are so many possibilities. The trick is to ensure that it is content your consumers want to read or watch.

 

Sure, you can create all of the “Why is a radiator flush important?” or new model reviews and all sorts of other information. Don’t get me wrong, these topics are a great start. However, you want your website to stand out. The problem is that many of these topics are already employed by your competition. At least those dealers who are actually trying.

 

So, how do you know what type of content will set your dealership apart from your competition? Listen to your customers and prospects!

Your prospective and existing customers will give you a roadmap showing you all the relevant topics you should create content around. And the way to discover the information they want to know is to listen to the questions your customers most frequently ask.

Your customers are your most valuable source of content inspiration that you have. And in many cases, the questions you are receiving are also questions that other consumers are searching for.

 

An article in Search Engine Journal shared a couple of good ways to identify the best questions to ask.

  1. Call Tracking: Many dealerships employ a vendor for call tracking. These services also record conversations which management and employees can access and listen to. These recording can provide a wealth of content ideas. And they are easy to identify. You know, the ones where you roll your eyes and cry out, “Not this question again!” These are the EXACT topics which make the best content ideas!
  1. Your CRM: Your dealership likely gets a constant stream of questions from consumers that are in contact with you. Whether those communications are via website leads, chat conversations or some other source, they should all go into your CRM.

 

Take a look at your CRM conversations, and you should be able to find some handy repetitive questions.

  1. Your Employees: If you have a BDC, Internet Manager, or someone in your dealership responsible for handling customer communications, ask them for the top 5 questions they continuously have to answer. If they created a template because they are so tired of answering them, that’s an even better indicator that content on that topic is needed.

 

Providing fresh, new, relevant content consistently, helps you answer those questions consumers most want answered. It also helps you attract more eyeballs to your website through relevant search results. Your website becomes an information source to your existing customers. And, prospective customers are more likely to find you simply because you have answered the questions they want to be answered.

 

Also, that is what search engines will recognize. It is also why they will deliver your content to searchers first and how you will get more people on your website. This can only result in more sales and service revenue.

 

Stop banging your head against the wall in search of content ideas and start listening to the questions people ask. As a result, you should attract more customers, increase your organic search page rank, convert more site visitors into customers, and increase customer retention.

In a quick review of dealership’s websites, I find that many are almost entirely sales focused and tend to neglect the one department that brings the most significant percentage of profit… service. Go ahead. Take a look at a few dealership websites. Service tends to be the red-headed stepchild; often neglected and forgotten. Yet it accounts for 50% or more of a dealership’s revenue.

 

In fact, just 10%, or even less of most dealer websites are dedicated to service, according to an article in Automotive News. Sounds like a bit of an imbalance, doesn’t it?

 

One dealer decided to change that. Feldman Automotive Group increased service-related content on almost all of its websites and, since late 2018, has seen visitor traffic increase by 60%. Perhaps more importantly, customer pay revenue increased by 32% in the first 3 months of 2019!

 

Service-related content is frequently searched for by consumers, yet many dealerships neglect to provide any information at all about this section of their business. In many cases, service coupons and specials are either outdated or non-existent. Keep in mind that any consumers who look at your dealership’s website for service information – and then find none – will simply continue to search and, in many cases, will find that information provided by an independent repair facility such as Jiffy Lube. And they are aggressive, transparent, and current in their pricing and services – which consumers seem to like.

 

In this highly competitive market, it makes sense to produce more service-related content for your website. Be sure to keep your service coupons current, be transparent, and provide information and pricing for your most popular service packages and what they include. Consider having a service director shoot a quick video about why customers should service at your dealership – what the benefits are of getting their vehicle serviced at a franchise dealer versus an independent, for example.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a customer come in for routine maintenance and not just warranty service? If you fail to provide the reasons why a customer should choose you over an independent, the consumer may well choose price and convenience, even if your dealership is competitive.

 

Most dealerships share the reasons why a consumer should buy a car from them. That’s a no-brainer. But too few share why consumers should service their car there as well. In my opinion, the ultimate outcome of neglecting service content and information on your website is just one thing – lost revenue.

 

Hey, it has been proven to work. If Feldman can increase customer pay by 32%; surely it’s worth putting at least a little time and effort into creating that service content. Think about creating blogs (both written and video) with topics such as how to pair your iPhone to the in-vehicle entertainment system, as well as specific services you offer and why they are essential. It is also great to highlight your service personnel, their achievements and training, along with the same message of quality, customer service, professionalism, and convenience that you probably already market in your sales messages.

 

Now, while adding service content to your website is great, taking it one step further is even better. Personally, I recommend specialized service websites as they are a great way to bring more customers into your automotive service and maintenance facility. These sites should be optimized with unique content about all things vehicle maintenance, repair, and service. Let your potential and existing customers know that they can count on you to not only sell them a great vehicle but to keep it in excellent condition. If you drive traffic to your service website, it will also drive more traffic to your main website, meaning you’ll have more people viewing your inventory, so it’s a win-win!

If you up your digital footprint as far as vehicle service is concerned, you should see an increase in service revenue and customer pay ROs. These customers can quickly become loyal brand advocates who you can win over as lifetime customers and also capture future sales from referrals.

 

Make your service department easy to find by providing the type of content consumers are looking for. Become the resource they turn to for information and your efforts could soon result in precisely what your business wants… more profit and more customers.