Want The Secret to Driving Great Traffic? (Hint: There Isn’t One!)

SEM, SEO, Social Media

Secrets to SEO Success - Blog

I’m hopeful you and your team are aligned in a quest for market dominance, though despite what the emails in your spam folder claim to offer, there are no secrets to driving in-market buyers to your dealership or your website. In fact, there never have been.

Yes, there’ve been changes to what works and what doesn’t, but none of these changes were ever secrets. Over the entire history of selling cars, everything about automotive marketing has been an evolution. The internet lead (originally delivered via fax) will celebrate its 27th birthday this year, and yet roughly 55% of buyers today still make no contact with the dealership before they show up.

How did these buyers discover you? How did they determine you had a vehicle they wanted? What gave them the confidence to pull onto your lot without first making a call or completing a contact form?

The Cool Stuff

Shiny objects are… well… shiny. They seem cool, new, and fun; and they’re presented as the one secret to “10x your sales” while you “dominate the market” and “crush the competition” – plus, did I tell you, this secret is cool, new, and fun!

“Our proprietary system leverages the latest AI technology to identify and target in-market shoppers in real time to flood your website and lot with ready buyers!”

I would compare automotive marketing shiny objects to energy drinks – that is, there is a burst of good feeling followed by a crash below the baseline – except there isn’t a burst, only another wasted marketing budget.

The Boring Stuff

Don’t get me wrong, I like cool, new, and fun. In fact, I wish the shiny objects performed as advertised. Think about it: Wouldn’t that be cool, new, and fun? If only.

The sad truth is that the boring stuff is what works when it comes to profitably growing share – regardless of the market. Of course, unlike shiny objects, the boring stuff is measurable; moreover, the boring stuff (when done correctly) delivers a measurable return on investment. The key is properly leveraging the boring stuff to support an overall strategy focused on both near-term and long-term growth.

Near-Term Growth

Assuming you’ve already optimized your website for conversions (i.e., you have clear and compelling calls-to-action where it matters) and your team is adept at properly handling Fresh Ups (i.e., they follow a road-to-the-sale), the near-term growth you seek can be as easy as turning on a faucet… and none of it is a secret.

I wish it was harder to do; I wish it was shiny, cool, new, and fun, but it’s not. Driving quality traffic to your website and your lot that delivers ready buyers is as easy as embracing a comprehensive digital strategy with a trusted and transparent marketer. In simpler terms, all you need to achieve your near-term growth objectives is a solid partner who understands automotive retail and can leverage both social and search (SEM) to deliver the right message at the right time to the right people – those elusive in-market buyers.

You probably already understand that both paid search and paid social can be effective ways to drive website and lot traffic, though you may not fully comprehend the power that comes from combining these strategies to reach in-market buyers at the exact moment they’re looking to purchase. No other marketing solution can hyper-target true vehicle intenders as efficiently or effectively as an omnichannel approach combining paid search with paid social.

The math is simple. Done properly, and with a fully transparent agency, SEM + Social= Near-Term Growth. 

Long-Term Growth

To be clear, as efficient as paid search and paid social are at driving near-term growth, they’re pretty lousy sources for driving long-term growth. They are examples of “tit-for-tat marketing” – that is, the dollars you spend today drive buyers in the near term. Fail to capitalize on these prospects when they’re ready to buy, and the dollars you spent chasing them were wasted.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), on the other hand, can be the gift that keeps on giving. The dollars you spend with a reputable SEO provider today will pay dividends for years to come. That’s because great SEO has a compounding effect over time.

Provided the SEO partner you choose doesn’t light up your blog with lifestyle/puff pieces about great restaurants in the area or post pages to your site that only drive national traffic (like “What Will Replace the 2024 Camaro?”), the content they create and the inbound links they acquire will keep you at the top of Google searches for vehicle buyers in your market today, tomorrow, and far into the future.

One Digital Partner

Ideally, the marketing partner you choose should be able to provide you with a comprehensive digital strategy that encompasses SEO, SEM, and Social in a way that each channel complements and enhances the efforts of the other two. One vendor means just one monthly call, just one point of contact, and just one company responsible for your digital strategy (eliminating the blame game you can expect when multiple vendors overlap responsibilities). Moreover, finding the right vendor partner prevents the channels from over-competing for the same buyers (and unnecessarily driving up your costs).

Your quest for market dominance is understandable, as is the desire to uncover the “secrets” to driving buyers to your dealership. And while there are no secrets, there are proven solutions that work to deliver both near-term and long-term growth. They may not be cool, new, or fun, but they are very effective (when you choose the right partner to leverage these important channels). 

Want to learn more about Dealers United’s Full-Service Solutions?

Written By Steve Stauning, Founder
Stauning Solutions Group

Steve is the author of Ridiculously Simple Car Selling and Ridiculously Simple Sales Management; as well as a respected automotive industry veteran and founder of Stauning Solutions Group – a leading training & consulting firm. Steve’s consulting work puts him in dealerships nearly every week, working side-by-side with managers, salespeople, and internet teams to help them improve their sales, processes, and profits. Prior to this, Steve served in various automotive leadership roles, including as the Asbury Automotive Group’s (NYSE: ABG) director of ecommerce, the director of the Web Solutions division of Reynolds & Reynolds, and as the general manager of Dealer Web Services for Dominion’s Dealer Specialties. You may contact Steve directly by calling him at 888-318-6598 or via email at [email protected].

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