I recently switched jobs. The company I now work for (NewTech Automotive Services) hired me to setup a division to help car dealerships with their online marketing. For the past fourteen years I’ve been working at a dealer group as an online marketer and have been doing online marketing in general for over 20 years. As with any type of marketing the task can seem overwhelming. So in setting up the department there are some many potential areas of opportunity which ones do we focus on?
While thinking about the question of what online marketing areas to develop as a product for car dealerships I came across an article at http://searchengineland.com/. This article was for small businesses explaining which elements of online marketing can be handled by the business and which ones should be outsourced.
The major elements that the Search Engine Land article highlighted as areas where businesses should ask for help were:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Content Marketing
- Mobile Website
- New Technology Adaption
- Marketing Strategy
Not a bad list.
In looking at the list you may ask, “what about social media?” I believe that by creating terms for online marketing vs. traditional marketing we are doing all businesses an injustice. (I am working on a blog post to relate the new terms with traditional marketing terms and how they relate.) So although not listed here I believe that “Social Media” falls under both SEM and Content Marketing. So I would use the term “Online Paid Advertising” instead of SEM to incorporate all the online media where you may be paying for advertising, both text and display ads.
My experience with auto dealers is that they typically don’t ask for help with their marketing strategy. This is a major issue because this should be the #1 area. Without a clearly defined marketing strategy everything becomes disconnected and more of a shotgun method (shoot it out there and you’re bound to hit something).
Why is online advertising so important to auto dealerships? The Local Search Association each week reports the local media used by consumers during the previous week to find local businesses. For the week prior to this blog post they reported that for auto dealers:
- 75% of consumers used a Search Engine
- 28% of consumers used newspaper or magazine
- 13% of consumers used an email promotion, store circular and/or coupon
- 12% used Social Media
If each week 75% of your potential customers are using a search engine this is not a medium that you should be playing with, but making sure that it is being utilized effectively and completely.