It’s the beginning of a new year, and it’s the perfect time to shake up your digital marketing strategy by cutting out the things that aren’t paying off for your business. You don’t have an infinite amount of time or money on your hands to throw away on marketing tactics that don’t have a strong return on investment. I’ve pulled together a list of the top three digital marketing tactics to retire in 2017 and what you should replace them with to save your dealership time and money.
- National Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising. If you’re advertising on search engines using PPC ads, you’ve started down the right track. However, if you’re advertising at the national level instead of targeting your ads to your local geographic area, you could be throwing money down the drain.
Every time someone clicks on your PPC ads on Google or other search engines, you get charged for their click. In an ideal situation, that shopper would go on to buy a motorcycle or ATV from you, and you would earn far more money from them than you paid when they clicked on your ad.
Now, let’s say you use PPC to advertise nationally and your dealership is located in Montana. If a shopper in Florida clicks on your ad, chances are they’re not going to be buying a major unit from you, because there isn’t a convenient way for them to pick it up. That means you paid Google for their click, but you made no money from them. That’s money down the drain.
Instead of casting a wide net and advertising across the entire country, focus on advertising only in your local area. Google AdWords allows you to target specific geographic areas, and for most dealers, focusing on a radius of 50 miles or so from your dealership can help you reach only shoppers who are actually close enough to buy from you.
- Organic Social Media. The landscape of social media is changing, especially on major platforms like Facebook. Facebook is increasingly becoming a pay-to-play platform for businesses, and if you’re still relying on the unpaid content you post on your Facebook page, you may be wasting your time. The organic reach (the number of people who see a post naturally in their timeline) of the average business page’s Facebook posts is less than 6%. That means less than 6% of your Facebook fans are seeing any given post you create on the platform.
There are two things you can do to make a wiser investment in social media. First, limit the amount of time you spend managing your social media profiles. Take advantage of free social media management tools like HootSuite to schedule your posts ahead of time instead of going in and manually posting content regularly, and don’t be afraid to share content from other pages. Sharing a post about the latest and greatest snowmobile from one of your OEMs saves you the time of having to craft original content.
Second, invest in social media advertising. Facebook Ads is very budget-friendly and can help you reach a wider audience than the few Facebook fans who might see your organic posts. Like PPC advertising, Facebook allows you to target your ads to your local geographic area, but it takes things a step further. You can use Facebook’s huge database of demographic information to target the shoppers who are most likely to buy from you – like Facebook users who have indicated an interest in powersports equipment or who fall within a certain income bracket.
- Black Hat SEO. Resorting to black hat SEO tactics can actually harm where your website lands on the search results page. Google is smart enough know when you’ve created a page with little or no content to try to boost your SEO or if you’re loading pages with irrelevant keywords, and it could take action against your site if you’re using these tactics (you can find Google’s full list of techniques to avoid here). Definitely not a good use of your time or the money you spend on your website!
Instead of resorting to these black hat methods to try to boost your rank on the search results page, optimize your online presence for local search to help your chances of getting found. Set up a Google My Business profile, work on generating customer reviews and focus on providing a great customer experience online and in-store. You can learn more about the importance of local search in one of my previous PSB posts.
Now is as good a time as ever to save yourself some time and money and revamp your digital marketing strategy to fit today’s best practices. If you need help managing your strategy, tools like ARI’s Digital Marketing Services can help.
Colleen Malloy is ARI’s director of marketing. Malloy has more than a decade of experience in the powersports industry and previously served as the editor of Motorcycle & Powersports News. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers Sell More Stuff! — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in automotive tire and wheel, powersports, outdoor power equipment, marine, RV and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website and eCatalog platforms to Sell More Stuff!