We’ve been talking a lot about the human side of audience targeting – coming up with a strategy, making sense of consumer lifestyle segments, understanding the car buyer’s journey, and so on.  

However, sometimes you need to call in the machines… 

Let’s talk about three ways your dealership can win in a brave new world of algorithms, AI, and data analytics.  Whether it’s leveraging Google Ads or understanding your ideal customer, we’ll show you how computers can be your friends. 

 

Way 1: SEO for Your Dealership Website 

If you want the algorithms to find you, you’ll need a strong, SEO-optimized website. To get one, you need to pay attention to a combination of content and technical matters. Content-wise, you’ll want to focus on your target market. This will look different for every dealership. Some basic questions to ask are: 

Am I targeting a broad cross-section of vehicle shoppers, or do I focus on a subset like outdoor enthusiasts or high-income buyers? 

Does my market have any interesting demographic or geographic features? These factors can include a high concentration of Spanish-speaking households, a remote rural location where there aren’t a lot of dealerships, unique climate features that impact driving and owning a car, and more. 

Are there common lifestyle or behavioral features that my customers share? Maybe you are located in a status-conscious neighborhood. If so, it makes sense to use content that positions your brand and your inventory as part of an elite lifestyle. Or maybe your city has bad traffic and long commute times. In this case you could target “commuting” as the behavior and find ways to emphasize fuel economy, safety features, and a comfortable driving experience. 

Regardless of whether you target the jet set or the economy car shopper, you’ll want clear, rich, informative content so users and search engines will know you have a good site. 

 As far as the nuts and bolts of the site go, you’ll want to: 

Make sure you’re optimized for mobile – Over 50% of online searches are done on mobile devices, and Google uses mobile-first indexing for all web searches, regardless of device used. 

Make sure your local directory information is correct – There are over 50 relevant online directories your business can show up in, and you need to make sure you’re listed properly in all of them.  If you’re listed inconsistently, Google might share the wrong info or keep you off the results page altogether

Be voice search friendly – According to eMarketer Pro, 56% of all internet users have used voice search to look up a local business. 23% have used voice search to find a local car dealer or service provider. These number are only going to go up. Incorporating the right long-tail keywords, understanding user intent, and making sure you have a handle on natural speech patterns are all vital to helping voice searchers find you.  

There’s more to local SEO than this, but these basic guidelines should get you started. Let’s take a look at the next way. 

 

Way 2: Search Engine Marketing 

Strictly speaking, step two is optional but search engine marketing (a.k.a SEM, PPC, pay-per-click) is a highly effective dealer tool. 

The name of the game is to choose the best keywords and, once again, your best keywords are based on your target audience.  

Here’s a strictly hypothetical example. Let’s pretend there are two dealerships, one that serves East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and one in Enid, Oklahoma. East Stroudsburg residents have one of the longest slogs to work in the U.S., spending an average of 76 minutes commuting each day. The typical Enid resident only spends 26 minutes in the car going to and from work. You might look at this data point and decide that “fuel efficient cars” is a sharp keyword investment for East Stroudsburg drivers and right for your inventory; whereas in Enid, where the commuting’s easy, you invest in different keywords.  

However, it could be that Enid car buyers value fuel efficiency as much as, or even more than, buyers in East Stroudsburg. Just because a commute is shorter doesn’t mean consumers aren’t thinking about how much they pay for gas or how it affects the environment. That’s why the best search marketing strategies are informed by data insights and tools. 

Another key piece is smart optimization. The best SEM solutions incorporate machine learning that tweak your SEM investment for optimal effect. Here you specify criteria like budget and the solution will invest accordingly. Rather than put your dealership front and center in every single search, the solutions with artificial intelligence will single out cost effective opportunities to put your PPC link on the search engine results page. 

Okay, you’ve got a great website and are trying your hand at SEM. What else do you need to do? 

 

Way 3: Take Advantage of Data Tracking and Analytics 

Most dealerships use a range of marketing tactics– email campaigns, social media postings, direct mail, event sponsorship, and more. That’s why it’s vital to know what works

Data tracking lets you track engagement. Let’s say your dealership put out two pieces of content – a Facebook ad that mentions your big Fourth of July weekend sale, and a print ad in your local paper that does the same thing. 

You would probably be interested in knowing which advertisement got more prospects on the lot, and if one campaign or the other fell flat. Data tracking lets you know how people are finding your business and can be useful for everything from choosing creative to selecting the best marketing channels to reach your target audience. 

Data analytics give you a way to identify patterns that are invisible to the naked eye. Let’s say that women in your market are engaging more with display ads with one specific message over others. If you want the inside track with female car shoppers, you might choose to send them more ads using this message or use this finding to plan out a  future campaign that targets women with relevant messages. 

 

Welcome to the Winning 

It’s an exciting time for audience targeting, but you don’t have to go it alone. LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE has expert automotive SEO specialists, an award-winning SEM solution, and the tracking and analytic tools to help you seize the future.

 

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