By: Kristi Hector
I want to bid on the dealership name down the road. How much does that cost?
We hear this more and more in our digital strategy conversations. This is a concept called conquesting, and while it is a great way to ensure that you are competitive in your market, you’re probably going about it all wrong. Many dealers believe that the most logical way to conquest is to dump hundreds, even thousands of dollars, into a Google search campaign that ensures your ads are showing up whenever a potential customer searches for “that guy down the road.” A typical automotive customer journey could include up to 900 various digital touchpoints – so concentrating all of your conquesting dollars into buying a keyword, is far from a solid strategy; in some cases, it’s flat out against OEM rules. Let’s discuss a few ways to identify a broken conquesting strategy and how to fix it.
1. Put Your Best Foot Forward
You’re ready to start winning new customers, but you need to have the vehicles they want. If your customers want the family sedans and SUVs that another dealership has plenty of then why would you heavily stock trucks or sports cars? Your inventory doesn’t match the demand, so even if you can steal a click from your competition, you’re only proving that you don’t have what the market wants.
Let’s take this a step further and think about pricing. I worked with a dealership that allocated $1,500 each month for a conquesting campaign that averaged over $10 per click. All that money for a potential customer to discover that they were priced on average, $3,000 higher than all other dealerships within a 10 mile radius. The Am-I-Getting-A-Good-Deal micro moment has just been answered with a firm “no.”
2. Your Current Budget Doesn’t Support Conquesting
Google’s Dealer Playbook recommends funding your basic paid search efforts, and then tapping into display and video advertising before thinking about adding a conquesting strategy. This means a recommended 90% coverage on branded and ready-to-buy keywords. If your basic SEM campaigns are all limited by budget, or have impression shares under 90%, adding conquesting will certainly deplete your budget quickly with higher CPCs and acquisition costs. Make sure your dealership is fully funded in its own backyard, before going after your competitors’ loyal customers.
3. You’re Only Spending Money on Google Ads
When it comes to conquesting a neighboring dealership, it is important to create some brand awareness. The best place to do this is with advertising that will deliver impressions and views to showcase what makes you the best choice. Limiting yourself to only advertising with SEM only creates awareness when shoppers are searching for the competitor.
Display and Youtube advertising can drive awareness with thousands of impressions to in-market shoppers, including those you want to conquest for as low as $2.80 per 1,000 impressions. Facebook also allows for low cost awareness to be generated amongst potential new customers for as low as $2.42 per click. Compare that to a CPC of up to $14 in Google Ads, and you can see why there is effectiveness in conquesting across multiple digital channels.
What You Want to Remember:
When it comes to conquesting another dealership’s customers, be willing to get creative and and put time into market research. Once you have a good handle on what those potential customers want, create awareness with campaigns and platforms that deliver impressions to a large audience. And lastly, allocate a separate budget for your efforts, so that you aren’t neglecting the shoppers that are more likely to buy from you.
To learn more about how PureCars enables dealers to conquest smarter, check out our recent webinar on ZipDriven. Happy Conquesting!