Last month, I told you that you weren’t going to want to miss out on the April episodes of ThinkBetter with Angus Fox; I wasn’t kidding. This past month, Angus provided even more questions to ask your vendors to ensure you are getting the best possible product. He also went in-depth, showing you how you can tell what your third-party referral traffic is doing on your website. And possibly the best snippet of information yet? He gave his own provider recommendations with whom you should partner.
You can always check out the past videos, but if you want a quick advice-filled recap, keep reading as I am about to break it down for you.
Questions to Ask Your Vendors
Last month, Angus talked about the importance of asking your various digital vendors questions. Not only does this allow you to have more in-depth conversations about the work they are doing, but it enables you to understand the importance of the work and whether or not it has the results you are looking for. He even provided some example questions for your inventory and tool providers. This month, he got into questions to ask your PPC (pay-per-click) provider.
Questions to Ask Your PPC Provider
In ThinkBetter with Angus Fox Episode 6, Angus explains how critical it is to stay up-to-date on the actions your PPC provider is taking for your business. In his words, “Accountability in pay-per-click is very important because the money that you’re spending only lasts for that moment in time. With a poorly configured account, with poor targeting, incorrect ads, and a low-quality score, that money can vanish, and you can get nothing for it.”
You should be keeping track of the money going into your PPC the way you do with any other bills. Here are the questions to ask your provider to ensure you are being taken care of:
Questions to Ask from the Get-Go
- What are your vendor goals for my pay-per-click? Are you currently trying to provide me with conversions? Leads? Are you optimizing for clicks? Are you optimizing for conversions? What is the focus of your pay-per-click efforts?
- What, specifically, are you doing to cater my campaigns to an automotive audience? Are you using auto intenders? Are you using an audience from my CRM? How are you ensuring we’re reaching my target audience?
- Does our ad timing match our goals? If we’re trying to get leads, does it make sense to be running leads at 2 AM when our dealership’s closed, as opposed to 10 AM when we can respond to them quickly? Make sure your ad timing mirrors your goals.
- Can my retargeting and branded traffic be separate? (It’s very easy to have a great-looking report or a high click-through rate if you include retargeting traffic).
Questions to Ask When You Want to Get In-Depth
- Have you connected my Google Search Console and Google Analytics to the Google Ads account? Can I verify that both of those are connected?
- What are you using for conversions? (A lot of automotive providers will mark things like a VDP (vehicle display page) view as a conversion. VDP views are a step along the way but are not our end goal. You should be optimizing for hard conversions. If your pay-per-click provider wants to track the higher level “conversions,” ask that they be marked as “secondary” so that Google will not use them to enhance its algorithm to show your ads).
- How are you doing location targeting? While it’s easy to do a radius around my dealership, it prevents me from making small town-level bid adjustments that may let me steal traffic from competitors that I can get at a town level but can’t get a radius level.
- Where is my traffic going? Is it just going to my homepage? If so, why am I paying money for that? Is there not a better-optimized page I can bring them to?
- What are you doing to prevent fraud? By some industry estimates, ad fraud results in nearly $80 billion in fraudulent spend a year. What are you doing to reduce my fraudulent spend?
By asking these questions, you will get all of the knowledge you need in order to know whether your PPC provider is handling your ads (and your money) properly. Remember, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it’s going.
How Can I Tell What My Third-Party Referral Traffic is Doing on My Website?
As discussed in ThinkBetter with Angus Fox Episode 7, once traffic from a third party reaches your website, you want to know what actions those users are taking. Are the leads actually leading to conversions on your site? What path are the users taking? There are actually numerous ways to measure and examine this traffic, but explaining each way would take a long time and a lot of work on your end as a dealer.
For those reasons, Angus made a free Looker Studio dashboard to make looking at this third-party referral traffic even easier. Within the dashboard, you can instantly see how your AutoTrader, Cars.com, CarFax, or CarGurus traffic is doing. In fact, you can even see how users coming from your OEM site, email marketing campaigns, and general referral traffic are interacting with your site. All you have to do is load the dashboard, and within a couple of minutes, you will have assessed your performance.
There are plenty of convoluted explanations on how to best look at your referral traffic, but this free dashboard makes it so much easier.
The Providers Angus Recommends Partnering With
Throughout all of these videos, Angus has expressed the importance of staying on top of your vendors; he is truly an expert. However, it makes it much easier to ensure you are getting the results you want and need when you start with the best. For that reason, in ThinkBetter with Angus Fox Episode 8, Angus gave some recommendations for vendors you should consider partnering with. Here’s the rundown:
The Best Vehicle Trade-In Tool: Trade Pending
When shopping for a new vehicle, many people decide to trade in their old one during the transaction. You want to have an accurate and easy-to-use trade-in tool for those customers to use, and Trade Pending is just that. This tool allows you, as the dealer, to create your own strategy for buying used vehicles. That’s right – you can change the amount of money you’re willing to spend on specific makes and models, keeping the trade-in offers accurate to your actual in-house offers. This avoids confusion and keeps a strong customer relationship between you and your market.
Additionally, Angus shared that the Trade Pending tool has worked flawlessly on every dealer website he has seen it implemented on. Talk about keeping your customer relationships strong with accurate numbers, true transparency, and quality user experience.
The Best Service Mailer: Car Care Checks
The second recommendation Angus made was a little bit of a different type of vendor: a service mailer. While this is not a digital marketing vendor like the others, Car Care Checks is the type of mail people hang on their fridge, not the kind they throw right in the trash. The service will send your designated customers’ personalized service offers, encouraging them to use your dealership for maintenance when it’s needed next.
The deals are in the form of a checklist, allowing your customers to keep track of what service they have had done and allowing your service manager to scan a convenient barcode on the checkbook, which then gives you the exact amount of money the mailer has made you. This means that you, as a business, have quick and easy access to your return on investment with this service. Angus said that he had used this at 17 stores and got his money back within the first month. It’s clear that this unique service has the potential to be very beneficial to your dealership’s service center.
The Best SEO Company: Wikimotive
The final recommendation Angus had was for the best automotive SEO company; he recommends us here at Wikimotive. The number one reason? Our content. Here at Wikimotive, we create, edit, publish, and optimize human-written content that is crafted for each of our individual clients. As Angus said, “[It’s] not ChatGPT, AI garbage.” And as we know from our blog series on artificial intelligence, that’s important!
All in all, if you are looking for a new vehicle trade-in tool, want to try out something different like a service mailer, or need some SEO professionals to improve your rankings, traffic, and conversions, these three providers are the way to go. Angus has experience with each one and can vouch for their effectiveness. Avoid having to keep your vendors in check; start with these ones who will work with you, not just for you, from the get-go.
That’s a Wrap on the ThinkBetter Video Series
On behalf of both Wikimotive and ThinkBetter, we hope that the last eight weeks have provided you with actionable ways to hold your vendors accountable. Whether SEO, PPC, web tools, or third-party inventory providers, you are paying good money in exchange for services designed to meet (and hopefully exceed) your expectations. Remember, alignment of those expectations is key to a mutually beneficial relationship, specifically one that’s designed to increase both sales and fixed ops revenue for your dealership.
As a passionate vendor accountability advocate and the lead analyst for ThinkBetter Marketing, there are few experts as highly sought after as Angus Fox, and we’d like to thank him for making time for this special presentation. If you found it helpful, stay tuned, because our library of free educational content continues to grow. In fact, we’re currently debuting (by popular demand) a second series of ‘High Performance,’ a series focused on SEO for dealerships that is presented by our co-founder and VP of Client Performance, Zach Billings. You can find a new episode being posted every Tuesday morning on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and right here on our website; be sure and connect with us here at Wikimotive so you don’t miss a thing.
At Wikimotive, we’re committed to your success – and to helping you crush your competition. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you to expand your market share, contact us today!