D

ealerships need to have a vision of what they look for in their marketing solutions to access the top automotive advertising agencies. For some, they want as many leads in their CRM as possible. Others insist on having as much traffic funneled to their website in the hopes of getting a few bites. The third group of GMs might be tired of the same old strategies that have dominated online marketing for decades. What they want are better opportunities to connect with shoppers by having leads that convert into real-life sales. If you’re looking for that too, you’ve come to the right place. 

Digital marketing vendors get divided into two broad categories: third-party lead providers and those that generate first-generation leads. The difference between the two is significant, like night and day. Third-party lead providers rely on sweeping ad campaigns that do not showcase a dealer’s inventory and services. Instead, their goal is to collect as many leads as possible without any quality control. Then, these vendors sell the leads to as many dealers as possible. The very dealers you compete with head-to-head are sifting through the same leads as you are, which isn’t a very business-savvy approach to getting new customers. These leads have a meager conversion rate: only 4-7% on average. 

Small Business Advertising

On the other hand, first-generation leads provide a breath of fresh air. Vendors that generate them utilize creative campaigns to funnel shoppers directly to your website. When someone fills out a contact or finance form, it means that they are intrigued by what your store has to offer. The lead is solely yours because these vendors do not collect and resell consumer details. As a result, these leads have a 25-40% conversion rate. Rather than making money by increasing competition between dealerships, these vendors profit by enhancing dealers’ overall digital visibility. By promoting your dealership’s inventory and services, they increase your standing on search engine results pages and make sure your PPC ads are on the first and second pages of a search. 

However, to get the full effect of first-generation leads, a profound shift has to occur. Primarily, counting leads needs to stop. GMs have counted leads in their CRM to determine their marketing budgets for decades and it does not benefit them. This system primarily perpetuates low-quality leads and traffic because there is no proper accountability. Think about it this way: counting leads only works if your vendors submit third-party leads to your CRM. If the only way you monitor your vendors is by making sure they upload leads to your system, you learn nothing about their quality. Moreover, this ensures that you have no way of working with vendors that generate first-generation leads. 

To achieve this, dealers everywhere need to learn how to use a comprehensive analytics program. We don’t mean those self-reporting platforms that vendors provide. Instead, external programs, such as Google Analytics, allow you to compare all your vendors on one screen by the same metrics. Not counting leads opens your dealership to new opportunities to engage with potential shoppers and find the best vendors for your needs. These programs are easy to set up and even more straightforward to use, even if you don’t know much about bounce rates or click-through rates. If what you’re looking for is a better way to meet your monthly goals, it’s time to change how you’ve been doing things. Only then will you find the partnerships to succeed.