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    5 Search Engine Advertising Secrets to Attract New Car Buyers

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Car shoppers consult many media sources before purchasing a new vehicle. However, there is one source that continues to grow in importance in the auto shopper’s buying journey, and that’s the dealer website. But, before consumers can use your site, they need to find it when they search for new cars online.  

    In order to stay competitive in your local market with search engine advertising, it’s critical to establish some best practices when setting up paid search campaigns to promote new car inventory for your auto dealership. By implementing the following best practices, you can reach your target shoppers as they’re searching online. 

    1. Create Campaigns Using Makes, Then Models

    When setting up your paid search advertising campaign, remember that you must make it easy for consumers to find your dealership and the car they’re searching for. So, it’s important to use make and model keywords along with your location so your ads are shown to someone searching for them.

    To get the most from your advertising, it’s best to set up separate campaigns for each make your dealership sells. This will ensure you can effectively monitor and control the budget and performance for each campaign. For example, if your dealership sells Acura, Honda, and Lincoln brands, you should set up a separate ad campaign for each, rather than combining them all into a single campaign. Although it may seem like a good strategy to extend your budget by combining all the brands you sell into one campaign, you’ll never be able to divide or control how much you spend on each make.

    Then, set up ad groups by model within each campaign; for example, set up a group for each type of sedan, SUV, etc. that you sell. For instance, when someone searches for “Honda Civic Atlanta,” shoppers are more likely to click an ad that contains the same keywords they are searching for. One way to improve this is with dynamic keywords, which will automatically insert the exact keyword phrase typed into the search box into your text ad so that interested shoppers will click through to your site. 

    2. Include Your Dealership Name in Keyword Lists

    Setting up search engine advertising campaigns with keywords to promote the makes and models on your lot is important. But don’t forget to include your dealership name inside the keyword lists of your digital campaigns. Most big name advertisers do this today!

    When someone searches for your business name online, what do you want them to see? Not your competitors, of course; but chances are they are already bidding on your business name and poaching searchers who are looking for your business. Plus, bidding on your business name keywords means you own more of the real estate on the search engine results page, which allows you to control the message and improve your online reputation.

    Dealers spend a lot of money promoting specific makes and models. Why not spend some of those dollars on your dealership name, too? The fact is these terms aren’t as competitive as your make and model keyword sets, so these will be fairly inexpensive. Whether it’s an offensive or defensive play, you can achieve a significant ROI on a minimal cost-per-click given the average sales price of a new car.

    3. Use Promotions to Reduce Current Inventory

    The decision of when to add in new makes and models to your search advertising campaigns can be tricky. Promoting a new model or year before you actually have it on your lot may seem like a good strategy to build up excitement. But wait until those cars are physically on your lot or can be ordered.

    Don’t spend precious advertising dollars on something you don’t have yet. Instead, use your marketing budget to reduce current inventory. For instance, you could create seasonal promotions for your text ads. Car dealers often utilize holidays like Christmas, Labor Day, and Memorial Day, which are big sales periods for new cars.

    Also, update your text ads to have the newest dealer offers or specials that are going on for the brand. Something as simple as “2013 model price blowout” when you are trying to make space for 2014 models helps clear traffic. Most people searching for cars know that you are going to get good deals during the transition of years for models. Enhance that by putting it in your ad. Make sure the landing page you are sending traffic to also contains the offer or promotion to improve your quality score. 

    4. Understand OEM Guidelines When Bidding on Competitor Terms

    When bidding on competitor terms, it is important to understand the financial impact to your campaigns and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines. Bidding on similar OEM dealerships is generally against most OEM guidelines. For example, a Toyota dealer bidding on another Toyota dealer is often against OEM guidelines. However, bidding on competitor OEM terms is a common practice.

    5. Build Customer Loyalty, Which Leads to New Car Sales

    The lifetime value of a happy customer is more than just the profit made on one transaction. As you set up search campaigns for new cars, it’s important to understand that a good campaign can and will generate some calls for service. These are not bad calls.

    If you bring in a new customer to your service department and the service is memorable, you have a customer for life. Service is probably one of your biggest profit centers! You should expect to receive some service calls as part of your campaigns.

    Are you following these search advertising best practices when marketing your dealership online?

    About the Author

    Lori Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with ReachLocal. She writes about digital marketing for the auto industry. You can follow her on Twitter.

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    Don't Leak Leads Website: Is Your Marketing Leaking Leads?

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Every business has a sales funnel. At the top of the funnel, consumers look for your products and services often by searching for them online. Some of these consumers move to the next step in their buying process when they discover your business online, visit your website, and then decide to call or email you based on what they see on your website. But only some of these leads will make it all the way through the sales funnel and ultimately become customers. 

    At every stage in your sales funnel, you could be losing leads by not optimizing your online marketing for the most conversions. But what if we were to tell you that by making just a few changes, you could get more prospects to discover, contact, and choose your business? Better yet, what if we showed you how to do it?

    Our great new website does just that. On dontleakleads.com we provide you easy-to-use resources, helpful tools, entertaining videos, and more all to help you identify leaks in your sales funnel – and show you how fixing small leaks can mean big improvements to your bottom line.

    Ready to be a part of the Don't Leak Leads movement? Check out the video below to learn more, and make sure to visit www.dontleakleads.com where you can learn – and share – the mantra: “Don’t Leak Leads!” 

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    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

    A Day in the Life of ReachEdge

    Last updated 6 months ago

    We recently announced a new software-as-a-service offering, ReachEdge, a marketing system that helps local businesses acquire more customers from their online marketing. Today, many local businesses are using online marketing but don’t have systems in place to help turn all their leads into customers. In fact, most businesses are losing some of their valuable leads.

    So, how does ReachEdge help? It combines a smart website with lead management software that work together and simplifies the process for businesses with its handy app and useful reminders, helping them turn more leads into customers. How, exactly? Let’s take a look at a day in the life of the ReachEdge system to see how local business owners can use it to get more customers. We’ll use the example of Bill, a cosmetic dentist using the ReachEdge system.

    10:00 a.m.
    SEO-Friendly Website Gets Discovered in Search

    Bill knows how important it is for his site to show up in search results, so he has a ReachEdge smart website that’s optimized for his top business terms, like “cosmetic dentist” and “teeth whitening.” When a consumer, Sally, wants to find a cosmetic dentist near her, she turns to a search engine like Google and searches for dental services she’s considering. Because Bill's site is optimized for those terms, it shows up in the search results, and Sally clicks on the organic link and visits the site.

    A ReachEdge smart website helps your business rank in the organic search results with search-optimized copy and basic on-site SEO, including keyword-rich product descriptions, meta descriptions, tags, and images, so a consumer like Sally can discover your business and visit your website.

    10:15 a.m.
    Interesting Website Engages Visitors & Keeps Them On Site

    When Sally lands on Bill's ReachEdge website, she is wowed by a clean, professionally-designed site with easy-to-find information like hours, service area, and business details. Plus, the simple navigation enables her to find descriptions of services, video testimonials, and photos of happy, smiling patients that entice her to learn more.

    Each ReachEdge website is built with beautiful design, clear information, and important elements that impress and engage site visitors and keep them from leaving your site as soon as they visit it. Because what good is an SEO-friendly website if your visitors can’t find the information they need?

    10:25 a.m.
    Conversion-Optimized Website Captures New Contact

    Now that Sally is impressed with what she sees, she thinks that Bill's dental practice is a great fit for her. She sees a compelling call to action, “Call Now for a Free Consultation,” at the top of his website that encourages her to contact the office. She makes the call and is greeted by a friendly receptionist who answers her questions and schedules her appointment.

    ReachEdge websites begin with a design that’s optimized for conversions, featuring an easy-to-see phone number and email address right next to a prominent call to action. This makes it easy for prospects to know exactly what you want them to do so they are more likely to follow through with making a call, sending an email, or completing a Web form. ReachEdge also captures the details of every contact automatically and stores them in your contact list so you can follow up later.

    10:30 a.m.
    Mobile Alert Notifies Business of a New Contact

    As soon as Sally’s call is completed, Bill receives an alert via his smartphone notifying him that Sally is a new contact. No matter where he is, he can review her contact details, listen to the call recording, and classify Sally as a sales lead. 

    With ReachEdge, lead management begins by alerting you to every new contact so you don’t miss an opportunity. And since ReachEdge records the entire conversation, you can easily review the call and classify the caller as an active or long-term lead for your business. ReachEdge automatically adds the lead information to your contact list so you can follow up with them later. 

    11:00 a.m.
    Automated Email Impresses New Contact

    Since Bill's receptionist asked Sally for her email address and recorded it in the ReachEdge system, the business can now  connect with Sally via a follow-up email. Soon after calling the business, Sally receives an automated response email that thanks her for her call and for scheduling an appointment with Bill. She is impressed by the quick response, which reassures her that she chose the right cosmetic dentist.

    Recording a contact’s email address in the ReachEdge system enables it to send automated follow-up emails that you can customize for your audience. Using an automated response email like a thank you or appointment reminder helps you stay in touch with new leads without ever lifting a finger, helping you create a great experience for your prospects that will turn them into loyal customers. 

    1:00 p.m.
    Notification Reminds Staff to Call New Leads

    It's important for Bill to stay in touch with all his new leads in addition to Sally. He receives a notification that reminds him to call Karen, a new lead that contacted him two days ago. With the touch of a button, Bill calls Karen to let her know about a new teeth whitening promotion that is running.  

    Following up with new leads is a key component of lead management. ReachEdge sends daily notifications that remind you to contact your leads so you can offer them additional information about products and services, share new promotions, or answer any questions so they are more likely to do business with you. 

    3:00 p.m.
    Lead Nurturing Automatically Sends Emails to Active Leads

    In addition to automating follow-up emails, the ReachEdge system also sends automated emails to other active leads that have an email address recorded in the system and have been classified. A marketing email goes out to Bill's active leads, sharing photos of happy patients along with a quote about what they love about his practice. Karen has been passively considering getting dental work for several months, and when she reads some of the testimonials from Bill's past patients, she immediately calls back to schedule an appointment.

    In addition to hot leads, ReachEdge keeps a pulse on leads who have contacted you or even scheduled a consultation, but have not yet committed to making a purchase. Because you can set up a series of marketing emails and timelines in the system, ReachEdge sends them to your leads automatically. Follow up emails that contain content like videos, client testimonials, and before and after pictures keeps your business top of mind with your leads so they remember you when they are ready to make a purchase. 

    5:00 p.m.
    Mobile Report Shows the Marketing Source of Leads & Customers

    Even after he leaves the office, Bill can still check his ReachEdge mobile app to see an overview of his most recent contacts and leads. He sees that organic search is bringing him the most new leads of all of his online marketing programs. He remembered that he is optimizing his website around his new teeth whitening promotion. Since it doesn’t cost anything to post a Facebook update, he decides to also share the promotion on his Facebook page to help drive more traffic from that site.

    Since ReachEdge captures the marketing source of leads and customers, it’s able to provide details about how people are discovering your business. This snapshot shows you how effective each of your sources is at bringing new customers to your business. With this information at your fingertips, you can make decisions about where and how to spend your marketing budget, so you get more from the marketing tactics that are the most effective and improve others.

    With a smart website, lead management software, and an easy-to-use mobile app, ReachEdge works every day to help local businesses like yours acquire more leads and customers. Learn more about ReachEdge to see how it can help your business.   

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    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

    5 Online Marketing Tips to Get More Residents

    Last updated 6 months ago

    As new generations of prospective residents become more and more technology- dependent when deciding on their next apartment community, it’s imperative to meet them in their preferred channels. This can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Whether you are trying to get found online or convince more prospective residents to sign a lease, here are five online marketing and lead management tips to get you more leads and residents from your multifamily marketing.

    Know Your Consumer’s Buying Journey

    Before discussing the best ways to reach multifamily prospects, you need to understand your consumer’s buying journey. To do this, you need to know who your target prospects are and the information they are looking for online, so you can drive more visitors to your website. Because, increasing the number of prospects who visit your website, even by a relatively small amount, can lead to a much higher number of leases. Some steps you can take to increase website visits include: implementing a combined search engine marketing strategy to improve your site’s organic and paid positions on search engine results, and boosting those results with online display advertising and retargeting efforts. These tactics, in conjunction with the rest of your multifamily marketing mix, can keep your property front and center as prospects search, surf, and socialize online. 

    Update Your Website

    One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the community where your apartment property resides and its residents are always changing. A website that worked well a couple of years ago may no longer resonate with the majority of your current market. Make sure to review resident data from your own property and research trade organizations like NAA and trade publications like Multifamily Executive to create a clearer picture of your target audience, what messaging they respond to, and how they want to contact you. You can survey your current residents to see what kinds of information they like to see on your website that may resonate with your prospects, such as resident quotes or videos and photos of your property. Staying in tune with your property’s online reputation on review sites and other social media should be a priority as well.  

    Respond Appropriately

    Once you are successful at getting contacts from your online marketing and website, you have the challenge of responding to them with the information they will use to make their decision. When new contacts call you, make sure your staff is armed with the right information and is asking the right questions to qualify the prospect as someone who is interested in your property. To ensure that you stay on top of leads who reach out via email or after hours, follow up with them within an hour – not days – and avoid hard- sell responses. Even better consider forwarding calls to a call center to handle inbound traffic to ensure timely response and higher likelihood of scheduling a tour.

    Stay In Touch With Leads

    A “high-touch” approach to communicating with a prospective resident that isn’t quite ready to sign a lease produces the best results. Keeping good notes about their needs, wants and even personal facts like a pet’s or child’s name helps make that connection when you follow-up personally. This puts them more at ease and allows them to imagine themselves as a resident at your community. Follow up on leads multiple times within the first 48 hours of receipt to improve your close ratio. For prospects who are just “looking,” stay in front of them over time with marketing emails that contain messages like testimonials, events, and move-in specials so they are more willing to follow through with a lease. Employing a lead management program that integrates with your property management software can make this time and data intensive process easier.

    Measure Twice, Spend Once

    In a perfect world, we would all have unlimited multifamily marketing budgets to spend on filling our properties. The reality is we do have limits to what we can spend. To make sure marketing budgets are being spent effectively, track all incoming leads by source. This is, of course, easier said than done. To help manage this task, you can employ software like call tracking or Google Analytics that helps you attribute leads to the appropriate source so you know which marketing tactics are working to get you the most leads. 

    Getting and converting prospects into residents requires a robust marketing plan that includes online marketing, a great website, and lead follow-up practices that are fully embraced by your staff and integrated into your property management software. Once in place, a strong lead generation and management plan will result in higher traffic, more efficient marketing efforts and, ultimately, an increase in conversions. 

    What marketing tips do you have for getting and converting leads for your property? Let us know in the comments. 

    About the Author

    Doug Jackson is a Sr. Marketing Manager at ReachLocal. He assists real estate organizations with information on local online advertising, social media marketing and content marketing through the ReachLocal blog.

    The Lawyer's Guide to Blogging: Why Should You "Blawg"?

    Last updated 6 months ago

    As the world of online marketing expands to all industries and business categories, more professional services firms are jumping on to the blogging bandwagon. Law firms have started to realize the benefits of having a blog and the positive effect that it can have on their website’s search rank and the credibility of their firms.

    So, why should your law firm or solo law practice have a blog? Here are three reasons you should start one.

    1. It Improves the SEO of Your Law Firm’s Website 

    Maintaining a blog is a great way to add fresh, new content to your website, which can improve your law firm’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that by creating a blog with keyword-optimized content, your law firm’s website may appear higher in search engine results when that term is searched. The more frequently you blog, the more assets and credibility you build. Creating quality content should be a top priority for your law firm, as Google has made many search algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin, which are known for rewarding websites for producing quality and relevant content with higher rank on the organic search engine results. 

    2. It Boosts Your Law Firm's Social Media Marketing Strategy

    A law blog can complement your social media marketing strategy by providing you with material that you can post on your firm’s social media sites, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. Blog posts on social media sites help increase your firm’s visibility, drive inbound links to your website, and help you to become more engaged with your social media audience. One way to drive social shares from you website is to write a call to action that engages your readers and encourages them to take next steps. For example, you could include a CTA like “If you enjoyed this post, please share it,” along with share buttons to post the blog post on their social media pages.

    3. It Gives Your Law Firm a Forum for Thought Leadership

    A law blog is an excellent tactic to help position your firm and your partners as thought leaders in the various areas of law practice. The more frequently you and your firm’s partners blog, the more exposure your firm gets and the more credibility you build with your audience. You become a public expert in your field, which helps you generate more followers and prospects. 

    A great way to start the blogging process, whether your law firm is large or small, is to form a blog team.  Each team member should focus his or her blog posts on a different area of practice or have a specialty topic within that practice subcategory. Define a leader of the team to create an editorial calendar that outlines the topic for each week’s blog post and assign one blog per week to each team member. This technique works well for busy lawyers as they can plan out their topic weeks ahead and have sufficient time to dedicate to research and writing. If you can, create a team of at least five lawyers so that each one is responsible for no more than one blog post per month.

    Once you have your team in place, it is time to start blogging. Here are some basic blogging tips to help make your blog posts a success:

    1. Keep your blog conversational in tone.
    2. Present your information in a quick and easy-to-read manner.
    3. Think about pain points that might affect your audience and develop your topics around them.
    4. Always use a clever, attention-getting headline.
    5. Use your own voice; let your personality shine through.
    6. Keep it brief – 400-600 words is sufficient.
    7. Use bullet points for better readability.
    8. Keep it simple; stay away from difficult jargon.
    9. Get to the point; don’t ramble.
    10. Conclude your points.
    11. Use imagery in your post (like a graphic or infographic) to emphasize your point.
    12. Make sure you understand the audience you are writing for.
    13. Show off your knowledge; don’t be afraid to share your secrets

    So, form the team, or simply get started writing a blog on your own. The more you blog, the easier it becomes. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that start presenting themselves to you! Remember, be true to your voice and keep the blog post simple and concise. As Mark Twain said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”.

    What tactics have you tried to create a blog for your law firm? Let us know!

    About the Author

    Carolyn Rayner is the Sr. Manager of Marketing for the Professional Services division of ReachLocal. She helps provide small- and medium sized law firms with information on how to grow their practice through online advertising, social media, and content management. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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