Have you taken the time to develop a dealership marketing strategy? If so, kudos! This is a great first step to attracting leads. But this leads to an even more important question: How can you know whether your dealership marketing strategy is improving your lead generation efforts, and earning more leads?

At the root of things, the phrase ‘lead generation’ encompasses a wide variety of marketing tactics geared towards moving leads through your sales funnel to become car buyers. While the early stages of developing your lead generation strategy may involve experimentation, at some point, you’ll need a decisive answer about what works (and what doesn’t).

Understanding what brings leads to your dealership is critical

A reported 92 percent of car buyers research online before they buy — this is a large number of potential car buyers who are routinely having micro-moments and touchpoints with dealerships. These individuals are in the ‘interest’ stage of the customer journey, and are considering whether they should move forward to make a purchasing decision in the near future.

However, your marketing tactics have to get them there. You’ll need to have a deep understanding about how to attract this 92 percent and get them to visit your dealership. It seems like a lot of work up front, but making this investment now will save you time and money in both the short- and long-term.

For example, you may be faced with the choice of investing in a social media marketing tool, or ramping up your local SEO efforts.  How do you decide which of these initiatives will be most impactful to your dealership?

Understanding the activities of leads and potential customers is part of this decision: 22 percent of automotive internet shoppers use social media for research when shopping for a new vehicle. On the other hand, 76 percent of location-based searches result in a business visit within a day.

You have to meet car buyers where they are, and the data above reveals that many customers start with local driven search queries. If you want a better chance of actually getting consumers in the door, you want to be sure they can easily find your business on search engines like Google and utilize listings like GMB in order to show up in the local pack of queries.

Your actual audience could be different, as many of your customers may find you on Facebook or Instagram. However, you won’t know unless you look at the data to see what is attracting leads.

When is a lead generation activity successful?

Every marketing tactic has the potential to go in a direction you did not predict. So, a successful lead generation strategy requires you to be adaptable.

An email marketing campaign that worked last year may not receive the same buzz at this time. A paid ad that you thought might resonate with customers may fall flat. While you may not know why this happens, you can make a decision based on the information you have.

You need to know the marketing channels and tactics that are contributing to the final sale. Metrics and analytics can allow you to attribute monetary values to user actions that are leading to sales based on the influence they have on consumers. From there, you can plan to spend your marketing budget only on tactics that are the most effective. In short, metrics and analytics are your best friends in this step.

Ultimately, a lead generation activity is successful if the metrics reveal that it allows you to meet your conversion goals. For example, if you installed a pop-up that led to an email signup landing page, you wouldn’t only want to know the number of signups. Because while knowing how many leads were generated through the pop-up is helpful, the metric you’re really after is how many sign-ups led to purchases at your dealership.

If a marketing initiative is not leading customers to at least the next stage in the customer journey in a set period of time, then it might be wise to revisit the campaign and see if you can improve it — or perhaps even shut it down.

How to optimize the activities that are working

Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is the easy part. But determining how to improve on the marketing strategies that are working at your dealership is another story.

We all know that dealerships are time-strapped, and it can be challenging to find the resources needed for deeper research into your analytics. But paying proper attention to your analytics is almost always a winning strategy for those who make the effort.

For example, your current SEO strategy might be yielding a large number of visitors to your website. They may also be moving into the ‘interest’ stage by viewing embedded YouTube videos, or by following you on social media. However, you now have to figure out how to get them to accomplish actions that lead to a decision: Phone calls, form completions, or test drives.

Knowing this, you can now add some lead-generation tactics to your website in order to push audiences toward these decision-level actions. For example, adding a CTA button on an embedded YouTube video that directs audiences to a request for a test drive is an excellent marketing strategy for improving lead generation.

In other words, there is always a way to optimize marketing touchpoints along your ‘customer’s journey. In order to capitalize on as many of these lead-generation strategies as possible, you’ll have to keep an eye towards continuously improving your efforts. Consistent goal-setting — and evaluation — are essential to maximizing the various marketing channels that power each stage of the customer journey.

Final thoughts

Your lead-generation strategy needs to be tailored to your audience. You may feel that a specific marketing channel is useful, but if it does not lead to conversions, it is not worth keeping in your dealership’s marketing strategy.

By utilizing online customer behavior data — and by keeping an eye on the marketing tactics that are attracting leads at every part of the customer journey — you can get a sense for what works, what doesn’t, and where you should focus your optimization efforts.

From there, you can prevent wasteful spending (and wasted time) on tactics that don’t work, and improve on what does.

As we like to say here at CallRail, prove and improve!

Call Tracking for Dealership Marketing