By Shean Kirin, Founder and CEO, Dealer Alchemist

So often, when we audit a dealership’s marketing spend, our team finds an enormous amount of waste. Between the services for managing their website, managing conversion, supervising social spending, and ensuring things are working correctly, a dealer can quickly spend $5,000 to $6,000 in management fees per month. I challenge you to take some time this year to follow the five steps below to clean up your wasted media spend and begin reaping the benefits of conversion.

Analyze Your Management Fees

Set aside some time with your spreadsheet and look at all of the different places you’re paying management fees. Don’t forget things like the part statement because it’s a co-op program from the manufacturer. Total up the amounts of all SEO, website management, e-blasts, email campaigns that go to your customer base, paid search, social OTT, digital television, and traditional media.

Once you have these accounted for, look at what the markup on spend is from your agency. Finally, look at your co-op utilization and where you are spending most of your money. I think you’ll find some crossover from multiple vendors performing duplicate functions.

Measure Page Speed on Google

After you get a handle on all of the charges, it’s time to measure where your website ranks on Google page speed. If you don’t know, you go to MOZ local, type in your dealership address, and you can check your page speed yourself. If it is red, you probably have issues. A member of your team will need to clean it up with the website provider.

The team member tasked with cleaning this up should be looking at how many manager accounts and scripts are sitting on top of your website. I usually find between three and six different advertising companies’ scripts on the website, slowing it down. Nothing should be on there unless you know exactly what it is and you know exactly who the vendor is that provides the service. We recently found a tracking pixel from a third-party company sitting on top of the dealer website, gathering all visitor information. That is your data to use, not your service providers. Beware of rogue pixels.

Cut Your Conversion Buttons

Next, it’s time to ask how many conversion buttons you have on each page. I saw a website with nine conversion buttons. Nine! That’s ridiculous. We like to see three conversion buttons total.

Tighten Your Paid Strategy

When we first start work with dealerships, we often see their brand, dealer name, and regional terms accounting for between 50% and 80% of their paid strategy budget. We believe a standard buildout should only be 15% of that budget. Why? What are you doing when you’re spending a bunch of money buying your brand dealer and regional term name? You’re taking your organic business and converting it into paid traffic to artificially lower your cost per click. So if you’ve got a low cost per click and think you’re killing it, you’re not. You’re buying your organic traffic.

Capitalize on Search and Social Advertising

Finally, once you accomplish all of the above, turn to your new and used advertising on search and social. You’d be amazed at how many stores I go into where they are only concerned with new cars and completely leave out the used cars. Especially after the year we’ve had, with inventory shortages and used cars taking center stage, many dealerships missed the boat. They are not selling as many as they could because they didn’t highlight used inventory. It should always be a blend.

By following the tips above, you will be able to bring in the lion’s share of your organic content free of charge and focus your paid strategy on activities that will help you convert traffic. Stay tuned for additional ways you can eliminate ad waste in 2022.

About the Contributor

Shean Kirin is the Founder and CEO of Dealer Alchemist, a high-performing digital marketing platform built expressly to support client-owned properties.

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This article was originally published in the May/June 2022 Issue of Dealer Magazine. You can view the latest digital edition as well as past issues of Dealer Magazine here.

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