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Post-Digital Dealer: Talent Shortage, Pre-Ordering, SEM, SEO

By: Kristen C., Marketing Coordinator

The Automotive Marketing Gurus (AMG) Team is back from the biannual Digital Dealer Conference and we are so eager to share with you our key takeaways that are sure to set you up for success going into the new year. We spent the week LEARNING, not pitching, so that we can become better TRUSTED gurus for you, our dealer partners. Our team participated in a variety of educational tracks that focused on Talent Acquisition and Talent Shortage, Branding and Pre-Order Process, SEO and SEM.

There are currently 7.7 million people unemployed with 10 million jobs available. Why is this? For starters, it is a lack of influence. Many career decisions begin with parents' encouragement and in relation to the automotive sales industry, many parents do not encourage their children to work at automotive dealerships due to the stigma of being less than transparent about sales and their intentions. Another reason for this is the nature of commission based roles in the automotive industry. While most positions in automotive do rely heavily on commissions vs. salary, it is important to emphasize KPIs and growth opportunities and tie those into compensation plans, so there is an attainable goal. While working in the automotive industry is a big time commitment, it is important to highlight the many rewards it can offer. With that being said; we believe that in 2022, the focus needs to be shifted to recreating a respectable image of working in the automotive sales industry in order to decrease the talent shortage and contribute to talent acquisition.

2021 has been a rollercoaster for automotive sales! It is no secret that the amount of new inventory available has drastically decreased over the last several months. Regardless of the reason, we believe it has opened up a new door for automotive sales through Pre-Order Landing Pages. This simple addition to your website will allow you to be one step ahead despite not having many new inventory options on the lot. The goal is to make it known and easy for customers to request information on vehicles that may not be in stock, which would allow for the continuance of new car sales. Unfortunately, throwing that messaging into a couple sales retention emails doesn't really get the word out. You must align your SEM, Social Media, YouTube, OTT/CTV, and everything else you are doing around this program.

Marketing teams highly encourage utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), but do you know why? SEO reflects on your dealership’s credibility. By achieving a top spot in search engine rankings it generates attention by giving more clicks and traffic to your website. It’s important to pay close attention to title tags as they are the most weighted element on the page because it is what users see first. This is done through inbound links on other high traffic sites. When utilizing inbound links, it’s important to focus on unique sites, not directory links. But, before users reach your website, they are likely to see your Google My Business (GMB) listing; this contributes to local SEO. Dealers should start treating this as their new homepage and it is important to have two separate pages: a main sales GMB and a service and parts GMB. This is where users will decide if they want to move forward and visit your website so it is important to be selective when choosing a category that represents your business. In order to regulate the traffic, we suggest adding UTM tracking links. One way to get the most out of these listings is by adding FAQs, which will autocomplete based on past responses. If users continue to your website, it’s important to ensure that it is user friendly and responsive. You can ensure this by adding a blog and an “about dealership” section where users can turn to a local destination and find all of the answers to their questions. The blog can be about anything, but, making it more about the community and less about selling cars, is the key to success. You want people to come to your blog because it lives on your website, not because you want to sell cars.

While search engine marketing (SEM) is a large concept to grasp and become an expert in, there were quite a few new and innovative ideas that were discussed at Digital Dealer as well as how to perfect some old concepts. One concept they really highlighted was local content. When you are posting about events happening locally, having it reposted by who you are sponsoring and linking it back to your site can be super helpful! Local content keeps your audience engaged. While mentioning a few cities or neighborhoods on model research pages and service special pages is good, the real local SEO value comes from being a part of your community and creating valuable content on your site to match. With that being said, it is also important to use consistent phone numbers and addresses against all postings on your site for easy contact. Make sure you have a provider, or internal marketing person, who is constantly updating your GMB. And not just your main sales GMB, but also your service, parts, and collision pages. (if applicable). One way to really boost SEM is through dynamic search ads and social sales events. Dynamic search ads help you target those who are searching for your dealership. They are able to take content from your website and help fill in gaps of your keyword based campaigns. Social sales events can also help you target specific customers, but more importantly, target those who are not familiar with your services or may not even be in the buying market at the time. When creating ads, you must consider how it is going to be viewed; 79% of searches come from mobile phones, so it is essential to create ads that are mobile friendly. Beginning in 2022, Google’s Responsive Search ads will allow you to provide 15 headlines and four description lines, which will help display relevant messages to your customers more effectively. This creates more opportunity and increases ad performance by attracting more clicks and conversions, but it also allows you to attract more customers by tailoring multiple headlines to your customers locations of interest. The goal of a marketing message is to reach the largest audience and the best way to do that is by using a pronoun such as “We”, “You” or “Him/Her” because it speaks to the person searching. Your audience is human, not robots! Making that “human” connection is one of the best things you can do. Another topic that was discussed was how Bing and Google both offer the ability to highlight multi-image ad extensions and multi-media ads. Multi-image ad extensions allow you to attract a larger audience by displaying a carousel of up to five images. Multi-media ads also allow you to create your own assets like images, headlines and descriptions with the power of machine-learning technology. Both of these will improve visual attractiveness and drive engagement.

We learned so much at the 2021 bi-annual Digital Dealer Conference and are ready to EXECUTE!

This is just our first recapitulation, so stay tuned for more key takeaways!

If you are looking to learn more about the Pre-Ordering Process, SEO and SEM or have any further marketing questions for your dealership, please reach out to our team!

Visit us at

Jonathan Thompson, Lead Guru | CEO email:

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