Automotive Media

Automotive Reviews, Specials, Comparison Tests, and Local Automotive Resources for Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts

Facebook ads help dealership's sales 06/22/2020

Facebook ads help dealership's sales

Facebook ads help dealership's sales A recent shift in advertising strategy to focus on the social networking platform turned Power Ford into a major player in its market and is helping to prop up sales when many consumers are spending more time at home.

P&G Is Right -- The Party's Over For Digital Advertising 09/19/2017

P&G Is Right -- The Party's Over For Digital Advertising

Procter and Gamble, the worlds largest advertiser uncovers the truth of digital advertising.

P&G Is Right -- The Party's Over For Digital Advertising The FMCG's chief brand officer claims that just 25% of spend reaches consumers. That has to end -- and it will.

[08/03/17]   SEM vs SEO for auto dealers.

Disclaimer: This article is exclusively about SEO and SEM in the auto industry. It doesn’t transcend across industry lines, and there are a few reasons why. One, is that the example given is about an auto auction and in this context, it’s appropriate. Car dealers will be very familiar with this, but for other industries, this analogy won’t make as much sense. But more importantly, in many other industries, the SEM vs SEO comparison would be flat our wrong. There are many situations where an SEM strategy is a necessity, especially where you’re a newcomer to a mature market, or you have an entirely new product (or service), or if you compete in a national or international arena.

Auto dealers are generally fighting for sales against other dealers of the same brand in a fairly well defined geographical area. These are sales of high cost products but with increasingly diminishing profits per sale. And their SEM strategy has mostly revolved around pricing vehicles in a way that further erodes those profit margins, and essentially forces other dealers to do the same.

That’s not to say that SEM is entirely bad for an auto dealer. There are ways to do it properly, and inexpensively. But the way it’s currently being used has search engines and agencies laughing all the way to the bank.

You’re a car dealer, and you need prospective customers. More than that, you need prospective customers that you have a good chance of turning into real customers. In this day and age, it’s not a bad strategy to show up reasonably high in a web (usually Google) search for your product within your PMA, and maybe even slightly beyond. How to do that properly is the subject of this post.

Here’s another way of looking at it.

Take a problem that a dealer could easily face when it comes to inventory. You need a car, a specific car. It’s a particular make model and year, but you have some latitude in color and mileage range. But in this example, you don’t just need one, you need dozens. Hundreds even. And you’ll need them every month. Fortunately for you, there’s a car auction close by. And they have dozens, and sometimes hundreds of the make, model and year car you’re looking for.

But unfortunately, the car you’re looking for is the exact same car every other dealer is looking for. And they’ll all be at the auction. So it’s guaranteed that most all will bid, and the prices will be high, and get higher still. To the point where, even if you win the bid, it’s only because you paid too much. But like every dealer knows, no matter what you pay, the car is only worth a certain amount. The fact that all the dealers bidding drive up the price, doesn’t make it worth any more. The reality is, if enough dealers bid, and keep bidding, you could pay many times what the car is actually worth. (Sounds ridiculous, right?). And the auction keeps inviting more and more dealers, because the company that owns the auction, makes 100% of the bid increase. And each month, more and more dealers hear about the auction, and, being that it’s the easiest way to buy cars, more dealers come. So prices increase pretty consistently, even though the cars aren’t worth any more. And to top it all off, the quality of the cars is questionable. Many of them have bad Carfaxes. Some don’t run. Some actually belong to competitors, and are just cardboard cutouts of cars, put there to cost you more money, and hopefully exhaust your budget. Oh, and there’s no recourse.
So in summary, pay the most you can pay. Get questionable quality prospects, and sometimes they’re not even prospects but competitors or Bots. Pay more and more, even though what you’re getting never gets any better. Stop paying and you get nothing. This is SEM.

Now imagine there was another way to buy those cars. There’s a place not far from the auction that has the same make and model. Let’s call it “Immaculate MotorCars”. They’ve got a great selection, really more than the auction. and the cars are better. Much better. And people trust the cars that come from Immaculate MotorCars much more than something you buy at the auction. The auction realizes that Immaculate MotorCars exists of course, but they don’t want you to go there. They tell you how hard it is to buy cars there, and how much easier it is to just keep writing big checks to the auction and watch the fully loaded car carriers roll in. Buying cars from Immaculate MotorCars is so much more complicated they tell you.

And it’s true, it is more complicated. Staring with what it costs. While you still need to pay for the cars, it’s MUCH less than at the auction. But that’s just the beginning. Immaculate MotorCars wants you to have a long-term relationship with them. Their much more concerned with the relationship than in what you pay. They like Christmas cards and birthday cards. And notes throughout the year. And Immaculate Motorcars listens to others in the business. They listen to what other people think of you. And the good news is that if you’ve got a decent reputation, you’ll pay even less! But building this relationship takes time. You can only buy a couple of cars in the first month. As each month passes, you can buy more cars than the month before. After a while, you can buy almost all you want. Some months, you can get all the cars you need, and not even pay for them. And if you decide to stop paying altogether, you can still go for months, even years without ever paying. And you won’t owe them a dime.

This is SEO. Build slowly, pay much less. Get referral links, build credibility. Show up organically, and get high quality traffic.

But SEO is hard. Agencies don’t make as much money. Search engines don’t make any money. You can see why no one talks about it.

This is of course, a simplified example of SEO vs SEM. But it exemplifies that proper SEO takes time, patience and the personnel to execute a well-designed plan of original content along with on-site and off-site strategies.

And when it comes to SEM, it’s not all bad. With a small, targeted budget it can augment the SEO plan that you’ve got in place. There are strategies that can make SEM the perfect complement to SEO, But if you’re like 99.9 percent of the dealers out there, not only are you not using them, you don’t even know what they are.

Consumers May Be More Trusting of Ads Than Marketers Think 07/31/2017

Consumers May Be More Trusting of Ads Than Marketers Think

Advertising study in the New York Times. Show value and authenticity. Don't use actors or or paid spokespeople.

Consumers May Be More Trusting of Ads Than Marketers Think A study showed that certain tactics, like offering to match a competitor’s low prices, received the most positive reactions from participants.

Television-Ad Spending Shows Signs of Revival 09/25/2016

Television-Ad Spending Shows Signs of Revival

Broadcast and Cable TV showing increases as many of the biggest advertisers come back.

Television-Ad Spending Shows Signs of Revival Television advertising spending commitments could increase 3% to 5% in this year’s ad-sales period known as the ‘upfronts’—reversing a recent trend.

[09/23/16]   Dealers, are you advertising your service department? It's where your percentages are highest and your loyalty falls off quickly. Advertising service can bring defected customers back and keeps new customers loyal. And helps service morale.

Mark Ritson: Five marketing clichés that make me scream 09/14/2016

Mark Ritson: Five marketing clichés that make me scream

An excellent article about those ridiculous cliches that only the ill-informed still actually quote.

Mark Ritson: Five marketing clichés that make me scream Some marketers can't help but regurgitate made up 'facts' and nonsensical slogans, so next time you hear somebody utter one of these phrases, stand up and shout them down.

Look Up: In the Digital Age, Billboards Are Far From Dead 09/08/2016

Look Up: In the Digital Age, Billboards Are Far From Dead

Digital Billboards are the quintessential brand builders for Auto Dealers.

Look Up: In the Digital Age, Billboards Are Far From Dead Billboards, long used by big brands to promote their products, and more recently by tech companies, are flourishing compared with other traditional media.

Subprime auto lending gets blasted by comedian John Oliver 08/17/2016

Subprime auto lending gets blasted by comedian John Oliver

The subprime lending market gets some unwanted publicity from John Oliver.

Subprime auto lending gets blasted by comedian John Oliver Comedian John Oliver took a break from mocking Donald Trump and the Rio Olympics to warn about the dangers of subprime auto lending. Oliver devoted nearly 18 minutes of his weekly HBO show “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday to subprime auto lending.

Auto marketers tout the benefits of sports advertising 08/17/2016

Auto marketers tout the benefits of sports advertising

Live sports advertising has it's benefits:

Auto marketers tout the benefits of sports advertising Sports remain one of the last bastions of live TV, making it an irresistible chance for automakers to reach consumers, according to some of the top marketing minds in the business.


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