8 Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Strategy Is Failing

With 16,741 franchised car dealers in the nation, the automotive industry is a competitive one. As a result, consumers can choose from numerous dealerships and websites to purchase their new vehicle.

While there are several ways for your dealership to stand out from the competition, most businesses rely on their marketing strategy for differentiation.

But what happens when you struggle staying stuck on the same traffic & sales numbers?

What do you do when your marketing strategy keeps failing and producing poor results, no matter what tactics you try?

Depending on your situation, there may be several reasons why your digital marketing strategy is suffering. If one of these reasons sounds familiar, it’s time to rectify your digital marketing efforts!

1. Your Digital Marketing Strategy Is Not Organized

Do you feel as though you’re often hopping from one campaign to the next without a true direction? Or, are you trying new tactics and strategies blindly?

By not organizing and documenting your digital marketing strategy, you’ll find yourself haphazardly working to generate results from multiple avenues without a defined objective. An organized marketing strategy provides you and your colleagues a roadmap of what to do next along with a glimpse into potential campaign opportunities.

You would never merchandise the vehicles on your lot and showroom without any type of organization or strategy… it is even more important to organize and build a superior paid media account structure.

If you’re tired of darting from one tactic to another or can’t figure out why your efforts aren’t driving real results, take a moment to sit down and write out your current marketing strategy. From there, review your strategy and search for opportunities to define or improve your existing processes.

2. You’re Using the Wrong Marketing Tactics

Another common reason for digital marketing failure among car dealerships is the use of improper or outdated tactics.

For instance, are you still following the ancient SEO rule of stuffing keywords into every article, meta description, bullet point list, and title? If so, you’re likely experiencing poor website traffic and ranking results as a result of Google’s algorithm.

Or, you may be using tactics that don’t resonate with your audience. If your target market is primarily on Facebook and Instagram, but you’re serving new vehicle ads to Twitter audiences, of course you’re not going to see results!

When working to remedy your failing marketing campaigns and strategy, review the tactics you are using and how you are using each. Your strategy may include the right tactics, simply not executed in a proper manner.

Review each aspect of your dealership’s marketing plan and determine what is and is not working correctly to solve any potential failures.

3. Your Messaging Is Off

When you create your marketing campaigns, are you taking the time to review each message, or are you writing down whatever comes to mind? Marketing copy is not something to take lightly! One wrong punctuation mark, spelling error, or lackluster sentence can change the entire meaning of a promotion.

If your marketing strategy isn’t delivering the results you want, take a look at your campaign(s) and brand messaging. Perhaps the problem is in the wording of your ads, website, social media posts, and emails.

Also, consider how you are working on marketing copy with your team. Is one individual responsible for all the dealership’s marketing copy? Or, do you rely on the expertise of an external marketing agency? While both approaches can lead to superior advertising copy, they can also end up causing more problems for your dealership’s marketing strategy.

Be sure to thoroughly review each message your dealership sends to potential and existing customers, from sales emails to radio ads. You may discover that your messaging is far from your intended goal.

4. You’re Targeting the Wrong Audience(s)

From Facebook Advertising to pay-per-click ads on Google, being able to target specific market segments is critical for car dealerships that are executing a digital marketing strategy.

And, if you’re experiencing less-than-desirable results from these efforts, it may be time to revisit the audience(s) you’re targeting. By sending your ads and content to the wrong audience, you’re wasting precious ad dollars, along with the time and resources of your team. It’s not hard to see why your digital marketing strategy would fail if this were the case.

To avoid this problem in the future, start by scanning your current advertising efforts. Do the targeted audiences align with your business’ overall goals and common customer personas? If not, fix it ASAP!

Next, list the audiences you think your car dealership should be targeting. Include information such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Average Income
  • Vehicle Preferences

Before you begin inputting these audiences into your digital marketing strategy, take a moment to truly consider if these are the right audience segments for your dealership. For example, if you sell luxury cars, you’d ideally target men and women in a specific neighborhood who make a certain income. Or, in another example, if your dealership specializes in reliable sedans for commuters, don’t target consumers living in the closest city with ample public transportation.

How are you defending your most valuable asset (Your Previous Customers from your DMS list) when they search for their next vehicle?

Your previous customers now consider 10-12 models when researching which vehicle to buy next. You must advertise to them during these micro-moments if you want to influence them before they sell themselves online.

You can improve customer loyalty using your DMS data and “customer match” strategies to market to your previous customers across Search, Gmail, YouTube, Display and Facebook.

Always consider combining multiple types of audiences including your DMS list with a superior account structure when constructing your digital marketing strategy.

5. You’re Looking for Campaign Validation in the Wrong Places

One common mistake car dealers make is searching for marketing validation in the wrong places.

By this, we mean looking for “success” where you won’t find the true answers. Don’t rely on vanity metrics to gauge how well your campaign is going. Clicks are one thing; sales are another! 

While social media engagement, email click-through rates, and other KPIs are excellent measures of a campaign’s effectiveness, you also need to look at the number of sales correlated to each campaign or marketing tactic. Use avenues like VIN-Specific Advertising to seamlessly tie your inventory and marketing efforts together for transparent analytics and a clear understanding of your marketing strategy success.

Comb through your marketing analytics to see if your strategy is truly providing ideal results or only hitting vanity metrics like clicks and “likes.”

6. You’re Using the Wrong Marketing Tools

In today’s competitive online marketplace, you have to use marketing tools to gain an edge over your competition. From social media scheduling platforms to robust SEO software, there’s a tool for every marketing need.

But, if you’re using the wrong combination of tools — or not using these tools to their fullest potential — you’ll find yourself struggling to achieve your marketing goals.

Take inventory of the tools you’re using now. Are they helpful? Do they streamline the marketing process, or do they add another step for your team to navigate? Consider the cost of the tool along with the effort necessary to use it in comparison to the results it generates to determine if it’s worth your time and money.

If you do need to research new marketing tools, here are some of the most popular options for car dealerships:

Social Media:

Email Marketing:

Inbound Marketing:

Look for marketing tools that easily integrate with your CRM and inventory software to prevent causing any disruptions in your day-to-day sales operations.

In addition, take into consideration the age of your marketing tools. Are you still using tools from the early 2000s that barely work and cause more frustration than assistance? Time to upgrade!

7. Your Team Isn’t on Board

Successful car dealerships cannot operate without a successful staff. From the sales and administrative professionals to the service team, everyone must work in tandem to create an unparalleled car buying experience for customers.

The same goes for your digital marketing strategy. If your team isn’t on board with every aspect of your strategy, your results won’t be optimal.

When working on your marketing plan, make sure your team understands every aspect of upcoming promotions, messaging, campaigns, etc. This insight provides them with the ability to communicate properly with customers about the campaigns, helps drive real results, and makes them feel like they’re part of a greater effort at your dealership.

8. You Aren’t Setting Marketing Goals

Following a marketing plan without documented goals is like running a marathon with no finish line. If you don’t set goals for your marketing strategy, how will you know if you’re failing or succeeding?

However, you can’t set outlandish or unsubstantiated goals for your marketing team and strategy. Instead, review past promotional campaigns and sales data to determine the goals you should set.

For instance, if previous campaigns generated 1,000 website visits, use this metric as your benchmark for future campaigns. In addition, consider adding related goals to your efforts, such as the number of test drives or service visits generated as a result of your marketing strategy.

Without goals to aim for, your marketing and sales teams won’t have the drive to excel in their respective areas of your strategy. Work with your team to develop attainable marketing goals they can strive to reach and exceed.

Need Help With Your Marketing Strategy?

If your marketing strategy has hit a wall and fails to deliver real results, it’s time for a tune-up. The team at J&L Marketing has extensive experience in developing successful marketing strategies for car dealerships across the nation.

Let’s start a conversation about how we can help your dealership organize a marketing strategy that suits your needs today.

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