At the risk of joining the bandwagon against TrueCar, I wanted to write about the issue but I did not really have enough first-hand knowledge on the subject to present a good argument. I only knew that in principle I was not a fan of the idea based on conversations I have had about TrueCar and things that I have read or watched.
While researching, I came across Brian Pasch’s article on DrivingSales.com titled, “Is Your Advertising Strategy Based on Fear, Data, or Blind Faith?” In his article, Brian builds a good case around the thinking that TrueCar is more of a symptom or product of an addictive tendency repeatedly displayed by auto dealerships. I agree with Pasch’s point.
What Brian is getting at is something I believe is true. I built my business around it blogging for car dealers. It’s how companies like HubSpot have achieved great success. It’s the reality that Internet marketing today gives essentially all businesses, including auto dealerships, the ability to establish their own marketing pipelines to drive sales and stop relying on outside sources for all of their business.
To be clear, the argument is not against using third-party lead generators and partners to drive sales, but to build your own sales machine so that you can keep your third-party partners selective and minimal, and ultimately avoid the dilemma of feeling forced to work with businesses such as TrueCar.
Build Your Own Inbound Marketing Machine
The idea here is to build your own inbound marketing system. Inbound marketing is a term coined by HubSpot that refers to the practice of using content and advertising to educate and inform your target audiences through free and easily accessible content persistently over time to establish and build trust and ultimately sales of your product.
This, as opposed to traditional marketing practices of splattering your name and logo everywhere with the hope and expectation of it magically turning into sales, is necessary today primarily due to the role of search engines and Internet marketing. You can still advertise your business using traditional media. The problem is the cost and the ROI of it if that is your primary or only approach. When you do the math it just doesn’t add up.
Google AdWords vs. Traditional Media
Refer to Brian’s example in his article where:
- The cost per visitor for their Adwords was: $1.50
- The cost per visitor from their Traditional Media was: $18.65
Technically, Google AdWords is not inbound marketing but it is search engine marketing. If you look at Google’s ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth), one thing you will see from the research is that the primary stimulus points for auto shoppers IS NOT traditional media. It’s the Internet and search engines are the gateway to the Internet.
It is easy for Internet marketers to challenge why you would invest the majority of your advertising dollars into traditional media. We are bias. But traditional advertising sales reps will argue that if you want to reach the masses then you need to spend on traditional media.
I understand that dealers continue to spend on traditional media because it is what they are familiar and comfortable with. But as Pasch suggests, that is fear-based thinking and eventually it will be to your detriment if it isn’t already.
How Blogging Benefits Your Dealership Digital Strategy
I am not here to convince you that traditional media is not the best use of your advertising dollars. I am not here to tell you that TrueCar is bad for the auto business either. What I am here to share with you is why and how blogging is an important part of your marketing strategy, and how it can help dealers that feel forced into a corner about using TrueCar.
Blogging is about producing content for two primary purposes:
- For SEO
- For Relationships
In my early days of blogging for car dealers I would say that you are blogging for people (relationships) and for robots (SEO). Blogging still is about these two things and it’s important not only to understand this but to have a strategy for it.
A blog marketing strategy is tricky. There are numerous aspects to it.
- The strategic aspect
- The technical aspect
- The executive aspect
- The analytical aspect
All this is a lot to juggle for most auto dealerships, but not all of it needs to be managed by the dealership. Some of this process can be outsourced, and quite frankly some of it should be.
Download Free White Paper
Details can, should, and do not need to be outsourced by dealers that want to blog are outlined in my White Paper Blogging 101 for Car Dealers. In this white paper we explain the role that content marketing plays for auto dealers and we introduce 5 different types of content that auto dealerships can produce to promote their blog and website. We also dive in to why auto dealerships want to have a blog marketing strategy and which parts make sense to outsource.
The challenge dealerships face today is how to form a process around blogging that produces all this type of information in a way that is profitable for the dealership by being efficient and effective at selling cars and driving new business from current and non-existent customers. Blogging does not close deals and sell cars, but it certainly contributes to the process of driving the best traffic to your website and building trust and loyalty with potential and existing customers.
Download your free copy of our white paper by signing up for our site. If you are already a free member and have not received your copy then contact us at 1-877-873-0583.
Producer and Host of the AutoConverse Future Mobility & Connectivity Podcast, Ryan began working in the automotive industry in 2001, establishing his roots in online vehicle merchandising before expanding into digital marketing and now multi media for Automotive B2B. You can connect with Ryan on LinkedIn.