We know that customers are visiting fewer dealerships than they did in the past, but do we know reputation management is the answer? Well, yes. Yes, we do. For one, we know that 38% of auto buyers check online reviews when deciding which dealership to visit. In addition to that, a recent study found that customers who read positive reviews are more and more likely to get in touch with a business directly over the phone, via email, or by visiting in person.
ROI for reputation management can be somewhat difficult to calculate, but investing in it could very well be the difference between someone stopping by your lot or your competitor’s down the road. Because consumers are doing more research before visiting a dealership, the chances they will buy from you skyrocket once they step onto your lot. With that in mind, it is important to do everything you can to not be ruled out early on in the research process. A good online reputation is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to accomplish this.
Your reputation can also have an impact on the effectiveness of paid advertising efforts. Paid ads are typically displayed at the top of the page above organic search results, and are the first thing people see when searching for auto dealers. Whether they are on Google, or one of the car specific sites like Cars.com or CarGurus, paid ads can be a great way to get highly qualified leads from people looking to buy. However, these ads won’t be nearly as effective if your reputation isn’t as good as the other dealers that appear below your ad. This can mean wasted ad budgets on sites like Cars.com where you pay for each time one of your ads is shown to a potential customer.
Here is an example of what a user might see when searching for a car dealer in their area. Notice how the listing at the top marked as an ad, shows an average rating of 3.8. This isn’t a terrible score when viewed on its own, but the ad will likely not perform very well when paired up against the other dealers with higher scores.
Not only are your ads much less likely to convert if your reputation isn’t as good as others in the search results, but it can make it more expensive for you when they do convert. With pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, customers see your ads based on search terms and other criteria you specify in each campaign, but you only pay when someone actually clicks on the ad. The amount you pay for each click depends on a variety of factors, including how often your ads are clicked when displayed to users, and a low Click Through Rate (CTR) increases the cost. This means that you could be paying more for each click than a competitor running a campaign for the exact same search terms!