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A Dealership That Knows Digital

Hendrick Motors of Charlotte is a large automotive dealership that offers an extensive selection of new and used Mercedes-Benz models as well as certified pre-owned cars, coupes, convertibles, and more. Like many dealerships, Hendrick Motors has historically relied on traditional advertising. However, about three years ago, it ramped up its digital marketing and is now spending roughly 65% of its budget on digital and the remainder on traditional advertising.

That shift is due in no small part to the successful pay-per-click (PPC) and search campaigns that Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner eBizAutos has built and run for the dealership. Hendrick Motors had turned to eBizAutos-a specialist in tactical online marketing services for the automotive industry-when it wanted to increase visibility and traffic to its website.

A Natural Fit With eBizAutos

The company built a Google AdWords PPC campaign to hit a larger amount of keywords for both new and used Mercedes-Benz cars. It also maximized bidding to keep Hendrick Motors visible for more of the day, and put together a comprehensive used car non-brand campaign to increase off-brand sales. In addition, it built a service campaign to drive more visibility for the dealership’s service department.

Ed Keady, VP and General Manager, Hendrick Motors, talks about working with eBizAutos. “It’s a natural fit,” he says. “They have the tools to dial into my entire inventory on the website. So when I tell them that I want to concentrate on a certain model, make, or program, I really don’t need to say much more than that. They go forth and tie it right into our site.”

Ability To Adjust On The Fly

eBizAutos helps Hendrick Motors determine the most frequently searched keywords that will drive traffic to its website “but not so frequent that it eats up your budget pretty quickly,” explains Ed. “For example, the term ‘used Mercedes’ gets a better result than ‘Mercedes.’”

Google AdWords gives the dealership the ability to adjust its campaigns. “I like the fact that you can go in and make a change and it’s instantaneous,” says Ed. “You decide on what you want to focus on and assign a dollar amount that you’re willing to spend on that keyword, and then you set it free.”

He notes that you find out pretty quickly if people are interested in it or not. “If you’re not getting any traffic to it, you can take the remainder of your budget and put it somewhere else. In most advertising, you just can’t do that.”

Increased Traffic And Sales

Hendrick Motors found out that people were interested in what it had to offer. Its website traffic grew an impressive 350%. In fact, 23% of traffic comes from AdWords. “I can see a correlation in the traffic to our website to our sales,” says Ed.

By using a balanced approach to devices and sharing the strategy across mobile and desktop, the dealership’s mobile traffic grew 35%, rising consistently and substantially every month since launch.

The dealership received 1,685 leads as a result of desktop and mobile PPC in Q2 2014. Compared to other automotive national listing sites, its average cost per lead was well below the average and, at 10x the rate, its volume of leads was huge.

Hendrick Motors also launched several product videos of new and existing Mercedes-Benz models on YouTube. It achieved excellent visibility with 94,910 impressions, 6,393 views, and a CPC of $0.21.

Make Your Website Your Virtual Showroom

Keady has advice for others who want to embark on PPC or display as their advertising medium. “The first thing that they have to do is get their house in order on their website,” says Ed. He explains how their sites need to be properly merchandised, easy to navigate, have the right bandwidth, and contain proper descriptions and pictures of the products.

“You can spend $100,000 per month driving people to your website,” notes Ed, “and if it isn’t standing tall and functional, then people are just going to click away, and you spent the money and it’s gone forever.” He points out that he has a full-time staff that does nothing but take photos for and merchandise on the website. “It’s my virtual showroom,” says Ed.

A Productive Partnership

The partnership between eBizAutos and Hendrick Motors has been a satisfying one. “I get approached five times a week by companies telling me that they can do a better job than what I’m doing right now,” says Ed. “All I have to judge by is the reports and the service that I get from eBizAutos and so far I’m pretty happy with them.”

In the near future, the dealership will be launching new products and opening up a brand-new 57,000-square-foot facility. “We’ll make a big deal about that,” says Ed. “And we’ll absolutely be using eBizAutos and Google AdWords.”

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