Top 7 FAQs about Digital Marketing for Parts Websites

These days, the marketing you have in place plays a MAJOR factor in the success of your parts web store.

Most dealerships choose to hire a marketing agency, so a parts marketing expert can handle the advertisements while your parts team focus on selling parts & accessories. But even with someone else handling all the auto parts marketing, you and your team will still run across some digital marketing terms.

If you’ve felt lost in all the jargon of digital marketing, then this article is for you. We’ll break down the most frequently asked questions we hear from dealers.

1. What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is Google’s advertising service, where advertisers can create and run ad campaigns. These ads will appear in Google search results, so your advertisements appear to shoppers using Google to search for the auto parts they need.

These ads are Pay Per Click (PPC), meaning that you only pay for an advertisement when someone clicks on it.

2. What is the difference between AdWords and SEO?

AdWords is a platform for paid ads. You must set a budget and pay for an ad whenever a customer clicks on it. These ads can be changed at any time, and your agency will likely update the ads every now and then to keep it fresh.

On the other hand, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a “free” type of advertising. A page optimized for search engines is more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results.

We put “free” in quotes like that because it takes time and/or money to write unique content. But once that content is written and placed on your site, it will continue to attract customers without any additional cost.

A lot of factors play into your website’s SEO rank, but the one you have the most control over is unique content  (auto part descriptions and blog articles).

3. Do I need to invest in both?

We recommend it! Both contribute to parts website sales. It’s good to have your fingers in a lot of pies, so to speak. The more marketing channels you can add to reach potential customers, the better.

From the stats we’ve seen on the RevolutionParts platform, investing in both can make a huge difference.

According to our numbers:

  • 43% of parts website traffic comes from paid search ads (AdWords)
  • 37% of parts website traffic comes from organic search (SEO)

In short, the majority of your parts web store traffic will come from some kind of marketing. You MUST have some form or marketing in place!

4. What type of budget do I need for AdWords?

The more you invest, the better your agency will be able to perform. Successful ads can vary so much by brand, part, location, price, and other factors, so there’s usually a testing period to find the best setup.

A large budget will give your agency the flexibility it needs to test and optimize your advertisements and increase your return on investment. Plus, a higher budget means they can run more ads and show those ads more often!

That’s why we recommend starting your budget somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500, and then gradually increasing it as you see positive results.

“$1,000/month for marketing sounds like a lot!”

Some dealers hesitate to invest too much in marketing. After all $1,000/month is probably more than your monthly eCommerce subscription costs.

But remember, the more you invest, the more you’ll get back!

RevolutionParts marketing services average about 690% Return on Ad Spend, so a $1,000 investment would give you $6,900 back in sales. Sure, not all of that is profit. But since eCommerce has low overhead and rarely requires an extra employee to handle, you still will come out ahead.

Plus, some brands perform even better than 690%!

According to our 2017 stats, a brand like Mercedes-Benz, for example, saw a median of 1234% ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) for the year. That means for every $1 spent, web stores got about $12.34 back in sales. $1,000 invested in digital marketing means $12,340 back in sales!

(Keep in mind: That’s just sales coming directly from your PPC ads! You’ll get more from organic traffic or repeat shoppers who have bookmarked your site.)

As far as marketing goes, it’s a good deal. Even when you add everything up (marketing spend, a marketing services subscription, and a eCommerce software subscription), the overhead for selling parts online is much lower than hiring a Wholesale Reps or Outside Sales Reps to promote your wholesale business!

5. How much should I pay my auto parts marketing agency?

Price varies A LOT depending on the services you’re paying for! Some agencies charge a monthly flat rate while others charge a percentage of your sales.

Important: Remember that you must pay for marketing services in addition to an advertising budget. The ad budget you set is NOT payment to the agency. Rather, it is the amount they will use to invest on advertising on your behalf.

Just because an agency offers everything doesn’t make it the ideal choice. If your dealership only plans to set a $600 ad budget, that’s probably not enough to efficiency stretch across all the marketing channels offered.

Marketing agencies tend to offer these types of services:

When you’re in the market for a new agency, make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for!

Some agencies will charge you a small percentage of your sales. This kind of partnership pricing is almost always a safe bet, since the agency only earns money when you do. It’s in their best interests to give you the highest return on investment possible!

That said, watch out for agencies that take too big of a cut. Something around 3%-5% is reasonable, but anything higher can start cut into your profit margin and make it difficult to come out ahead.

6. What can I expect from ad performance?

The truth is, performance of your can vary a lot depending on your brand. Just because an agency says their average customer sees a 10X return doesn’t mean you will, too.

Don’t base your decision on a single number—get a bit more information first!

Instead of just looking at that number, it’s better to ask, “What’s the average ROI for dealers selling my brand?” (click here for other questions to ask an agency before hiring them)

It’s also a best practice to get proof of those numbers, too. Ask if the agency has any case studies they can share with you.

At the very least, you should always see a positive return on ad spend! The entire point of a marketing agency is to improve your profits.

If you realize you’re losing money on advertising, you might want to rethink your strategy. Either look for a new agency or talk with your agency contact to see what can be done to improve the numbers.

7. There are so many (Ford/Toyota/Nissan/etc) dealers. How will I set myself apart from all the other (Ford/Toyota/Nissan/etc) dealers?

It’s true that the parts eCommerce market is more competitive today than it was 5 years ago.

But the size of the market keeps growing, too! There’s still lots of opportunities for parts websites to stand out from their competitors and take their share of the profits.

Each dealers’ strategy differs based on budget, goals, campaign type, dealer location, pricing, shipping costs, etc. All the variety makes it easier to find a unique parts marketing strategy and help your dealership stand out from the others.

For example, if you only have $500/month to spend, you might start out targeting the immediate states nearby where shipping would be cheaper for you. You might also exclude your ad from showing during certain hours of the day based on your time zone (so your ads aren’t appearing at 2AM). You can limit the parts you advertise to ones you know are faster moving or more profitable for you. You may even offer a promotion in your ads to set yourself apart.

Those are just a few examples of the different options out there—and those are only related to AdWords! It all varies and no two strategies should be the same.

RELATED: 11 Questions to Ask a Marketing Agency before you Hire Them

When you’re working with an agency, it’s in your best interests to make sure you understand what’s going on and what you’re paying for. If you get confused about something, talk to your auto parts marketing agency!

Communication is key to a strong partnership, so they should be willing to consult with you about your marketing.


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