The marketing strategies you have in place today play a major factor in the success of your parts web store.
Most dealerships choose to hire an outside marketing agency, so a parts marketing expert can handle the advertisements while your parts team focuses on selling parts and accessories. Still, even with someone else handling all of your auto parts marketing, you and your team will still run across some digital marketing terms and tools that you need to be familiar with.
If you’re confused by the jargon of digital marketing, then this article is for you. We’ll break down the most frequently asked questions we hear from dealers about digital marketing.
1. What Are Google Ads?
Google Ads is Google’s advertising service, where advertisers can create and run ad campaigns. These ads will appear in Google search results, so your advertisements will 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 Ads and SEO?
Google Ads 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 them fresh.
On the other hand, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a type of free advertising. A page optimized for search engines is more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results.
Once optimized, unique 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. Where Should You Place Your Investments: SEO or Ads?
We recommend it! Both of these ad types contribute to sales. The more marketing channels you can add to reach potential customers, the better.
From the stats we’ve seen through the RevolutionParts platform, investing in both can make a big difference.
According to our numbers,
- 43% of parts website traffic comes from paid search ads (Ads)
- 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 of digital marketing tools in place!
4. What Is a Good Budget for Google Ads?
SThe 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 ads and increase the return on your investment (your ROI). Plus, a higher budget means they can run more ads and show them 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.
Now, you are probably thinking, “$1,000/month for marketing sounds like a lot!”
Some dealers hesitate to invest a lot of money in digital marketing. After all, $1,000/month is probably more than your monthly eCommerce subscription costs.
Remember, the more you invest, the bigger your return rate can be! RevolutionParts’ Marketing Services average about 8.75% Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). So a $1,000 investment could give you a $6,900 return in sales. Sure, not all of that is profit, but since our eCommerce platform has low overhead and rarely requires an extra employee to handle, you can still come out ahead.
Important: 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 an eCommerce software subscription), the overhead for selling parts online is much lower than hiring a wholesale rep or outside sales rep to promote your wholesale business!
5. How Much Does Hiring a Parts Marketing Agency Cost?
Not all marketing agencies operate the same way, and they certainly vary in price. Some agencies charge up to $30k for their services and deliver little value, while other agencies charge $2k and deliver a lot of value for your dealership. Additionally, some agencies charge a monthly flat rate while others charge a percentage of your sales. It really depends on the agency that you’re looking at.
Important: Remember that you must pay for marketing services in addition to an advertising budget. The ad budget you set is not your payment to the agency. It’s the amount they will use to invest in advertising on your behalf.
Just because an agency offers everything under the sun doesn’t make it the ideal choice, especially if they’re driving little value for your dealership. You need to look at the amount of value they can provide you. How much assistance can they give you with ads, emails, and SEO? If they don’t have the answers to these questions, they’re probably not the right fit.
Budget is another important factor in deciding whether or not you should sign up with a third-party marketing agency. If your dealership only plans to set a $600 ad budget, that’s probably not enough to effectively cover the costs and drive value across all the marketing channels offered.
Good marketing agencies tend to offer these types of services:
- Google Ads (shopping campaigns and search campaigns)
- Bing Ads
- Content for SEO (parts descriptions, blog articles, and more)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
When you’re looking for a third-party marketing 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 interest 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 cutting into your profit margin and make it difficult to come out ahead.
6. What Does Good Ad Performance Look Like?
The truth is, the performance of your ads 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 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 best 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 your ad spend!
The entire point of a marketing agency is to help improve your profits. If you realize you’re consistently losing money on advertising, you might want to rethink your strategy. Either look for a new agency or talk with your existing agency to see what can be done to improve those numbers.
7. How Can My Parts Department Stand Out From Competing Dealerships?
It’s true that the parts eCommerce market is more competitive today than it was five years ago, but the size of the market keeps growing, too! There are still lots of opportunities for parts websites to stand out from their competitors and take their share of the profits.
Each dealer’s strategy differs based on budget, goals, campaign type, dealer location, pricing, shipping costs, etc. The amount of variety makes it easier to find a unique parts marketing strategy and helps your dealership stand out from the others.
Let’s look at an example.
If you only have $500 a month to spend, you might start by targeting the immediate states nearby where shipping rates are cheaper for your dealership. 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 2 AM). You can limit the parts you advertise to ones you know are faster moving. You may even offer a promotion in your ads to set yourself apart.
These are just a few examples of the different options out there—and those are only related to Google Ads! It all varies, and no two strategies should be the same. The more specifics you can set for your ads, the better you can capture your customers’ attention.
RELATED: 11 Questions to Ask a Marketing Agency Before You Hire Them
When you’re working with an agency, it’s in your best interest 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.
If you are ready to get started with marketing but not quite ready to hire an agency team, download the RevolutionParts Parts eCommerce Marketing Toolkit.