For her February 2016 article in Tire Review Magazine, Senior Contributing Editor Denise Koeth looked to Website Marketing expert Brad Timofeev for his insight on digital advertising.
While the piece is directed at America's tire dealers, Brad's thoughts can be applied to many types of companies. Read an abridged version of the Tire Review article below.
Brad Timofeev, Director of Website Marketing for WebArt, an agency of MadAveGroup, [says] that a tire dealership's website needs to clearly communicate what sets the shop apart from others in the same market.
"What sets you apart is not the tire brands you carry or the size of your inventory, or the words 'quality' and 'service,'" he explains. "Consumers have lots of choices, so why should they pull into your shop? What do you offer that's better, different, more valuable?"
Set your shop's website up for success by including strong calls to action, Timofeev says, adding, "If you're going to buy advertising that directs people to your site, make it simple for those people to become customers. The best way to do that is to give them easy access to free estimates, special offers and online appointments."
"Once you have a strong website, the most effective type of digital marketing for tire dealers is low funnel," says Timofeev. "That means marketing in order to see quick results: search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising and local directory profiles / advertising."
Timofeev [recommends creating] different messages for different audiences, referring to a low-funnel, mid-funnel and high-funnel model. Consumers generally move from high-funnel, in which they are unaware of your products or services or do not have a need yet, to low-funnel, in which they have a need and a desire to make a purchase. While high-funnel marketing (think general branding) often includes TV, radio or online display advertising, low-funnel methods include search engines and local directory websites – Yelp, tire manufacturer dealer locator sites and yellowpages.com, he notes.
"A majority of tire dealers start at the low-funnel channels online because it returns the most, and as they get more customers in the door, they then begin to feed their online advertising budget to support more of the higher level forms of online advertising," Timofeev says. "We've found that low-funnel customers want to know how they can save money with you and that you've been in business a long time, so your ads should address those needs."
"If you haven't dominated the organic search engine results for keywords related to service or tires, use Google AdWords until you can start ranking naturally in the search engines," Timofeev says.
For limited budgets, Timofeev recommends skipping social media advertising and display advertising, as well as hiring an agency for social media management.
For larger budgets, he suggests a comprehensive strategy that includes creating strategic messages for all levels of the marketing funnel: low, middle and high. "That means you'll be reaching potential customers at every stage of the buying cycle, from those who might need tires in a year to those who are ready to pull the trigger today," he notes.
"Online advertising is not cheap, but it doesn't have to be an additional investment," Timofeev adds. "Many of the tire dealers we work with have completely eliminated their Yellow Pages spend and invested all of that money online. None of our clients lost any business doing that; in fact, they all increased business by up to 300%."
He recommends dealers evaluate all forms of marketing, stop the ineffective methods, and put that money toward more advanced strategies of online advertising.