We’ve received lots of questions from our dealer community regarding digital marketing and recently hosted a webinar to answer those questions and share digital marketing tactics that equipment dealers can leverage today.
Review the data and insights shared below, or fill out this form to watch the webinar now:
What We’re Seeing
We analyzed website traffic from more than 50 heavy equipment dealer websites to compare session data from March 9-24, 2020 against the previous period. Looking at overall user traffic, you can see that sessions have decreased by 7.25%. It’s worth noting that this kind of drop is not abnormal for such a short period of time. And, sessions from social, display, and email are up significantly during this time. It’s our assumption that this is due to a large number of users who are following shelter-in-place guidelines and spending time online visiting news sites and using social media or email.
We are also monitoring search interest using Google Trends. Google Trends is a free tool that measures the relative search interest of specific keywords over a set period of time. The data shown below is not a reflection of actual search volume, but search interest for equipment keywords over the past month. For general terms, you can see that the trend line has stayed relatively stable.
Digging deeper, and looking outside of just category-level terms, we see a similar 8% dip in traffic for in-market search queries. One point of interest is the high level of search interest around “used tractor.” It’s our assumption that search volume around small-ag, consumer-related products, such as compact tractors and UTVs, will be more stable and potentially increase over the coming months as we head into late spring and summer. Overall though, the Google Trends data paints a similar picture to what we found in our analysis of Google Analytics accounts. Within the equipment space there’s still 90%+ of the search interest present compared to what we were seeing prior to COVID-19 pandemic.
Phone Calls & Lead Handling
During a typical month, in our work with equipment dealers we see 85%+ qualified leads generated through web phone calls, as opposed to forms or online chat. Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen a 6% uptick in phone calls for material handling dealers, a 25% increase for ag dealers, and a 2% increase for construction dealers. Across new, used, rental, and parts, phone calls are increasingly the best lead source, which makes accurate call handling essential for equipment dealers to capture new leads during this time.
Call handling is not always something businesses think about, but now more than ever it’s important to audit your call routing process to ensure you’re not missing out on new leads as call volume increases. Use the following steps to audit your existing process:
- If employees are working from home, are they set up to properly manage inbound calls?
- Are there processes in place in case an employee is off the clock or misses a call?
- If a lead is sent to voicemail, does your voicemail recording have up-to-date business hours and contact information?
- Do you have a designated point person who is responsible for listening and responding to voicemail messages?
Digital Advertising Strategies for Right Now
Consumer behavior is changing almost as we speak, and there’s not a simple answer to explain how every business should react. There are a few options for navigating the digital landscape during these unprecedented times, and depending on your specific situation you can choose a moderate or more aggressive approach. Either way, if you’re running digital advertising campaigns, we do recommend separating your demand-based campaigns from push advertising efforts. Doing so will allow you to separate low-funnel from mid- to high-funnel targeting and ensure you direct ad spend to the campaigns where you’ll see the highest ROI.
- Search advertising is demand-based, because ads are served to users who are actively using search engines like Google and Bing to search for the products and services that you are advertising. Search advertising targets low-funnel keywords and people who are in-market and ready-to-convert.
- Display, social, and video are examples of push advertising. Push advertising targets mid- to high-funnel keywords and audiences. Tactics like remarketing, in-market audiences, managed placements, affinity, and demographic targeting are examples of push advertising. Push advertising can help maintain your pipeline and also boost your brand awareness.
Depending on your approach, you’ll want to focus most or all of your marketing dollars on demand-based advertising during this time. If you’re taking a conservative approach, move 100% of your ad spend to search ads. If you’re comfortable being more aggressive and want to maximize search impression share during this time, maintain your push advertising efforts and expand your geotargeting to capture new audiences.
We’re Here to Help
To help you stay on top of the latest data and trends during this period of time, we wanted to share a few additional resources:
- Resource Hub: We created a resource library with key insights to help inform your decision making. We're going to continue to share data and recommendations to help dealers make the best decisions for their business. Let us know if there are specific questions you have or topics you’d like us to cover.
- Google Small Business Hub: Resources to help small businesses manage uncertainty, including tips for communicating with customers, communicating with employees, and working remotely.
- Google Trends Coronavirus Hub: Live insights into how the world is searching for updates during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Free Digital Analysis: We’ll do a deep dive into your online presence to share strategic recommendations and best practices specific to your dealership.
If you have any questions about your business or digital marketing during the coronavirus outbreak, contact your Digital Advertising Strategist or reach out directly. We will continue sharing data and updates, and partner hard to help your business succeed.