The Ultimate Vehicle Acquisition Strategy Guide: Summer 2023 Edition

July 1st, 2023 by

As we head into the second half of 2023, we need to keep an eye on the market trends that impact car dealer inventory levels. The global microchip shortage that plagued the industry for the past two years is easing up, and that means more new vehicles are being produced. However, new vehicle output is still projected to be 2.82 million1 lower than original estimates.

On the pre-owned side of things, Brain Kramer (GM, Accu-Trade) recently reported that the current supply of used vehicles that are 0-5 years old is shrinking fast with only 14.1 million on dealer lots and available for sale. By 2025, it’s projected that number will drop to 12.7 million, which would mean there’ll be 24% fewer 0-5 year old used vehicles available than there were in 2020 (16.2 million).

With the continued volatility of the market, taking your eyes off vehicle acquisition would be unwise. Even though you may have been prioritizing vehicle acquisition throughout the inventory shortage, there are always new tools and tactics that you can add to your overarching strategy to make it more effective, and increase your ROI.

So with that in mind, we’ve updated our Ultimate Vehicle Acquisition Strategy Guide with our newest and best tips to help ensure you’re not missing out on any opportunity to keep your lot stocked with fresh vehicles all season long.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure you keep this guide bookmarked — not just for easy access when you need it, but also because we constantly update it with fresh tech + tactics that’ll help ensure your vehicle acquisition game is always on point.


A trend that remains elevated and steady is consumer interest in selling a vehicle. This is mostly due to market conditions keeping the value of pre-owned vehicles across the board high, allowing consumers to off-load or consolidate the number of vehicles in their family fleet and get paid handsomely for it.

When we look at the monthly estimated search volume for the most popular keywords related to selling a vehicle, the trend is evident. This is absolutely something that you can capitalize on to ensure your dealership is top of mind for local consumers who are thinking about selling their current ride.

With just a little effort, your dealership can provide the perfect local selling experience, backed by a connected marketing campaign to drive awareness which leads to more successful vehicle acquisitions.


In order to be successful (and profitable!) with your vehicle acquisition efforts, you have to provide the right experience throughout your dealership’s customer journey that builds trust and confidence with the vehicle owners you’re targeting.

While providing an estimated value range of what vehicles might be worth has been the standard dealer experience for years, technology combined with the sheer amount of available market data has evolved to the point where you can give more than an estimate — you can give consumers a real cash offer for their vehicle.

Accu-Trade has the technology that integrates across the Dealer Inspire Connected Platform in addition to your vehicle listings — giving you everything you need to enable instant offers and accelerate your appraisal engine.

When you combine Accu-Trade’s powerful appraisal and instant offer technology with your local customer service, the result will be more profitable acquisitions because you’ve removed the back and forth negotiation on price with your customer while also removing any of your own doubt about reconditioning. It truly is a selling experience no one can beat.

Don’t just take our word for it. Toyota of Ann Arbor uses Accu-Trade to remove all doubt, generating Instant Offers with comprehensive detail — including OBD-II scans of the physical vehicle — to build trust and transparency for a fantastic (and much faster) customer experience.

And the best part? No need to stress about the offers, because in the very unlikely event that you don’t see the opportunity to turn a vehicle for a profit, Accu-Trade will buy the vehicle back from you at the exact price of the offer, guaranteed.

Demo Accu-Trade


Accu-Trade’s unprecedented vehicle appraisal technology gives you everything you need to capture more cars anywhere and everywhere, and Brian Kramer (GM, Accu-Trade) set out to prove it by hitting the streets of Naples, FL to ask total strangers if he could appraise and buy their cars on the spot.

When you can give your customer a real cash offer ANYWHERE — in the dealership, on the go, or on your website — you make it even easier for your customers to say, “YES”.

Aside from having your appraisal process and experience dialed in, your “why sell” message also needs to be backed up on your website, and amplified on your other marketing channels. Let’s take a look at how you can make that happen…


If you want your website visitors to know your dealership will buy their car, you have to tell them. Your trade and sell messaging should be front and center making the path to engaging with your trade-in experience just a click or tap away.

If you haven’t already, be sure to add a link to your trade/sell landing page to your main menu and place a prominent CTA above the fold to maximize impressions — especially on mobile.

#ProTip: If you’re a Dealer Inspire Website client, be sure to take advantage of our Personalizer technology to serve an actionable Trade-In message to your returning website visitors when they land on your homepage.

Check out the demo below to see how a website visitor can jump right from your homepage into an online appraisal that generates an instant and exact offer for their specific VIN — guaranteed by Accu-Trade.


With the proliferation of trade-in, digital retailing, and chat widgets being mixed and matched on dealer websites, there’s a growing (and very real) problem of consumers receiving different values for their vehicle on your website depending on the experience they’re engaging in.

For example, you may have a trade-in widget embedded on a landing page which provides shoppers with an estimated value of their vehicle. However the trade-in phase in your digital retailing tool uses a different data source that the trade-in widget on your website, and thus returns a different value range for the exact same vehicle. Instead of helping your customer, you’ve only made the selling or trading experience more confusing.

By providing a consistent appraisal experience no matter where shoppers are interacting with your trade-in experience, you can build trust and increase your chances of acquiring their car.

To help you achieve that consistent and trustworthy experience, Accu-Trade now powers the online vehicle appraisal experience within Online Shopper and Conversations. It all flows together and allows your customer to transparently understand how much their vehicle is worth while they choose their payment for their next vehicle, or while engaging with your team via online chat.


It’s critical to understand that your dealership can claim top localized rankings in the search results for “Trade/Sell My Car” type queries if you have relevant content published on your website.

For example, our Dealer Inspire SEO team optimized the trade-in landing page for a Honda dealer in Ohio. That page has shown steady and consistent organic growth for related queries over the past 12 months. It now ranks for 184 trade/sell keywords, and 59 of them are in the top 20 local positions2.

As you look to optimize your own trade-in landing page, keep in mind that simply embedding your trade-in tool on the page isn’t enough. You need to add additional content to the page that explains your process and builds confidence with consumers by showing them that they can expect a real instant offer for their vehicle along with a convenient, trustworthy experience from your local team.


After you’ve laid the groundwork on your website for maximizing the trade/sell engagement from your visitors, next you can put your superior “Why Sell” message in front of the most valuable in-market audience — from big screen OTT to small screen social.

Car dealers who use FUEL: In-Market Video to power their vehicle acquisition campaigns are seeing amazing results. Website visitors who were influenced by these video advertisements were 4x more likely to submit a trade/sell lead vs. all other traffic sources3.

Because FUEL: IMV is powered by audience data, that means you’re able to serve your message to a pure, in-market audience across platforms and devices.

In addition to your video advertising, your can also run in-market display campaigns that are served across the marketplace in key positions letting high-funnel shoppers know that your dealership has an easy, instant offer experience waiting for them on your website.

One of our clients recently activated an in-market display campaign for their vehicle acquisition efforts, and saw a 182% increase to their trade-in landing page in just two weeks4.


Aside from targeting in-market buyers and sellers with your video and display advertising, you should also focus on other digital marketing channels to be the answer for those looking to learn more about their options for selling or trading their vehicle.

Search Engine Marketing

Whether a local consumer is using a search engine to get more info about selling or trading their vehicle for something new, the value of their vehicle is going to be a big part of that transaction. Your dealership can be there in the SERP by setting-up a search engine marketing campaign targeted toward local shoppers who are showing intent to sell or trade.

It’s worth noting that we see impressive results for our Digital Advertising clients running search campaigns specifically for vehicle acquisition. The average cost per conversion for this type of campaign is $24.825, making it a very efficient way for your dealership to acquire the vehicles of local consumers.

We’ve also seen these ad campaigns have a measurable impact in foot traffic to the showroom floor with a 5.6% increase in actual dealership visits6 by those who engaged with these ads.

Aside from creating ad groups targeted to people explicitly looking to trade-in or sell their vehicle, you can also incorporate a related sitelink in your location or dynamic new & used campaigns. We’ve found that ads that include this sitelink extension lead to a 45% increase in conversion rate!

45% Increase in Conversion Rate with Trade-In Sitelink Extensions

Discovery Ads for Vehicle Acquisition

Google’s Discovery Campaigns are another way to get your vehicle acquisition message in front of an audience that is likely to take action. If you aren’t familiar, a single Discovery Campaign will allow your dealership’s messaging to appear on a consumer’s mobile device in three different placements — YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Discover Tab.

Dealer Inspire Internal Data July 1,  2021 — September 20, 2021

Unlike search ads which are intent based, Discovery Ads are served to users based on what Google’s automated systems believe to be a good match with their interests. We’ve found that your budget will go the farthest with sell & trade-In messaging for these campaigns as we see a 138% higher conversion rate compared to Discover Ad Campaigns focused on inventory and incentive based messaging.


And if you really want to make sure you’re giving your dealership every opportunity to capture more cars, you can use QR Codes within your traditional ad campaigns (newspaper, direct mail, billboard, tv, etc) to tout your Instant Offer Experience to generate genuine digital engagement from otherwise static assets.

By integrating QR codes into your traditional ads, you’ll be able to enhance engagement, track performance, and create an interconnected marketing strategy that bridges the gap between offline and online media. This multi-channel approach is likely to appeal to a broader audience and contribute to the overall improvement of your vehicle acquisition efforts.


I know we’ve covered a lot of ground so far, so kudos to you for soaking up all the content up to this point. It’s important to understand that everything we’ve discussed so far is going to get you more opportunities to acquire vehicles from your customers and local consumers. But…all of the leads in the world won’t mean a thing if your follow up game isn’t on point.

Let’s start with a quick test:

Question 1: A new Sell My Car Lead just hit your CRM. What do you do first?

A. Call Them – They must have their phone nearby, right? So I’m going to pick up the phone and give them a call.

B. I’ll shoot them a friendly and convenient text message to continue the conversation in a no-pressure kinda way.

C. Nothing. I’ll let my CRM’s automated email follow up process do it’s thing for the next 90 days, or until they contact me.

If you answered A or C… think about this before you make your first move: 95% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery. So don’t pick up the phone and call. Don’t rely on an automated response system. Instead, immediately follow up with your customer via text to seal the acquisition deal!

Want to know more about how you can perfect the art of follow up? We’ve written an entire guide to help you. Check it out!


Are you ready to do supercharge your vehicle acquisition strategy? Just say the word and our team will set you up with the technology, audience, and cross-channel creative strategy to that makes vehicle acquisitions happen.

I’m Interested

1 The latest numbers on the microchip shortage: More Cuts Worldwide. Automotive News, 11 Jun. 2023

2 Dealer Inspire Internal Data 2022-2023

3 Case Study: Compared funnel conversion rates between total site visits and FUEL: IMV influenced shoppers visits from 10/29/21 – 12/15/21

4 Google Analytics results for a FUEL: In-Market Display customer, January – February 2022

5 Google Ads Results for all DI Digital Advertising clients from 1/1/2023 – 6/30/2023

6 Google Ads Results for a Digital Advertising client 1/12023 – 6/30/2023

Road Trip Season: How to Achieve Summer Service Success

June 26th, 2023 by

Road trip season is here. 97% of people plan to travel by car for their summer vacations, which means you can boost your fixed ops revenue and customer loyalty by offering a service package for a safe and smooth road trip. 

*AAA April 19, 2023

Whether it’s a “Road Trip Ready” offer that bundles multiple services, or a “Buy 3 Get 1” tire deal — here are the top 5 things you should do to promote your summer campaign effectively: 


As any avid roadtripper knows, you need to plan out your trip carefully before the rubber meets the road. Part of this process is finding the right place to service your vehicle – so let’s make it easy for them to decide! 

Proactively highlight your Service Department’s summer offer(s) in all key areas on your website including the homepage, service landing page, and specials page. This ensures your messaging is consistent, clear, and easy to find while they are mapping out their perfect summer vacay. 


Once they’ve seen your specials on your website, it may be easy to get lost in the vacation planning shuffle. Use the DI Wallet to create a smart coupon that users can easily add to their Apple Wallet.

You can even code your coupon with a geofence so they’ll get a push notification when they pass through the locations that you define. If only I could figure out how to get a push notification to remind me to pack sunscreen! 


Let’s think beyond the summer road trips. How do we use these service appointments to secure repeat business all year round? A good place to start is to ensure that your team is delivering top notch service with a friendly demeanor that customers will keep coming back for. But how?

Find out what your customers think of your service department (and other aspects of your dealership) by downloading your Experience Report. Use the data in this report to identify which aspects of your dealership experience need improvement. Sometimes it can feel like we wait for a problem to enhance our service experience, so be proactive this summer to  capture these customers for life!


Let’s keep it all together by ensuring that your messaging is consistent throughout your advertising as well. Your customers will appreciate seeing the frequent and familiar creative messaging as they serve as gentle reminders to check servicing their car off their to-do list.

Launch a connected Dig Ad campaign to reach local service intenders with search ads, and new customers across social and video channels. 


Your campaigns (no doubt) will create some extra traffic into your bay. Capitalize on this increase in service biz to simultaneously build the online reputation for your service department. Once an R/O is closed, send a text or email to each customer with a link to leave a review. 

If you’re a Premium Listings subscriber, then you have ReviewBuilder™ which syncs with your DMS to automatically do this for you! ReviewBuilder™ will direct your Service reviews to distinct Service Department profiles allowing you to independently manage and grow both sides of your business. 


Your service department has all the right tools to provide the best customer experience this summer. Just think of this strategy as the umbrella in your favorite summer drink — definitely wouldn’t be as EPIC without it 😉. No matter what season it is, wen you partner with Dealer Inspire, you can expect these types of strategies and tactics to help boost your bottom line. Drop us a line any time. ⛱️ Cheers!


Toyota of Ann Arbor Revs Their Inventory Engine

May 30th, 2023 by

Your team could be on its way to becoming a game-changer too when you use Accu-Trade to give consumers instant and transparent cash offers for their exact VINs on your Dealer Inspire website. Combined with your local customer service to conveniently complete the transaction, it’s a selling experience no one can beat.


Why QR Codes Are Finally Ready For Prime Time

February 15th, 2023 by

Let’s take a little trip back in time. The year was 2012, and as a part of our dealership’s setup at a local summer festival, we were going to give away the hot, new iPad2 to generate more hand-raiser leads than ever using a QR Code.

QR Code on a sign

What actually happened though was we spent way too much time educating people on what that giant, blocky black and white code on the sign was and the app they needed to install on their phone to scan it.

It was like working at the Apple Genius Bar…but only in 90 degree heat…and with people who didn’t really want to be there. 

It turned out that people really only wanted to enter to win the iPad if they could do so quickly and easily. Like, you know…by writing their name, email address, and phone number on a little slip of paper and then jamming it into a cardboard box.

No one wanted to download a special app (over a 3G cellular network) just to scan a weird looking code thingy and then have to type their name, email address, and phone number on a tiny virtual keyboard. Who had time for that?!

I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet

Looking back on it all these years later, I think it’s pretty clear why this promo didn’t work as intended:

  • The smartphone was barely 5 years old, and only 45% of adults actually owned one.
  • Those who had a smartphone saw it as device of utility — not necessity.
  • There was too much friction in the digital experience compared to the traditional one.

So after that weekend long experience of #qrcodefail, my main takeaway was utilizing QR Codes in your digital marketing strategy may have been the right idea, but it was definitely the wrong time. 


Fast forward to today and things are different now, aren’t they? 94% percent of adults between the ages of 18-49 now own a smartphone. In just a few short years our phones have become physical extensions of our bodies that we can’t live without. 

but your kids are gonna love it

Ten years ago, if I realized that I left the house without my phone, I would have been like “oh well, whatever”. If that were to happen today? Yeah…I’d freak out, and I’m guessing you would too.  

So say what you want about the early days of QR Codes, but you can’t deny the fact that they laid the groundwork for some of the tech that’s been implemented inside of today’s most popular apps. 

Scanning a digital code with our phone is now near ubiquitous thanks to apps like Venmo, Spotify, and SnapChat where sending come cash, loading up a playlist, or adding a friend is as simple as pointing your phone at a code. 

#ProTip: Quickly create and customize QR Codes that include your logo and brand colors at

Then there’s the game changing fact that your phone’s naitive camera app can now instantly recognize a QR Code and prompt you to visit the encoded destination all on its own.

Scanning a QR Code using the Android Camera App

Also, like many other aspects of our lives, COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of technology and irrevocably changed consumer behavior. Today, it’s hard to go somewhere and not see a QR Code — they’re everywhere. From Home Depot to Taco Bell, businesses big and small are using QR Codes to direct people to schedule an appointment, order online, download an app, and so much more. 

And you know something has gone mainstream when you see it on a Super Bowl commercial. Coinbase spent $13 million dollars on a 60 second spot that showed nothing more than a QR Code sailing across the screen. Not talking cats. Not expensive celebrities. Just a colorful, blocky code paying homage to the classic DVD screensaver of yesteryear.

That QR Code alone drove over 20 million users to the Coinbase website within that one minute where users were able to claim $15 in free bitcoin for signing up. The traffic and brand awareness benefits alone makes this a #qrcodewin!

If you’re still uncertain about the power of QR Codes, consider this: As of Chrome version 85, creating a QR Code has become a standard feature of the world’s most widely-used web browser. You simply right-click on any web page and select ‘Create QR code for this page’. It’s as easy as two clicks — making QR Code generation more accessible and convenient than ever.


If you’re ready to revisit the idea of using QR Codes at your dealership, I’ve put together a few creative ways that you can incorporate them into your shopping experience and marketing materials to drive engagement with your customers. 


You could create and print QR Codes to place on the vehicles in your showroom so that when scanned would do any number of things, like open a:

QR Code being scanned in a car dealership showroom
  • Digital brochure for that vehicle
  • Video review or walkaround of that model
  • Video highlighting an F&I product or available accessories
  • Model landing page on your website
  • VDP for that specific vehicle
  • VRP with available inventory for that model


Sometime shoppers just feel more comfortable wandering your lot before coming inside the showroom, or prefer to take a look at your inventory after hours and on weekends.

Scanning a QR Code on a vehicle on a car dealers lot

Just because these folks are out there alone, that doesn’t mean you can’t virtually be there to greet them. You could certainly use the showroom QR Codes above on the vehicles on your lot — or you could take it up a notch and provide the casual tire-kicker with an even better experience by providing a(n):


While we all understand the importance of reviews and the role they play in helping other shoppers choose to work with your dealership over your competition, you may not realize how review recency plays a factor in calculating your overall review score. 

QR Code on a business card

The short version is that as reviews age, they become less relevant to shoppers. So it’s not how many total reviews you have that matters most — it’s how often you’re getting reviews. Printing and placing review reminders on the desks of your salespeople and finance managers is an easy way to utilize QR Codes that lead to the specific, positive outcome of increasing your review velocity.

Now, it’s cool if you want to create a QR Code that will take someone directly to Google or DealerRater to leave their review. But it’s always good to have an even distribution of reviews on all the various platform. So a better idea would be to actually create a landing page that contains links to all the platforms where you have a review presence on your website. Then you can use that url to power your QR Code so that when scanned, people can then select their favorite review platform such as Google, Facebook, DealerRater, or Yelp.


While QR Codes can definitely play a role in keeping your in-store customers engaged, you can also incorporate them into your traditional marketing channels to drive digital engagement.

For example, if you’re sending a direct mail piece with service coupons to your customers, include a QR Code that links to your service scheduler to easily generate appointments.

For any print advertising you run, support your vehicle acquisition efforts by using a QR Code to open up the trade-in experience on your website.

You can even empower your salespeople to include a QR Code on their business cards that would link to their personal profile page on DealerRater that highlights their personal reviews.


And to take this post full circle, you can (and should) use QR Codes just like we did back in the day in your grassroots marketing to drive sign ups for a giveaway or to create brand awareness in your community. And you don’t even need to go all Coinbase and spend $13 million to do it!

If you’re like most dealerships, I’m willing to bet you sponsor your local 4th of July fireworks, the high school football team, a local festival, and/or maybe even a farmer’s market, right?

How about using a QR code on your signage or handouts for a free carwash for everyone at the event? Or maybe 10% off their first oil change or service appointment?

Today all the barriers have been removed, and using a QR Code in your grassroots marketing efforts is a great way to get new folks engaged with your dealership while also showcasing all the good you do within your community.


While there are plenty of paid QR Code apps that you can use to track the number of scans each of your codes get, there’s an easy (and better) way to track them for fee. Since you can take any text string and turn it into a QR Code, that means you can also incorporate UTM Codes for those times when you want to take a visitor to a landing page on your website. It might look something like this:

Then you just copy that link, and paste it into the QR Code generator of your choosing. Each time that code is scanned, you’ll be able to see those visits within Google Analytics 4, and how they led to real conversions on your website. It’s a simple way to track how often your QR Codes are being scanned and which experiences your customers are finding to be the most “scan worthy”.

We’re always up for talking about creative ways to help our clients upgrade their digital marketing game. Want to talk about QR Codes or any other digital marketing strategies and tactics? Just give us a shout!

Let’s Talk Strategy

How to Implement an Effective Search Engine Marketing Strategy

January 7th, 2023 by

Search Engine Marketing. Search Advertising. Paid Search. Dig Ad. PPC. Whatever you call it — placing online advertisements in search engine results has been a strategy embraced by car dealers for about as long as there have been search engines to place ads on.

That said, because search engine advertising has been a tried and true tactic in a holistic digital marketing strategy, it can come with a false sense of security that it “just works” all on its own. Unfortunately that’s not true in today’s digital environment. In fact, if you’re not actively monitoring and adjusting your campaigns, you could end up wasting an extraordinary amount of your budget on unoptimized or poorly targeted campaigns.

Also, if you’ve only been focused on Google Ads all these years, you’re missing out on reaching a significant, local, in-market car shopping audience that uses other search engines to find their next vehicle and dealer to buy from (more on that below).

A great example of what can happen when you’re not actively inspecting your SEM campaigns was revealed by Brian Pasch back in 2021 when he dropped a comprehensive report exposing that stunningly few sales opportunities were being generated from the massive amounts of money car dealers are investing in their search engine marketing efforts.

The biggest revelation was that, after analyzing 1 million phone calls which originated from call extensions on sales-focused Google Search Ads, only 12.8% of those hard conversions turned out to be actual sales opportunities — with the vast majority going to dealerships’ service or parts departments.

Considering that the report estimates that nearly 93% of all Google Ads budgets are paid for by variable operations (sales), and not fixed operations (service & parts), you can see how uncovering this data would have an unnerving impact on car dealers. 


At Dealer Inspire we take a lot of pride in our ability to maximize ROI for dealers on search — we started out as a search marketing agency after all — and it’s something we take pride in to this day. Our team and tech are known for effectively turning our dealers’ investments in sales campaigns into sales opportunities. In fact, our results were totally flipped from the report with 88% of the engagement on our new and used sales campaigns leading to new and used sales actions.

This isn’t about bragging rights though. Brian’s report was, as usual, a really insightful and important look at how dealer budgets are being wasted by poor digital marketing execution — and whether you’re with us or not, we want to help you execute the most effective search engine marketing strategy possible.

So let’s break down why these wasteful campaigns exist, how you can fix them, and then how you can expand your search presence beyond Google’s walled garden.


There’s a lot to unpack here. We’re going to stay high-level and talk about the broad keyword targeting that burns through budgets, but there are many variables throughout the journey that add up — from ongoing campaign optimization, to the relevancy and quality of the ads themselves, to the landing page experience, to your website’s engagement tracking, to your “conversion” reporting, and then back to the beginning as those “conversions” feed back into your optimization.

Bottomline: you need a partner that:

  • Handles your campaigns with love and care
  • Has the technology to target ready-to-buy shoppers
  • Can ensure seamless experiences and attribution from your ads to your website
  • Can transparently report on the real-world outcomes of your investment.

Let’s get into the specifics.


So what does a wasteful search ad look like? It probably looks like the one below.

On the surface, this ad seems pretty legit, right? That’s because it is. It’s not the ad itself that’s the problem here. When you dive deeper into the campaign, you’ll see that this dealer is bidding on the very broad term Hyundai Dealer Near Me. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s a keyword you’d want coverage for if you can meet the following conditions:

  1. You’re already maximizing your paid search budget for low-funnel, ready-to-buy keywords
  2. Your Fixed Operations department is helping cover the budget for that campaign. 

Because you don’t know the intent behind a broad search like that, you need to understand that the searcher could be looking to buy a car, but they’re just as likely to have a service related question.

With over half of the calls from the ads in these broad “dealer near me” campaigns going to service, running a 100% sales focused ad, powered only by the budget of your sales department, reduces your ROI by taking away valuable sales opportunities from your sales team.

You obviously want to be present in the SERP for broad queries like {OEM} Dealer {City} or {OEM} Dealer Near Me, but unless you can afford to pay for all those searches forever, the top of the funnel is where you want to rely on strong SEO and Local SEO services to earn those clicks for free.

With a holistic SEO Strategy in play, you can achieve top rankings in Google’s Local Map Pack and Organic Rankings, giving you the highest level of visibility possible for applicable queries without running ads. The more you invest in your organic presence, the more efficient you can be over the long-term.


So you’re probably wondering, when it comes to paid search advertising, what is Dealer Inspire doing different from everyone else? Well, it really comes down to the fact that our tech and team are able to dynamically focus on really low-funnel searches that indicate a shopper is ready to buy, and then match them with vin-specific vehicles in your inventory, in real time.

We’re so dialed in with the intent behind what a searcher is trying to accomplish with their query, that there’s very little room to mistakenly have a conversion result in anything other than a sales opportunity or engagement. 

“Sales campaigns should be optimized for your cost per sales opportunity (CSO). So wait at the bottom of the funnel for shoppers that are just about to buy a vehicle that you have in stock, and then pounce. Our tech makes that snap decision in real-time. ”

Cara Garvey, Director, Media Enablement @ Dealer Inspire

Our tech can even make instant strategic bidding decisions based on factors like how long a specific vehicle has been in your inventory to efficiently accelerate your turn rate.


Look, Google is smart. But it’s not that smart. It can only provide answers to questions that users specifically ask. It can’t read your mind…at least not yet (and hopefully never). Meaning, if a consumer searches for a Ford Dealer Near Me, Google can’t tell you if that searcher’s intent is sales or service related. But it can serve the searcher a dealer’s available ad and entice that person to tap to call. Again, as we just stated above, this is why there’s so much wasted search advertising spend in auto.

The real opportunity to expand your search presence lies outside of Google. We know that when consumers visit, they’re searching to buy a vehicle, not to service one. Because Dealer Inspire is part of the family, when you choose us as your digital advertising partner, we’re able to expand your dealership’s search presence beyond Google to showcase your relevant inventory as the first result for shoppers who are searching to buy your make and model.

With Inventory Search Ads, not only will you be displaying your most relevant VINs at the top of the search results, but you’ll also be accessing a local, in-market audience of car shoppers that are twice as more likely to buy1 than all other audiences. Plus, when a shopper clicks or taps on your inventory search ad, they’ll be taken directly to your VDP on your website.

Combine that with the knowledge that almost half of the shoppers on plan to buy within the next 30 days2, and you have the most powerful way to get more bang for your search bucks. How much bang can you expect? Early adopters of Inventory Search Ads on, like our partners at Fred Martin Nissan, have experienced impressive results that have yielded a significantly lower cost per click and cost per lead compared to their Google Ads campaigns.

Inventory Search Ads & Google SEM vehicle campaign data 11/15/22 – 11/30/22

In addition, it’s worth stating that in the previously mentioned report regarding wasted Google Ad spend, Brian Pasch provides comprehensive and in-depth coverage detailing how a third party marketplace like is going to consist of an audience that is ready, and more likely to buy, than those who are using Google search — so why not make that connection?


Dealer Inspire is your trusted partner for implementing a search strategy that maximizes your ROI. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you improve your search campaigns, reduce wasted spend, and connect with more local, in-market shoppers — please drop us a line. We’d love to connect with you!

1. Inventory Search Ads Data 11/15-11/30. DI Google SEM data 8/27/22-9/25/22 

2. 47.5% of shoppers plan to buy within the next 30 days. Consumer Metrics Survey Q3 2022

How to Power-Up Your EV Marketing Strategy

May 3rd, 2022 by

While the flying cars that The Jetsons promised are still decades away, the futurism of yesteryear is arriving today thanks to the rapidly expanding Electric Vehicle (EV) segment. The US automotive industry has been challenged to make half of its fleet electric by 2030, and OEMs have responded as we’re expecting to see at least 50 EV’s hit the market by 2025

That means whether you’re ready-or-not, having a marketing strategy in place to influence and acquire EV shoppers is going to be a vital piece to future-proofing your dealership. And listen, you don’t have to have an EV in your lineup today in order to begin preparing for the all-electric future. In fact, the earlier you adopt and implement an EV marketing strategy, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

The best way to power up your EV marketing strategy is to watch Electron: Future EV Legacy over on Inspire+ where our team of experts will show you how you can start marketing toward the EV future, today!


That said, you don’t have to watch the show right away to get what you need to inform your EV marketing strategy. I’m more than happy to get you started off in the right direction, and then you can watch the show on Inspire+ at your convenience. 


So how do you develop a marketing plan geared toward EV buyers when there just isn’t a whole lot of data available to inform your decision making?

Well, you can start by developing buyer personas, which are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research, and they’re typically made up of demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

When I think of EV buyer personas, there are three types of early adopters that will make up your initial audience from the outset. 

The Environmentalist: This persona is extremely concerned about the environment, and typically feels that their personal choices make a difference on the macro level. They see EVs as a way to make a big environmental impact, however they may not be a fan of the traditional car shopping experience.

The Reformed Gas Guzzler: While this persona somewhat overlaps with The Environmentalist in terms of how important environmental and climate concerns are, they’re typically more accepting of current EV limitations, while also not being shy about visiting the dealership — meaning they’re ready to spend now on what’s available.

The Technologist: This last early adopter sees EVs almost like they see the latest and greatest iPhone or tech gadget. It’s about the style, the tech, the performance, and being “first”. The environmental impact is “neat”, but to this persona the vehicle is more of a status symbol than anything else. 

The purpose of defining your buyer personas is so that you can then begin to identify where these types of people may reside in your area. Start by mapping out the surrounding areas that align with early adopter characteristics such as, age group, gender, and income range.

Then, check your own sales data history to see which of these areas you already have a customer base in. You can also check out your Location Report within Google Analytics, or your district sales report for additional insights.

Once you do that, you should have a pretty solid understanding of where potential EV buyers are located in your area, which will ultimately inform your targeting for your EV marketing strategy.


In addition to understanding the personas of early EV adopters (and where to find them) it’s also super important you and your team understand the the EV resources that they’ll be using to inform their decision making.

One of the top resources available to EV intenders on the web right now is the EV Buying Guide. This detailed resource is informed by more than a decade of EV expertise and leadership, created specifically to help consumers make an educated purchase decision that fits their needs, preferences and budgets.

By studying this guide, not only will you as a car dealer be better informed about all the different choices and considerations that go hand in hand with purchasing an electric vehicle, but it can also get you started on pursuing your own EV content strategy specifically tailored to your OEM and market (more on that below, and on Inspire+).

And if you really want to satisfy your EV curiosity, then I highly recommend you check out’s Guide for the EV Curious.

Now Streaming: Guide for the EV Curious

Now available to watch on demand, the same editors that created the aforementioned EV Buying Guide gathered together to address all of the questions EV shoppers had around the different types of chargers, home installation, and the needs and realities around EV range.

While this event was geared to consumers, car dealers should check it out as well to not only learn more about the EV segment in general, but to also understand the types of questions shoppers are asking that they’ll expect you as their local dealership to have the expert answer to.


When it comes to actively advertising to EV intenders, there are tactics your can implement right now (literally, right now) even if you don’t have any EVs to sell, as well as some tactics that you can keep in your back pocket until you have electric vehicles to sell. 


It’s not often that a business is able to be proactive with an SEO strategy. Usually SEO is about shoring up your current rankings, or filling in the keyword gaps that exist between your dealership and your competitors. 

In general, SEO takes time. So when it comes to EVs, you actually have the opportunity to start establishing your website’s authority on the subject well before your first EV hits your lot. 

A properly developed EV content plan will cover all the stages of the shopping journey from awareness and consideration, all the way down to deciding what to buy, and who to buy it from. 


If you plan on making your EV charging station available for public use, then you’ll want to add it to Google Maps so both local EV drivers, and those just passing through, are aware of your convenient service offerings.

To make your charging station discoverable on Google, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. Click the hamburger menu in the upper-left corner
  3. Click “Add Missing Place”
  4. Fill in all of the blanks
  5. Click “Claim The Business” and complete the follow-up steps

While filling in the blanks in Step 4, Be sure to use Electric Vehicle Charging Station for the category, and also make sure you add your dealership in the Located In section so your charging station will appear as a department in your dealership’s main Google Business Profile.


EVs are certainly exciting, and it might be tempting to “blast” your entire customer database with an email every time you have something new to share. 

A better approach, however, is to start a separate email list just for those folks who specifically want to be kept in the EV loop. This serves two purposes. For starters, the list will mature into a critical asset that’ll aid in the targeting of your paid EV advertising down the road. And secondly, by having a list solely made up of people who are interested in EVs, you lessen the risk of email unsubscribes and spam reports from your customers who aren’t interested in those topics.

The easiest way to start building your list is to send one email to all your current customers which asks them if they’d like to opt-in to start receiving EV specific email content. From there you can add a signup form on your website, and even promote it on your social networks.


Something else you can start doing before you even have EVs to sell is to utilize your social channels to organically engage your followers, while also attracting new ones, with your EV related content. 

Educating your audience on the benefits of EVs, and providing EV ownership tips can help get people used to seeing and hearing about the electric future in their newsfeeds from a trusted source. 

If you already have an EV in your lineup, embrace short form video as a way to generate interest and awareness for specific models. TikTok for example is seeing a ton of engagement on EV related content with over 1.9 billion views for videos that were shared using the #ev hashtag. 


Once your EVs are nearing the point of arrival, then you can start investing your digital advertising dollars to capture the buying intent of local shoppers. From search ads targeted to those searching for how to order the latest and greatest EV, to social ads targeted toward those in your email list as well as those who’ve viewed your EV related content on your website.

You can go even further from there. What about having exclusive access to a pure in-market audience of EV intenders located in the zip codes that you identified when creating your buyer personas which you can then target your video advertising to? 

That’s real, and it’s exactly the kind of power that FUEL: In-Market Video gives you. Once you claim your zips, they’re exclusively yours, and now you can reach real in-market EV shoppers who were on with your specific video advertising across the most popular social and OTT video platforms. 


Electric vehicles are a different kind of beast compared to their gasoline powered counterparts. They have different service needs, different driving dynamics, and thanks to Tesla being pretty much the only mainstream EV option for the past few years – a different shopping experience. 

As EVs come to market, they’re going to be a bit more expensive than the typical vehicle. Consumers, by nature, will want to understand if they can actually afford the EV they’re interested in prior to taking the next steps and contacting a dealership. 

That’s where having a modern retailing solution like Online Shopper on your website can really play a critical role in helping consumers answer the all important “Can I afford it?” question.

By giving shoppers the ability to compare an EV model side by side with a traditional gas powered vehicle to compare different finance scenarios is kind of a big deal. That will allow your website visitors to start selling themselves on the feasibility of owning an EV.


Speaking of experts, the early adopter buyer personas will undoubtedly want to make sure they have as much knowledge about their purchase as possible prior to finalizing their decision. And while you’ll be publishing plenty of content on EVs, and your OEMs will be doing their part to educate consumers as well, sometimes it’s a lot quicker and easier to just ask an expert.

The reality is that in-market EV shoppers are going to turn to their local dealership to get all of the answers to their questions. And for the most part, they’re probably not going to make a special trip, or even pick up the phone to call. Instead, they’ll do what the behavior profile of the early adopters suggests they’ll do, and that’s start a chat with you on your website. 

But it’s not the chat tool that’s the important piece to consider here. It’s who’s answering the chats that is key. Remember, when a consumer starts a chat, they think they’re talking to you. So if you’re still not answering your own chats during business hours, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to provide a superior level of customer service. 

This is particularly important when it comes to EV’s. If you’re not handling your own chats, and are relying on managed chat, when these types of detailed questions pop up, the managed chat agent isn’t going to be able to provide helpful information. They’ll only be able to attempt to get the lead for someone at the dealership to follow up with them later, which is the polar opposite of the experience that type of shopper wants.


From upgrading service bays, to training your sales team — when it comes to preparing your dealership for the soon-to-arrive EV future, you already have plenty on your plate. While we can’t retrofit a service bay for you (although we’re totally willing to try), we can help you implement an effective marketing strategy that’ll allow you to grow your EV business right from the start. We’d love to connect with you and power-up together!