As I attend various industry events and trade shows, one question seems to be common among all dealers: If you were a dealer principal with a fixed marketing budget, where would you allocate those funds? Billboards, radio ads, postcards, social media, SEO, Google, retargeting ads, email marketing, content marketing—the list of ways to market your dealership goes on and on.

Let’s keep this article short and sweet. There are two ways for you to grow your business: upsell your current customer base and acquire new customers.

If you are looking for the best ROI for upselling your customer base into new services (managed IT, disaster recovery, security, hardware upgrades), look no further than email marketing. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the average ROI for email marketing is nearly $40 for every $1 spent. The keys to email marketing success include maintaining a solid customer list, being conscious of distribution frequency (at least one email blast per month, ideally 2 blasts), and creating engaging content.

In terms of acquiring new customers (contacts not yet included on your email list), channel your efforts on all things Google.  Sure, we close more deals on customer referrals. But, when friends are not around or don’t answer your texts, people consult Google.

Research indicates that 75% of users don’t go to page two of Google search results, so landing on page one is essential. There are two ways for your business to land on the first page of Google:

Google Adwords (“PPC”) – You pay Google to show your ad on the first page of search results.  This option isn’t guaranteed, and it can be expensive if you don’t manage your analytics, ads, and/or keywords correctly. Your website also needs to be primed to convert (more on this on another article).

SEO – You pay an agency to help you land on the first page of search results. This approach requires website optimization, custom content creation, being active on social media, managing your directories, and more. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. But, once you get to page one, you can rely less on paying Google for leads.

In sum, the best way to spend your marketing budget is to upsell your current customer base with email marketing and to acquire new leads by landing on the first page of Google.