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The best SEM strategy to sell more OE parts online

You can fish with bait or cast a large net. Here is why we recommend fishing with bait.

If you want to have success selling parts to consumers online, the most important thing you can do is invest in Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Why? It’s pretty simple: If customers don’t know how to find your website, they can’t buy parts from you online.

Investing in SEM ensures you have a steady stream of potential customers visiting your website and viewing parts they are interested in purchasing – and often.

It’s critical that you invest your money the right way. We have an analogy we like to use to describe the two different options for spending your advertising dollars: fishing with bait vs. casting a large net. We recommend fishing with bait. Here’s why…

Casting a large net may not catch the fish you want

We see a lot of online retail solutions use this strategy. By casting a large net, you’re putting your site in front of many potential customers. Unfortunately you also end up spending a lot of money to drive visitors to the site without the intent to purchase a part. Money spent without much discretion over what parts are being advertised, what buyers are being targeted, what ‘qualified’ buyers are being targeted, and what regions are in play creates a problem.

The money is spent to direct traffic, but is it the right traffic? Many times the answer is no. That’s why we recommend fishing with bait.

Fishing with bait to catch the right fish

By fishing with bait, your advertising dollars (SEM budget) are spent showcasing the right parts to the right potential customers. It’s important to not waste your advertising budget on parts that don’t rank well in online searches (to learn more about online search rankings, click here). You don’t want to spend your money to compete against parts you won’t be able to rank above. For example, the aftermarket dominates break pad sales and they spend a lot of money to have their parts rank highly on search engines. They are willing to pay high fees every time a potential customer searches and clicks on their advertisement for brake pads in Google, Bing, or other search engines*. Trying to compete with the large box stores to capture break pad sales would be very expensive with very little opportunity for profitability. Your money would be better spent on targeting parts that customers typically purchase from dealers or prefer to utilize OE instead of aftermarket.

It’s important to focus on Return On Ad Spend, or ROAS. Higher ROAS means you’re getting more bang for your buck.

This is usually displayed or discussed as a ratio. For example, a ROAS of $5/$1 indicates for every $1 you spend on advertising, you get $5 in return. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re spending thousands of dollars and only seeing a ROAS of $1/$1 -- or even lower.

Here are some real examples of how dealers are performing with ConsumerLink Pro. Note the ROAS-- This is what fishing with bait can do for marketing dollars.


*Search Engine Marketing campaigns are typically based on pay-per-click fees that vary depending on the competition of the search terms a potential customer enters, the time of day searched, the region in which the search occurred, etc. The more competitive the search term the higher pay-per-click fee is assessed to the seller.

Online parts selling platforms can be the difference between struggling to hit your numbers and delivering consistent results.
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