How PPC Can Make International Sales for Auto Dealerships

Most auto dealerships try ranking in the local SERPs while others try a combination of local SERPs, organic SERPs, eBay Motors, and maybe even some Google Adwords. In the end, all the auto dealership owners want is to sell more cars. This blog post shows how auto dealerships can sell cars on an international level and what happens after the sale. Who wants to pay $10/click when you can expand your Adwords/BingAds campaigns internationally and pay 50¢/click.

While this post will only cover paid search, primarily Google AdWords, the benefit for these auto dealerships is that many of the target countries do not manufacture cars like in USA and the residents have to buy from somewhere. We will be using examples for easier explanation. Also, we won’t go into detail on how to set up your AdWords campaigns since we’ll assume there is someone at your company who knows AdWords well.

Auto Dealerships can Enter the International Markets

If an auto dealership wants to expand auto sales to up and coming countries, then they have to focus on the right ones. For instance, the CPC in UK for keywords like “buy a car in USA” will be much higher than in Nigeria or Saudi Arabia. Why you ask? Because there is a lot less or no competition!

Here is our example which will use Nigeria (and no you’re not going to get scammed by a Nigerian saying you won the lotto):

1) Create a New Campaign – Make sure you have it on “Search Only” and that Location is set to show ONLY in Nigeria.

2) Write your awesome ad (of course make it better than this). If you have reviews, tell them in the ad. Having reviews, especially getting 3rd party reviews, is always a good way to increase conversions.

Or say “No Sales Tax at Our Dealership!”  Yep, that’s right. Your customers don’t have to pay sales tax! Happy dance anyone?

3) Use keywords like “buy a car in USA”, “auto dealerships in USA”, “buy cars online from America”,

The 1st thing you’ll notice is the CPC is much lower. Your budget can go much further. Your reach goes global, not just local. Your competitors like eBay Motors don’t advertise very much in those countries. No competition with Auto Trader either! Is this a goldmine? Maybe, but over time you will get not only individuals buying cars, but auto dealerships in other countries will be buying from you too. To get a peek, you can use the Ad Preview tool within Adwords.

To really make a difference for your dealership, you will need to repeat the process above and target many countries with their own campaigns. I would recommend making a master list of keywords OR use AdWords Editor to duplicate campaigns then changing the Locations and Ads.

So what are the best countries to target your AdWords campaigns to? Is there a shortcut to finding out what countries are best to target? Yes! The easiest way is to keep in contact with a marketer of a company that ships cars overseas via Twitter (like this @shipoverseas). But to make this fast for you, focus on targeting your campaigns at Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Costa Rica, & Germany (for US military). While there are many other countries to target, those are the ones that buy the most cars over the internet. Oh, you have a classic car dealership? Use AdWords and start selling to Australians! American classic & muscle cars are hot over there. Put yourself in their shoes. There is a demand for people living abroad to buy cars from over the internet from USA.

Some countries have vehicle age restrictions. For instance, if your Google ads are going to target Nigeria, their Customs Department will only allow vehicles that are less than 15 years old to be imported. If you are targeting Saudi Arabia, cars cannot be older than 5 years, no exceptions. For UAE, there are no vehicle age restriction. So where do you find all this information? Two ways, call the appropriate Embassy in Washington, DC for country or just visit the Ship Overseas website.

OMG, I just sold a car!

Okay, so AdWords worked and you sold a car to someone in Nigeria (it doesn’t matter what country). Now what? You need to contact an international car shipping company to come pick it up and put it on a boat that’s going to Nigeria (again following the Nigeria example). A good company will handle the Title, pickup, passing US Customs, and delivery. They will easily work with your dealership.

AdWords is only the beginning phase to selling cars internationally and for CHEAP! Once a buyer receives his car in his country, he is not going to buy anywhere else except from your dealership. Also, we recommend auto dealerships to teach people how to buy cars over the internet and how international car shipping works. Don’t forget to start a new email newsletter List (like for Mailchimp) for people who are overseas and want to learn more about buying cars from USA. These people are not like Americans who buy a car every 5 years. Remember, many of the target countries do not manufacture cars. Your customers are going to brag to their friends and families about buying cars in USA for cheaper than buying it in their own home town, INCLUDING the shipping! AdWords is the beginning to acquire these new customers. Use it to rake in new customers from abroad. After the sale is done, you need to nurture your customers overseas.  An alternative to AdWords is using Facebook Ads.

While any dealership can benefit from advertising overseas, the ones that may benefit the most are ones on the East or West Coast for logistical reasons. If your dealership is close to a major shipping port like Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Houston, etc, the cost of shipping from the dealership to the shipping port is little. If you want to earn great reviews, get someone to drop off the car at the port. Do whatever it takes to open up a new arm of your business.


In the end remember this. Once your AdWords campaigns start generating leads, the prospect is going to be scared of getting ripped off. Make them feel comfortable because they are probably going to become advocates of your dealership once they receive their car.

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