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How I Generated $1,700,000 in Auto Sales Despite a Weak Economy

So by this point we all know that I handle some local clients.  This is a case study of how I generated $1,700,000 in auto sales for one of these clients despite a weak economy.  Let’s set the stage:

“ABC Motors (fictitious name to protect the innocent) has a significant overstock of a particular model vehicle.  Let’s call the vehicle the ABCmobile.  All of these vehicles are brand new, same options but they do have a variety of colors in stock.  ABC Motors picked these cars up dirt cheap from other dealers around the country.  Here’s the catch.  The ABCmobile is a niche vehicle that does not sell well.  ABC Motors was baffled about how they should sell all of these ABCmobiles that were sitting in their lots collecting dust.  Newspaper Ads, Direct Mail, Billboards, Cable, Radio would all be a waste of money since these cars do not appeal to most anyone.  These cars needed to be moved fast and when you need to move inventory fast, you call Ad Hustler!”

This case study is about the steps I took to generate highly qualified leads and move these vehicles.

After speaking with the owner of ABC Motors I found out that there was some demographics data that I could use to my advantage.  The majority of the prospects who would be interested in purchasing an ABCmobile lived in about 10 states in the U.S..  ABC Motors had a hookup that made it possible to ship these cars affordably to any of these states, meaning that a deal could be closed over the phone.  I proposed that to get the most highly qualified traffic we do some Search Engine Marketing in conjunction with a landing page designed for this campaign.  Since Google Adwords has by far the most advanced regional targeting capabilities, I decided we would concentrate our effort there.

Step 1: I bought a domain.  I wanted something that would make it appear that we were associated with the manufacturer.  Since ABC Motors is a licensed franchisee of the manufacturer this isn’t a huge stretch.  I got lucky and picked up the domain name as the vehicle we are selling is a 2008 ABC mobile.  I liked this domain and felt it would be great for quality score considering the relevancy.

Step 2: I setup wordpress on the main domain  I created a simple blog about the vehicle.  It had 10 posts with vehicle information and details as well as a few articles I found and spun.  I also used wordpress to setup a simple contact page and privacy policy.  At the bottom of each post I linked to which was the page the offer/actual landing page will reside on.  I link spammed this blog a bit to get it indexed into Google before going live with the campaign.

Step 3: needed to be created.  We’ll go into what I did with the landing page a little later.

Step 4: I setup a Google Adwords campaign targeting the geographic areas that I was told were particularly good.  I made 1 ad group and within that ad group bid on a few broad keywords.  Heres the general concept of what I did

08 ABC mobile
ABC mobile

My goal here was to be bidding on only a few very relevant keywords and use negative keywords to get rid of the junk that would be searched for.  I started with the obvious negative keywords and then added to the list as I watched the sitelogs of what searches were leading to the site.  Here are some obvious negative keywords I used:


What this keyword method accomplished was generating large volume traffic that was still relevanct, and increasingly relevant as I got more data of what keywords paired with my main keywords converted.

The ads used in the campaign were pretty straight forward.  Since we were enticing people with a rather large discount off of MSRP, that was mentioned in the text ad.  We split test a bunch of ads to see what got the best click through rates.  Overall the campaign had 5%+ CTRs.

The landing page being used was a “thin” data collection page which is why we setup the wordpress blog earlier.  When I set the ads up, I directed all of the ads to  I then set all the keywords at the keyword level to – This resulted in a stellar quality score.

Those are the 5 main steps used to create this campaign.

Let’s talk a little bit about the landing page.  I can’t show you the landing pages due to an agreement with the client but that doesnt keep me from drawing you a rough diagram of what we did.

Landing Page 1:

My original thought was just to let the visitors get a quote on ABcmobile.  This would leave negotiation leeway between the dealership and prospect.  Here is a rough sketch of the original landing page


We found that a lot of the prospects were not as qualified as we may have hoped.  ie. virtual tire kickers.  The new idea was to just lay all of the information out there and if someone responded, they would surely be qualified:

Landing Page 2:

This was the winning landing page:


The above page is the one that generated the most leads and ran for the majority of the campaign.  Leads were tracked through the form as well as the tracking 800#.

Below are the stats of the campaign:

Total Ad Dollars Spent: $32,133
Clicks: 19,537
Email Leads: 852
Phone Calls: 647
Vehicles Sold: 68
Approximate Vehicle Sale Price: $25,000
Total Revenue: $1,700,000

After all of the negative things I told you guys about local, I wanted to show you a campaign that actually worked out for the client.  Online Advertising is going to be huge for local small to medium sized business in the years to come.  Print is dying and dollars are shifting.  Will you be a part of the action?

Ad Hustler | Subscribe To Ad Hustler

Published inCase StudiesLocal Online AdvertisingSearch Engines


  1. great stuff. keep it coming.

  2. Ad Hustler, I’m about to post some of this and link to your story. Our media clients need to hear this – great stuff. But can you write and tell me who you are? I’d like to include that as well. Maybe a little bio?

  3. Do you have any sample contracts for a situation similar to this? Just curious. Thanks.

  4. Hey Brandon – I’m going to catch you on Facebook asap to ask a few questions but for now I’ve got some. First off I just finished reading(rereading parts, reading this one for the first time) of your entire series and it’s absolutely awesome so thanks for these posts.

    I’ve been wanting to get some local marketing clients of my own and you’ve pushed me over the edge to definitely going to do it. I’m revamping my company site now so I can cater to them.

    That ties in with my first question – do you have a company site you show them with all of your services? Do you take in some sort of brochure or briefcase full of stuff or do you just talk to them about it?

    One post I’d love to see added to this is how to sell the clients on online marketing and your services. You’ve been in the industry a lot longer than I have so you have more background to wow them with but I think I can hold my own still. So what exactly do you do to sell them on it? It seems ROI metrics aren’t even enough.

    Like I said great posts and thanks for kicking me into gear on getting this done. Time to go buy some business wardrobe from working for myself isn’t exactly up to par(go go shorts and a t-shirt all day every day).

  5. This is some great stuff. I totally agree with a few others that case studies are SUPERB!

  6. That tip about keyword URL vs. Landing Page URL is awesome! You use that all the time?

  7. […] Case Study: The Offline To Online Local Media Buy More Fun With Local Online Advertising Clients How I Generated $1,700,000 in Auto Sales Despite a Weak Economy Offline Billboard To Online Affiliate Offer Case […]

  8. I just discovered this today and it is a great article! You were right in predicting the future of local PPC management. This is something I am venturing into.

  9. You are the man!!! I proud of you..

  10. […] and a Top Secret Tool CS1.6 – Pay Per Click Case Study Part 6 – Stats Recap and Going Forward How I Generated $1,700,000 in Auto Sales Despite a Weak Economy Plenty of Fish Case Study – CPM Bid Effects – Results How I made $7,144.00 using TrafficVance. […]

  11. […] and a Top Secret Tool CS1.6 – Pay Per Click Case Study Part 6 – Stats Recap and Going Forward How I Generated $1,700,000 in Auto Sales Despite a Weak Economy Plenty of Fish Case Study – CPM Bid Effects – Results How I made $7,144.00 using TrafficVance. […]

  12. I am very pleased to find your blog.thanks for sharing this informative post

  13. This is a great post.thank you for sharing this informative post

  14. Seems weird that you’re not prepared to talk about how you were given the money from this client. You totally made up the name of the car model and lots of other stuff in the article, i’m suspecting you created this article for impact and it’s all in fact false information and just pure link-bait.

    I mean, why else would you refuse to talk about how you were compensated (i.e. percentage of sales, per lead etc).

  15. I appreciate the work you do in this site.thanks for sharing this informative post

  16. […] is $1,000! I think the actual sale is $5,000 for a full year of service, so the commission is 20%. Ad Hustler has a great case study where he goes after some big spenders as he sold 68 vehicles for a car […]

  17. AFAIC that’s the best asnewr so far!

  18. Great post! i seen your keynote on this also.
    Are you still doing work for them?

  19. jay jay

    great post and landing page ideas. thanks

  20. james james

    good case study, getting into PPC now after years of sticking to free traffic. thanks ad hustler

  21. I just moved to arizona to work at my cousins car lot and i wanna make this thing big. Is there any advice you can give me or anything?

  22. Asheesh Asheesh

    $1.64 per click and $473 in ad cost per unit to attract a customer that has a competitive price another click away!!! I guess if you sell the units in a short period of time and make a decent gross, than it makes sense.

  23. Starting a small used car lot 3-5000d dollar range any ideas for a cheap nice landing page?

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  25. I am wondering how you were able to do deals with customers in other states, did these people pay cash for these vehicles and then they got delivered or what?

  26. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  27. Hello, can you please explain to me what you mean in this part of the article. I am creating a campaign for my new job, selling high end watches and jewelry and using this case study as the basis to start the firs campaign.

    I then set all the keywords at the keyword level to – This resulted in a stellar quality score.

  28. I used to be more than happy to find this web-site.I needed to thanks in your time for this excellent learn!! I positively having fun with every little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

  29. oscar chimal oscar chimal

    To whom it may concern my name is Oscar Chimal i am a new car salesman at a Nissan dealership I am very eagered with a passion to suceed I love the idea of what youve done with the ads and generating new direct leads, I am in great need for some clients sence i am new to this, I need help with making these ads and maybe getting some ideas on how to locallyy attract peple, please contact me through email or cell (504-994-9495) I am willing to invest some money in these ads

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