Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
|by Christy Roman, Now Marketplace Owner|
I heard a story about a prospect who came into a dealership and was asking about the television ad they had seen. It was a GM “Sign and Drive” campaign with no money out of pocket. After investigating the situation a bit more, the salesperson determined that the campaign was for their competitor in another part of town. When the salesperson went to the competitor’s website, the offer was nowhere to be found and the dealer wasn’t even highlighting any special! It was an interesting look at how dealers (and even vendors) view their websites – as a place to showcase their inventory, rather than the most important ad for their business.
Recently, CDK Global published a white paper that reported only 14% of the 6,000 dealer websites that were reviewed had specials for each and every department. I’m astounded by that super-low figure! There are thousands of franchise dealers spending billions of dollars in traditional and digital advertising. A majority of consumers will end up on the dealer’s website before coming in to buy. When you don’t tie your offline advertising to what’s on your website, it creates confusion for the consumer. Just as in the initial example, the competitor ran the campaign and the prospect went into the wrong dealership. How many of you want to lose a prospect to a competitor?
In the majority of cases, specials on a dealer’s website come from the Internet Manager who may have absolutely no clue what offline campaigns are running. I always ask, “Does your Internet Manager produce your TV spots for you, create your direct mail campaigns, or write and produce your radio ads?” If the answer is no, then why should they be in charge of what advertising is reflected on your website?
Therein lies the rub. There is a major disconnect between the way dealers should view their websites and the way in which they actually do. This is perpetuated by the industry since most website providers rely on the dealer to put specials on their websites. Your website should be viewed as today’s print ad; it needs to be the first place you put your ad campaign message. Do you remember having weekly meetings to figure out what to put in your newspaper ad? Those meetings can still be done, but instead of making changes to a newspaper ad, you’re making changes to your website ads on the spot.
With thousands of people going to your website each month, shouldn’t it be viewed as the best place to put a “Why Buy” or “Call to Action” or “Coupon” for every profit center?
There is so much information online that I truly believe it leads to “analysis paralysis.” In the end, it’s the simple things that still work to get prospects to buy from you. Advertising has always been about making people feel good about the decision to purchase from you. And the game has always been about how targeted you can be when putting an ad in front of a prospect for the least amount of money. So, if thousands of people go to your website of their own volition, doesn’t it seem like they would be far more receptive to a call-to-action ad than an ad on the radio? Or even better, that the two combined provide more frequency and affirmation to a prospect than one on its own? The dealer’s website is by far the very best place to tell people why to buy from you. Don’t miss the most targeted advertising opportunity at your disposal!
Special Report - The Truth About Your Dealership SpecialsOur Retail Insights team set out to examine the State of Specials in automotive marketing. This whitepaper highlights the major findings of an examination of over 6,000 unique dealership websites that will help ensure that you’re getting the most out of your website.
About the Author
|An entrepreneur with a background in advertising sales, management and a few online start-ups, Christy Roman has a unique perspective on advertising. Her claim to fame was developing and monetizing the Partnership Program (now the Premium Program) dealer initiative at AutoTrader.com. Past roles include: ad agency owner and business development; sales and management for newspaper and cable advertising; piloting the one-time AOL Time-Warner multi-media cross-selling initiative; Regional Sales Manager for Who’s Calling, and consulting for television stations to help them develop online revenue streams. Her current company, Now Marketplace, Inc., is a one-stop shop for dealers and local businesses wanting to maximize the Internet as advertising. You can reach Christy directly at email@example.com|