Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

By Michael Sweigart on Oct 6, 2008

This is the first of a series of posts about what to do, what to buy, how to prosper (as best we all can) in a slowing economy. Feel free to add comments and contribute any other ideas and strategies, so that we can all help each other in these tough times. Here are some thoughts in n particular order:

Buy more results-oriented and track able opportunities

  • Internet Pay Per Click Advertising: Typically this is Google adwords but also includes Yahoo and MSN “paid” advertising. The reason why this is on the top of the list is because month after month our clients view their website results and state that the lowest “cost per opportunity” comes from the Internet. Plus, you pay per click. If they do not click you do not pay. Simple enough. With the right words, ad, and destination or landing page, this can add up quickly to a success story. Alternatively, if purchased the wrong way, this can end up eating up an incredible amount of budget very quickly. This is a very trackable expense. You set a budget and will know how many people saw your ad, clicked on it, visited your site, and took an action such as a phone call or email. Sometimes, you do have to sift through some deceiving reports on things such as “web events” and understand that a visit to a credit app does not mean that a credit app was filled out.
 
  • Search Optimization Services: Again, back on the Internet focus, but there is a reason this will be a recurring theme. Most customers are online and if a good automotive search optimization expert can help you get top results online, they usually last a good amount of time. Over the long run, this will help your business even when you need to trim costs and cut expenses. If done right, it becomes the “gift that keeps on giving”. This is typically an ongoing effort but not one you can ignore since it takes time to build good results and they should be maintained once established. This can be a great return on investment.
 
  • eMail blasts: These can be inexpensive ways to replace your expensive direct mail marketing. For under a nickel a piece, you can send out offers to people in your DMA that match your criteria including household income, demographics, age, sex, etc. Plus the turnaround time is quick and the results are trackable. Take the dollars spent divide by the clicks/visits/calls and there you have your cost per conversion. For the cost of a full or half page newspaper ad, just imagine how many people you could target that perfectly match your desired audience.

Buy less non-trackable “feel good” opportunities

  • Advertising on specific media just because you listen/read/view them: OK, we all have certain patterns, habits, and tendencies to watch, view, listen to or read certain media. It is just human nature. However, just because you do it, that does not mean that everyone is just like you. There are still dealer principals out there that will buy a certain radio station because that is what they listen to on the way to work and they feel other people are just like them. It is human nature (take it from a psych major) to want to assume the world is filled with people that share your viewpoint. However, if you put some accountability in place to track the conversions, the truth comes out. It may make you “feel good” that you hear your spot every afternoon on the way home, but you may not be getting the best bang for your buck.
     
  • Buying media just because you always have: This ties in with the previous idea of acting based on old habits. “I’ve been buying the “Big City Post” ever since my Dad taught me to sell cars.” Well, the Big City Post is down to 20,000 readers and you are paying out the wazoo to buy an ad still. In the words of Bob Newhart, STOP IT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE Again, just because you always have and because the other dealer is buying it, doesn’t make it right.
     
  • Buying opportunities because they are such a good “deal”. What is a good deal any more? With the bottom dropping out of the economy it is time to renegotiate all of your traditional advertising to start and your online as well. You may think they are a good deal, but if you track your calls or emails from each source and figure out a conversaion ratio, you will know which is the best and which needs to be cut. Sometimes you end up in a “contract” but even those can be renegotiated if you ask. Most media outlets are in the same situation so they are losing ad revenue and would rather get something than nothing…

Part 2 will focus on:

Get more Accountability in place

  • Call tracking Services
  • CRM and Lead Management
  • Internet tracking
Make Offers
  • New Vendors
  • Existing media that you have or have not tried 

Testing, testing, testing: New Concepts, marketing ideas, and advertising:

  • New Media ideas, concepts, and methods
  • New Marketing ideas such as new strategies on this blog

 

Comments

Hey I like this guy!

Feb 5, 2013

Comments 1 - 1 of 1

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Michael Sweigart's Recent Posts

  • With the slow Economy, sluggish car sales, gas prices going up and down, what is a dealer to do? Do you need a hatchet or a scalpel to fix things? Wi...Read post

  • This is the first of a series of posts about what to do, what to buy, how to prosper (as best we all can) in a slowing economy. Feel free to add com...Read post

Related Posts

  • (Video) Auto Loans: The Next Subprime Crisis?

    The subprime housing crisis of the late 2000s caused havoc for the world economy. Are low lending standards by U.S. auto dealers in conjunction with banks leading the country towards what could be another...Read post

  • 6 Ways to Not Suck on Facebook

    You dedicate at least an hour of your day on your dealership’s Facebook business page. You chime in on posts about the auto industry, you change your profile and background photos, you post 8 times a day - YOU ARE COMMITTED. So why aren’t people liking your page?Read post

  • Auto/Mate Honored with Platinum Award in Auto Dealer Monthly's Dealers' Choice Awards

    ALBANY, N.Y. – July 28th, 2014 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com), a premier dealership management system (DMS) provider, has received a "Platinum" award in the 2014 Auto Dealer Monthly Dealers' Choice Awards. This year marks the first time that Auto/Mate was honored with a top ranking in the magazine's annual award program that recognizes the industry's best product and service providers as selected by hundreds of dealers and dealership personnel.   "To receive this recognition is a real honor because the votes for Auto/Mate came from our customers, and this Platinum award lets me know that we are successful in our primary goal which is to be the top dealership management system provider in customer satisfaction," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate.   In May, voters weighed in to recognize their favorite partners in 27 categories. Providers were scored on the product or service itself, customer support and service, value, and whether the...Read post

  • Who You Don't Target is as Important as Who You Do Target with Advertising

    The automotive industry has always been one that focuses on volume. Even those who do not consider themselves to be "volume dealers" still perform better when they are increasing the total number of units sold and service customers hitting the racks. We've grown accustomed to the concept of "bigger is better". In today's competitive automotive advertising and marketing arena, the dealers who are finding the most success are doing so by being smart with their targeting data. The free-for-all days of the past that used bulk-strategies have been replaced by hyper-targeting, improved data, and the type of business intelligence that can only come through careful examination rather than hitting it with a sledge hammer. Today, dealers need to be selective. You customers are selective. You need to be as well. What I'm talking about specifically is the trend of blasting out marketing and advertising messages where size matters more than targeting. This is a mistake. You can actually do mor...Read post

  • Autosoft Certifies Traffic Cop as First CRM/ILM Provider to Integrate with FLEX DMS

    Autosoft, Inc., a leading national dealer solutions provider, announces that Traffic Cop LLC has earned certification for integration with the FLEX dealer management system (DMS) as part of Autosoft’s FLEX Connect program. Traffic Cop is the first customer relationship management (CRM) and Internet lead management (ILM) showroom-to-shop management software to earn this certification. The certification process required collaboration and development between Autosoft and Traffic Cop, resulting in a more integrated CRM solution for FLEX DMS dealers using the Traffic Cop solution. Autosoft’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Hellbusch views the integration as an additional value for Autosoft’s FLEX DMS dealers. “This certified integration provides our valued customers with a tested, secure, and verified means for further developing their relationships with customers and prospects,” Hellbusch said. Among other features, this integration allows dealership users to send deals from the desk straight to Autosoft’s FLEX F&I, and refreshes the record in Traffic Cop after delivery to the business office. Users will be able to view full customer service records in Traffic Cop to optimize customer relationships throughout their lifecycle.Read post

  • Autosoft Announces New Nissan Integration

    WEST MIDDLESEX, PA – July 17, 2014 – Leading dealer management system (DMS) provider Autosoft, Inc., (www.autosoft-asi.com) has announced that the Autosoft FLEX DMS has been approved for integration with the new dealer communication system that Nissan is rolling out to dealers. "Our goal is to offer the advantage of strong integration between Autosoft’s FLEX DMS and the systems our customers use to manage a successful business," said Mark Hellbusch, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Autosoft. He stressed the integration approval’s strategic value to Autosoft’s Nissan dealership customers, saying, "We are pleased to be approved by Nissan for integration with their new dealer communication system and are committed to aligning with their roadmap so Nissan dealers will experience the most efficient processes possible."Read post

  • Leadership Lessons from a Car Dealership?

    W When I walked into the MINI dealer to buy a new car, the last thing I expected to find was a great example of leadership, but that is exactly what I found. It took a while for my early observations to draw the conclusion that the secret sauce of this dealership was the Sales Manager. This busy, almost chaotic dealership was full of energy and organized. We were approached immediately by a salesperson who was quick to tell us that this was her first week, and she’d just moved from Pittsburgh. After a little hometown sharing (I grew up in Pittsburgh), she showed she knew her stuff. Turns out she transferred from Pittsburgh MINI. What she was unsure of were some Florida-specific/dealership-specific processes, so she checked periodically with the Sales Manager. That’s what got my attention. He gave her the information she needed, but let her work; he didn’t hover as I might expect with a new employee. Long story short, we spent two days with her, traveled to a remote site to se...Read post

  • The Key to Selling with VIN Activity

    Over the last 2 years we’ve been hearing more and more about the importance of watching VIN activity. The proof is out there – the more activity a vehicle receives, the faster it moves off your lot and into the driveway of a new owner. Increase VIN activity and the world is wonderful! But what exactly is VIN activity, and is some activity more important than other activity?Read post