What would you do with $5k per month?

Michael Sweigart
Right now I am sitting in a dealership in the NYC Metro area after just leaving a BPGMC dealer who is clearly struggling to stay afloat. This dealership said he is cutting everything back, letting people go, trimming the fat in every area where there is any fat to trim. The topic turned to advertising. The question I posed to him was: "If you only had $5k to spend on any sort of promotion/advertising per month, what would you buy first?". If you sold it all today, what would be the first thing you would buy back? This answer took many unexpected turns but ended up with sort of a generic answer of "what ever can get me the most opportunities to get my message across, at the least possible cost, with the least amount of waste". Basically, he wants to target his message to people likely to be ready to buy his particular vehicles. So the question I pose to you is this, if you had only $5k TOTAL per month to spend on any advertising or promotion, what would you spend it on? Do not count staf
Kristen Stanton
This is a GREAT question! I am biased because I'm on staff here at DrivingSales and not a dealer, but I'll chime in anyway, and I welcome anyone to shoot me down for my non-dealer (and former Dealix/Cobalt/Dealer.com/Edmunds employee) remarks. But if I was a dealer, I'd start with leads, no doubt about it. Even if you don't have a website yet, third party leads from a good source (check the Vendor Ratings on DrivingSales if you're wondering) can be the cheapest way to get started. However, studies show that leads from your own site have a higher closing ratio. It's your website provider's job to help you optimize the number of leads you're getting from your site - put them to the task! Their job is not to give you a pretty website - it's to get you leads. Who are the best? Again - I'll plug the Vendor Ratings by dealers on the site - check to see what other dealers are saying. The best site providers are going to generate leads for you (leave the SEO and SEM to them - it's also their job, in my humble opi
Eric Miltsch
Great question. Oddly, I don't see that question as often as I expect to... Assuming I knew what the store tried in the past, know the outcomes & I'm starting with a clean slate...this is what I would squeeze into 5k. (I would also push to cut unnecessary spending from other areas.) CarsDirect.com premium placement Website usability improvements (site architecture, UI, Call to action placement, install analytics, email marketing, etc) PPC campaigns - [short term] SEO initiatives [mid-long term] SMO [Social Media] Leverage free sites: YouTube, Facebook, Digg, etc. So many to choose...pick three, build a presence and learn how it works. On-page & Off-page management [page copy, keyword analysis, linking, etc] Blog(s) Micro-site(s) Mobile site Increase inventory data feed count (to free 3rd party sites) Paid items can be negotiated; the remaining items are free - just need the time investment. If I was also able to free up 3k in wasteful spending, I'd bank 1k for special events and manage the balanc
Don Erwin
ebay local is now reaching out 200 miles, all your inventory viewable to 11 million a day for $1000 bucks? a given in my book. use your manufacturer's lead management tool for free. build your google business and maps listing for free. get a tk carsites website for $800 bucks a month. they will optimize your a** off. subscribe to a limited number of your manufacturer's leads, chances are they're spending billions on online ads. why not piggy back them. $500 let's say at $15 a pop. sign up with dealer specialties and use their free data distribution to over 30 classified sites, yep, another freeby. their inventory manager program is $350 a month. give away a choice of local gift card or itouch for $200 and use a customizable pop up on your tk site to advertise that. see mine at www.mtnviewchevy.com you tube, you tube, you tube. again, free and totally optimizable. video customer reviews of your service, video walk aro
Michael Sweigart
Free is good, and I really appreciate all of the ideas for free stuff. We use many free tools, services, sites, and applications to promote PureDealer, so I know the benefit. However, using technology because it is cheap, or even free or inexpensive is not the way we should all be thinking. Return in investment is the mindset. Let us not forget that time is money, and some of these free tools or cheap tools still take a lot of time or additional investment. If you do not measure the calls, emails, views, etc. you will never realize your returns.

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