Not a day goes by where I don't see (or hear) a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of different advertising methods.
Which websites are the best for delivering traffic?
Do I need to be on Auto Trader, Craigslist or Kijiji?
Does radio still work?
Am I optimized for mobile searches?
Am I using QR codes effectively?
Does anyone read the newspaper anymore?
What the hell is a QR code again?
And so on...
While this debate carries on, many dealers jump from bandwagon to bandwagon, trying to be on the “cutting edge”, afraid to miss out on the next big thing... After all, you don't want to be left in the dark ages while your competition gobbles up your market share do you? Of course not, that's a scary thought. (Which is why the nice person selling the advertising to you doesn't forget to ask the question...)
So, we are going to answer a question right here and now which will free you from getting sucked into this debate in the future.
Where do I need to be advertising?
The quick answer is it really doesn't matter WHERE you advertise as much as it matters WHAT you advertise. The method is a distant second to the message. (Although anything you're doing in the area of braille advertising is probably a waste of money...)
Now before you discredit everything I'm saying, yes of course a site where people are actively searching for a new vehicle has a more targeted audience so it's a better place to advertise (if you're doing it properly). But, if your ad on those sites is simply your logo with no attention grabbing headline, call to action, or any of the other requirements of an effective ad, you are losing money. Even if you currently have a positive ROI, the missed opportunity should keep you awake at night.
Think about it. Whether you produce a multimillion dollar Superbowl ad, or scribble graffiti on a mens room wall, it's going to be seen by someone who owns a vehicle, and will get another one some day. Actually I can guarantee that I would sell more vehicles with the mens room graffiti than the Superbowl ad. (And with an infinitely better ROI)
So the next time someone is selling you on the next big thing in advertising, don't make your decision based on fear of being left behind. Think about who will be seeing this ad and if you can get a message in front of them that will get their attention and engage them enough to contact you. If it fits, use it. If it doesn't fit, don't worry... Your competition probably won't use it effectively either, you aren't missing anything.