How do you leverage Craigslist to sell cars?

Jared Hamilton
Ive heard some buzz lately about dealers using Craigslist to market vehicles. Is Craigslist best used to capture leads, drive traffic to another site or make the phone rings? How much bump can one get from it? It seems like it would take a back seat to Cars.com and Autotrader because it is so less functional since it is a general site, not specifically buit to sell cars. Is that true?
Chris Hanson
Jared, craigslist is a great way to make the phone ring. It also drives traffic to the showroom and decent traffic to a dealers website. The phone is the focus though, set appointments and sell cars. The rest is a plus. I have had awesome success with selling cars on craigslist. I just spent some talking to a Director who is over 18 stores today and we had the same experiences with craigslist. He sells cars on it, love how it makes the phone ring but the labor of listing is hard to keep up with. Making it automatic no different than AutoTrader is what he thought would great so his staff could focus on other things. Withe the groups I was over, we started by manually listing the cars and then VinSolutions came out with a semi-automatic listing tool that worked great. We used that until they came out with MotoBlast which is fully automatic. Both stores I was over is still using MotoBlast. MotoBlast was the best move for me because as all of you know, there is not enough time in the day for an ISM
Jared Hamilton
Interesting, I guess if you are using a tracking number you can know exacly how many calls craigslist is actually generating. Is it like ebay where niche or highline cars tend to work best? (ebay isnt ideal for auctioning off a 2002 Ford Tarurs) What about rules. How does Craigslist ban or flag automated listings? (What is allowed and what isnt?)
Paul Rushing
This is a great topic. As you all well know I am also helping dealers get thier listings on craigslist. The types of cars that we are seeing that works best there are the moderate to low end used cars, however we are able to actively mange all listings for the dealers. It takes active management. Automated posting violates their terms of service and can cause mass flagging and ruin it for others. Craigslist is a free service abusing it with automated software is spamming. We provide the staff as an extension of the dealerships to maintain TOS compliance. Traffic stats we have seen as far as referrals to the dealer's website is phenomenal in comparison to other classified providers. The value provided will fall in this order: Referral Traffic - Save or eliminate PPC Direct Phone Calls - Connect Now with In market Leads Email Leads - Lots of sorting and sifting
Chris Hanson
Yes Jerod, tracking numbers tell you a lot. I use them for everything. I find that a local tracking number is better than an 800 tracking number on craigslist though. Its interesting because when I look at the data from the stores I was over its not just the lower end cars like it used to be. The one group I was over had an all brand leasing company so we would take quite a few highline cars in on trade and sold many through craigslist. But yes, low end and mid range sell the strongest on craigslist for sure. Just to be clear on what I posted in my last post, regarding MotoBlast, when I say "fully automatic", I mean for the dealer, not how they are posted on craigslist. Of course it abides by all craigslist rules. With MotoBlast you dont have to worry about how many to post, flagging etc. No worries. Fully automatic for the dealer is why I had made the move that direction so my ISM's could focus on their leads and not posting cars. That being said, I show a lot of dealers different ways
Chris Hanson
Paul, I starting thinking about what you said "Automated posting violates their terms of service and can cause mass flagging and ruin it for others. Craigslist is a free service abusing it with automated software is spamming." Do you know of any craigslist posting tools out there that are automated like that so you can warn the people on this site so they can stay clear of them? That would be very helpful. If I run across any myself, I'll be sure to add to this post.

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