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Julie Jamison

Julie Jamison Brand Manager, Franchise

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Using Specials to Beat Your Competition



Website Specials – maintaining these pages on your dealership’s website is a huge task, but it is IMPERATIVE if you want to successfully engage your customers and beat your competition. It can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you are dealing with multiple franchises and/or rooftops.   If you are like most who have this job on their to-do list, you would LOVE an option that makes it easier and faster but still effective.   Until a decision is made in your dealership to move toward that option, let’s start with a best-practice list that will at the very least ensure the effectiveness of your Website Specials. 

1. Be Consistent

NEVER allow your specials pages to be blank.  You might as well post a link to your competitor’s website.

2. Make it Easy

Keep shoppers on the page longer by giving what they need to engage quickly and easily.  Linking off to a VDP is not enough!  Give them a form, calls to action and all relevant data about the special without making them click.

3. Be Thorough

Make sure every new car model is represented.  Focusing only on what you want to sell, and not showing options for ANY customer, is a recipe for failure.

4. Mix it Up

Include a variety of new car offers – leases, payments, discounts, APRs – and then switch them up the following month for each model.  For used cars, offer a range of price points and body styles to pique interest for most anyone.

5. Use Your Homepage

If you are advertising specials on TV, radio or print, they should also be included on your homepage slideshow.  It MUST be easy for your customers to find those highlighted specials if other advertising mediums brought them to your website.

6. Check Your Inventory

It should go without saying, but you might be surprised how many dealerships advertise specials that don’t actually appear on the inventory pages.

7. Instill Trustworthiness

Use Carfax or Autocheck on your used car specials.  Don’t give customers any reason to doubt you.

8. Remember Parts and Service

Use a variety of specials that include inexpensive services like oil changes as well as higher profit margin or discretionary items like tire rotations or A/C maintenance.

9. Target Customers

Show website visitors specials based on their search and shopping habits.

10. Know Your Competition

Regularly look at what your competitors are offering and deliver offers that put you first.  Beat their trade-in bonuses, free maintenance with purchase offers, extended warranty periods, etc.  Make your specials, well…special!

11. Track and Adjust

Know how EVERY offer performs and adjust accordingly.  Not every special will create the desired result.  If it isn’t working, fix it! 


Remember that your Specials Pages are a MARKETING TOOL and designed to drive leads.  Although these Best Practices focus on marketing, there are a number of Best Practices on the SALES side as well.  What is YOUR process when a customer comes into your showroom looking for one of your specials?   What do you do that works well for you?  What causes you the most pain in your dealership?  Let's talk!


Happy Selling! 




DJ Snyder
Great article Julie. So many times I think dealers forget about the power of their specials page and simply focus on their 3rd party sites.
Julie Jamison
Thank you, DJ. I'm not sure if it's that they forget about the power of specials, or if the task is just so daunting that it gets pushed aside. Either way, the inconsistency (at best) in maintaining these pages is a huge waste of prime real estate!

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