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From: Jared Hamilton
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Paul Potratz

Paul Potratz COO

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Increase Your Leads With Online Classifieds

Print classified ads are one of the main tools auto dealers use to advertise their vehicles and service but as more and more people are turning to the internet for information, online classifieds are significantly and steadily outperforming newspapers and periodicals in providing ad spaces and lead generation.

Craigslist alone, as an established leader among local online classifieds, boasts over 20 billion page views each month, besting online retail giant Amazon and multimedia empire Disney. The 50 million new ads created on the site each month clearly indicates how successful online classifieds have become, showing why you, as an auto dealer, should consider this tool in your automotive advertising campaign.

Online classifieds, unlike traditional print classifieds, offer more flexibility and more space. Instead of just a few lines of abbreviated text you can utilize the full page, making it possible to provide complete information about the product being sold. However, be sure to break the text in concise, readable paragraphs and include the basic as well as the technical specs when describing a vehicle.

Pictures are a must; the ability to post images is definitely a big improvement over traditional automotive classified advertising. One tip in posting images is to include as many pictures as possible, showing the exterior and interior parts of the car at different angles. Pictures can often be a deciding factor for a prospective car buyers thinking about driving to your dealership to check out the vehicle.

As most online classifieds are localized, you can achieve maximum exposure to your target location. If the site allows it, you can post your ads to as many relevant locations as possible. But make sure when your posting your not “spamming;” most internet classified sites impose penalties on accounts that are spamming the system.

Establishing a concrete business image can also win the trust and confidence of potential buyers. This can be achieved by simply offering detailed business information such as name, contact info and address. Add your web address to link back to other related information and show that you are a legitimate auto dealer. In fact, you can design your online ads to advertise not just a single vehicle but your dealership as a whole.

Jim Bell
Thanks for the post Paul. I am a firm believer in CL. I don't push all of my inventory there, but only things that are in the $10k range and lower. Might as well take advantage of the free advertising as much as you can.
Paul Potratz
@Jim thank you for the comments. I agree most individuals shopping in CL are looking for cars in that price range however the listings can often show up in search and since it does not cost anymore to list all the used cars I say go for it. Do you also use cars.com and autotrader?? If so which one do you prefer?
Jim Bell
We use both cars and AT. I don't know if I would say I have a preference at all. We did pull back our advertising several years ago from AT and we did see traffic slow down. We went back on and it went back up. Coincidence? I know that we get a lot of 'ghost traffic' from those sites and there is no way of know how many 'ghost buyers' there are. I have a pretty good feel for it with how we do our sourcing in our store though. I think there there are different buyers that search cars and AT. I thought I had it pinned down and had my philosophy, but the next month came and everything flipped on me so I have no idea now. If I did know, I would be a millionaire.

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