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  • Today’s Marketing Challenges
    for Used Auto Dealers

  • As media has changed dramatically
    so have the challenges for auto dealers, especially used auto dealers. The newspaper, at one time the second largest media choice for auto dealers has become virtually ineffective in today’s world. Television and radio are so splintered that it is nearly impossible to reach your audience unless you have a few million to throw away (or at least risk throwing away). Phone books are used by less than one third of today’s population and many of those people are 70 plus and certainly limit a market. Outdoor is still an awareness only medium. It’s great if you’re introducing the all-new Diet Cherry Coke to the masses but does virtually nothing to direct customers to a car lot, tell them about your inventory or to persuade a potential buyer why your dealership is better than the next. Magazines might work but only if they are niche and carefully targeted to your specific audience.

  • So what to do?
    The first thing to do is be proactive. If you bury your head in the sand you’re likely to get your butt kicked. The second thing to do is understand what doesn’t work (see above) and don’t blow your hard-earned cash. Again, what should you do? Do your best to understand the media movement and evolving culture. Make no mistake that today’s savvy business owners understand that the internet is necessary and can very well help your business. However don’t for a minute believe that just because you have a Facebook page that this is going to ignite your sales. In fact I can guarantee you that a Facebook page by itself will do little good for you.
    Next don’t think that a website by itself will make you the next Bill Gates. Ain’t gonna happen. A website can and should be an integral part of your marketing, but by itself it will do little for moving you forward, especially in an age when there are over 1 billion websites on the planet. Your website should be a great resource for your prospect and customer to find out more about you once they have discovered you.

  • What you need to do is find an internet partner
    that will lead people to you. In the auto business that comes in the way of the obvious Cargurus.com, Autotrader.com, Carfax.com and many, many other national/international used car website directories. The upside is that they are relatively popular in searches. The problem with many of these websites is that they are the same ole, same ole. In addition it’s tough to get noticed. Finally there is no way to brand you, tell your story or set you apart from the other guys. Then there is of course the mighty giant, Google, with their not always so mighty AdwordsTM program. While it is the most popular and well-known internet advertising that does not make it the most effective (and sometimes not effective at all. The problem here is that most people simply will not click on something that says “ad”, the first reason they don’t always get you the return on investment that you might expect (or need). Finally there are a handful of local and regional sites that can make a difference in your business. The problem is that most of them are built to look (and act) like a locally built site, most have no staying power and most do not stay current. There are sites however like ZZZippy.com that has a sleek look (superior to most universal sites), lends itself to a great user experience and offers advertisers the ability to “tell their story”, enhance their brand and do a multitude of other things to promote themselves. Overall, if you’re not considering and properly utilizing the internet as a means of marketing today, someone else is getting your deals. Just remember, the internet is still in its infant stages and there is much to be learned about this runaway train that is extremely difficult to dissect.
    Closing thoughts, don’t let this monster scare you, figure out just how it can serve you!