Marketing Strategies for Low Volume Auto Dealers
- Published on July 3, 2017 Brian Pasch
Founder of PCG Companies, Author, Keynote Speaker
I still remember a phone conversation I received a number of years ago from a Dealer Principal. He attended a PCG conference and afterward called to say:
“Brian, I loved all the new digital marketing strategies that were presented, but I have a problem. The monthly agency fees are designed for high volume stores, so I can’t afford any of it! I’m only selling 30 new and 60 used per month. I feel like marketing companies don’t consider the financial challenges of small-volume dealers.”
The frustration expressed by this Dealer Principal is more common than most people realize. Domestic brands, in particular, have hundreds of rural dealers that sell under 50 new cars per month. This past week I was talking with a Jaguar dealer that is selling 10 cars a month. What should Alfa Romeo dealers do for their new point?
You Can’t Outspend The Large Volume Stores
Smaller volume stores can’t afford to outspend their local competitors in larger markets. In fact, some digital marketing SEM packages start with a service fee of $1,000 a month! The fee alone may be the total marketing budget that the dealer had allocated for that specific channel.
How can small volume dealers build a competitive online presence, with a much smaller budget?
Money vs. Time vs. Complexity
Small volume dealers may not have the money but they need to make the time to invest in executing some of their marketing strategies internally. Small volume dealers often have an advantage in the marketplace because of their attentive customer service and loyal customer base. Small volume dealers need to amplify their strengths and learn how to market some aspects of their business without the need of agency partners.
I don’t suggest that small-volume dealers run their own inventory based SEM advertising. There are a number of technical reasons why an automated inventory marketing platform is the smart choice for small or large dealers. LotLinx has a very compelling business model that accommodates small volume dealers. PCG is a LotLinx agency partner, and you can get a demo by calling Dan Webb at 732-450-8200.
Organic Marketing Works
Small volume dealers should be publishing high-quality content pages on their website for the vehicles and services that they offer. When you think of it, 95% of the pages on a dealer’s website change (die) every 30-60 days when a car is sold.
There are only about 20-25 core pages on a dealership’s website. When you consider this fact, small volume dealers who invest in expanding the number of static pages on their website can gain a competitive edge. Low volume dealers should be adding 5+ pages per month to increase the relevance of their website in Google search results.
In fact, recently published data fromVistaDash shows that organic traffic has one of the highest percentage of engaged website shoppers, much stronger that paid search traffic.
Low-volume dealers should also be investing in video. Despite the world’s obsession with video content, the majority of dealership website lack relevant video content for their vehicles and services. There are few automotive vendors that offer a scalable video platform for dealers, so this gives low-volume dealers an opportunity to shine.
By creating walk-around videos, customer testimonial videos, and community engagement videos, small volume dealers can reach more in-market shoppers as they learn how to publish their video content. Video publishing should be done through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and using their own website. The distribution and publishing start at “free” and can be enhanced with a small paid advertising budget on social media.
Lastly, small-volume dealers should be leveraging to power and influence of Google My Business. By increasing your online reviews, in-market shoppers will be drawn to your website because of the ratings of their peers. Encouraging customers to post reviews are low cost and have a high ROI.
A Concise Action Plan
For low-volume dealers, with limited marketing budgets, your action plan should look like this:
- Invest in Lotlinx VIN-based Advertising (called TURN)
- Create and Publish 5+ Content Pages a Month
- Actively Create Video Content
- Increase Online Reviews on Google and prominent websites listed in Google My Business.
I also encourage low-volume dealers to list their vehicles on third-party classified websites that have a proven ROI in your local market. My recommendation is based on the fact that these portals have pure in-market shopping traffic that is hard to replicate at a comparable cost.
Getting The Right Training
Small-volume dealers may have the time, but do they have the training necessary to execute some of their own marketing strategies? In many cases, the answer in “No”. Dealers who want to build the skills of their staff will be pleased to know that low-cost, high-impact online training certifications are available at www.pcgtraining.com.