There’s a lot of information out there for dealers about achieving the right marketing mix to drive sales. But let’s talk about a harsh reality…

If you’re like many dealers, you’ve started to notice that what you’re doing to attract customers is not working the way it should be—or the way it once did. And the fast-paced world of digital marketing isn’t helping things. There was a time when you could just buy ads and get traffic. But that’s no longer the case.

Are you wondering what’s changed?

The problem with most dealership marketing is three-fold: 1. How dealerships allocate their marketing budget is broken and ineffective. 2. Automotive marketing incest is rampant. Dealers tend to copy what other dealers are doing, often with no regard for the effectiveness of the pilfered strategies. This behavior creates stale, unoriginal marketing and lackluster response. 3. Dealers are using the wrong metrics to track the effectiveness of their advertising.

Too many dealers are wasting time, money and opportunities with marketing practices that don’t deliver profitable results. Don’t be one of them!

Listen up. If you are a dealer that wants MORE—more prospects, more sales, and more money—you must do something different.

So what’s working? What can you do today to make a difference tomorrow without breaking the bank?

Here’s a sure-fire approach any dealership can take to immediately make a dramatic impact on the bottom-line:

1. Fix Your Marketing Budget

Most dealers are pummeled left and right with offers and suggestions about the next great marketing strategy. You hear about a new online listing service, a new way to promote VDPs, or _____. Fill in the blank with the newest marketing thing you’ve been pitched. And it sounds like it might work, so why not give it a shot, right?


The problem here isn’t necessarily with trying new strategies. The problems is the approach. The most common mistake we see dealers make is that they take a little bit of their advertising budget to dip their toe in the water with this new opportunity. Typically, they’re even taking this money away from something that is already working and it isn’t enough to truly test the new method. So what you end up with is a marketing budget that’s spread out all over the place, with a little bit here and a little bit there.

We call this spray and pray marketing. That is, your ad budget is spread around a number of options—covering all the bases—and now you’re praying that something works.

This is dangerous because you don’t know what’s working and you most likely aren’t making enough of an impact in any one area because your spend isn’t focused.

How do you know if you’re doing SPRAY and PRAY?

Answer These 2 Questions:

  1. How many different traffic sources do you have? If this is a long list, you’re probably suffering from SPRAY and PRAY
  2. Can you pinpoint what traffic sources are giving you the best ROI? If you can’t, you’re probably suffering from SPRAY and PRAY.

For more information on how to detect SPRAY and PRAY in your marketing budget, download our FREE worksheet here.

2. Stand Out To Sell More

Every dealership is marketing the same way. Everyone sells vehicles and features. They all provide excellent customer service. And they all are advertising the prices and payments they can work up for a customer. Whether you’re selling one brand or another, most consumers could care less about what you offer and have a thousand options when it comes to buying the vehicles you’re selling. So why should they pick you?

If you fail to create a compelling reason for people to buy from you, you will wind up right in the middle of the commodity market where logic dictates the sale, and you’re left with no option but to compete on price and selection. That’s when your lead flow dries up and your profit suffers.

How do you create a clear and compelling reason for customers to choose your store over all the others?

 Do These 2 Things:

  1. Examine your values, your buying experience, and your people to determine what makes you truly unique and valuable compared to the other options in your market.
  2. Stop running ads that look exactly like all the other dealership ads in your market and across the country. Create a unified message that promotes what value you provide (this is the value proposition you came up with in Step 1).

The new method of driving traffic and sales is to communicate your ideas and differentiation through a compelling story or message that causes people to take action and allows you to measure your results.

3. Start Tracking The Right Metrics

A lot of dealers are focused on tracking KPIs like VDP views and time spent on VDP. But this is a BIG mistake. It doesn’t matter how many people view a VDP or how much time they spend clicking through pictures, you need to be tracking how many actionable leads you get.

If you give a prospect enough information on your VDP to knock you out of the running, then you’re doing yourself a massive disservice. 70% of people looking for a vehicle are undecided about which car they want when they start shopping. And the majority of people who visit a dealership don’t even leave in the car they originally came in on. So stop tracking things that don’t matter, like VDPs and start tracking leads.

Tracking the number of leads you get and where those leads are coming from will make it much easier for you to track the ROI of your marketing spend because it will be easier to link source to sales.

How do you track the right metrics?

Do These Things:

  1. Start making lead acquisition your number one goal.
  2. Track name, email, phone number and lead source as a complete lead submission.
  3. Track sales back to lead sources.
  4. Cut any sources that don’t produce an ROI of at least 100%.
  5. Put that spend towards maxing out what you know is working.

Most dealers don’t know this information and many of those who do know it are too stubborn, too lazy or too afraid to do anything with it.

The wise person who takes this information and runs with it will be in striking distance of dominating their market and creating a lead producing machine so powerful that they’re actually able to take a few days off each week to spend with their family because the marketing is so effective. It truly is what’s working for of the top dealers across the country with our help.

For more proven strategies for increasing the effectiveness of your advertising, check out our new eBook on the five strategies you should be using in your Facebook advertising. Look, if your digital agency isn’t using these strategies, you need to unfriend them…RIGHT NOW! Check out the FREE eBook to get the low down.