3 Things a Dealer Needs to Know About Marketing in a Digital World

sales consultant on the phone

As marketing becomes more important for successful dealerships, in many ways it also becomes harder to understand.

In identifying qualities of a successful dealership, some might argue process, some might argue people and some may even argue inventory.

While all those are necessary, none will matter without steady flow of customers – the ones who benefit from your processes, talk with your good people and buy your inventory. That’s why you need digital marketing.

That's easy enough to say, but hard for some dealers to implement. How do you keep up with the seemingly infinite number of channels that fade in and out with the next big thing?

There are three primary statistics to watch at the leadership-level that can help dealers and GMs evaluate their marketing budget, monitor that budget for performance, and be confident theyare maximizing every opportunity.

Marketing Cost Per Sale – Looking at cost per sale to judge the effectiveness of your ad budget is the wrong way to look at it for today’s car business. Instead, cost per sale is more of a barometer of how much your ad spend should be, not how effectively it is working.

Looking below at past published NADA data, you can see that the lower volume stores had the highest ad cost per sale. Those stores also had larger staff. Depending on the number of sales people you have, in addition to your sales volume, you can determine whether to be aggressive, moderate or passive with your ad budget.

NADA sales stats

Cost Per Lead – It is becoming harder and harder to get site visitors to submit leads. You have to offer a good reason for people to call or give you their contact information.

The job of marketing is to get you as many opportunities as possible, but not all leads are equal. You can't compare lead cost for a first-party lead (one from your website or marketing) to cost for a third-party lead. However, you can watch trends to see if your costs over time are improving. This is the true way to optimize your marketing spend.

Time to contact – The first goal in your lead handling process should be to connect with the customer by phone within 5 minutes of the lead being submitted to your store.

Leads called within 5 minutes of submission were 8 times more likely to connect with customers because they are still on the site, and have a 311% higher show rate than leads called even after 30 minutes. Not responding to customers who have directly expressed interest is throwing away leads and giving away those sales.

Keeping up with every evolving marketing method and channel is hard, but starting with these three basics can help spot problems early and work toward informed solutions. For help getting started or improving your overall marketing strategy, call 855.NKD.LIME or email info@nakedlime.com.