Dealerships across the nation are currently faced with the difficult task of putting together an effective marketing plan while experiencing an inventory shortage.
While many dealers’ “knee-jerk” reaction may be to cut their advertising spend to save money, this can often amplify the issues at hand and cause sales to further decline. PCG highly recommends not “going dark”, but rather using this as a unique opportunity to gain market share from competitors who may be juggling with the same issues.
Dealership Vehicle Acquisition Strategy
Having a sound vehicle acquisition strategy is crucial for dealerships to focus on, and especially during times of inventory shortage. Pivoting strategies toward this focus can help dealers maintain a steadier flow of Used Vehicle inventory. “We Buy Cars” pages should be added to dealership websites, and should be fully optimized for SEO in order to capture a larger audience. Through website content, as well as paid advertising, the store’s buying process should be clearly outlined. This will ensure an easier and more consumer-friendly experience for potential customers. Customers want to know why they should sell their vehicle to your dealership as opposed to a competitor, and they want to know how to go about doing so.
Shifting Marketing Dollars to Focus on Custom Orders
During this time period, a lot of OEMs are setting manufacturer goals based on fulfilling custom orders as opposed to just focusing on New or Used vehicle sales. Again, this creates an opportunity to pivot marketing strategies to focus on this area. This can be accomplished first by making sure the dealership has a “Custom Order” page on their website that’s optimized for SEO purposes. Just as with a dealership’s vehicle acquisition strategy, these pages should help guide the potential customer down the path of custom ordering a new vehicle. CTAs, contact buttons, and engaging visuals should be present to aid the customer during this process.
Once the dealer’s website is fully optimized with a Custom Order page, marketing dollars such as Social Media advertising can be shifted appropriately toward this focus. Tactics such as creating a video with dealership employees explaining the process is a great way to fulfill more custom orders, as well as brand your dealership. Dealership turn rate should also be inspected as a way to judge how aggressive to advertise during this time period. As an example, dealers with low days on lot will want to utilize search campaigns to go after higher funnel traffic than dealers with days on lot exceeding 20-30 days.
To summarize, although cutting Marketing spend can save the dealership money in the short term, going dark during this time period could have negative long-term effects due to loss of brand recognition and decreased market share. The team at PCG highly recommends maintaining momentum in the advertising space at this time.