Looking to reduce your dealership advertising costs in 2008? Larry Bruce, president of Houston-based AIMData offers five ideas that you may want to consider — and they focus on the customers you already have.
- Market to your existing customer base. These folks are in your dealer-management system's database. It may take some initial cost and effort up front to cleanse the database and eliminate double entries and customers that are “dead” — those that have either moved or have literally died. It is also important to market your service department to your current customers.
- Target competitive customers. At least, target your better paying customers first. Your database can be manipulated to provide you with the appropriate information.
- Look for the channel of lowest opportunity cost for customer message delivery. Is it e-mail? How often and which messages drive the most traffic? What about direct mail? You should measure the results, but don't be afraid to experiment.
- Expand your web presence beyond your website. Google and Yahoo offer geo-targeting capabilities — you determine down to the zip code and in which online products you want your ads appearing. You can even determine the demographic such age, income level and gender.
- Engage your sales force to become a part of the lead-generation engine. Does your sales staff stand outside waiting for ups to come onto the lot? If so, put them to work.
Sales people should be detailing lot activity; helping to update and follow up on customer records; entering new customers and referrals into the customer-relationship or lead management tool; and searching the database for new prospects.
Other ideas include requiring every salesperson to meet or develop three prospects everyday. To help grease the process, provide a $10 for every qualified future lead. Require sales people to get the name, two phone numbers, e-mail address and the year, make and model of the car the prospect drives.
One final tidbit: according to a study by AIM Data and Experian, most households that buy a new vehicle end up buying another vehicle within six months. Should you market to recent buyers? Absolutely.