Five Ways to Reduce Your Dealership Advertising Costs

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

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Target competitive customers. At least, target your better paying customers first. Your database can be manipulated to provide you with the appropriate information.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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