One of the first things many of my dealer-partners wanted to talk about as COVID-19 started to become a concern was where could they cut money. Many wanted to tell dealers that it was time to spend more--time to capitalize on all the eyeballs on the internet.
But the reality is, you have to cut spending when the market dramatically changes. You may be still selling cars, but at a markedly lower rate than before. Many still have Service open, but people are not as willing to go out of their homes. Cutting spend has become a necessity, but you need to make sure you are doing so in a strategic fashion. And then ensure you have all the pieces in place for a post-covid dealership.
Reduce Spend Wisely
Survival is the name of the game right now, and many dealerships are looking to survive by cutting back on spend. Cutting the budget is a wise decision for many, but where you cut and how you cut needs to be highly strategic.
Start with your Dig Ad spend. Contact your partner and review all of your campaigns. Where possible, cut down or remove any spend on dealership name. That will come organically. Review other campaigns and look for low impression share and dwindling numbers. You can either reallocate that spend on a higher converting platform, or put that in the “save” column.
If you reallocate, I would highly recommend placing it in a lead generating Facebook ad. Facebook/Instagram, and all social media views, have gone up 76% in the past two weeks, and this is a great way to get in front of customers on the platform they are constantly on.
This will also help persuade some passive, high funnel shoppers to buy a car. The incentives right now are unmatched, and many people who were not in-market will become auto intenders when they realize the deals they can get and the values on trade-ins. Now is the time to review and reallocate to social media spend.
And finally--you are spending a ton of money on advertising. At an average of $650 a unit, you want to make sure that advertising is not being wasted by ignored leads and phone calls. Make sure you have a solid lead-handling process in place to help with the investment you are making in advertising. If you do not have one, check this out.
It will definitely help.
Evaluate Your Partners and Look for Overlap
No vendor-partner wants to be on the receiving end of this, but honestly--it is time to review ALL of your partners and look for overlap. I have worked with many dealers on varied levels, and the one thing we generally uncover is wasted spend or unnecessary products that they have forgotten about. And who can blame you? There are 99 problems in the dealership, and staying on top of each and every vendor is not 1 of yours.
You have been given a small window of time where the world has slowed down a bit. Take this time to partner up with your digital point person or vendor “handler,” and review what the companies do for you and the ROI (if it can be measured).
Once you have done that, look into some of your partners that you have had success with, and see what bundles they have that could reduce cost and bring value. Some key areas to look at are chat, off-site BDCs, and video. (PS--if you don’t have video for your sales team, see below)
Optimize Customer Communication
We have been talking about video for years it seems. There are many dealerships out there who have embraced video, utilize it in marketing, advertising, and with sales and service-to-customer relationships.
If you are one of the gems who has this all in place--ROCK ON and keep doing it! We now see with the absence of in-dealer visits how truly important utilizing video is with your customer.
And not canned video--real, raw, shooting with my phone while I’m walking around the vehicle video.
Those of you who are new to it-that’s okay! Find a company that you like who will provide you with a platform to email/text your videos to your customers, and then start sending them out today! If you stumble over a word--it’s fine! If a bug flies at you, keep going. All of these things make you more human to the customer, and you are still providing them with an authentic and real look at the car they want.
If you are looking for suggestions on video solutions, reach out. I have worked with many and would love to help. We can also give best practice on how to shoot videos so that they look their best and you feel confident!
Digital retailing is highly important as well, but that will be a conversation of its own!
- If you have had to cut spend, where have you had to do so and how has it affected you?
- Are you sending videos to your customers in either sales or service? We would LOVE to see some examples and best practices.
- Where have you seen the most overlap in advertising spend?