When car dealers hear the expression, “casting a wide net”, they usually associate the concept with going after a larger geographical area, branching out from their standard market area to get people who are further away from the dealership. This is one way to look at it, but another (and arguably more important) way to casting a wider net is to get out to a broader digital audience by being in more places online.
The narrow approach isn’t bad. It’s important for dealers to make sure that their website is getting plenty of traffic and helping to generate its own leads to have exclusive contacts with potential customers. This is the approach that most dealers take and we’re not suggesting that it should stop. However, the wide approach has benefits you simply cannot get with a narrow approach.
With the wide approach, dealers have many options. Some might say that they have too many options. There are literally hundreds of websites available that allow dealers to post their contact information and inventory. The vast majority of them are worthless, but some make perfect sense.
The “Big Two” in paid 3rd party advertising, AutoTrader and Cars.com, are both extremely important and most dealers use them. AutoTrader in particular is one that should have its own specified budget because it has become synonymous with car shopping. These sites and others like them are important because they normally come with packages that allow dealers to post all of their inventory.
Getting selective and spreading out to the widest possible audience is available on sites like Craigslist and eBay Motors. In both cases, the audience can be much wider than with any other venues and the results are almost universally the best when it comes to cost-per-sold-unit. Dealers who are avoiding these for whatever reason need to strongly consider them if they want to use the wide approach.
One of the reasons that dealers do not post to them is that they’re not as easy as the Big Two which are both set-it-and-forget-it. With Craigslist, eBay, and other listing sites, each individual vehicle needs to be posted manually. This is where tools can play an incredible role; companies like LotVantage make it easy for dealers to be exceptionally effective on these and other sites.
Taking care of the owned properties like the dealership’s website is very important, but to get aggressive with their marketing, dealers must consider branching out to the venues that deliver wider reach and stronger return on investment.