Are You Still Missing Out On Selling More Cars?

It’s amazing to see the transformation and dealership mindset that has occurred over the past 6 months since Craigslist began charging $5 for the Cars + Trucks category.  Initially, many dealers pulled back on posting and didn’t want to spend the advertising money.  There were quite a few things with this thought process that made us scratch our heads.  First, dealers said that Craigslist helps them sell cars every month, but they couldn’t justify spending $5 per car.  Yet 90% of dealerships will spend thousands of dollars advertising on other automotive websites.  Secondly, this change did not affect the CONSUMER at all!

The Numbers Don’t Lie

This was quickly proven in the first few months when dealerships were experiencing 10 Times as many leads per ad as they did while spamming a marketplace.  Many dealers capitalized on this and spent their entire advertising budget on Craigslist.  According to Alexa rankings, Craigslist continues to remain number 10 in the United States.

Over the past six months, most dealers have come back and are posting their inventory back on Craigslist after noticing the amount of vehicles it helped sell every month.  With the average dealer holding 60 cars in used inventory and turning inventory every 60 days, a dealer can advertise every vehicle on Craigslist for well under $1000 per month.

Don’t Get Hustled

There have been a multitude of service offerings that have come along to advertise on Craigslist, with some advertising a “special rate” with Craigslist of only $3.  These don’t exist.  The key is partnering with a company that is dedicated or utilizes a company dedicated to Craigslist marketing.  When you are looking for a partner, make sure they make the process easy, utilize photo overlays, all vehicle information to your Craigslist ad, a link to a Landing Page, and lead tracking.

Want to learn more about how we can help you capitalize on Craigslist? Click Here

 

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Utilizing Social Media to Sell More Cars

Social Selling

 

Savvy dealers are turning to low cost alternatives like Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets as their alternative. Not only is it free, but it can help you interact with your future and existing customers in real-time. It’s no secret that Dealers will do just about anything to gain new customers by any means necessary. Radio, Print and TV ads can all have tremendous results but at what cost? Those traditional marketing mediums and budgets are dying.

As we know, today’s consumer researches their next purchase online and wants to share their thoughts online to get their friends opinions before making the purchase. Why not help them by giving them all the information they are looking for and a way to communicate with you at the same time.

Social Media Grows Followers

This starts with your own staff.  Do they follow the dealership themselves?  Do they ask their friends to like their company?  Encourage the staff to talk about the company and tag the organization on Facebook and Twitter.  This is free advertising for the dealership.

Engage your Audience

This starts with posting relevant information to your Facebook fans and twitter followers.  Let them know about the upcoming specials or just reduced inventory.  What better way to do this then with photos and descriptions of the inventory?  Make the posts likeable, sharable, clickable and able to post comments.   When a consumer clicks on the inventory, bring them to your landing page inside the Facebook application.  Furthermore, utilizing the Inventory applet to display all dealership inventory on Facebook.

Convert

Once a consumer is interested in the vehicle, what are you doing to convert them into a lead?  Make sure your landing pages give multiple options to gather more information about the consumer including credit applications and appointment setting.  Connecting all of this back to your CRM gives you the ability to manage everything from start to finish.

If you would like to learn more about how to improve your social media presence online and post your inventory to the various social media outlets, send me a message or click here to learn more.

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Could stock photos be hurting your online marketing efforts?

2007 Cadillac Escalade - Stock photo

There has been a growing trend with Dealers showcasing their used inventory with stock photos and that needs to stop. Marketplaces are being flooded with pre-owned vehicles that have multiple stock photos, and consumers are growing tired of it when doing searches online.

What does that mean?

That means when you are looking at the dealers used car inventory, there are one or more stock photos for that vehicle. The photos aren’t really the vehicles that dealers are selling and it’s misleading for the consumer. This is becoming a real problem for service providers that are responsible for taking vehicles up to the cloud, whether that is Auto Trader, Cars.com, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Backpage, etc.

Any of these places where auto dealers want to sell, they are responsible for providing accurate pictures so you can do it on a scalable level.

Who is to blame?

Whoever is making the decision to help the dealer get multiple stock photos on these vehicles maybe hurting the rest of their marketing efforts. Is it the dealer, DMS provider, or if somebody else has convoluted their minds into thinking they need a bunch of stock photos? It’s negatively impacting them whether they realize it or not.

From the consumer’s point of view, it’s a deceptive practice since they clearly know that vehicle is used and are trying to make intelligent buying decisions based on such pictures. The only time stock photos might be acceptable, would be if the dealer is advertising new inventory and waiting on actual photos.

Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable buying vehicles on the internet sight unseen. Photos, price, and description combined is what is driving this movement. This has given the consumer their “used car factory” to get the exact car they want if they are willing to pay the price to ship the vehicle.

Stock photos don’t sell cars! Let’s work together to fix this growing problem.

 

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Dealerships sell more RVs and Trailers with YouTube videos

Showcasing your RV on YouTube

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If that’s the case, what is a video worth?  46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video.  As an RV dealer, are you leveraging the use of video to help sell more vehicles each month and engage your customers?

Video marketing and YouTube in particular, can help bring your dealership to the next level in getting more customers and ultimately selling more inventory.   According to Alexa.com, YouTube is the #3 ranked website in the world.  The average user spends 18 minutes on the site.  It’s 20% easier to rank #1 with a video result as compared to a website. Video is a major influence on consumers making a purchase decision.

Drive More Traffic

If you want to drive more traffic to your dealership, utilize a software company that can take your dealership’s data, stitch together photos and descriptions while adding a Human Voice-over all in one video. Taking it to the next level and creating a YouTube channel with consistent brand imaging, a video library, and dealership information will give you even more exposure.

Capture the lead!

YouTube videos should engage the consumer to want more information.

Providing the consumer with an embedded phone number in the video and a link to a landing page with all the details about each RV will only increase the customer interaction. Each landing page should also contain additional calls-to-action ranging from financing options to trade in forms along with the dealership’s contact information.

Next Level

Taking it to the next level means ensuring everything you do is mobile.  40% of YouTube views are by mobile users.  Are you utilizing a mobile strategy to engage your customers or are you giving them a poor experience from their phone?

There are many ways to spend an advertising budget today and a multitude of websites to advertise your inventory.  Making an investment into a video product should be one of these discussions for your dealership to give yourself the opportunity to convert more ads into leads and sell more RVs.

If you would like more information on YouTube video marketing for dealerships, please feel free to contact me.

 

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Top 5 Best Practices Learned from Posting to eBay Classifieds

Top 5 Best Practices on eBay Classifieds

Since the roll out of our eBay Classifieds service, we have learned a lot of valuable lessons.  With any new product and marketplace there’s a learning curve and we’ve recently gained more knowledge about what it takes to manage the “art” of posting to eBay classifieds. We want to share the Top 5 Best Practices we’ve learned over the last few weeks with you:

1.)  New eBay accounts require some “Seasoning” similar to the historical Craigslist landscape.
a.)  It’s best to start posting with 5 ads a day and work up to 25 or you may risk
burning your account.

2.)  Dealers with similar inventory need to ensure there is a sufficient vehicle description with enough unique content to differentiate each ad from anther. We’ve found some issues with dealers who have very similar inventory and unfortunately, our system can’t always trick eBay into thinking the ads are unique so they may get flagged.

3.)  Make sure you are not posting any duplicate ads. eBay specifically states you cannot post the same vehicle twice. If you do not want to wait until the 60 day listing period is up, you can delete old ads and re-post. Alternatively, if you want to post to separate cities/markets, then create another eBay Classifieds account.

Separate city, separate market = separate eBay classifieds account

4.)  Using multiple URL’s will contribute to flagging. Dealers should not include a link to their website in the vehicle description feed. eBay does not want to be utilized as a traffic converter, so we advise pulling this domain from the description if you want to have your account maintain in good standing.

5.)  Categorization: eBay has organized categories to guide consumers when looking for specific inventory. It’s important when posting ads to double check that you’re correctly listing inventory under the preferred category, or your ads will be subject to flagging. For example, do not list a motorcycle under the Car category. You can review this before you hit submit on your queue. Also note: Cars is a separate category than Trucks, Vans & SUVs. Listing a 2002 Jeep Cherokee in the Car category will likely not be an issue, but if you want to be specific about where the consumer is looking for your inventory, it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

Finding the eBay Classified Categories
If you have other best practices you would like to share, post them in the comments section below. If you are interested in learning more about our eBay Classifieds module send me a message.

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7 Ways of Leveraging Social Media for Businesses

By Brett Rush

Leverage your social media accounts when you’re not familiar with the process can be intimidating. I broke this post out from a more in-depth look at 9 Ways to Clean Up Your Online Presence.

If you’re not typically on social media, do you have an employee that is? One you can trust with your brand? Social media is about connecting with people, not just pushing your products. If you feel “out of the loop” when it comes to social media, possibly have a manager or trustworthy employee manage it while you oversee it.

  1. Create social business accounts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  2. Create check-in accounts on Yelp and Foursquare.
  3. Going back to Start With Why, people need to know why they should follow you. You sell interesting things? You chat with followers, ask questions or start conversations? Have you ever wanted to know “what the people want” but didn’t know how to poll your customers? This would be a great way to do it.
  4. If you post a link to an eBay item for sale, hashtag the brand, style or activity so people can find your item but don’t go crazy hash tagging every word. Be selective and don’t make every post about the items you sell.
    Example: “We have a limited supply of #Garmin Forerunner #Running Watches ebay.com/itm/291078046532
  5. Offer discounts only available when someone sees it on a social page. Let customers know that discounts come from following on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.  “Knock off 10% of our commission when you bring in your items during April! Mention #AprilCommission when you bring your items in.”
  6. Try out the check-in services by offering a percentage off when checking in:  Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook and Google+. Use the business links above to setup discounts when people check-in. Take it a step further and add these businesses stickers to your windows to advertise checking in. After signing up, they’ll probably send you the stickers in the mail.
    “Why use these services?”
    When someone checks into your business, that person is advertising to their friends that they use your services – without verbally saying it.
  7. Getting the hang of social media? Take it even another step to start a blog. Setup your website with WordPress choose your own personal look with a template and set it up to show your expertise and WHY people should use your services.
    “What am I going to blog about?”
    You’re an expert in your division, share some information about certain products that you’ve learned. While selling on consignment, I found out the hard way that certain dolls have their maker’s stamp on their lower back! Never would I have thought I needed to undress a doll to take a photo of the brand. Blogging this experience makes you that much more of an expert in the division of dolls, and can potentially bring more business doing doll consignment…if you want to do that.
  8. Take the link of your blog post and post it on all your social media outlets. Do an email campaign every once in awhile showcasing the blog posts you’ve written up. You want to keep your current customers, customers. Show them your expertise and don’t let them forget about your services.

Feel free to leave me a comment below on what you’ve found helpful! Contact Brett if you want one-on-one consultation.

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SellerVantage got featured on eCommerceBytes.com

SellerVantage Simplifies Life for Consigning Sellers

Brett Rush, our long-time manager for SellerVantage, got interviewed for a recent article written by Julia Wilkinson of EcommerceBytes.com which was featured on their site. Julia talks with Brett about how SellerVantage software has many features to help sellers, and how it works with the four platforms : eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and a seller’s own standalone website. It also goes into further detail about how SellerVantage got started. If you would like to see the full article click here.

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9 Ways to Clean up your Online Presence

By Brett Rush

Rules change over time when it comes to presenting your business online. It’s important to boost your store’s online presence in order to maximize your visibility on the internet. If you’re doing business “the way you’ve always done it” and haven’t made any changes to your advertising routine, you might be left in the dark as the world of online sales takes on a different shape. Simply listing items for sale and having a website from 2004 won’t do the trick anymore.

Spring brings a clean slate to your online presence!

 Fresh New Start

  1. Take a few great photos of your store that you want to use to show your business. We’re going to go through the steps of creating a uniform listing on all online avenues. Take photos of your building, inside the store, your staff, a few items, whatever you want to portray as your business.
    When taking these photos, think of what would make YOU want to come visit you and use your services.
  2. Write up an elevator pitch of WHY people should use your services, not just WHAT you do.
    (excellent read on this principle: Start With Why)
  3. Buy a domain name for $15 per year. A quick fix would be to redirect people who visit your new .com will go to your eBay Store page. This way you have a URL to put on business cards, social media and advertising sites. yourname@yourbusiness.com looks more legit than kittykat1957@netscape.com…
  4. Best practice for setting up an email is to have your URL as your gmail email address. Visit this page to set it up
  5. eBay recently launched a social commerce platform as a result of ending their About Me pages. Use our guide from January to fix up your page.
  6. Create social business accounts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  7. Focus on Local Advertising :: see our 10 ways to advertise your online business locally.
  8. Build your Social Media presence :: This cannot be ignored for your business because this is the way people are finding out about your services. No one flips through the big Yellow Pages book anymore!
  9. Next Step Marketing :: After doing 1-7, this will take you down the path of tracking where your online traffic is coming from, creating a blog and how to properly link back to your blog from social media accounts.

Feel free to leave me a comment below on what you’ve found helpful! Contact me if you want one-on-one consultation.

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Craigslist Marketing Continues to Grow Up

Craigslist Marketing Continues to Grow Up

Since the onset of the $5 charge on Craigslist, dealerships have taken on a multitude of approaches on how they not only understand this marketplace, but more importantly utilize this marketplace to attract customers to visit their dealerships.

The most important thing that we have learned is that dealerships not posting inventory are losing opportunities to gain qualified prospects and sell more vehicles.  Here are the results from dealerships posting in our software:

Ads Posted to Craigslist vs. Leads per Ad

*March estimated through month end

Leads per ad continue to grow on a month over month basis, proving the importance of dealerships to leverage Craigslist as a market to advertise their pre-owned inventory.  If you have not budgeted for Craigslist ads and a software provider to post through, do so immediately!

Things to Consider

Other important factors to look at are your Craigslist ads.  Today, 50% of traffic on Craigslist is found on a mobile phone.  Are your ads and Vehicle Display Pages mobile ready?  Titles and content are searchable.  Ensuring your ads have a strong title, price, pictures and content is critical. Are you taking advantage of all 24 photos with photo overlay calls-to-action? How many ways are you connecting to your customers?  Having multiple calls-to-action, including phone number, email, and copy and paste links to VDPs only increase your chances of selling the vehicle.

We may all believe we know what sells on Craigslist and have our own theories, but only a select few can take years of past data and tell you which vehicles will generate the most leads and are priced closest to the market price.  Utilizing a partner that offers this level of sophistication will only help you achieve a higher percentage of leads per ad, increasing your ROI, and ultimately selling more cars.

Now for a Little Math

Let’s assume you want to start with a $1000 monthly budget including $300 for a software provider.  This will allow for $700 in Craigslist posts.  This will get you 140 posts on Craigslist.  Considering an ad is good for 30 days, this should give you the ability to post most dealers inventory at least once per month.  Using the stats above, this will generate 154 leads for the month!  That is an average cost of $6.49 per lead.  If you can close 5% of your leads (a little below average), this equates to almost 8 vehicles sold.  Averaging $1200 on the front end, a $1000 budget will generate $8400 in profit!

Is Craigslist the only marketing site a dealership should use?  Absolutely not!  I feel that it’s a strong compliment and a necessity for all dealerships with any size budget to market their inventory.

If you are interested in learning more, send me a message.

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It’s Here! New Website Announcement – LotVantage

New LotVantage site annoucementLotVantage is excited to announce the launch of its new and improved website, which is now live at the same address: www.lotvantage.com. I’m proud of my marketing team for the time and effort that went into creating and designing the new site.

The site’s homepage welcomes customers with bold colors, a clean uncluttered design, with featured content focused on the company’s mission to provide customers the most accurate product information, strengthen partner relations and share LotVantage’s knowledge and expertise in the Classified Marketing Space.

Current and prospective customers will find detailed information about LotVantage’s classified marketing products and our reseller opportunities.

The new site was designed with a fresh new look, user-friendly navigation, cool social sharing features, and is updated with all the latest information on all things LotVantage!  You’ll find everything you’re looking for in a few easy clicks.  Take a look around and have fun! Visit www.LotVantage.com today. Let me know what you think.

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