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Craiglist changed. Buyers won’t.

By Jim Jabaay

JimJabaayBlog2016It was bound to happen. Not only did Craigslist announce that they will be charging $5/ad for motorcycles, but as of December 1, 2016, they will be charging $5 ad for snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs as well.

As a Powersports dealer, you are disappointed, maybe even angry that Craigslist decided to start charging $5/ad. There is still no better way to reach active buyers. So now what? Here are a few ideas for how to approach your Craigslist advertising:

  1. Look for help. Have you considered asking your OEM rep if co-op dollars can be used for Craigslist advertising?
  2. Take a look at where you are spending marketing dollars. Ask yourself, which of these mediums provides you with as much lead data as Craigslist? Do you get a name, e-mail address or telephone number when somebody hears your radio commercial?
  3. Place more Craigslist ads. If you are thinking about pulling out of Craigslist, so are your competitors. That means less competition and more eyeballs on your ads. Buyers will not change their behavior. They will continue to search Craigslist. When Craigslist started charging for automotive ads 3 years ago, dealers saw 15 times more leads per ad.
  4. Find a tool that automates your ad postings. These services will sync with your inventory management software to eliminate the need to re-enter ad data and uploading of pictures. You may also want to suggest to your OEM rep that the cost should be at least partially underwritten within a co-op program.
  5. Cast a wider net. If you are only posting ads in one market, consider promoting your inventory on Craigslist in neighboring markets. Jump on this opportunity to introduce your dealership to new buyers. Draw them in with aggressive pricing. People love to drive a little to save a lot.

Finally, take a deep breath. This is not the end of the world. It is all part of the evolution of our economy to becoming more digital. This is an exciting time to be a dealer. Be out in front of this technology and you will win more business. Stay angry or passive and you may be left behind.

If you have any questions about how this change to Craigslist affects your dealership, LotVantage is here to help. Please email hello@lotvantage.com with any questions about Craigslist for your dealership.

Jim Jabaay is the vice president of Sales and Marketing for LotVantage, a leader in digital marketing for automotive, powersports, marine and RV dealerships.  Jim has grown up in the automotive industry with the family dealership in the suburbs of Chicago. Jim started at Manheim in sales and continued to grow his career running sales teams throughout Texas for nine years.  Following Manheim, Jim spent two years at Dealertrack expanding his career in the software side of the business.  LotVantage utilizes data to help dealerships understand which inventory to post and when to post it for a local, national and social presence.  Jim’s number one goal is helping dealers succeed in an ever growing and changing dealership world.

Website: www.LotVantage.com

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