Why dealerships should advertise online year-round, not just when inventory is in stock

Powersports Business has turned to Ezequiel Arredondo, VP of Operations at Dealer Spike, to inform dealers as to why they should advertise year-round, not just when inventory is in stock.

By Ezequiel Arredondo, Contributing writer

Dealer Spike witnesses a troubling trend among dealerships to withdraw advertising efforts during slow seasons, when they are between inventory shipments, and we have seen this practice negatively impact their businesses in the long run. Digital marketing is an ongoing strategy that yields its best results through constant efforts. We encourage you to advertise your inventory year-round, even during the slow months, to boost your sales opportunities over time.

“Why would I advertise a bike that isn’t on my lot? Isn’t that misleading?” We understand you don’t want to deceive your customers into thinking they can come check out a unit that isn’t currently available. However, customers no longer begin the buying journey at the physical dealership. They spend the majority of the shopping process online, where they can compare brands, units and pricing across multiple dealerships, and by the time they visit the dealership to view the unit in person, they often have already made the decision to purchase.

Dealer Spike surveyed a pool of customers who had recently purchased from a dealership, and we found that 40% of participants spent four to eight weeks performing intensive research and engaging in multiple dealer communications prior to making a buying decision. The small percentage of buyers who made a purchase in under four weeks were “chronic researchers” who frequently monitored bookmarked browsing sites. If you aren’t advertising your inventory online, even during your dry periods, you risk missing potential leads who will be ready to buy a month or two from now.

While business at your dealership may be slow, the internet is always a hive of e-commerce activity. Earlier this year, during the thick of the pandemic shutdown when many dealerships had to close their showroom doors, consumers didn’t stop browsing online for units. Even if they didn’t intend to make a purchase until the economy reopened, they still researched everything they needed to know about the units they wanted to buy. The dealerships that continued to advertise their inventory during the shutdown saw a stronger return to online and in-store sales over dealerships who paused all marketing efforts for a few months.

If you pull back on your marketing efforts and ad spend, your website’s ranking will drop and your online ads will lose traction — both of which take time and money to regain when your inventory arrives on the lot. You will see an overall higher ROI from ongoing, steady marketing throughout the year.

Your online advertising is not just a reflection of your inventory, but your dealership as a whole. By maintaining an active digital marketing strategy on your website, social media, YouTube and wherever else you advertise, you are reinforcing your brand in the minds of online browsers. When consumers develop a positive affiliation with your brand, they are more likely to progress from one-time buyers to repeat customers, earning your dealership more money in the long run.

Ezequiel Arredondo is VP of Operations at Dealer Spike.

Zeke Arredondo