BY JIM JABAAY
Craigslist has gone through a lot of changes for our industry over the last year. And let's be honest, we all knew it wouldn't last as a free marketplace forever. We watched it happen in the automotive space three years prior. What has happened was an extreme clean-up of the 14th most visited website in the United States. For the consumer, the experience didn't change. Though now they can see a representation of inventory that is in their area, not someone five states away. So, why should a dealership leverage a website that still looks like a page from 1996? Plain and simple, it sells inventory.
When Craigslist chose to charge $5.00 per ad, the industry was up in arms. Many dealers pulled out of Craigslist and chose to eliminate it from their marketing strategy, a huge mistake. Others embraced the switch and saw their leads per ad increased by nearly 20 times.Below are the 5 reasons Craigslist still needs to be part of your marketing strategy
OEMs will co-op your ads
Today, many of the OEMs will provide 50% co-op for the cost of your ads, bringing the cost down to only $2.50 per ad! This didn't happen by accident; both the dealers and the OEMs see incredible value on Craigslist.
It's still a low-cost solution
Think about the minimal budget you need to put into your Craigslist service. If you were to place 50 ads per month, the cost to Craigslist is $250.00. It is also generating leads of all types: phone calls, text messages, emails, and walk-ins to your location. These are leads that are not only trackable, they are most importantly measurable to identify what units are selling.
Since Craigslist has always focused on the local experience, asking you to first pick your market, the customers shopping your inventory will be close to your area. This is traffic that you can spend time within the store, especially if you are one of the multiple franchises in your local market, but the only one on Craigslist.
Builds your dealership brand
Craigslist templates and gallery view options give you a nice chance to showcase to shoppers up to 24 photos of the unit in your inventory. They also help in branding your dealership with custom titles and content. This will give you an advantage of giving your customer a better understanding of your dealership and why they should buy from you and not your competitors.
Drives Website Traffic
While links in the ads are not clickable, Craigslist customers are similar to any other buyer in the purchasing funnel and that includes visiting your website to view more photos, apply for financing, get directions, etc.
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.