Facebook Launches Private Facebook Automotive Group For Dealerships

Facebook Launches Private Facebook Automotive Group For Dealerships

Facebook Launches Private Facebook Automotive Group For Dealerships

The Facebook Automotive Team just launched the Facebook Auto Marketing Collective Group, a private Facebook Group exclusively for auto dealers and the auto community.

The goal of the new social Group is to connect dealers from across the globe to help each other overcome hurdles and grow together as an industry.

The purpose of the new Facebook Automotive Group

Bob Lanham, Head of Facebook Automotive Retail, defined the Groups purpose as follows:

Upon joining the Facebook Auto Marketing Collective Group, dealers can gain immediate access to Facebook resources and strategies for dealers, as well as receive news directly from the top of the Facebook Automotive Team.

Why dealers should join the Facebook Auto Marketing Collective Group

A group such as this has long been anticipated by Dealers United and the Facebook Automotive Team.

Dealers United and its dealer-partners have frequently been invited to Facebook’s automotive conferences and have hosted events like the State of Automotive alongside Facebook, but has always hoped for an online community of dealers to consistently share best practices and ideas.

Pete Petersen, CEO, Dealers United
“As our name implies, Dealers United has always sought to unify the dealer community, because we are stronger together. We were an early adopter of Facebook before fully transitioning ourselves to solely being a Facebook and Instagram advertising company. Because of our work with Facebook, we have become a Facebook Marketing Partner, have had several of our dealer-partners featured as Success Stories by Facebook, and been able to host events with the Facebook Auto Team. I believe that the Facebook Auto Marketing Collective is going to be a terrific tool to continue to unify dealers with a common purpose and strengthen us as a community.”

The more dealers we can bring together in this forum, the larger our force and collective ideas will become.

How to join the private Group

To join the Facebook Auto Marketing Collective, simply log in to Facebook, visit this page, and click the button, “Join Group.”

You will then need to authorize that you are a Dealership / Dealer Group, OEM, or Agency.

Your request will be reviewed by the Group’s admins and approved upon verifying that you are apart of the automotive community.

Want to skip the form and get instant access to the Group? Add our CEO, Pete Petersen, on Facebook here, and he’ll send you a direct invite!

More Facebook Resources For Auto To Come

With the launch of this Group, it’s clear that Facebook is doubling-down on automotive, and is focusing more horsepower on insights and best practices to help dealers reach their communities as effectively as possible.

Last year, Facebook launched their Facebook Automotive Playbook and Zero Friction Future resources with that objective in mind.

These resources have helped both dealerships and agencies improve their Facebook Advertising strategies to move more metal.

DEALER SUCCESS USING FACEBOOK’S RESOURCES

Power Ford, one of Dealers United’s clients, followed the principles of the Facebook Automotive Playbook and used Facebook to help provide a “frictionless” experience for their customers. These efforts allowed them to save $285,000 on advertising in 12 months and become the #1 Ford dealership in New Mexico 7 times. The agency and dealership were the only Tier III recognized by Facebook for their work with Zero Friction Future in February of 2020, and Facebook continues to help Power Ford sell more cars while spending less.

In addition to joining the Facebook Auto Marketing Collective Group, here are some other ways to stay up to date with the last Facebook Ads resources:

Affected by COVID-19? These resources can help.

Click Here

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.

Vehicle Inventory Low? 4 Ideas To Source and Re-Stock On The Models You Want (Without Going To Auction)

Vehicle Inventory Low? 4 Ideas To Source and Re-Stock On The Models You Want (Without Going To Auction)

Vehicle Inventory Low? 4 Ideas To Source and Re-Stock On The Models You Want (Without Going To Auction)

While consumer confidence continues to rise and more positive indicators for the auto industry are revealed each week, another challenge is starting to emerge for dealerships:

…diminishing inventory. 

Since vehicle factories and auctions have been closed or suspended over the last few months, many dealers are now worried that they will not have enough inventory to sell as demand continues increasing.

According to Cox Automotive, “new-vehicle inventory is low – less than 3.3 million vehicles by last count, the lowest volume in more than a year.” This puts a significant pinch on high-demand vehicles like SUVs and trucks.

Here are a few solutions your dealership can explore to replenish your inventory immediately and cost-effectively. 

Stock Up On Used Inventory By Going Direct-To-Consumer

Used inventory is an important part of any dealership’s business, but with most dealers relying on auto auctions and trade-ins, supply has come to a screeching halt.

Dealers have calculated costs upward of $1,500 to acquire a vehicle at auction. Factors include auction fees, transportation fees, and depreciation. Not to mention you’re dependent on the inventory selection, times to buy, and delivery schedules that could impact your floor plan.

Instead, dealers should look to source vehicles directly from consumers. Here’s how:

Idea #1: Buy Back Campaigns

A lot of people are looking to sell their vehicles right now, or maybe even just get out of an intimidating payment. 

Use IHS Markit data from Oracle Data Cloud to specifically target owners of desirable model lines your dealership wants. You can even narrow down targeting to owners of Makes, certain Models, and even how long they’ve owned their vehicle.

Then, run a straight Buy Back campaign on Facebook telling consumers that you’ll offer them a great price to buy back their vehicle, and that you’ll take their vehicle even if they don’t buy their next car from you!

Idea #2: Oil Change Special

Present an irresistible oil change offer targeted at specific model line owners.

Build a Facebook Custom Audience consisting of your customers who haven’t purchased or recently, or use Oracle 3rd party data and find owners of the makes you want to show them the offer!

Use a unique price point like “$9.99” to easily track where your service business is coming from and to alert your team to inspect the vehicle while it’s on the lift. If it’s what you’re looking for, make an offer to put them in a new vehicle.

This strategy is a great way to bring in brand defectors who live in your PMA/AOR and are not currently buying from you.

Idea #3: Trade-Up Campaign

Many vehicle owners simply want to stay in the model they’re in already. 

You can run a “trade keys” campaign to allure targeted model line owners to trade their vehicle in for a new model, giving you a desired used unit that you can add to your CPO or used inventory.

Deliver ads showing your easy Trade-In calculator that they can complete from the comfort of their home, or run ads showing exactly which body style (Truck/SUV/Car) you’re looking for.

Idea #4: Advertise What You Have

While there isn’t much you can do about your OEM’s new vehicle supply, there are ways you can maximize and quickly move the inventory that you do have on your lot.

Using Facebook Automotive Inventory Ads (AIA), you can display your live, on the ground inventory to in-market shoppers. 

Look at your SRP’s and heaviest grouped models and budget a larger amount for those units that your dealership has a surplus of.

Prospect shoppers with your live inventory and then retarget browsers of your lower stock inventory to show them what you have available. 

Since customer safety is still key, be sure to explain what remote offers you have, like at-home test drives and deliveries. 

 

Layer your “Why Buys,” or why they should buy from your dealership and what sets you apart, into your ad copy. 

Lastly, display and double down on your OEM’s incentives to show shoppers that right now is a great time to buy!

Recap: A Targeted Facebook and Instagram Inventory Buy Back Strategy

Facebook and Instagram paired with Oracle Data are great tools to get out in front of audiences where they are spending their time right now. 

Reach users who are willing to sell their vehicles to get much needed inventory for your dealership, display oil change and trade up offers with the intention of getting desirable units, and prioritize advertising the inventory you have on the lot now. 

Shopper demand continues to grow after the effects of COVID-19. Be sure that you have the models they want, before they defect to your competitor.

If you need help using Facebook and Instagram to source and re-stock your vehicle inventory, schedule a strategy call with us here. 

Blog Author - Drew Detweiler

Written By Drew Detweiler
Drew manages inbound and outbound marketing for Dealers United. When he’s not at work, he’s probably enjoying the outdoors, fishing, or eating.

The Revival Of The Automotive Industry Post-COVID-19

The Revival Of The Automotive Industry Post-COVID-19

The Revival Of The Automotive Industry Post-COVID-19

Memorial Day weekend typically marks the start of “busy season” for auto dealers, but COVID-19 has certainly affected dealers’ sales expectations for this month.

However, with lifted stay-at-home orders, stimulus checks, the delayed tax season, and never-before-seen OEM incentives, consumer confidence is coming back.

Dealership traffic and sales have been down across the nation over the past months, but studies from across the industry are showing that not only has the decline slowed…

…shopper activity is actually starting to increase.

Auto Shopper Intent Is On The Rise

Autotrader has been tracking the anticipated delay in vehicle purchases over the past 6 weeks and for the first time since March 7th, delay percentages are decreasing.

16% more respondents are now expected to purchase within the next 2 months, and 24% of shoppers have gone from being “not sure” when they’re going to buy, to now wanting to purchase sometime within the next 6 months!

Source: Autotrader – “COVID-19 Digital Car Shopping Study”

Additionally, the search term “Is it a good time to buy a car?” has seen a 900% increase month-over-month, and 52% of auto shoppers report that the Coronavirus has still not changed their timeline to buy a new vehicle according to Google, Global Auto Pulse Insights.

Dealer Inspire’s recent studies echo these trends, with a 31% increase in dealership website leads over the past month.  

Source: Dealer Inspire – “Update: Tracking The COVID-19 Rebound For Car Dealers”

One thing is apparent: shoppers are shopping once again.

Vehicle Sales Are Slowly Recovering

According to a recent report by JD Power, sales volume is also up in all 25 major markets except for Denver, Colorado, and April 19th marked the 3rd straight week of improving vehicle sales.  

In their latest Automotive Rapid Response Report, IHS Markit revealed that national registrations are up 48% week-over-week, and there has been a 68% increase week-over-week across the 7 eastern states who are slowly reopening their economies.

New York’s 56% WoW increase alone positively indicates the state’s rebound, after being hit the hardest with almost 1/3 of the nation’s COVID-19 cases.

Source: IHS Markit – “Automotive Rapid Response Report – 29 April 2020

Not only are sales increasing in almost every single market, but they’re projected to continue to increase as the economy recovers and more markets decrease restrictive measures. 

So how can you ensure you’re setting your dealership up to maximize increasing shopper demand in your market once the new-normal begins?

Unlocking Auto Shopper Demand

If one thing is obvious from all these reports, it’s that consumer confidence is on the rise, and Memorial Day may be the mark of a true vehicle sales rebound post-COVID-19.

Here are a few ways you can prepare to capture the upcoming shopper demand:

1. Bring your OEM incentives to the forefront of your message.

According to Autotrader’s COVID-19 Digital Car Shopping Study, OEMs have seen significant lifts in engagement after announcing their incentives and relief programs.

Additionally, shoppers report that one of the biggest triggers that will accelerate their vehicle purchase is if they can find a deal or incentive they cannot refuse.

Source: AutoTrader – “COVID-19 Digital Car Shopping Study”

There are still 49% of shoppers who are delaying, but can still be swayed by incentives.

Pull your OEM Brand incentives down through your messaging, and stretch your ad dollars further by specifically targeting local brand loyalists, or owners of competing brands, who are almost ready to buy.

Using exclusive TransUnion data, you can also build audiences of stimulus check and tax return recipients, showing them tailor-made offers and dealership incentives to further maximize their cash. 

 

Want to see how other dealers are Unlocking Shopper Demand in time for Memorial Day? Click here!

2. Ensure your dealership has an online presence and is visible to in-market shoppers in your market.

Since people are still going to be doing the majority of their shopping at home, the more information your dealership can make accessible to the customer, the better. 

Consumers report that pricing and special incentives are catching their attention in the latest auto advertisements, but that the look of the vehicle, its capabilities and accessories still have a big influence on their buying decisions.

Provide a “Collage Carousel” ad that tours In-Market shoppers through the vehicle exterior, interior, and technology, and then retarget anyone who clicked the ad and visited your VDP with an OEM incentive!

You can also show shoppers your on-the-ground inventory with Automotive Inventory Ads so they can browse without ever having to leave their homes to make a decision. 

Once they visit your VDPs, you can retarget them with lead ads to help them schedule an at-home test drive, apply for financing, or calculate their monthly payment. 

Begin The “Return To Normal

While we’re all going to need to adjust to the “new normal,” all signs are pointing towards the automotive industry’s recovery. 

The traffic is coming back and almost every market is seeing a boost in sales.

Make sure that your dealership is getting in front of auto shoppers online, where they are spending their time right now. 

Show in-market shoppers your live inventory and dealership and OEM incentives, and increase your dealership’s digital retail services so shoppers can complete as much of the sales process as possible without ever having to step foot in your store. 

We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re on the right track. 

If your dealership wants to Unlock Shopper Demand in time for this Memorial Day, click here to get started.

Car shopper demand is coming.

Build a plan now

Blog Author - Drew Detweiler

Written By Drew Detweiler
Drew manages inbound and outbound marketing for Dealers United. When he’s not at work, he’s probably enjoying the outdoors, fishing, or eating.

Auto Dealer Guide To Unlocking Market Demand

Auto Dealer Guide To Unlocking Market Demand

Auto Dealer Guide To Unlocking Market Demand

As dealers prepare for post-COVID-19 actions to help their local communities get back to work and back to normalcy, plans to unlock the market demand need to be put in place now.

Watch the video below for our Auto Dealer Guide to Unlocking Market Demand:

According to a survey conducted on March 28th, Cox Automotive found that 35% of auto intenders who were in-market to buy within the next 6 months were delaying their vehicle purchase due to COVID-19.

As state, local, and federal governments look to slowly start reopening the economy, pent up demand IS coming.

Now that tax season has been extended, almost $100B has been directly deposited into Americans’ bank accounts, and OEM incentives are higher than ever before, auto dealerships have the opportunity to help these shoppers buy sooner and maximize potential savings.


 

By proactively building audiences of auto-intenders who recently received tax refunds or stimulus checks, who own your brand, or have leases expiring, we can help you position you to be the first out of the gate to reach these local, in-market auto shoppers who have delayed a vehicle purchase.

Our latest COVID-19 Playbook, “Unlock Demand,” is designed to:

  • Stretch your ad dollars with precise data targeting on tax refund status, receipt of stimulus checks, make/model owners, and lease expirations.
  • Use a full-funnel Facebook & Instagram strategy to strategically show shoppers that now is the right time to purchase a vehicle.
  • Complement your Facebook strategy with ready-to-go retargeting banners, email campaigns, and YouTube videos for a complete, multi-touch campaign

We recommend dealers also leverage onsite tools such as Payment Calculator, Trade Evaluation, Credit Application, and Incentive pages by reaching and driving in-market consumers to these key tools on your site.

Are you ready and prepared to unlock shopper demand?
Visit http://www.unlockdemand.com today and be up-and-running with our comprehensive campaigns within 48 hours.

Car shopper demand is coming.

Build a plan now

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.

Where Is Car Shopper Attention During Coronavirus?

Where Is Car Shopper Attention During Coronavirus?

Where Is Car Shopper Attention During Coronavirus?

Let’s face it: With all the uncertainty around Coronavirus, we’re all too well aware that most consumers aren’t actively looking for cars right now.

In a weekly survey of shoppers looking to buy within the next 6 months, Cox Automotive found that the amount of auto intenders who were delaying an automobile purchase had increased from 7% to 35% in just 3 weeks.

What about traffic? Are shoppers still browsing dealership sites and 3rd party listings?

We aggregated research from industry experts to help find out where auto shopper attention is going, and where it’s dragging behind…

Endemic and 3rd party listing sites experiencing a flux

In an article released on April 3, 2020, Dealer Inspire reported downward trends in unique active shoppers across CARS® audiences, including Cars.com and DealerRater. 

Meanwhile, Cox Automotive reported a similar decline in traffic for other key endemic sites such as AutoTrader, KBB.com and Dealer.com in the first few weeks of March.

Thankfully, Cox also reported that traffic seems to be slowly increasing again as of March 31st.

“Online shopping started to improve in the middle of last week and continues to improve in the latest data that we see,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke.

“AutoTrader saw a 7% gain in VDP views over the past weekend over the prior weekend; KBB saw an 11% gain this past weekend; Dealer.com…saw a deceleration over the weekend in traffic declines that were much worse 2 weeks ago.”

Dealership traffic and Google search volume trending down

Dealer Inspire also reported downward trends in dealer website traffic and leads based on tracking unique daily visitors across over 3,500 dealer websites nationwide.

Source: Dealer Inspire – “New Data: Opportunity For Dealers As COVID-19 Shakes Up Traffic Across Industries

They noted similar Google search trends across their customers and partners as well.

Using Google Trends reports over the last 30 days, we also found that search volume on Google is down from shoppers actively searching for terms like, “dealer near me” and “used car.”

So if auto intenders aren’t actively searching for a car right now and are delaying purchases, where should dealerships be investing their ad dollars to reach them?

Facebook usage on the rise

Unsurprisingly, social media sites are garnering more attention as more and more users are social distancing and staying at home.

According to a blog post on Facebook.com, Facebook is seeing an extreme spike in usage across the globe due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The article states, “The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day. Much of the increased traffic is happening on our messaging services, but we’ve also seen more people using our feed and stories products to get updates from their family and friends.”

Compared to some of the 3rd party sites, Facebook is clearly experiencing more search volume and activity right now.

And while classified listing auto traffic is somewhat declining, Facebook Marketplace continues to have an upward trajectory as well.

Source: Google Trends – This chart shows Facebook Marketplace search popularity over the past 12 months compared to the top 3 leading 3rd party listing providers.

One thing we love about Facebook is that it serves as a proactive channel for advertisers to use to reach their audience.

Dealerships don’t have to wait for shoppers to search for “car dealer near me,” but can instead send their latest messaging out to any shopper in a 15 mile radius from their store.

If you ask us (or Steven Stauning), Facebook is one channel you don’t want to be without in today’s quickly-changing market.

Maximizing attention with the right messaging

People are using Facebook and Instagram now, more than ever, to seek the latest news updates, stay in touch with family and friends, and simply kill time.

Shoppers will recognize which companies in their local communities are there to support them, and keep them safe, versus the ones that are pushing “buy, buy, buy.”

Therefore, you may need to shift your strategy away from asking shoppers to submit leads or come to your lot and test drive a car.

Instead, show them that you’re there as a resource for them: if their car breaks down, or they need an oil change, or yes — if they do want to buy a new car — you’ll be there.


“Previously I know we all focus on the bottom of the funnel, how many leads can we get in, how many leads can we close,” said Brent Parres, Partner Manager at Facebook Automotive during the State of Automotive webinar last week.

“I think this is an opportunity for us to refocus and think of ‘How can I push my brand, my dealership as a brand in this local community that I’m in? How can I stand out from the competition and show that I care about my community?’ While you can do both, I think the messaging for anything on the bottom of the funnel needs to take that branding approach.”

Use Facebook to inexpensively saturate your local community with messaging around:

  • If and when your dealership is open
  • What safe services you’re offering
  • What precautions you’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (sanitization, at-home services, etc.)

Want more ideas on how dealerships are effectively messaging during COVID-19? Click here to check out our article, “State of Automotive Dealer-Panel: 5 Key Takeaways and 19 Tips To Come Out Ahead”!

Show your community that your dealership is there for them and you care about their well-being, so that when the dust from this pandemic finally settles, you’re positioned well in your PMA.

Looking for more COVID-19 Resources to help your dealership?

Click Here

Blog Author - Drew Detweiler

Written By Drew Detweiler
Drew manages inbound and outbound marketing for Dealers United. When he’s not at work, he’s probably enjoying the outdoors, fishing, or eating.

State of Automotive Dealer-Panel: 5 Key Takeaways + 19 Tips To Come Out Ahead

State of Automotive Dealer-Panel: 5 Key Takeaways + 19 Tips To Come Out Ahead

State of Automotive Dealer-Panel: 5 Key Takeaways + 19 Tips To Come Out Ahead

Last week, 5 auto dealerships and 3 industry experts served as panelists on our State of Automotive March 2020 webinar, co-hosted by Facebook Automotive, IHS Markit, and Dealers United.

The event was geared around how dealerships are tackling the effects of Coronavirus on their business processes, consumer messaging, and plans for Q2.

The 8 panelists were:

  • Matt Sneed, Director of Marketing – Power Ford in Albuquerque, NM
  • Michael Renaud, VP – Leader In Cars Auto Group in the greater NY area
  • Bobby Sight, Director of Operations – Rob Sight Ford in Kansas City, MO
  • Stu Berkley, General Manager – Middletown Honda in Scotchtown, NY
  • Chris Beaton, General Manager – Steele Valley Chevrolet, New Minas, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Brent Parres, Partner Manager – Facebook Automotive
  • Drew Cameron, Tier III Automotive Marketing – IHS Markit
  • Pete Petersen, CEO – Dealers United

Miss the webinar? Catch the replay at www.stateofautomotive.com.

While each dealer-panelist has been impacted differently based on their own local ordinances, they all share one thing in common: sales are declining, if not shut down altogether.

A poll during the webinar found that 81% of attendees have had their sales department impacted in some way.

Here are 5 key topics that the panelists discussed, and 19 tips for how dealers can maintain business and branding, and can come out ahead:

Key Takeaway: Truly support the customer during this time.
 

    • Tip #1: Make the Customer Feel Safe. Share pictures and videos of your safety and sanitization practices to make the customer aware that “these are the steps that we are taking because we care and we are aware of what is going on.” Show your team putting plastic on the steering wheel, wearing gloves, etc.
    • Tip #2: Play the “Supporting Role.” Try calling your consumers proactively to check on them. Take the stance of “We’re checking on you, we’re here to help” and “How can we accommodate you” instead of “Buy, Buy, Buy.” 

“We’ve taken the time to scrub all of our advertising, asking ourselves, ‘What’s the perception on this?’ We’ve even removed all hard offers on our website and are really trying to communicate the stance ‘We’re here; we’re here to help you’ and ‘What can we do to accommodate you in this time?’ I think playing the supporting role is the role to play right now. By playing that role, people will find you and will come to you either way.”

—Chris Beaton, Steele Valley Chevrolet

  • Tip #3: Put Real People Behind Your Messaging Platforms. Many shoppers will have specific questions that your chatbot or typical FAQ may not be able to answer in these times. Establish real live communication between members of your team and the consumer.
  • Tip #4: Make a Short-Term Shift from Performance to Branding. Now is the time to build value and earn a customer’s future business. Shift away from driving leads and focus on brand awareness, video views, and engagement. Don’t just run a single ad about your latest incentives. Create an entire library of ads that stack value every time they log in, and then hit a sales conversation once in a while when the time is right.

Key Takeaway: Overcommunicate with your team.

    • Tip #5: Follow CDC and Local Guidelines. From making sure employees stay home when they are sick, to ensuring technicians work every other service bay, be sure you’re following your OSHA guidelines and CDC guidelines to a T. Make sure that the entire team is aware of changes and business process changes you’ve made to help keep both them and your customers safe.
    • Tip #6: Distribute Resources. Check with your Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Centers often for grant and loan information, not only for your dealership but also to send to your employees to help them. If you have unfortunately had to furlough or reduce staff, give them a checklist and a list of resources to help guide their next steps. 
    • Tip #7: Discover and Share Dealership Strategies. In addition to keeping up with latest updates from NADA as well as your own local Auto Dealer Associations, be sure you’re talking to other dealers! Join a Facebook Group, or simply pick up the phone and call to other dealers in your area to share strategies. We are all in this together. 
    • Tip #8: Send Internal Videos for Leadership Updates Often. Have your GM or other members of your Leadership Team send video updates to your team whenever there’s a new development, or at least 2x a week for internal communication.
    • Tip #9: Make it Easy for Your Team to Stay in Touch. With many employees working remote or less hours, help them coordinate and stay connected through chat sites like Group Me, Facebook Groups and Messenger, WhatsApp, InteractiveTel, or Zoom Meetings.

“We’ve got to use care and compassion with our teams. I just encourage you: stay proactive. The more you stay positive, the more you help them with resources, with information, it calms anxiety. Try not to promise and over-deliver. You want to be truthful, and honest, and keep people in the loop. Tough decisions may be needed throughout this time but the things you do now to build your team are going to make you come out of this stronger. How do we want to be perceived as a dealership, of us as leaders, when this is over?”

—Pete Petersen, CEO of Dealers United

Key Takeaway: Quickly and proactively adapt to changing consumer needs.

    • Tip #10: Listen to the Customer. Ensure the customer feels that their safety is your top priority. Listen and be empathetic to which way the customer wants to shop and service; make it as painless and easy as possible for them to be able to get the job done.
    • Tip #11: Digital retailing is HERE. Offer “Touch-less” Valet and At-Home Services to make your customer experience more convenient during this time. Whether you’re focused more on Service or on Sales, it’s important to remove all friction points in your online and offline buying processes. Be willing to let go of more information and provide more convenience.
    • Tip #12: Set Realistic Expectations and Communicate Proactively. Be transparent and forthcoming with new processes. Set realistic expectations for what customers can expect both online and offline. If a service is going to take 2-3 days to deliver, let them know that!
    • Tip #13: Over-Communicate and Post Daily. You may have to pivot your communication style to be more proactive and touch your customers more often to keep them more informed. This is a time when more people are on Facebook and Instagram than ever. Post Instagram and Facebook Stories daily that you’re open and practicing safe sanitization procedures and update your Page cover photo, showing that you’re open.

“We’ve been showing pictures of mechanics putting plastic over the steering wheel; making the consumer feel safe and still come in. We’re trying to give them offers that are service related. Most of my budget is going to service right now. Sales is closed. I haven’t abandoned [sales], but most of our budget, especially on Facebook and Instagram, is all directed right now in service and the customer, how we’re going to take care of them.”

—Stu Berkley, Middletown Honda

“This is becoming like a freight train to change the way we do business. There’s been a reluctance to change to the pace that our clients and consumers want. This is what they’ve been asking for for years. I think once this is all over that this is going to make us all better. Once we have ‘valet at home test drives’ and easier flow of information from a digital retailing point of view, why would we go back? Consumers are not going to want to. People find there to be too much friction. Internally we’ve let off the reins as far as trying to hold onto information; we’re giving it up more easily; we’re letting the consumer be more behind the steering wheel.”

—Chris Beaton, Steele Valley Chevrolet

Key Takeaway: Stretch your advertising dollars.

  • Tip #14: Target Smarter. As you cut down on our ad spend, invest into platforms where you can target specific audiences or use 3rd party data to reach Owners, Brand Loyalists, Recalls, Expiring Leases, and Service Buyers in your area. Deliver them value and your brand’s message.
  • Tip #15: Focus on Your Lowest Hanging Fruit. While search volume and website traffic is down, it’s more important than ever to focus on your lowest hanging fruit by retargeting existing traffic. These are the audiences where you can be a little more sales-driven in your conversations.
  • Tip #16: Maximize OEM Incentives and Show You Can Help With Payments. Communicating incentives and payment deferments from your OEM will help you control the conversation with your customer and help positively position your brand.


Key Takeaway: Plan to be “standing” when this is over.

  • Tip #17: Help Rebuild. If there’s an opportunity for you to be involved in your community and help rebuild your local market, take that opportunity.
  • Tip #18: Continue Removing Friction. If you haven’t been focusing on digital retailing and online communication, use this time to set yourself up for sustainability and success in the digital world. Facebook Messenger is a great area to invest and train your team for long-term enhancements.
  • Tip #19: Play the Long Game and Rebound. Use this time to focus on customer and consumer communication and to learn how we can do better at the dealership. Plan like this will be happening until May 1st, and that when this is over, you’ll come out on top. Work with your team to prepare marketing plans and operations for a recovery path.

“We need to show the community [we care], but I wouldn’t say totally abandon your inventory ads. Because at the end of the day, we are who we are. We’re auto dealerships: we sell cars! And now some OEM’s are supporting more heavily with incentives…we can still be the guide and supporter and say, ‘If you’re hurting in a financial crisis, you can have a newer vehicle with no payments for 6 months’ and that can bridge the gap. If you do it in a classy way, you don’t come across as sleazy.”

—Matt Sneed, Marketing Director at Power Ford

“My objective, my business plan, and everything since this all started has been under the premise that when this is over, we need to be standing. We can’t be down on our knees, cant have our face in the ground because when this is over, we’re going. It’s going to be gangbusters for the entire industry: Service, Sales, Parts, everything.”

—Michael Renaud, Leader In Cars Auto Group

As the situation continues around Coronavirus, we must continue to work together to propel our industry, our dealerships, and our communities forward during this unprecedented time.

Please help us spearhead more ideas and solutions for our dealership community! Feel free to share your questions, comments, strategies, and ideas below.

Request the State of Automotive Replay here. 

Grab more COVID-19 resources for your dealership here. 

Stay healthy and safe, from our team to yours.

Looking for more COVID-19 Resources to help your dealership?

Click Here

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.

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