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Jeff Osborne, head of Gumtree Automotive, argues the case for online marketing…
Dealer principals and automotive marketers can attest: it’s harder to sell cars today than ever before. Competition is fierce, with over 60 brands and 2 000 derivatives for consumers to choose from.
Buyers are largely self-educated, spending hours online watching and reading seemingly limitless sources of information over which manufacturers and traders have no control – including social media, peer reviews, formal industry reviews and blogs.
Moreover, the vast majority of buyers are only in the market for three months or less, which means that speed is of the essence.
So, how does one actually sway consumers to your side? Unfortunately, many car marketers stick to what is safe. According to WARC’s Marketing Cars report, 70% of automotive marketers’ spend goes towards low-risk media such as television and outdoor media. Only 10% is spent on experimental channels, such as social and mobile media or online avenues.
It’s not that the safe option is a bad option by any means. Ads on television and on outdoor media are important and can be effective. However, safe should not be the deciding adjective so to speak.
One-way communication in a world where you can reach out to celebrities, CEOs or brands in 140 characters or less within minutes, from your mobile phone, is definitely not as effective as it should be. Information shouldn’t be broadcast at your buyers, but exchanged with them.
The person seeing the ad in the newspaper has to put it down to communicate with the dealership, the radio listener can’t express interest at the click of a button. The Internet allows for rapid lead generation and exchange of information – feedback, questions, replies – between the prospective buyer and the salesperson.
In short, it immediately allows the seller to exert his or her influence. Moreover, there is instant analysis available – how many views an ad has received, how many replies, how the reply was handled… making ROI easy to prove for those who insist on the safe option!
Digital is not easy to master. Search engine marketing is expensive, and online display ads can run five to 10 times the cost-per- visit in comparison. Building a successful, high-traffic site can also take years (and millions). As a result, most dealerships have turned to third-party partnerships with online car sales platforms, such as the Gumtree Automotive Inventory Tool.
Since its launch last year, the Gumtree Automotive Inventory Tool has proved that it has the ability to drive leads and sales like nothing the motoring industry has seen before, generating close to 40 000 telephonic and email leads and 4,7-million page views per month, with most dealerships gaining an average of three to five leads per ad or more.
Not only is this an efficient way of communicating with millions of people who have already demonstrated an eagerness to buy, it is also cost effective – a small membership fee in exchange for leads, rather than investing in building one’s own platform.
Here are a few key things to do when going digital:
Appoint a champion at the dealership. If one person is responsible for making sure inventory is up to date and that features are being optimally used, your ads will always stand out. Don’t forget the free call tracker. Anecdotal evidence tells us that the vast majority of serious leads are received via the phone.
Take advantage of your free call tracker number (with the option to add additional numbers for a small fee) to make sure leads are being received and optimally handled.
Take advantage of our bundles. Some feature advertising, such as a Top Ad 31 day on Gumtree, can improve responses by up to 15 times! We have introduced a bundle of the various feature ads (Top Ads, Homepage Gallery, Urgent ads, etc.) at extremely competitive rates. This enables you to choose an optimal bundle so as to maximize your return from advertising on Gumtree.
Use graphic overlays. You can add your logo and other graphics to your ads with ease to make them stand out.
Keep bumping up. Don’t forget that you can bump ads to the top for free! Keep it up and watch the leads go up!
Export your ads to your own website. You can export your Gumtree ads (with all their enhancements) to your own site – ask us to help!
Share your stock on social media. Set up a Twitter account and share your ads – and if you tag @gumtreecoza, we’ll share it with our 15 000 fans.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. Buyers are online – shouldn’t your ads be too?