Recently, we have seen an uptick in the automotive industry of online, short-term sales events that dealerships are conducting on Facebook. This digital buy-back event creates excellent opportunities for the dealer to increase trade-ins when inventory is becoming limited and have an instant boost to the dealer’s monthly sales. Still, there are some issues with events like these that all general managers need to be aware of before jumping in headfirst. Our team took a behind-the-scenes look at how these events are functioning and how a Dealer Authority strategy could save our dealers budget and promise real results.

1. Let’s all get on the same page.

Before you do anything, you must loop you in your entire staff on your plans. The biggest failure we have found with these digital events is that the sales staff has no idea that the executive team has kicked it off. How can your salespeople have conversations with your leads if they have no idea what the leads are referencing? You know the answer – they can’t. You must over-communicate the details and make sure everyone knows what inventory is part of this campaign, how long it will run, and any other unique information that your sales staff will need to convert a lead to a sale.

2. Select your go-to person to lead the charge!

Once all of your staff is on the same page, select your strongest communicator to be the first to correspond with these incoming Facebook Messenger leads. Some of these vendors are pitching dealers on having their staff handle these inbound leads – this would not be our recommendation. More often than not, we are seeing messages being sent that does one or multiple of the following things:

  • The response does not answer the lead’s question.
  • Pushes the lead for contact information when they are not ready.
  • Has poor grammar within the response – This is your leads’ first contact with you as a dealership – they don’t know that the person responding isn’t in-house.
  • Promises the lead that specific inventory is available when it isn’t.

By having an in-house staff member managing these conversations and funneling these leads over to the appropriate salesperson, you are ensuring that your leads will get the best information when they ask for it. Isn’t that what all of us want when we are making a purchase? Just tell us what we need to know.

3. Make your main Facebook Business Page, the hub for your sale.

More than once, we have found dealers creating a completely separate Facebook Page for their sales events. This could sound like a great idea. But in actuality, you are robbing your Facebook Business page of quality retargeting traffic that you could continue to market to even after the sale is long over. By hosting the event on your Facebook page, you can invite this new traffic to like your page and hopefully convert them later, even if they do not convert during the short-term sale. You are spending time and money on this audience, don’t send them away, lead them to the source.

4. Trust third-party data to convert your leads – not the boost button.

If you are a veteran of the Dealer Authority blog, you know that we are not fans of Facebook’s “Boost” button. We find that this is a “spray and pray” marketing methodology. A short-term event like this needs a targeted audience to promote your promotion to, not a wide net of potential, maybe at some point, customers. When we took a more in-depth look at the leads converted from boosting these events, an average of 54 messages came through over three days, but only an average of 5 appointments was made at the dealership. Unfortunately, we were unable to specifically attribute any one of these 5 leads to the sales event itself from the data we reviewed. What’s even tougher to swallow for dealers is that the amount of money spent on these “Boost” campaigns is typically less $1,000, which is less than an 1/8 of the total package price that these vendors are charging.

By working with a digital marketing partner, like Dealer Authority, that has access to third-party data; a dealer can utilize his or her marketing dollars to reach prospective customers that are actually in the market to buy now. We can even target specific credit scores and the make and model. The boost button can’t do that.

5. Ask an expert before you start.

We get it, the promise of significant results in a short amount of time can sound so tempting, but before you kick off this event, consider the results in comparison to the cost. Do you have the internal staff to support an immediate influx of new potential leads? Do you need a highly specific campaign audience to make this campaign successful? Maybe you have a large amount of a particular model on the lot that needs to move. Why would you create a campaign that doesn’t target customers genuinely interested in that specific vehicle? If you are considering a buy-back event, talk to us. All of these questions are things that the team can run through with you to make sure you’re setting yourself and your business up for success.

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