Is Your Dealership Visible Online?
In decades past, auto dealerships in the US were able to advertise through television and print ads plus of course they had beautiful women in their showrooms to help spur sales of their vehicles. But the battle for auto sale dollars has now shifted dramatically to the online world. Today if you are not online your auto dealership is probably lagging behind your competitors both in terms of local advertising and national advertising. But why exactly should you go online at all?
You are probably debating in your mind the value of putting up a website when it comes to advertising your vehicles for you. True, you could still go the traditional route of using TV and print ads (and yes the beautiful women in the showroom could still help sell one or two cars) but going online is valuable in a different way. For one, with one website alone you could already be marketing to your immediate community (which takes care of local advertising) as well as to a national audience (which takes care of national advertising). Not only that, but there is the side effect of having an international presence as well (which is great if visitors from overseas were to visit your immediate community and possibly relocate there for business or personal reasons). The cost of going online is significantly less than that of taking out a TV ad or advertising in a local or national newspaper yet the brand recall is probably even better with online ads. That could be because with online ads on your website you get to post pictures and content that leave a better imprint on the minds of netizens, compared to the brand recall that is inherent with TV and newspaper print ads. Sounds good? There’s more.
With a website of your own you can easily change content overnight without incurring huge cost. You can literally run promotion after promotion on a continuous basis yet still keep costs low whereas with a TV ad you would still have to pay for endorsers, a host and models as well as have people make special effects for the ad itself. That means big money. Same holds true with a print ad – you would have to do the layout and take pictures then have the local/national magazines approve the ad and print it for you.
Then there is the element of time. With a website you have the freedom to change content within seconds, minutes or hours depending on whom you are hiring to help manage website content for you. With a TV ad you need hours to prepare the people who will star in the ad, shoot the ad itself, then do post-production. With a newspaper ad, it also takes hours to make a newspaper ad look presentable. You will be able to initiate changes quickly and with less fuss with an online website that you use for advertising.
Then there is the censorship issue. With a TV ad and a print ad you have to worry about staying within decency boundaries (because children can easily access TV, magazines and newspapers). But with a website, you have free reign over how explicit (or tame) you wish your advertising to get. That’s one great thing about the Internet – freedom of expression really rules in this domain. Of course, you would still have to follow the principle of “truth in advertising” regardless of whether you go for TV and print advertising or for online advertising. But children would probably not have that much free access to anything and everything online so you’re safer going online and doing your kind of advertising there. After all, parents can now block unwanted sites with the new software being offered nowadays so that protects children (especially those who are pretty young).
With the advent of mobile devices your online ads will also be more readily seen by interested netizens anytime and anywhere that a clear signal is available. With TV ads, your audience has to be in front of a television set to be able to see such ads. And with print ads, your audience has to find a store or newsstand that sells the right magazines and newspapers first – then scan through the entire magazine or newspaper – before they will be able to see your ads.
Let’s not forget that the market for your automobiles is people with disposable income. People who can afford to pay for computers, mobile devices and Internet access fall into this category. So with all these arguments in favour of online advertising, you would be foolish to pass up on the opportunity to take your auto dealership advertising online now.
Written By: Daryl Diemer – Founder of Diemer Corp
August 16, 2014