Best PracticesDealership Communication ToolsDealership Marketing

Are Your New Car Specials, Really Special?

Nearly every dealer website provider offers a New Car Specials feature, so why is it NOT a big part of your marketing strategy?

Maybe because it’s like pulling teeth.

Whether you call them “New Car Specials”, “Offers”, “Deals”, “Incentives”, or just simply “Specials” chances are good you have a page dedicated to your best new vehicle offers and chances are equally good you’re not using it right. The idea here is to create a stand out offer that is unique to your dealership.

Sure, you are more than welcome to run the regional offers your OEM provides but is it really “Special” when it’s the same pricing message all of your competitors can use as well?

SO what exactly are you missing?

All dealer websites have some form of New Car Specials Page. Some “Specials” are built using inventory filters that are set to list the new vehicles by longest days in stock. Others require dealership personnel to log into the website backend and hand pick a few stock numbers, throw on a discounted price and call it a day. While other more savvy dealers build their offers (typically using Photoshop or other photo editing equipment). And the most sophisticated dealers turn their homepage slides into their specials page and link each slide to the model-specific inventory. This too is only “O.K.” in the grand scheme of things.

Let’s talk about a fully inclusive New Car Specials Marketing approach…

Don’t Just Use The 5 Models that Sell for Specials

Go Big Or Go Home

You need to pick more than just the 1-5 Models that sell in high volume. Everyone already does that, you need to do better. I recommend creating at least one new car special for every new model that you sell. Even if the 2016 Nissan Versa Note doesn’t sell in high volume doesn’t necessarily mean that no one will buy it. If there’s a customer in your PMA searching for a low monthly lease on a hatchback and you’re the only game in town… You Win.

Showcase Multiple Offers Per Special

Variety and Offer Diversity will Increase Clicks, Calls, Chats and Online Forms.

OK, I get it, it’s a pain in the a$$ to run leases for one price leading model for every model you sell. But this is another way to get a huge leg up on the competition. Just because you have a lease penetration of less than 18% doesn’t mean your customers wouldn’t consider leasing.

The reality is too few dealers are educating their customers on the benefits of leasing. Take advantage of this situation and showcase the best lease, zero down lease, savings amount, buy price, and APR financing rate for every new model. This will give your customers or website visitors a variety of options. Nine out of ten will have questions about the terms and exclusions which can increase calls, chats and form submissions.

Multiple Offers

Don’t Stop With Just On-Site Specials Optimizations

Build a Push and Pull Email Strategy

Having email marketing templates that include your most up to date offers is a great way to get previous leads to resurface and return to your dealer’s website. If you are already using a homepage slideshow slides for Specials, then you’re one step ahead of the game. Use the images in your slideshow in your email campaigns. This is a great way to repurpose pre-existing website content while encompassing a 360 marketing approach.

Use these slideshow images for both response emails for people seeking more information on special or just want to know more about your best deals. This is your pull strategy at work. I also recommend developing a 3rd set of emails specifically designed to be sent out as email blasts to those who submitted model specific leads in prior months but have yet to purchase. Segment your list correctly and you could be looking at a serious home run month in and month out!

Build a Funnel that Drives as Many Eyeballs as Possible to Your Specials Page(s)

Use OEM-themed, sales event banners, homepage slides, VDP sidebar graphics, Pop-ups etc to drive awareness and build familiarly with your visitors. This will help guide them to your best offers without being completely obnoxious. Using OEM themes in your homepage slides, SRP Banners, etc will help drive traffic into your specials. And should help to keep call and email submission levels at their maximum throughout the month.

Hint: you need to update these new car specials at least every two months or when the OEM changes gears.

Streamline PPC Efforts to Include Model Specific Offers

I can not stress enough how powerful this method can be. When a customer searches “Ford Focus Lease” and you’re the only one showing up with the “New Ford Focus Lease Price” in the results, do you have any idea how much damage this can do to the competition. Don’t be surprised if you’re the only dealership showing your specials in your ads. Make sure you have a good price and lease for every vehicle.

*Hint: if you’re the only dealer showing offers in your ads you don’t necessarily need to be the lowest priced. 

Using the marketing strategy laid out above, I have had dealerships result in a 30 – 60% increase in conversion within a few months, and without making any major changes to their advertising budget.

How are you leveraging your New Car Specials?  Comment over in the dealer forums.

Dan Mondello is a true “Car Guy” – his first word (as a baby) was “Vehicle” and while in college Dan worked part time as a Corvette Restorat...