Probably one of the most cost effective and underrated online marketing tactics for car dealers is Craigslist.org. According to compete.com, Craigslist boasts over 46 million unique visitors a month, with Cars & Trucks being their second most popular category. So how much does all this exposure cost? Nothing, it’s free to post in most states, although it definitely requires an investment of time and some finesse. Here’s how to get the most out of your listings:
Start with a strong title and header graphic
Craiglist is more of a browsing action then searching so standing out is important. Just putting the vehicle name in the title won’t cut it; you will need to add some enticing wording to get them to click into the ad. No matter where you’re advertising it’s important to sell your dealership along with the car. Include a bright attractive graphic that talks about the advantages of buying from your dealership. This will help to grab customers’ attention and set you apart from other dealers.
Don’t forget the call to action
You would be surprised how compliant people are when you tell them what to do next. Personally I like to include three calls to action for good measure “Click to see our inventory”, “Get pre-approved now”, and “Call today to schedule an appointment”. Make sure they link to your website.
Staying on top
Staying visible on Craigslist is easy, but time consuming, since postings are listed chronologically you simply have to be the last to post. Craigslist will allow you to delete and then repost a listing every 48 hours which makes this easier to manage. I found the best way to handle posting is to divide your inventory into eight groups and then spread that over two days. So if you have 100 vehicles in stock then you would post 12 or so ads four times a day for the first two days. On the third day you can start deleting the first day’s ads and reposting them. I should note that it is exactly 48 hours to repost so if started posted them at 10am on the first day you have to wait until 10am on the third day.
Beware of the ghost
One of the nuisances of Craigslist is occasionally their spam filters will restrict postings from showing up on the site, this is referred to as ghosting. The most common reasons for your ads being ghosted are posting in more then one location, posting too much too fast, complicated or broken html code in your post, posting in an area you are not physically located, and too many non alpha or numeric characters in the title. Since you don’t get any warnings when you are ghosted, make sure you periodically check the cars and truck section of the site to confirm your posts are going through.
Kristen Mauro is a marketing expert at More Cars Sold (www.MoreCarsSold.com). She can be reached directly at 267-255-9544.
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