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Unlocking Digital Gold Mine in the Service Department

By Glenn Pasch

Think of the Gold Rush of the early 1900’s. People crossed the country because they heard there was a way to find gold and become rich. Some were successful because they had the right investment in tools and had the right location. They also had the courage to take a chance. Others failed because they were not educated and prepared.

Today, dealers are told there is gold in the service drive.

Most dealers I speak to always ask, “How do I do it?” “How do I know it is working?” “Where can I learn more?”

First, dealers need to realize the potential is there if the marketing of this department is done correctly. Often the focus is only on new or used vehicles. If you find this odd, understand that, on average, Fixed Operations account for an average of 54% of dealerships net profits but only have — (wait for it) — 2% of the visibility on the average dealership website. Two percent?

I asked a few of my clients for some real numbers to back up my hypothesis. My findings were that on average, dealers give as little as 5% to possibly 15% of their marketing budgets to the service and parts departments.

I think there is more gold to be mined. I want to smash a misconception and arm you with a new strategy that many dealers ignore — Facebook Advertising.

Now before we dive in, currently many dealers use SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to market fixed operations and they should continue to do so. But you have to make sure it is being run correctly.

There are many companies out there doing some service advertising SEM campaigns mixed in with the other branding, such as new model and used model campaigns. I have seen some successful but in some cases they are not well thought out.

One of the biggest issues for dealers when doing SEM marketing is that the website is not set up for success. Excuse me if I sound like a broken record but your website and SEM campaigns need to have the following:

  • Specific targeted ads including your special pricing
  • Optimized landing pages for each of the 8-10 basic services they handle with video explaining the service that include the same pricing as the ads.
  • Remarketing efforts to highlight service
  • Have a “Why Service With Us” video on their service page or confirmation page
  • Have a great “Thank You,” page for customers who book service that pops up and offers other options for them to view while they are still on the site.

Remember that it is extremely important to educate yourself to fully understand reports from their SEO and SEM provider in layman’s terms.

Now let’s talk about Facebook advertising. I feel that right now this is one of the most cost effective ways to market service.

The two types of advertising placement is either in the sidebar or in the newsfeed stream. PCG prefers to have them in the news feed because as people scroll through their feed, their first instinct is to think it is a regular post. We have seen more clicks using this strategy versus the sidebar.

It is easy enough for a dealer group to do it themselves but in many cases you should find a competent agency partner to help you. Without getting too technical, reviewing what we did for a client in simple terms will help frame the conversation.

Client Interaction

The client came to us because their Facebook page had little engagement and was not driving traffic to their site.  We created a click to call awareness campaign. This was designed to let FB users in their area know about the service center, their hours and location. Pretty simple.

facebook adsThe ad would show on desktop FB users as well as mobile. One difference we set for the mobile user was having a click to call button in the ad. Remember that a very high percentage of Facebook traffic is mobile so having the click to call button was important and easy for the user to connect with the dealer.

As I mentioned, this form of marketing can be very targeted and also very cost effective. Because this was an awareness campaign, we set the radius of 20 miles around the dealership and goes off of impressions to a local audience. Anyone who is logged into Facebook within a 20 mile radius will see this ad. This ad was shown to 11,838 people 37,849 times and the dollar spend has only been $85.25. See how cost effective this is?

What did this mean in terms of calls or clicks to the website? There were 53 clicks on the call now button. The link clicks were 28. The photo on this ad is attached to the dealerships service page, so when it is clicked, the customer is brought right to service specials. 

In a separate ad we offered a discount for any service the chose. In other campaigns we focused on a tire special or tune-ups and were targeted specifically to their customers who matched using a customer audience for FB.

Custom audiences in FB are created by uploading your customer emails from your CRM. Facebook will match profiles based on those emails. It is not a 100% match but think of the targeted marketing you can do based on your customer’s service history.

Do you see the possibilities?

One of our other clients who embraced this type of advertising told us that their previous month revenue for the service drive increased by 80%.

There are many dealers who finally understand that social media can sell products and services. I think Fixed Operations is a gold mine. This of how you can now compete with the Independents for oil changes and other services. Think of how you can make it easier for customers to see your Why Service message.

It is time to embrace marketing your service drive with the same commitment as your retail side of the dealership. Take advantage of this type of marketing before your competition does and while it is very cost effective.

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