Working with dealerships across the US and internationally, I have noticed a scenario is common across almost every single one of them with very few exceptions. Service and parts, or Fixed Operations departments are the top revenue driver for most dealerships but it is given the least marketing resources to grow.
I think most of the struggle is that dealers do not know how to expand their marketing efforts outside of offline marketing (in the form of mailers with specials, for example) to increase this revenue generator.
Their “digital” marketing efforts may only be a newsletter with a service coupon or an email blast. However, there is no consistent marketing through the digital world for parts or service.
What should a dealer do to in terms of marketing fixed operations online?
First, dealers need to review their current digital marketing efforts and decide where they could expand.
- Do they have optimized landing pages for each of the 8-10 basic services they handle?
- Do they have specific SEM campaigns or remarketing efforts to highlight service?
- Do they have a, “Why Service With Us,” video on their service page or confirmation page?
- Do they 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?
- Do they work closely with their SEO and SEM provider to drive relevant traffic to these pages in order to convert leads?
Lastly, they need to enroll the leadership of the fixed operations department into proper digital marketing educational programs so they can unlock their entrepreneurial efforts to grow their businesses.
If dealerships continue to do what they have always done in terms of marketing fixed operations, they will never keep their customers from going to the independents. Have you seen Meineke or some of the third parties’ digital strategies? Pretty impressive. Iconization of the website, clear initiative, well thought out.
Go to nearly any dealership website and you will see that the extent of the effort to market fixed operations is a form on a page with nothing else on it, or a list of coupons that have no creativity. Some service pages even contain links that take you off the dealership website. That’s not such a great way to treat your money making machine.
If dealers focused their marketing on this revenue generator, or if fixed operations was a priority, what could they accomplish?
2015 has to be the year that dealerships realize that underfunding the marketing for service and parts is taking away revenue from the bottom line. It is time to share digital education amongst all departments, and to stop giving the Fixed Operation departments a reason to feel like the jealous sibling of the sales departments.