As car dealers try to navigate the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, it’s become clear that used vehicle acquisition is an issue for many dealers. Fewer new car sales during what’s normally the peak spring and summer selling season meant fewer opportunities to acquire trade-ins. Consumers with leases weren’t able to turn in their vehicles, which led to a shortage of vehicles at the auction lots. Fewer vehicles at the auctions sent prices upwards as demand outpaced available supply.
Add it all up, and as a car dealer you’re probably left struggling to find a way to get enough quality pre-owned vehicles on your lot to satisfy pent-up demand. The good news is that in addition to our trade-in tips below, we have also dedicated an entire webinar to show you exactly how to create a connected marketing campaign that will help you win the highly competitive battle for pre-owned vehicle acquisition.
Check out the webinar if you can, but keep reading to get even more actionable trade-in tips that you can use today!
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR TRADE-IN ENGAGEMENT
Before your start driving traffic to your website to generate trade-in engagement, you need to make sure it’s prepared to handle and convert that traffic first. Here are our recommendations for prepping your website:
Upgrade Your Trade-In Page: Optimize your current trade-in landing page with an SEO audit and fresh content to build organic value. The goal is to help explain your trade-in process, set expectations and build trust with your visitors that are considering trading in their vehicle at your dealership. We can also set you up with a dynamic form from TradePending® that quickly generates leads step-by-step.
Create a Sell Your Car Page: Due to current events, there are more people than ever who simply want to sell their vehicle outright but a dealership may not be the first place they think of. By having a landing page on your site that specifically speaks to these people, you can drive traffic to that page with targeted advertising campaigns giving you even more opportunities to acquire a quality pre-owned vehicle for your inventory.
Make Trade-In Engagement a Priority: To ensure that the majority of your visitors are aware of your trade-in pages, link to them in your main menu navigation at the top level. Also be sure that your main Trade-In CTA is visible on your homepage above the fold to maximize impressions — especially on mobile.
START TRADE-IN CHATS ON EVERY OTHER PAGE
From there we recommend reprogramming (or adding if needed) all of your Value Your Trade-In CTAs across your website — from your homepage to your VDPs — to launch an automated messaging experience in Conversations™ powered by Ana Bot.
A consumer answers as few simple questions about themself and their vehicle and Ana Bot will provide them with an instant trade-in estimate, and then prompt the user for an appointment. Once the conversation ends, Ana Bot will send all the info she captured to your CRM so you can follow up with this high quality lead to establish next steps.
BE GOOGLE’S ANSWER FOR TRADE-IN QUESTIONS
The #1 question customers have before they’re willing to contact a dealership is “Can I Afford It?”, and the value of their trade-in is a huge part of that. Be there when they ask that question by setting-up a Google Ad campaign for people searching for how to get an estimated trade-in value.
You can even take it a step further by setting-up an ad group in your campaign that specifically targets local residents who are looking to sell their car, and land them on that newly created We’ll Buy Your Car landing page we talked about above.
It’s also worth noting that we see a lower average cost per click when running a trade-in ads compared to running a new make/model search. Trade-in ads see an average of about a $4.26 cost per click, while new model searches average closer to the $5.26 cost per click. And with trade-in intent more likely to generate a direct lead, the overall cost effectiveness of these campaigns shouldn’t be ignored.
INCREASE CONVERSIONS WITH A TRADE-IN SITELINK
Aside from creating ad groups targeted to people explicitly looking to trade-in or sell their vehicle, you can also incorporate a Value Your Trade sitelink in your other ad campaigns. We’ve found that ads that include this sitelink extension lead to a 45% increase in conversion rate!
If you happen to be a Conversations™ user as well, you can deep link the Value Your Trade sitelink to send a user directly into an automated workflow within Conversations™ where Ana Bot will provide the trade-in estimate in a matter of seconds, and also generate a lead for your dealership at the same time. Now THAT is a connected experience!
SPREAD THE WORD WITH GOOGLE POSTS
The follow up to the publication of any new content on your website is distributing it where people can discover it even if they’re not specifically looking for it in that moment. As I’m sure you know, Google My Business is currently one of the most powerful tools in your SEO toolbox.
Utilizing Google Posts to push out your trade-in or sell your car messaging is a great way to get the word out that’s easily discoverable right on your dealership’s GMB Listing in the search results. Link these posts directly to the appropriate landing page or even the automated trade-in flow within Conversations™ to get people where they need to be as quickly as possible.
GET INSTANT TRADE-IN LEADS ON FACEBOOK
While Google is great for reaching local consumers who are actively searching to trade-in their vehicle in the moment, Facebook is where you want to be to help local in-market shoppers discover your dealership.
Run an engaging trade-in video campaign (we can provide FREE creative!) that instantly pulls shoppers into a trade-in conversation within Facebook Messenger, giving them an estimate on their vehicle and capturing the lead for you without the shopper ever having to leave the app.
GO BEYOND THE E-BLAST WITH YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS
While email has always been a powerful tool in your tool box, to truly drive your trade-in acquisition strategy forward, you need to start thinking beyond the CRM based “e-blast” that you send to everyone in your database.
Instead, start thinking about how you can implement more refined email marketing campaigns targeted toward specific segments of your database so you can deliver the most relevant message that’s is more likely to generate some trade-in engagement from the folks who already know you. Here are just a few campaigns to consider:
Need an Upgrade?: Send to customers in your database who have financed a vehicle 3-4 years ago. The message here is simple…”a lot has changed, is it time for an upgrade?”.
Treat Yourself: Send to your customers who purchased 5-7 years ago and remind them just how long that is, and say hey…”don’t you deserve something new?”.
Financial Hardship: In light of COVID, a lot of people’s financial situations have unfortunately changed. Send an email to your customers who financed a car the past 1 to 3 years and provide options to reduce payments by trading in their vehicle for something more affordable or to sell it outright.
Post-Sale Drip: Set up post-sale drip campaigns that will automatically send at predetermined times. Be doing the work up front and planning out the cadence, you can consistently send little annual reminders to your customers that maybe now is the time to trade in their vehicle.
If It’s Broke, Replace It: Send campaigns targeted towards your customers who recently declined having an expensive service performed. Instead of paying that large repair bill on your 5 year old vehicle, why not skip the repair completely and trade it in as-is for something new?
There’s so much you can do with email from a segmentation and messaging standpoint — but that’s just half the battle. The other half is making sure that your email is designed to look great on all devices, is built to convert, and can ultimately land in the recipient’s inbox. If you need a help with your email marketing efforts, our team is here to help you deliver the right email, to the right people at the right time.
START TRADE-IN CONVERSATIONS FROM YOUR TRADITIONAL ADS
Every Conversations™ client is provided a unique SMS text number for inbound & outbound text messaging. For the icing on this delicious marketing cake, dedicate some real estate within your traditional ad campaigns (newspaper, direct mail, billboard, tv, etc) to tout your Instant Trade-In Estimate capabilities by including your Conversations™ SMS text number to generate genuine digital engagement from otherwise static assets.
LET’S GET TO WORK.
Are you ready to do this? Just say the word and our team will work with you to drive more customers (and inventory) onto your lot.