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Building a New Marketing Funnel for Auto Dealerships

A look at an old funnel

Back in the good old days, just about anytime before 1999, every dealership created its own funnel. They put ads on the radio, TV, in the newspaper, they even sponsored Little League teams, all in an effort to be “top of mind” when the customer thought about buying a car.

The manufacturers ran ads that inspired emotions, sold the safety and economy features, and generally built the brand. 

There was a system in place that had worked well for everyone for a long time.

Then Google came along!

The new funnel

There was a new place to market vehicles: Google and other search engines. 

This was easy. Someone would go on the internet, type in what they were thinking about, and results would pop up that were relevant to their thoughts. If they wanted a small economy car, they typed that in and, in microseconds, they got a bunch of responses. 

Google began selling ads on its search engine. The manufacturers and the new group of third-party sellers jumped on that. After all, what could be better than paying to have the answer to the customer’s question be, “Our cars!” It was awesome. 

Rather than needing to build the entire funnel from brand building to sale, companies and even dealerships were able to simply raise their digital hand and capture the sale.

And it worked. In fact, it worked too well!

Everyone started buying Google ads. And with Google’s massive market penetration and nearly complete coverage of the internet search game, the big boys began buying all the ads. They outbid the local dealerships. 

Sure, you might be able to find a way to pay for ads that would be for “local Fiat dealer near me,” but why would you? If you’re the only game in town, your website and Google My Business listing will pop up anyway.

All of this created so much competition on Google ads that most dealerships were simply priced out of the market or, at least, they weren’t getting the ROI that they need to make it worth doing.

Building the new dealership marketing funnel

If Google is no longer the place to advertise and the old funnels aren’t delivering the returns that they used to, where can you go? Where are the eyeballs and wallets that you need to keep the doors open?

The short answer is Facebook.

The longer answer is Facebook ads. 

Because of the highly local nature of Facebook, ads on the platform are still offering a return on your investment. 

With the right Facebook ad campaign, dealerships are able to target their area, retarget people who have already visited their website, and keep their ads right where the customers are looking – several times a day. 

Because you’re not competing with the manufacturers and the big third-party sites, the prices are still relatively low and well within reach. 

Using Facebook ads, you can hit every part of the funnel, from the top where you’re building your brand to the bottom where the customer is ready to buy. 

Facebook ads allow you to refine your targeting to the point that you’re only reaching people who are likely to buy from you and are in your area. With a television ad, you’re broadcasting all over the place, even if your dealership is on the other side of the city from the potential customer. Facebook ads will let you narrow your ads down to a specific distance from your business. This keeps the focus directly on you. You won’t find yourself advertising models that are on your lot but end up getting sold by the dealership on the other side of town.

The sales funnel still exists, but the good old days of Google handing dealerships the bottom of the funnel are gone. Facebook makes it easy to recreate the funnel. All it takes is some planning and a little experience.

To do this right, it makes sense to enlist the help of experts. There are entire books dedicated to using all the tools that Facebook ads provide you – and all of the books are out of date by the time they get to print. Let a team of experts in auto dealership marketing build the right ads, the right funnel for your business.