Every year since 2009, according to NADA’s Dealership Financial Profile data, the average dealer has generated over 50% of their gross profit from Fixed Operations. When I speak at NADA or other national conferences on service department marketing, I get the same reaction – lots of heads nodding, lots of note-taking, lot of dealers telling me, “I know we should be doing this”. Unfortunately, I’ve been getting that same reaction for almost 3 years.
We all know that dealers are busy people and they frequently struggle to make time for new things, like investing time and money into marketing their Fixed Ops department online, even if they know they should be doing it.
In 2011, one of our smartest and most creative customers requested that we build his dealership a brand new website, entirely separate from his dealership’s site, devoted to marketing the Fixed Operations side of his business. At the time it was fairly unheard of – everyone knew that a dealership’s website existed to sell cars.
We think it’s important to help our dealers test digital marketing strategies, so we worked with our customer to build a separate, stand-alone site that strictly marketed his Fixed Operations. Now, nearly 3 years later, after having started from scratch with a new URL, his site gets more than 2,000 visits per month – more than some dealers’ regular websites that have been online for 15 years. Because our customer had the foresight and willingness to invest his time and efforts 3 years ago, he now controls a valuable digital marketing asset—a Fixed Operations website that generates more than 2K visits per month!
In 2014, I encourage you to re-examine how you are allocating your marketing budget, and make sure that you’re devoting enough time and resources to the Service Department, which is probably generating more than half of your profit. As we all know, Google considers content to be king, so give your team a goal to generate 3-4 pages of unique, Service-related content each month. In a year, you will have 40-50 pages of unique, high-quality content focused on marketing the most profitable part of your dealership.
Once you have enough content, you can start building campaign-specific landing pages for email marketing campaigns to your DMS contacts. You can build PPC landing pages and begin running Adwords campaigns to conquest Parts and Service business from the National Service Brands like Firestone and Goodyear. If you want some more ideas on how to market your Service Department after you start building content for it, check out my Webinar from June, “7 Proven Strategies to Double Your Fixed Ops Profit”. You will learn what types of keywords consumers use when they research service department offerings and how mobile is impacting Fixed Ops marketing.
So, even if you haven’t built out any online content for your service department asides from the few out-of-the-box pages your website provider incorporates into your regular website, make it your goal to begin creating Service-focused digital content in 2014. In 2 years you will build up an asset that may generate as much traffic as your regular website already does.