With daily newspapers and online new sites being focused on one subject and one subject alone as we negotiate our way through the COVID-19 crisis, advertising may seem a little futile, not least because the car sales industry is as locked down as the rest of the economy.
But no advertising means no awareness. So, should you still keep those ads going, and if so why?
Should I advertise my cars at all?
If you can, then do.
Business is nothing without awareness and you won’t drive awareness without putting your name out there, even if most customers are busy looking in the other direction. Even a small advert is enough to catch someone’s eye.
Plus, in these times of lockdown, many people are dreaming about the future and what they want to do when restrictions are eased. While many will be counting the cost of recent months, there’ll be others for whom the purchase of a new car will be a tonic they’ve been looking forward to.
Also, people on furlough who are stuck at home with no work to do are spending a lot more time reading or surfing the web – and possibly looking at cars.
Where should I advertise cars?
This will be different for larger and smaller dealers, as well as those tied into franchises who may well be driven by the manufacturer’s internal policies and regional marketing support.
But one thing that has become clear from the coronavirus crisis is that, where previously we’d cast our nets far and wide in order to track down a bargain, the importance of local communities and local businesses has suddenly and sharply come into focus.
Therefore, a well-placed ad in your local news outlets is probably more valuable than ever before – the online and print editions of local newspapers need support from local businesses right now and will undoubtedly give you plenty of value for whatever you have available to spend.
But with car dealerships being closed, what on earth is the point of me advertising?
There are two things to consider here.
First, the effects of lockdown will be different for everyone and while many, especially the self-employed, will take a huge hit in terms of revenues and future income projections, there are others who are being paid 80 per cent of their normal salaries for sitting at home not spending money.
And when their freedom is returned to them, they’ll be the ones who will be looking to make a fresh start, of which a new car may well be a part. Catch them now while they’re wondering what to buy next and when.
Also, not all car sales have stopped and while you can’t open the dealership as normal just yet, you can still sell cars if observing the correct social distancing measures.
If you target your advertising towards offering a solution to keyworkers who need to buy or replace a car, explaining that this is something you’re able to accommodate could very easily con vert itself into a couple of sales.
Isn’t advertising my cars now an expense my business doesn’t need?
Most publishers, online or print, will be delighted to hear from you if you pick up the phone right now and if you’re approaching them directly asking for a deal, you’ll get one.
The local media needs its advertisers as much as its advertisers need their local media, so if you’re happy to broker a deal that involves putting some cash their way at a time when they need it most, chances are you’ll get a superb deal right now and some form of appreciation back from them in the future, such as better ad placement or lower long-term rates. If your business is stable enough, it’s a conversation that’s well worth having.
What about my usual online advertising solutions – should I use those?
Once again, if you can – yes. Most of the major online classified sites have offered free periods to dealers during this difficult time so make the most of that and get your stock on the sites.
There is talk of pent up demand when the lockdown does lift so you need to ensure your cars are advertised in the usual places for when that happens. Now is the time to plan and get things ready.
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