A dealership’s fixed ops (service/parts) department is typically more profitable than the dealership’s variable ops (sales) department. However, marketing a dealership’s fixed ops department is oftentimes overlooked; if not partially, then entirely. We see it manifested in various ways – from the majority of attendees at trade shows coming from the variable ops departments and only the largest packages in OEM digital marketing including service and parts campaigns, to the fact that you’ll rarely ever see a dealership in a paid position when Googling a service term such as “oil change near me”.
During these unprecedented times of COVID-19, it is in the best interest of the dealership to focus more efforts on marketing their fixed ops departments, especially considering how profit margins in the sales department are shrinking and cost-to-market continues to rise as the landscape becomes more and more competitive. Integrating fixed ops marketing into a dealership’s strategy lends itself to a more complete solution.
There are various ways dealerships can focus on marketing their fixed ops departments:
- Google My Business — Google now allows multiple listings for the same business on one Google My Business page (i.e. service and parts versus sales on a dealership’s main GMB). This allows a dealership to have the same address for sales and service/parts, but different department hours, phone numbers, etc.
- SEO Custom Content Pages – On a new car dealership’s website, the vast majority of SEO Custom Content pages are model-specific pages. The minority of dealerships are creating SEO Custom Content pages that focus on the 10 or so key services they handle, and there is missed opportunity here. These pages are helpful not only for the benefits of providing online visitors information they may be searching for and Google with relevant content to boost SEO, but also serve as great landing pages for any service-related paid search ads.
- Paid Search (PPC) – In the Google paid search auction, dealerships are not only competing with other dealerships for fixed ops business, but also with the independents such as Jiffy Lube, Discount Tire, Midas, etc. If dealers aren’t running service and parts paid search campaigns and losing the business to the independents for an oil change, they will likely lose that customer’s entire service business.
- Social – Dealerships can create service specials on Facebook, such as a battery special that, once clicked, lands the customer on the appropriate service details page. One example: While practicing social distancing, you’ll pick a customer’s vehicle up for them, and return once the service is complete!
- Waze – Essential employees who are still on the road may be in need of a timely service to their vehicle (i.e.: oil change) and can be marketed to effectively with the Google-owned navigation app. Since Waze is not as commonly used as Google and Facebook, it is often much less expensive, as well.
The focus here is marketing fixed ops in a digital manner, especially since many dealers have been doing the traditional fixed ops marketing of service mailers. Making sure you’re in front of the customers while they are at home or an essential employee on the go and in need of service is the goal. If you’re a dealership interested in marketing your fixed ops department, please reach out to Dealer eProcess. We look forward to speaking with you!