Fixed Ops has always struggled to get its share of the online marketing dollars. Let’s face it, the show is run by the sales department, and unless you are talking about the GM, the person influencing the decisions doesn’t typically get paid on fixed ops revenue. In recent times, however, things have started to shift.
The OEMs are starting to “strongly recommend” that dealers have a bigger digital ad presence for fixed ops. The goal is to take back some of the volume lost to the third party service facilities (Jiffy Lube, Tire Kingdom, etc.). The added benefit is that the dealer can influence customer loyalty by having the customer visit the dealership for service. The dealership that changes the tires has a much greater chance of selling the next vehicle.
Now enter COVID-19. Most showrooms are closed, or at least running on skeleton crews. At the same time, the service drives have been designated as an essential service. Dealers are shifting digital ad dollars that were previously spent on the sales efforts to the fixed ops, knowing that they would at least cause increased flow through the service drive. This provides service revenue and gives the sales team an opportunity to sell the customers out of the service lounge.
With the new focus on fixed ops, and digital marketing, dealers have to decide what the right focus level should be. With a new strategy, comes the question of whether it should be temporary, such as while the current shelter in place recommendations exist, or a more permanent shift in philosophy. What is the right digital advertising focus for fixed ops, especially where every store, in every location, is different?
To begin, look at your site. Is there any content related to fixed ops? What we are looking for is relevant landing pages for items like tires, batteries, shocks, etc. By having relevant content, you can dramatically swing the organic searches to your site. SEO is typically considered a slow slog through the muck in order to see any results. Where fixed ops is concerned, if done right, it can actually provide measurable month one results in organic traffic. The reason for this is that it is largely an unoccupied space. The added benefit is that content provides a nice landing page for marketing efforts. By having relevant content, your fixed ops clicks will be cheaper.
Next look at your expected territory. Don’t fall into the trap of using the same radius as the sales efforts. People will drive farther to buy a car than they will for service. Start close and blanket the area. Any searches for your brand and service related terms should have you showing up.
Next look at your ad text. The specials pages are among the most visited on your site. Mimic that in your ads. The perception is that service by the dealership will be more money than elsewhere. Change that by inserting pricing in your ad text. This doesn’t mean that you have to go to a not-for-profit model. We are talking about the items like oil changes, where you have already stripped out the profit. At the same time, you still have the ability to up-sell all of these customers.
Given that this is often uncontested territory, look at what your competition is doing. Think back to the idea that the dealership changing the tires has a much greater chance of selling the next vehicle. If your competition is sleeping on fixed ops, this is a sneaky way to conquest some customers. By siphoning off their service customers, you can cut into their sales at the same time! Score!
This effort should continue after things in the showroom go back to normal. Every department wins when the service drive is active.
Call us at 877-551-2555 or email us at Sales@DealereProcess.com to set up a one-on-one call and talk more about a strategy for your store!