Dealership Newsmaker Q&A: Dave Page

Jan. 1, 2020
Dave Page is the director and co-owner of Dealer e-Process, a dealership website and marketing consulting firm based in Downers Grove, Ill.

Dave Page is the director and co-owner of Dealer e-Process, a dealership website and marketing consulting firm based in Downers Grove, Ill. He has written extensively about the challenges of properly marketing dealer fixed-ops departments.

What are dealerships missing when it comes to putting the right kind of online marketing and advertising resources behind their parts and service departments?

The first thing is the budget. Right now, if you took a look at a dealer's service advertising budget in comparison to sales, you might get a $6,000 budget in service, versus a six-figure budget for sales. The opportunity for them to create customers and keep them coming back is completely one sided.

But when you look at the gross profit between the two departments, on the sales side you might gross 5 percent on new cars and 12 percent on used vehicles. In fixed-ops, your gross profit is 38 percent in parts and 78 percent in service. The dealers know these numbers and see them on a financial statement, but yet have the budget lopsided.

The latest craze for service advertising is collecting e-mail addresses. Doing e-mail blasts just doesn't work. The open rate is less than 1 percent at this point.

What strategies are working for dealer service departments online?

We're seeing aggressive dealers build service websites along with their sales websites. Right now the only thing that takes you to the service department on most dealer websites is a banner on the page to schedule an appointment or a little drop-down box. But if you look at the phone calls coming in to the dealer, the majority of people will dial sales and then ask for service. They have been trained to go to the site and then pick up the phone and call.

A dedicated service website should have all of the updates, specials and different programs the department is running. This also opens up the possibility for text marketing. If anybody were to text you, you almost always look at it. Assuming you aren't spamming them, that's where there is an opportunity for additional service marketing. You are seeing fixed-ops get aggressive on Facebook and Twitter, just like sales.

PAGE 2

Think of how many people a dealer touches in fixed-ops on a daily basis versus sales. You have to drive in to get you car fixed; you don't have to drive in to search for a car anymore. The real opportunity to reach all of these people that sales work so hard to get is already there on the fixed ops side. What are you doing to tap into them marketing-wise?

If you do a Google search for “oil change,” not a single dealership is going to show up on the first or second page of the search. How do you get your dealership to show up? You have to create a service-oriented place page with service categories. Independents like Jiffy Lube are doing this on their own, and dealers are wondering why all of their business is going out the window. The independents are beating them at things like Facebook and Twitter.

What are some ways dealerships are effectively leveraging the relationships they already have with sales customers?

We offer Virtual Service Consultant functionality for dealer websites. If we place that on an import dealer site versus a domestic site, the Toyota dealer, for example, will generate 200 appointments with it while the domestic dealer will only generate 25. The import dealers seem to have been more Internet savvy than the domestic dealers. They are training their customer that you can go online and be engaged by the service department through the tools on the website.

You might have live chat on the site or a service banner that follows them as they browse reminding them that you have this price available. You can do a text marketing campaign with a banner that has a coupon code for them. Then you can text them, no more than once a month, with a blast offering. The open rate is around 97 percent.

You can get approval for this right in the service lane. Have a campaign where you come in and have a big sign that says “Text 4144 for instant coupons you can use today.” The minute somebody texts this number in the service lane, you might be giving them a coupon today, but you just got them into a text database that will be opened 97 percent in the future.

Dave Page is the director and co-owner of Dealer e-Process, a dealership website and marketing consulting firm based in Downers Grove, Ill. He has written extensively about the challenges of properly marketing dealer fixed-ops departments.

What are dealerships missing when it comes to putting the right kind of online marketing and advertising resources behind their parts and service departments?

The first thing is the budget. Right now, if you took a look at a dealer's service advertising budget in comparison to sales, you might get a $6,000 budget in service, versus a six-figure budget for sales. The opportunity for them to create customers and keep them coming back is completely one sided.

But when you look at the gross profit between the two departments, on the sales side you might gross 5 percent on new cars and 12 percent on used vehicles. In fixed-ops, your gross profit is 38 percent in parts and 78 percent in service. The dealers know these numbers and see them on a financial statement, but yet have the budget lopsided.

The latest craze for service advertising is collecting e-mail addresses. Doing e-mail blasts just doesn't work. The open rate is less than 1 percent at this point.

What strategies are working for dealer service departments online?

We're seeing aggressive dealers build service websites along with their sales websites. Right now the only thing that takes you to the service department on most dealer websites is a banner on the page to schedule an appointment or a little drop-down box. But if you look at the phone calls coming in to the dealer, the majority of people will dial sales and then ask for service. They have been trained to go to the site and then pick up the phone and call.

A dedicated service website should have all of the updates, specials and different programs the department is running. This also opens up the possibility for text marketing. If anybody were to text you, you almost always look at it. Assuming you aren't spamming them, that's where there is an opportunity for additional service marketing. You are seeing fixed-ops get aggressive on Facebook and Twitter, just like sales.

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PAGE 2

Think of how many people a dealer touches in fixed-ops on a daily basis versus sales. You have to drive in to get you car fixed; you don't have to drive in to search for a car anymore. The real opportunity to reach all of these people that sales work so hard to get is already there on the fixed ops side. What are you doing to tap into them marketing-wise?

If you do a Google search for “oil change,” not a single dealership is going to show up on the first or second page of the search. How do you get your dealership to show up? You have to create a service-oriented place page with service categories. Independents like Jiffy Lube are doing this on their own, and dealers are wondering why all of their business is going out the window. The independents are beating them at things like Facebook and Twitter.

What are some ways dealerships are effectively leveraging the relationships they already have with sales customers?

We offer Virtual Service Consultant functionality for dealer websites. If we place that on an import dealer site versus a domestic site, the Toyota dealer, for example, will generate 200 appointments with it while the domestic dealer will only generate 25. The import dealers seem to have been more Internet savvy than the domestic dealers. They are training their customer that you can go online and be engaged by the service department through the tools on the website.

You might have live chat on the site or a service banner that follows them as they browse reminding them that you have this price available. You can do a text marketing campaign with a banner that has a coupon code for them. Then you can text them, no more than once a month, with a blast offering. The open rate is around 97 percent.

You can get approval for this right in the service lane. Have a campaign where you come in and have a big sign that says “Text 4144 for instant coupons you can use today.” The minute somebody texts this number in the service lane, you might be giving them a coupon today, but you just got them into a text database that will be opened 97 percent in the future.

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