3rd Party Sales Leads (continued)
Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
By Ralph Paglia
Director – Digital Marketing / ADP Dealer Services
email:
RPaglia@AutomotiveDealersNetwork.com
View Jim Bernardi's profile on LinkedIn
Ralph has held positions such as OEM Partnership
Executive for Reynolds and Reynolds, CRM/eBusiness
Director, New Car Sales Manager, Used Car Manager,
F&I Director, General Sales Manager and General
Manager. He led the development and design of
nationally implemented CRM and eBusiness programs
for Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and other car
companies. He also designed Ford’s BDC program
Mercedes-Benz StarLeads CRM system and the
Mercedes-Benz BDC.
    OLD 3rd Party Lead Buying Budget:
    150 leads (<35 miles) each month from Dealix @ $20 = $3,000
    50 leads (<35 miles) each month from AutoUSA @ $20 = $1,000
    50 New Car leads each month from Autobytel @ $20 = $1,000
    25 leads (metro market) each month from Jumpstart @ $20 = $500
    100 leads (<35 miles) each month from iMotors @ $20 = $2,000
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Total 3rd Party Lead Budget (OLD) = $7,500.00

    NEW 3rd Party Lead Buying Budget:
    50 Truck and SUV leads each month from Dealix @ $20 = $1,000
    25 leads (20 miles) each month from AutoUSA @ $20 = $500
    20 Used Car leads each month from Autobytel @ $20 = $400
    25 leads (metro) each month from Jumpstart @ $20 = $500
    50 leads (20 miles) each month from iMotors @ $20 = $1,000
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Total 3rd Party Lead Budget (NEW) = $3,400.00

    Automotive Lead Exchange (ALE) lets dealers bid on leads by year, make, model, financing, geography and
    more... You cannot convince me that a Ford, Chevy or Dodge dealer in the current market conditions would
    NOT be able to capitalize on Truck and SUV leads within 20 miles of his dealership, and only from zip codes
    with average income levels over $100K a year.

    Most members of ADM probably know my reputation for developing powerful and highly effective strategies
    and tactics that generate thousands of home-grown leads for dealers... But, you know what? If you really want
    to get good at generating your own leads while working at a dealership, then you need to study the way
    automotive lead providers generate leads. And what better way than to keep doing business with them, but
    scale the expense back by cherry picking the very best leads from them as you grow your own lead generating
    capabilities. If you take the time to visit the following microsite, you can go look at the Chevy section in
    InvoiceDealers.com and you will see who taught me how to design the site to compete with 3rd party lead
    providers, by becoming one!      http://www.Phoenix-Chevrolet-Dealers.com
    When dealers and their managers tell me that they have STOPPED BUYING
    any 3rd party leads, I ask them 2 questions:

    1. Which competitor now gets the leads from these suppliers for the customers that live within 5 miles of their
    dealership?

    2. Correct me if I am wrong, but I see you have 150 new 2008 Pickup Trucks in stock, and it is almost October
    2008... Have you decided that it is NOT a prudent and wise decision to buy leads originating from the area close
    to your dealership that have selected a New 2008 Pickup Truck?

    Think... Construct a plan based on what you need or have available to sell, and then boil it all down to your best
    guesstimate based on historical numbers. It simply does not make sense to fire a well run, high integrity 3rd party
    lead provider when you can manage which leads you are buying by vehicle, customer, location and other
    parameters that can be used to optimize your results.
    Personally, I recommend that dealers look at all their marketing
    investments by category (not supplier) each month with a critical thinking
    and analysis approach to the question:"With a total marketing and advertising
    budget of $XXX,XXX.XX, are we optimizing the allocation mix for maximum
    impact on our objectives...". When I manage or consult with dealership Internet
    departments, there is always some level of purchased leads that become part
    of the overall budget. Why? Because it is a logical and rational decision based
    on a methodical analysis of historical ROI and it is part of having a comprehensive
    digital marketing strategy designed to ensure a minimum threshold of unit sales and optimized on a continuous
    basis to drive down Marketing and Advertising Cost PVR.
For example, it seems illogical to me that any dealer would buy leads from a supplier like AutoUSA or Dealix for years
and years... Then a decision is made to "stop buying 3rd party leads" and a source of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or however
many deals sold each month to leads from these suppliers is simply eliminated... What about the salespeople who have
been selling cars to those leads? What arrangements have we made to keep them employed with our dealership by
replacing those leads with same or better leads from somewhere else? Are we just going to hope that we figure out this
digital marketing thing fast enough that the leads we just cancelled will be replaced with better home-grown leads?

I don't get it... Although I have done it, suffered the negative consequences, and then in hindsight saw how ignorant I
was to shut off previously good long term partners... You know what makes a LOT MORE SENSE? First, if you are going
to generate your own leads, prove that you can do it first. If you have already been increasing your self-generated leads
to a point where you are comfortable cutting back on the marketing budget allocated to 3rd party leads, then consider
the following scenario as an example to illustrate a concept, an approach to this issue:
In the above scenario, we reduced the 3rd Party Lead Budget by OVER 50% and increased both the quality of
the total lead mix. And we better aligned the vehicles being sought by the customers submitting leads we are buying with
what we need to sell. After all, if you are a Toyota dealer, buying Prius leads may have zero impact on your store's total
Prius sales... So why would you buy them? Alternately, I know a lot of Toyota stores that should probably be buying
Tundra and Sequoia leads right now!

    I have seen far too many dealerships have their sales negatively impacted by
    managers making decisions about marketing strategies and tactics they know very little
    about. Too many people in the car business want to make sweeping policy statements
    that portray decisions about the subject of 3rd party leads as being black and white. In
    the real world, we must optimize a dozen shades of grey to maximize our marketing
    efficiencies, sell more vehicles, and reduce our advertising cost PVR. Independently
    produced and supplied 3rd party leads can be managed with exceptional effectiveness
    to reduce their total cost and drive increased sales and ROI. But, before I go to far into
    this subject, please note that I have never worked for a 3rd party lead provider, I do not
get spiffs or bonuses from them, and while I was at Courtesy Chevrolet from 2005 to 2007 I squeezed over $100,000 in
account credits out of my stable of lead providers by tracking everything meticulously and having an administrative
assistant who got 10% commission on all credits that we received in writing. In fact, I may be one of the most feared and
despised automotive marketing professionals within the 3rd party lead industry.

Let me explain what I was referring to when I previously stated that dealers can manage their lead purchases from 3rd
party providers. Any dealer signed up with Dealix can log into their Dealix dealer account administration tool and place
check marks next to make, model, type, year and other variables that specify which leads on what vehicles you are
willing to pay for... I've had months when I only checked the models I had too many of in stock, and my lead volume
would go from 300 to 100 leads... And the bill reflected that reduction. So why would you shut off such a powerful tool,
instead of using it to manage the resource, reduce your expenses and only get leads on the vehicles that you most
need to sell?
What will you do with all the money you will save?

Take the $4,100 you saved by optimizing 3rd party leads and reducing the fees, open up a Google Adwords account,
and then create a Keyword targeted search advertising campaign. HOWEVER, only bid on keywords that your
dealership's website is NOT organically ranked by Google within the top 5 free listing positions. That might use up
around $1,500 to $2,000 a month if you are in a large market, far less in rural or less densely populated regions.
Take the remaining $2,100 to $2,600 left from your 3rd party lead provider budget cuts and allocate $800 to a
professionally produced monthly eNewsletter that goes out to your best 20,000 email addresses (I had over
200,000). Make sure you go with either Outsell or IMN because they are both white listed and they both do a great
job. With the remaining $1300 to $1800 in your budget, create placement targeted Google Adwords campaigns using
animated Flash based digital advertising (provided by your VMR at ADP Digital Marketing).

Use Google's placement targeted "add placements" tool to select about 100 popular websites where your ads will
appear whenever anybody between 25 and 64 YO with an income of over $50,000 a year that lives or works within
your Google "Metro" geotargeting area.

For example, if you are a Ford dealer, get space to place your ads on:
Ford-Trucks.com
FordTruckWorld.tenmagazines.com
Stangnet.com
FullsizeBronco.com
FordAutoextra.com
ModdedMustangs.com
BlueOvalNews.com
FordMuscle.com
FordEdgeForum.co
Mustangclassifieds.com
MustangForums.com
ModularFords.com
FordF150.net
TheRangerstation.com
F150online.com
Blueovalnews.com
FordForum.com
Forums.Vintage-Mustang.com
SVTperformance.com
Blueovalforums.com
FordForums.com
Classifieds.Stangnet.com
Corral.net
Crownvic.net
FordFusionclub.com
Forums.Stangnet.com
Mustangworld.com
FordForum.com
FordMuscle.com
MustangDreams.com
AllFordMustangs.com
Chicagosvt.com
FordPower.net
FordEdgeForum.com
ExplorerForum.com
FordForums.com
If you are a Chevy dealer, use your adwords account to advertise your dealership to customer
in your market who visit national websites such as:
ChevroletForum.com
Chevelles.com
ChevyTrader.com
GM-Volt.com
Chevellestuff.com
ChevyTruckWorld.tenmagazines.com
GMinsidenews.com
Chevettes.com
FullsizeChevy.com
GM-Volt.com
Chevrolet.jbcarpages.com
ChevyCobalt.info
GM-Trucks.com
Chevy-Camaro.com
ChevyHiperformance.com
GMtruckClub.com
Chevy.off-road.com
ChevyReviews.com
SilveradoSS.com
ChevyHHR.net
Chevy-Malibu.com
There are many dealers selling any make of vehicles that would do well with the right
advertisements appearing in front of local customers when they visit popular national websites like:
Carfax.com
AutoMallUSA.net
CarandDriver.com
Carcraft.com
MotorTrend.com
Auto123.com
CarBargainsWeekly.com
CarDealerCheck.com
Autotrader.com
AutomobileMag.com
CarBuyersNotebook.com
CarDealersNearYou.com
Autobytel.com
NewCarTestDrive.com
CarBuyingDiscounts.com
CarDealersUSA.com
InvoiceDealers.com
Car-advisor.org
CarBuyingTips.com
CarDealerz.com
Cars.com
Car-dealerships-by-city.com
CarBuyTip.com
CarDetective.com
CarSmart.com
Car-forums.com
CarCasher.com
CarDomain.com
Cartalk.com
Car-stuff.com
CarCentral.com
CarFinderService.com
FamilyCar.com
Caradisiac.com
CarComplaints.com
CarFolio.com
CarForums.net
CarLoaninc.com
CarPictures.com
Cars-Directory.net
CarGurus.com
CarNut.com
Carpoint.com
Cars-Guide.com
CarJunky.com
CarPhotoAlbums.com
CarPredictor.com
Cars-on-Line.com
Cars.mylounge.com
Cars.qoae.net
Cars.stargeek.com
Carseek.com
CarLeasingsecrets.co
CarPictures.carjunky.com
CarReview.com
Cars.about.com
CarsandStripes.com
CarsCarsCars.blogs.com
Carsdirect.com
CarSellersUSA.com
CarsforSale.com
CarSite.com
CarsOnline-Ads.com
CarsforSale.classifieds1000.com
CarShowNews.com
Carsmexico.com
CarsPlusplus.com
CarSpyshots.net
CarSurvey.org
Cartype.com
Carworks.com
Carzunlimited.com
The lists above are a small set of examples I copied out of over 1,400 web publications loaded into my Google
Adwords account campaigns, only to show some examples. There are well over a thousand automotive related websites
that you can use Google Adwords to place your ads within, and target them so you only pay to show your ads to local
visitors from your dealership's market area when they visit these nationally popular website.

Plus, we have seen many examples where dealers create a high quality perception of their store within local groups
of highly influential people that coworkers, relatives and friends turn to for automotive buying advice. When the office
Ford freak sees your store's ads all over www.Ford-Trucks.com he starts telling people who ask him about where to get
the best deal on a Ford truck to contact or visit your dealership. When a mother of 3 uses FamilyCar.com to look up the
proper way to install child-care car seats and every time she goes there, she sees your dealership's animated but classy
advertisement on the top of the home page, she starts to associate your dealership with all the qualities of
FamilyCar.com that she appreciates so much.

Sometimes Google can make it challenging to find the best sites (they need to sell you space the dogs with
excess inventory), but I have collected over 1,400 automotive website URL's that you can use Google Adwords to bid on
website space and place animated Flash display ads (like the 2 San Francisco Ford Ads on ADM's home page),
Click-To-Play Video Ads, Static image ads, text based ads and all kinds of eye catching creative displays to capture a
car buyer's attention BEFORE they go to a 3rd party lead provider website and submit a lead!
    In summary, 3rd party lead providers that provide dealers with the right management tools should be considered
    within your overall planning and budgeting in order to achieve the most effective automotive digital marketing
    results. Although buying and paying for leads carte blanche, without proper management of lead parameters is
    definitely a VERY BAD PRACTICE, many of the best lead providers now offer dealer self-serve administration
    tools that allow dealers to specify the leads they are willing to buy. Letting lead providers sell you leads on
    vehicles you can't get, submitted by people who live outside your market is simply a waste of money. But, when
    specifying leads on the specific model vehicles you need to sell the most, submitted by people who live and work
    close to your dealership, with an agreement to credit the dealership for duplicate and invalid leads, can be part of
    an effective digital marketing strategy.
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