5 Reasons Why Craigslist Works
Craigslist has gone through a lot of changes for our industry over the last year. And let's be honest, we all knew it wouldn't last as a free marketplace forever. We watched it happen in the automotive space three years prior. What has happened was an extreme clean-up of the 14th most visited website in the United States. For the consumer, the experience didn't change. Though now they can see a representation of inventory that is in their area, not someone 5 states away. So, why should a dealership leverage a website that still looks like a page from 1996? Plain and simple, it sells inventory.
When Craigslist chose to charge $5.00 per ad, the industry was up in arms. Many dealers pulled out of Craigslist and chose to eliminate it from their marketing strategy, a huge mistake. Others embraced the switch and saw their leads per ad increased by nearly 20 times than before the change.
Below are the 5 reasons Craigslist still needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
1. OEMs Will Co-op Your Ads
Today, many of the OEMs will provide 50% co-op for the cost of your ads, bringing the cost down to only $2.50 per ad! This didn't happen by accident; both the dealers and the OEMs see incredible value on Craigslist.
2. It's Still a Low-Cost Solution
Think about the minimal budget you need to put into your Craigslist service. If you were to place 50 ads per month, the cost to Craigslist is $250.00. It is also generating leads of all types: phone calls, text messages, emails, and walk-ins to your location.
3. Local Traffic
Since Craigslist has always focused on the local experience, asking you to first pick your market, the customers shopping your inventory will be close to your area. This is traffic that you can spend time within the store, especially if you are one of the multiple franchises in your local market, but the only one on Craigslist.
4. Builds Your Brand
Craigslist templates give you a nice chance to talk to shoppers about your dealership inventory and what you are all about. This will give you an advantage of giving your customer a better understanding of your dealership and why they should buy from you and not your competitors.
5. Drives Website Traffic
While links in the ads are not clickable, Craigslist customers are similar to any other buyer in the purchasing funnel and that includes visiting your website to view more photos, apply for financing, get directions, etc.
If you left Craigslist when it went to a paid service, I'd encourage you to take a look at your CRM and the leads attributed to Craigslist over the course of time you were leveraging it. Have your sales grown over the past year without using the Craigslist? Even though the platform from a shopper's point of view has not changed. Craigslist is still a cheaper option to reach your local market, build your brand awareness and increase your website traffic. It's time to come back and invest in the number one local digital marketplace, Craigslist.