Craigslist has gone through a lot of changes over the last 25 years. It initially started as an email list between 10 friends. It because so popular that the founder, Craig Newmark, decided to turn it into a business in 1995. Since then this platform has become an icon of local shopping and bartering. There have many different branches developed including items for sale, items for free, lost and found, and even personals. So, why should a dealership leverage a website that still looks like a page from 1995? Plain and simple, it sells inventory.
When Craigslist chose to become a paid platform, charging $5.00 per ad, the dealership industry was up in arms. Many pulled out of Craigslist and chose to eliminate it from their marketing strategy. Others embraced the switch and saw their leads per ad increased by nearly 20 times than before the change.
If you are not utilizing Craigslist, here's why you should be
1. OEMs May Co-op Your Ads
Today, many of the OEMs will provide up to 50% co-op for the cost of your ads, bringing your 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, it's time to take another look. Consider even running a small batch of ads as a test to see what results you can get. You may be surprised at what you find. It's time to come back and invest in the number one local digital marketplace, Craigslist.