First time advertising on billboards, need advice!

Discussion in 'Traditional Offline Marketing' started by AutoMartCars, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. AutoMartCars

    AutoMartCars
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    Hi,

    I run a car dealership in Nashville, TN. We have been here since 1963, my grandfather started the business, I am the 3rd generation of ownership. We finance people who have no credit, or bad credit, I call it being credit friendly. We sell clean title cars (never wrecked), and are one of the best if not the best looking dealership on our road. Our road has maybe 60-70 dealerships that finance like us, but they are not family owned, and are fly by night type dealers.

    The proofs that the billboard company is giving me quite frankly suck. They are flashy, have too much information, and may as well be internet pop up ads that people are wired to ignore.

    I need some kind of idea of what to put on our boards. I like simple. We have a radio station, Jack FM, that has simple ads, white background, black text, with funny one-liners. I can recite each one, and I don't even like the station. Here is one idea I have.

    47 years. Family Owned.
    Credit Friendly. Clean Cars.
    Four reasons why we're awesome.

    Please help me!
     
  2. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum AutoMartCars, thanks for posting your business questions. I agree with you that it is best to keep your ads simple and clear. Why do you feel that billboard ads are the best use of your advertising budget?

    Have you considered other options such as;

    Advertising in local newspapers
    Flyers
    Online car listings
    Sponsorship of local teams and or events?
     
  3. Lingua21

    Lingua21
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    How about something like this with your logo against it.

    * Friendly on credit

    ** Family owned dealership

    *** Fabulous clean title cars

    **** Forty seven years of service

    Four reasons why we are totally AWESOME!
     
    #3 Lingua21, Sep 17, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  4. Kay

    Kay
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    I like your own version but I like Lingua's better. :) Are you going for a young target audience? Awesome's a young person's word.

    Since you're in Nashville, home of country music, and you mentioned the radio style, how about:

    We're 47 years old because we kept it simple.
    Clean cars, on credit friendly terms, all from a family dealership.
    The only strings around here are on Jack's guitar.



    (Maybe dulcimer or banjo would work better. Or the boss's guitar or Dad's or whoever...just thinking aloud. )

    Welcome to Business Advice Forum! Hope that helps. :)
     
  5. AutoMartCars

    AutoMartCars
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    Thank you all for your great responses! Currently, I am on over 20 different automotive sales sites like Autotrader.com, and I post around 15-20 ads on craigslist every day. Radio is no longer effective for us (for some reason). Our target audience is varied, normally our customers are between the ages of 18-35, work a 9-5, have bad or no credit, divorce, etc. We have never tried billboards, this is why we are looking into it. I'm also looking into the ads that are above urinals and in bathrooms and such. I figured I always read them, they must work.
     
  6. BusyBee

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    This isn't directly related to your original question - but I thought this might be helpful. I was just pondering, "who knows when a person needs a new car?"

    First thought was: insurance agent. Could you get your name and card in to all the local insurance agent offices? They may refer people to you when one of their client's cars is totaled.

    Second thought: The small time auto repair places - the ones that do NOT sideline in selling cars. They know when someone's car is beyond reasonable repair and could refer their clients to you. Some in my small town already do this - they have a deal with the car dealer that they'll freely inspect the car to be sold for the buyer. The buyer feels comfortable knowing their own mechanic will give it the once over. Might be a few sales to be had by striking up the right friendships with small time mechanics.

    Third thought: credit unions. My local credit union sponsors some sort of used and new car event once a year. The credit union pre-screens the dealerships, and pre-approves the buyers. The credit union gets the revenue via loans.

    You might already do these things - they just popped into my head as I was sitting here so I thought I'd pass them along. Feel free to ignore this if this is too simplistic.

    PS: Do you already send friendly mailings to each and every past customer you've ever had? The best customers are the ones you already have served. Postcards can handle this cheaply and very effectively (they don't even need to open an envelope - the message is right there in their hand.)
     
  7. AutoMartCars

    AutoMartCars
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    BusyBee, great ideas! We do a couple of those things, but not near as well as we should. I especially like the postcard idea, maybe offer a referral bonus bigger than what we currently offer.
     
  8. Fergal

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    Thanks for posting back AutoMartCars. What's your planned next action?
     
  9. igorvolseo

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    Sometimes auto repair places - the ones that do NOT sideline in selling cars.
    It know when someone's car is beyond most repair it could refer their clients to you. Some in my small town already do this - they have a deal with the car dealer that they'll freely inspect the car to be sold for the buyer. The buyer feels comfortable knowing their own mechanic will give it the once over. It might be a few sales to be had by striking up the right friendships with small time mechanics.
     
  10. Rubs

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    I liked all the ads texts above. But here's my thought - people rarely read long writings on billboards. Maybe come up with some colorful idea that'll make people react quickly/memorize the brand?

    Also I don't think billboards work that well anymore. Right now it's all online and human race is moving from "push" marketing methods to "pull" marketing (making it easier for people to find what they're looking for).

    Luck!
     
  11. Mountain Man

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    What about simply, your address and "prepare to be impressed!"
     
  12. AutoMartCars

    AutoMartCars
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    I'm currently finishing up a design for our urinal advertisements. I have a few designs for that I'm working on, I'll post a couple here. I'm now debating whether or not to go through with the billboard purchase.

    http://automartusedcars.autorevo.com/clients/4b9968f9-0496-45e5-8ef8-1cde96e4c13b/images/r_388180cc-4bc6-4c38-88de-7d5628438659.jpg

    http://automartusedcars.autorevo.com/clients/4b9968f9-0496-45e5-8ef8-1cde96e4c13b/images/r_d387240b-63a2-476e-9f6d-fb29333a0481.jpg

    http://automartusedcars.autorevo.com/clients/4b9968f9-0496-45e5-8ef8-1cde96e4c13b/images/r_10d4475f-cd19-4ad4-9a5d-d0945deb1973.jpg
     
  13. Fergal

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    Personally I don't like the first billboard. There is too much text there for my liking. If someone is driving past that, there is no way that they will take in that text or understand what the ad is promoting. I feel that an ad like that is not going to do much to promote your business and would not be a good use of your advertising budget.

    The second one is the one I like best. Of the three options you post, it is the one that gets the message across in the clearest most concise manner. However, I still feel that it could do with some improvement. It has just a little bit too much detail and again someone driving past it is unlikely to catch all that detail or to fully comprehend the message. It would probably help to fade the image of the car into the background. As it is at the moment someone looking at the ad for a few seconds may spend those seconds like at the image of the car. Fading the car will give more prominence to the text and the message you want to communicate.

    The third one is very similar to the second one and most of the same comments apply. An additional concern that I would have with this one is that viewers may not fully understand the phrase "selling win win situations" and how it applies to buying cars. Again they will only view the ad for a few short seconds and any confusion it causes will reduce it's effectiveness.

    I've linked to some images of much clearer and simpler car billboard ads below;

    BMW
    Car website ad
    Audi Merc

    The above are just my personal views and suggestions, other people might like them and see more positives in them.
     
  14. AutoMartCars

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    Those were my urinal ads, but I like your analysis for them! Thanks!
     
  15. Fergal

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    Sorry AutoMartCars, I missed that, silly me. :(

    Those ads would be much more suited to urinals, where people would have more time to read them. The middle one would still be my preference. Do you have a preference yourself?
     
  16. AutoMartCars

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    Fergal,

    I went with the second ad, it just has a better ring to it than the others. I'm making a coupe more since the company allows us to switch them out every now and then. Thanks!
     
  17. Fergal

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    Good luck with it AutoMartCars, I hope it helps bring in new business and increase your car sales. Please do post back with updates or any further questions you have. You'd also be very welcome to get involved in some of our other discussion topics and to lend your advice to our other members.
     

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