New Dealers United tools aim to guide auto dealers through crisis


Auto ad tech company Dealers United is developing tools and resources to guide auto dealers during the COVID-19 crisis, including “Facebook Ad Playbooks” and templates for service and sales strategies for facing crisis challenges.

Dealers United, a Facebook and Instagram advertising service for the auto industry, says dealerships and local businesses should have messaging and plans in place to continue operations safely.

Five U.S. and Canadian dealers, along with IHS Markit and Facebook Automotive co-hosted a March 26 Dealers United webinar, titled State of Automotive.

The webinar shared dealers’ experiences on their businesses and messaging. It also covered best practices on boosting sales and service revenue during the crisis.

Matt Sneed, director of marketing at Power Ford in Albuquerque, who was a dealer-panelist in the webinar, said going digital is much more “agile” than traditional marketing and traditional media.

“The targeting you can do on Facebook is so far superior to anything else,” Sneed said.

Sneed continued, “You can be proactive with your message.”

State regulations have forced Sneed’s dealership to sell vehicles only to essential workers.

However, Sneed has repositioned the dealership’s advertising expenses to promote service campaigns.

Power Ford has used Facebook and Instagram Ads to proactively target potential service customers with the latest information and offers.

During the State of Automotive webinar, Leader in Cars Auto Group vice president Michael Renaud said, “Facebook was made for moments like this.”

Renaud’s auto group is located at the virus epicenter of New Rochelle, N.Y.

The auto group has used Facebook and Instagram to provide customers with its latest store updates and hours, along with information on safety precautions the auto group is taking and how shoppers can contact them with questions or appointments.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Dealers United — guided by Facebook Automotive best practices, data-driven insights and audiences from IHS Markit, and their dealer-partners’ experiences — developed free resources for auto dealers.

Those resources provide a proactive plan for dealers to communicate with their customers and community about how their dealership can serve customers when they need help and also make them feel secure about the buying process.

In addition to “Facebook Ad Playbooks” and templates for service and sales strategies, the information in the Dealers United COVID-19 resource webpage also includes a recording of the State of Automotive webinar event, featuring five dealer-panelists.

The webpage also includes an article about the latest car shopper trends during COVID-19, an article with messaging ideas to help drive sales, the IHS Markit Rapid Response Report focused on COVID-19​, and Facebook’s official guide showing how auto dealership advertisers can respond to COVID-19.

Auto dealers can use those resources to create and execute strategies for strengthening their business. The strategies can help their business remain prosperous throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Dealers United chief executive officer Pete Petersen said more consumers are turning to the web and social media to pass the time, and now more than ever, auto dealerships should be digitally visible and available.

Petersen said, “Every dealership should be asking themselves, ‘How can you provide your customers with an amazing car shopping experience, even if they don’t leave the house?’”

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