With a rebounding stock market, home sales starting to slowly trickle up and March and April being the most positive car-sales months in the past year and a half, the time is right to make sure your online classified marketing presence is buttoned up and firing on all cylinders; and not just a 4 cylinder, but a fire breathing twelve. Online classifieds are not a new concept and you may believe that not much has changed in their creation and distribution. As with all aspects of our business, with focus comes success, or at least a better opportunity for success. Success can also be a byproduct of performing the basic “blocking and tackling” accomplished in a methodical and measurable process. If you take the time to focus on your online classified program and make sure the basics are covered, believe it or not, you will be ahead of much of your competition and seeing results. Of course all of these recommendations will be minimized if the ad copy is not detailed, thorough, and honest, so that is the obvious first consideration.

Here are some of the basics:

Use a toll free phone number

The ability to track the marketing source of a classified lead is a great plus, along with the opportunity to review the call and see how your sales people are doing. Make sure the toll free numbers are all functioning and directed to the proper contact at your store. What could be worse than generating interest in a vehicle, motivating the customer to pick up the phone and call your store, and the number is not working, or forwarding to the wrong person or department? Basic blocking and tackling, but this mistake is taking place every day.

Use multiple pictures

Once again, just the basics here, but the more high-quality pictures you use, the greater the potential for an interested prospect.10 pictures is a great baseline, and increased results come with up to 40 pictures. The more images the better. Make sure your lot services company or your on-staff photographers are getting appealing, clear images of a clean vehicle. Also, beware of overlays on these images if they promote a different TFN than the one being used in the copy. We’re not trying to confuse the buyer here.

Location, location, location

As with other sales leads, online classifieds is a location and numbers game, so why limit your exposure and opportunity? A combination of paid and no-cost classified sites is the recommended mix. Many of you have your standard and accepted sites that you post to and adding a mix of no-cost sites is an excellent compliment. These no-cost sites deliver high Search Engine Results, so you have to be marketing on these sites as well. Some of these sites have restrictions and can take time to master, so Learn all you can about how to post successfully on these sites and the results will come. Content is king; so using ad-builder software that automatically generates SEO titles and content will get you to the top of the results pages.

It’s very easy to be enticed by the latest and greatest sales tool that claims to revolutionize your sales process. Many of these tools should be assessed, but make sure the basics are covered first. A strong foundation allows you to build a powerhouse store that will easily handle the bumps and curves of the road. I welcome your feedback and comments.