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We’ve spent a lot of time talking about some of the biggest mistakes you can make when advertising your lot. Bad timing and poor design are all things that can really cost you customers. However, nothing tops failure to develop an effective marketing plan as the number one reason why you’re losing customers.

Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Hopefully you already know that effective marketing is planned in advance. If you take the risk of losing profits by waiting until the 11th hour to plan – or worse yet, executing your campaigns without a plan – problems and poor response rates will be the result.

Planning your marketing at least quarterly gives you leg room to anticipate what’s coming. Whether you need to anticipate big events that you can be a part of in your local area, major buy times or spacing out your own promotions, it’s important to get a grasp on your marketing as early in the game as possible.

Save Yourself Stress

Many dealerships put off planning their marketing because it seems like a stressful enterprise. When it comes right down to it, running around, getting marketing materials together at the last second and failing to plan ultimately causes more stress than sitting down calmly and putting together your promotions.

If you have a clear cut promotional schedule, you’ll know exactly when to put together campaigns, when to order your automotive direct mailers and how to properly execute your plans.

Use the Metrics

When you take the time to plan, you’re also making the necessary time to look into past metrics and marketing efforts to find out what works. Past metrics and customer response data should always determine the future of your marketing campaigns. In order to get a firm idea of what will work in the future, you’ll need to understand what did or didn’t work in the past.

Additionally, it may be a good idea to take a look at what competitors are doing and consider focusing future marketing efforts around areas they aren’t reaching – or find a better way to compete using their existing advertising materials. “Think out of the box” is an overused term, but will yield great results if you give yourself the time to sit down and do it.

Time always seems a critical factor when coming up with your dealership marketing – but if you don’t make the time to do it right the first time, you can be sure your competitors will make that time.