DrivingSales shines the spotlight on innovation and best practices.
Auto dealership professionals took to the stage at the DrivingSales Executive Summit in Las Vegas this year to present their best ideas, best practices, and most innovative approaches to doing business.
One of the winners (second place) was Canadian Josh Pogue, marketing manager with Weins Canada, a dealer group based in Ontario. Pogue spoke about an innovative way of harnessing the power of Facebook.
“We had a really bad habit,” Pogue says of the way his stores used to approach marketing. “We would run an email campaign for just about anything we did. We’re having a sale on Friday? Email campaign. Another one of Monday? Email campaign.”
Pogues says he can remember running more than 250 email campaigns in a single year when he first started working with Weins. “That was kind of okay for a while,” he adds, “but then Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came along, so we had to rethink the entire process.”
Another challenge, Pogue says, was figuring out how well the email campaigns were doing. “Our CRM would tell us that a certain person was sent an email, and that the same person bought a car. But that didn’t necessarily mean it was because of the email campaign. It could have been just because they received an email at the right time, and them just happened to buy a car. We had no idea if they opened the email because the CRM doesn’t pull any of that data in.”
What made the matter more challenging, Pogue explains, is the fact that some customers were opting out of receiving future emails. “For every lead we got, we got five opt-outs, once CASL starting rolling out.”
The Facebook experiment
In 2014, Pogue and his marketing team started experimenting with Facebook’s Custom Audience feature. “It basically let’s me take the same list of customers I would use for an email campaign, and put it into Facebook for a very targeted campaign,” he explains.
Pogue says you can find your customers on Facebook by cross-referencing phone numbers and email addresses. “It’s not complicated. Any 18-year-old can figure it out in ten minutes.”
The results are impressive. “Not only were we getting better engagement than we had with email campaigns,” Pogue says, “but with email we were getting an open rate of 30% whereas with Facebook we are getting a 70-80% view rate. We are also avoiding all our unsubscribes, because it’s not that intrusive. People don’t mind seeing ads in their Facebook news feed, but they are very upset when they see spam in their inbox.”