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Step-by-step Guide to Building a Social Media Sales Funnel for Car Dealerships.

Written by @justusclark

Every B2C business has a sales funnel to manage their prospective consumers & guide them from first becoming aware of your product to making the decision to purchase. Franchise Dealerships have the added benefit of return customers that buy multiple vehicles over the years, making their business model incredibly scalable, especially in more rural areas where options are limited. 

This is a quote from a post on
“Targeting the correct core audience has never been more important as market pressures weigh heavier on automotive dealers nationwide,” the report said. “Technology and specific shopping behaviors seem to be interjecting themselves more predominantly than ever, making consumer data vital for success.”

In this article we will walk through each step a buyer takes on the journey to purchase a new car, & review how data driven targeting helps isolate your buyers & which social media marketing content will provide them with the most value along the way. We will also be covering how to time ad placements that correspond with the time between each purchase for return customers.

Let’s look at the customer journey from the perspective of someone who is purchasing a vehicle from your dealership for the first time.

“I Think I Need a New Car”

The very first step in your customers journey to purchase is realizing it might be time to buy or trade. There are a variety of reasons a person decides to buy a new vehicle. Some buy just because, some trade in on a fixed schedule, some just don’t like the car they are in & some  have no option due to damage or mechanical issues. Since we cannot accurately predict who is going to wreck their car, let’s stick with the variables that data supports.

These people are just getting started. They don’t want to be bombarded with “last chance” deals because they aren’t even sure they really want to buy. The most effective marketing for this group will be content that provokes the “shiny thing” syndrome. Videos that showcase a variety of available inventory options serve the purpose of promoting brand awareness & exciting your new prospective audience. Focus on addressing pain points but leave out Low monthly payment offers because they aren’t ready to make a purchase.

Facebook has a variety of ad types as well as the ability to boost an existing post. Boosting is normally something you should stay away from unless the majority of you social media is content oriented, however, it is extremely effective for this group, primarily because your end goal is to have them view your video and enter your sales funnel. Target everyone in your area with these ads to collect as much data as you can, and divide prospects by how long they engaged with your content. Anyone that watched 50% of your video or more, are likely in the market for a new vehicle. Next we will look at how to leverage those views in custom audiences.

“Okay, what kind of car do I want”

This group has moved from, maybe I want a car, to okay I need a new car. Again, they don’t need to hear all the financial details, but this is the stage where people will begin to consider what they can afford. Calls to actions are more effective on this particular group because now they have questions that they need answered. What’s my trade worth? & What type of payment can I afford? are common questions buyers in the consideration phase will ask. Running ads that ask these questions, and direct traffic to a sales consultant that can find an answer to them will prove most effective.

Since you collected engagement data with the inventory you boosted, Facebook knows who viewed your post and how long they viewed it. Anyone that watched 50% of your video or more, are likely in the market for a new vehicle. You can’t get a list of these people, but what you can do is build a Custom Audience in Facebook to target your Call to Action advertisements. This is an incredibly effective way to optimize your ad spend considering you are only showing content to warm leads instead of the entire market. Every $5 of Facebook Ad Spend equates to roughly 3500 impressions so feel free to bombard this group with targeted ads until they break and make an appointment.

“I’m headed to the dealership, wish me luck”

This phase is pretty self explanatory considering the majority of you who have read this much of the article sell cars for a living. Once a customer has made it this far, Social Media has served its purpose, for now at least. 

Next we will look at a strategy you can use to encourage return customers to buy from your dealership again. 

How to Re-target Old Customers

The average person buys about 10 cars in their lifetime. The average lifespan of a person in the United States is roughly 78 years & 21 is the average age millennials buy their first car which means once every 5.7 years adults in the US purchase a vehicle. Some buy at a higher frequency, some buy at a lower frequency, but they all buy again. As long as they are alive at least. This data will vary depending on the area your dealership is located. You can plug in your own metrics to find the right time frame for your dealership.

But how can Facebook help you re-engage these people? Another point of reference used in Facebook’s custom audiences ad targeting is a feature called customer list! A customer list is a data-set that you upload directly from your CRM. Everyone that has a Facebook profile has to use a phone number or email address to create their profile. Lucky for you, anyone who has ever bought a car from your dealership has done the same. When you upload user data to your custom audience, Facebook cross references your customers with their users to match the info you have to your customers profile.

Once you find the appropriate interval between purchases made by your customers, you can restart your sales funnel but this time specifically targeting those you know are most likely to trade at some point in the next year or so. Collect engagement data, look for those who watched more than 50%, rinse and repeat. (If you skipped through to this part read “Okay, what kind of car do I want” section for more details.”) 

Social media marketing is an incredibly powerful tool, unless you treat it the same as billboard ads. Billboards are big and fancy, don’t get me wrong, but using them for audience targeting is comparable to throwing shit against the wall and hoping it sticks. Social media marketing is the heart surgeon of the marketing world because it gives you the power to show the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

If you enjoyed this, you should subscribe to my Modern Monday’s Newsletter for FREE Social Media Marketing Tools and Tips you can use to generate qualified leads for your business sent directly to your inbox every Monday!

-Justus Strickland

If after reading this, you said to yourself “Wow, super insightful” or something similar, you should like & share this post with your network & Subscribe to my Modern Mondays Newsletter where I provide updates on the latest Social Media Marketing news & give out FREE TOOLS & RESOURCES just like this! 🚀

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