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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cost vs. Value in Auto Dealer Websites

I've tried to post a couple of comments on a blog recently that were not approved/posted by the moderator. Perhaps they don't approve of my comments, or perhaps their blog is only being used to help with driving traffic to their business website and they aren't concerned with generating a dialogue. Since there are no comments from anyone on the entire blog I'd have to assume the latter, so I thought I'd speak my opinions here.

The blog I'm referring to may be authored by a competitor of ours on some level, but I'll be the first to admit, they do offer decent web solutions. The latest blog post that caught my eye was about car dealers in the Midwest not wanting to spend money on internet marketing. It's a good topic because it's typical of the dealerships we work with on the independent level. I happen to disagree with certain portions of the post however.

The author equates a website cost with the number of leads received. According to him, the more money a car dealer spends on a website the more leads they will receive.

I have to say I disagree most with their comment that "If you are not spending a minimum of $700 per month on your website, your website is probably not attracting the leads necessary to really be effective". They're assuming cost is correlated directly with value, which if you've taken a look at some of the other providers out there, is clearly not the case. Sure there are some companies that develop great sites for $700/month, and the author's company may be one of them, but there are others that are capable of generating the same amount of leads for the end user at a fraction of that cost. A website should match the dealers needs, and if they don't need a $700/month site, there are other options that may be equally as effective.

Unfortunately a lot of consumers (including car dealers) fall for the trick that more expensive means better product. A friend of mine just bought a brand new car. The identical car was at two dealerships, and they really were the same, even down to the colors/options. One dealer had the car listed higher than the other dealer. If you were buying a car that two dealers each had on the lot, and each one was identical, would you buy the higher priced car? Is it a better car somehow?

The point I want to make is that cost is not the same as value. Our company offers some of the cheapest rates available for car dealer websites. I feel our products are far better than any other company that charges similar rates, meaning we have a similar cost but a better value. As a dealer your focus should be on value. Without it, cost is nothing more than an arbitrary number.

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