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Has anyone had any experience with car dealers doing sweepstakes or gift with purchase (like gift cards or trips) type promotions? We have a client who is interested in doing this type of promotion this summer. I'm looking for any guidance or suggestions. Does it bring in new leads? Improve closing ratio? Did you handling it internally or work with a third-party?
I've done more of these than I care to admit. When you do this kind of thing, it's all about the targeting that is paired with the message. If you're highly targeted, yes, these promotions can show lift. You need to figure out a way to hold out a control, though, to make sure you're measuring that lift. In other words, I wouldn't put this kind of offer in mass media, but in direct mail or targeted digital it can work.
In California it's illegal to pair a giveaway with purchase of a new or used vehicle. However my experience with "incentives" for a test drive or offer made "regardless of whether you buy from us", is that they are not effective enough to justify the effort and marketing costs. For our clients, we generally initiate other promotions such as strategic partnerships with non-profits. For example, we might provide a large non-profit with a vehicle (one or two year lease) which they can include as a grand prize in fundraising activities. In exchange, the non-profit will promote the partnership to their donor database, agree to display collateral material at their events, and host a grand prize drawing event at the dealership. It engages the donors with the dealership and creates so much positive goodwill, that it does increase sales. We also do other types of events at the dealership. For example, local professional associations often have their own events. We partnered with the Association of Women Realtors and let them use the showroom one evening for their annual awards event. They handled their own catering, set-up, clean-up, etc...but our client had the opportunity to network with people that could definitely afford to buy a car. (And several did the next day.)