Tips for Increasing Dealership Service Revenue This Quarter

Kevin LeSage headshot, Director of Digital Marketing at Autotrader
Jan 28, 2021
Kevin LeSage, Director of Digital Marketing

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The majority of my client conversations revolve around front-end sales and generating high-quality audiences of in-market shoppers to target. But what about service and repair audiences? Service and repair is the biggest revenue driver at the dealership and a revenue source you can count on. So, let’s use all our best tools and strategies to target the ideal car owners and get them into your service department. 

We all know that a good fixed-ops strategy is like a river that feeds the lake. It will lead to more front-end sales, as well. Below, I will share strategies on how to merchandise your fixed operations across key digital channels and share key steps to creating your own custom audiences to attract service and repair shoppers.

Let’s talk messaging.

In a time of lots of uncertainty, one thing we can do for consumers is answer their questions up front. Are you open? Is there a specific process they need to follow before visiting your service department? These are key questions on consumers’ mind during this pandemic, so let’s make it easy to find those answers across every channel. For example,

  • Make sure you’ve updated your Google My Business page for service. Just last week, I checked two different stores’ hours on my phone, then drove up to see that the hours on the door didn’t match. Let’s not lose business this way!
  • If you’re running any SEM, add a callout extension that says, “We’re open for service and doing XYZ to keep you safe.”
  • Prominently include these details on social channels, your website and in every service department marketing campaign.

What makes your service department stand out from the competition?

This is a time to mention your processes, your competitive advantage. Some dealers are doing drop-off service and repair to customers’ homes or offices. “If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you.” (If you’re looking for tips on making the most of service pick-up and drop-off, check out our earlier post Tips for using valet service and repair to drive fixed ops revenue.)

If I’m scanning Facebook and see a convenience that makes my life easier, I’m clicking. Whatever makes your dealership service department stand out, now’s the time to share that message with your local consumers. You’ve built an audience of local consumers on your social pages, so let them know what your service department has to offer! 

Let’s identify the best targets for your service campaigns.

Ideally, when you’re ready to start a service campaign, you’ll create an audience of people that are ready for service and repair, the same way you would for the consumers who are most likely to be interested in your inventory. Autotrader dealers can use nVision reporting to help them do just that.

Across Cox Automotive, we have our proprietary first-party tag living across our websites. This allows us to track shopper activity on websites like Xtime, a service scheduler, as well as across our other brands measuring leads, website activity, credit apps, etc. This gives Cox a 360 view of the consumer, and through the Audience Explorer report in nVision offers you a view of that data in your market.

graphs showing Cox Automotive data points related to clients, vehicles, and consumers

With Audience Explorer, you can identify the zip codes that are ripe for service and sales. This data is live in our reporting tool, nVision. If you haven’t seen this, I highly recommend that you take a couple of steps:

How about adding a new advertising strategy into the mix?

You’re connecting with car shoppers as they shop and research their next purchase on sites like Autotrader and, but are you reaching potential service customers as they’re researching the repairs they need? The Service & Repair Guide on advises vehicle owners on repair pricing, recalls, and other service-related information, with an average of 1.7 million service-ready consumer visits and 300,000 VIN or license plate checks per month.* As a Featured Auto Repair Center, your dealership could stand out as the go-to dealership for car owners in your area and capture more new service customers. Let your local Dealer Success Consultant know if you’d like to learn more.

Let’s fill those service bays!

Regardless of the challenges that are ahead of us this year, people will still need to have their transportation serviced. Challenges create opportunity. Just like with your sales campaigns, the success of service advertising is all about getting a concise, convincing message to the right people. Let us know if we can help. Best of luck and stay safe!

*KBB‌.‌com Adobe Analytics Data, average June – November 2020