We are a buy here pay here dealer with 4.2 mil. in receivables. I'm looking for different ways for advertising our finance program and wondering if anyone can tell me if they have tried billboard advertising

Especially would like to here from the buy here pay here businesses. What kind of costs should I expect, size, etc.





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Try some TV spots on cheap local channels.

Try to get with a local news channel and do a "how to buy cars with bad credit" segment  (makes you seem more trustworthy)

Billboards havent paid off for me.

We have just over $4 mil in receivables for LTO. I have done local cable TV and radio but not billboards. I think it can work but requires a long term branding and marketing budget. You must commit to spending a sizable bit of money with out the worth while ROI short term as it will probably be a year before the ROI is apparent. We gave up as the financial commitment is sizable and we did not have the budget to go a year to see it work.

The cheapest best advertising that works for us is a small magazine called Auto Guide in Utah that is a free magazine for consumers that gets distributed to gas stations and restaurants in Utah. We use this in place of Auto Trader and Cars.com (we never had good success with Auto Trader or Cars.com for LTO but they did work for the good credit customers). We LTO 30 to 40 vehicles a month from this magazine. It is not even on line. We pay $350 per week for two pages.  



I have a question off the above subject.  But I notice in Troy Campbell's reply that they are a LTO dealer.  I am a dealer in a market of 250,000 and have been in the buy here pay here business for 6 years.  We have around 600 notes and move 30-35 units a month.  I am very interested in the LTO concept.  What do you feel are the main advantages?

I was on the retail end for over 10 years but now I have been on the vendor end for the last 6 years and I have been sitting on some domain names that you can use to help you advertise if you would like to use them. They are www.sickofthebus.com, www.sickofnocar.com and www.sickofyourcar.com and I have already forward them to your credit application on your website (it may to a day to update that forward, but keep an eye out for it).

I always thought that the www.sickofthebus.com url would be great to use in advertising on bus stops or on/inside of buses in your market. You  can use these for your advertising if you would like and let me know how it works but I think it would work best by having a 2 page micro site that had a home page that talked about how you can get them approved and maybe some of the stipulations then another page that is a credit app. Also just let me know if you would like these to link to your home page instead of your credit application....

to add from Patrick Ucci below, you should also do SEM or Pay Per Click with these domain names....

I have to say that those media ideas are and could be somewhat effective but the real space that you should play in is in electronic media.  Pay per click (PPC) and google search words will lazer focus your efforts rather than rolling the dice with mediums that "might" make someone call to action.  Billboards and TV spots are good but not as targeted. 

We're doing billboards, as well as broadcast TV, mailings and radio in our traditional mix. I break our advertising into three streams; online, traditional, and events. There is some overlap between them, but I try to track each one as best as can be separately. 

From my tracking efforts, billboards have been working for us. I also think we've got a good handle on how to do billboards right.

1. Keep it short. Our current posters read "Wow! $49 down delivers!" with the picture of a surprised young woman.

2. Clear call to action. "Call today. Drive today," with the 800 number and website.

Simple and direct. Bright colors and easy to read text. Add to that our logo (yellow and black), and it's graphically engaging. Also, they should be part of a coordinated campaign. My billboards also use the same graphics and brand proposition that all my other print media do, so it reinforces the impressions we're scoring using everything from door hangers and pre-printed sticky notes, to mailers and even our TV spots.


Clifford VanMeter

Marketing Coordinator

Express Auto


Good stuff Clifford.  There definitely is a spot for billboards.  Out of curiosity, what type of traffic do you get from the tracking number? Is it only for that billboard?  Also if they come in off the web do you track it?

The posters feature only our web address and an 800#, not physical addresses. The easy way to measure billboard results is to use a domain or sub-domain on the website that is unique to the posters. Add to that a unique 800# and you've got a pretty good idea if your posters are doing their job. You have to be careful with using a different domain, though. It can dilute the brand. So on some campaigns, I just watch for fluctuations in web traffic around the time the new boards go up. I look for increases coming from the major search engines and in direct entry (they typed my address directly into the address bar). I routinely see  a spike in both right after new boards go up, tapering off to a zero net return after about five weeks. Just like the web, you've got to keep the content fresh to make it work its hardest. We also see a spike in hits to our mobile site -- which I hope is passengers hitting the site on their smart phones, and not drivers.

Also, it pays to remember, when the company says they get 25,000 views a month on a board, what they are really saying is we get 1,000 people who will see it 25 times in a month. 


Clifford VanMeter

Marketing Coordinator

Express Auto





Please feel free to give me a call. PMT Advertising / Dealer HD Websites, 815-412-5949. Free consultation and I am 45 minutes away from you.  I will have a solution / answer to your questions.


Sue James

Billboards for a dealer are directional only. If your lot is easily located they are not necessary.In a large metro area perhaps one in a far away area might help along  with a message,phone number and web site.

I disagree. While it's true that traditionally billboards are best used for a, "Hey! Turn Here!" kind of message. Traditional media can be used effectively to drive online aps and phone ups across a region. We're seeing pretty good return on our investment in both areas. Changes made to online advertising choices are having a big affect on costs there, in many cases driving online traffic through off-line resources can be more cost effective.

Also, while geographic targeting online has improved, I can target much more accurately both geographically and demographically with specific offline media like billboards and cable TV. I target neighborhoods based on those criteria.

The marketing mix needed in one area isn't the same as that for another. It's important, I believe, not to overlook cost effective advertising venues based on past response. Smart phones and tablets allow people to find out about you on the spot, that changes the dynamic of interaction with things like radio and billboards. Not that I'm encouraging people to surf while driving, but a quick click while waiting at a stop light and they are talking to a sales rep, or a passenger can be viewing our inventory. The thing is to check. Test your marketing metrics, evaluate your response rates, then tweak the mix for what works for you.


Clifford VanMeter

Marketing Coordinator

Express Auto



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