Castle Ford Success Story | Auto Dealership Marketing

Castle Ford Success Story

Goodbye Traditional Media. Hello Top 100!

Castle shows how increasing sales and profit with the use of paid & organic social media combined with reputation management will change the way consumers buy cars.

Castle’s dealerships are located in Illinois and Indiana, and to say that it’s a competitive market is a total understatement–each location competing against eight stores within a 10-mile radius. Despite the heavy competition, Castle Ford in Michigan City continues to dominate the market. By working with SOCIALDEALER to reinvent the sales and marketing strategies instead of relying on old inefficient methods, Castle did what many thought was impossible–he eliminated traditional media. Now, his 100% targeted media strategy has attracted and converted a new generation of customers by leveraging social media.


Identifying the ‘perfect market’ was a big deal for Castle Automotive Group, while still reaching the customers more effectively. Castle said, “All the traditional media sources were expensive,” and it this that got him to ask different questions. Then, the Ah Ha! moment came. “We all know that customers now shop online, but they were ignoring the reality that every online shopper goes home to a physical address – the virtual and the physical are connected – and we use that to our advantage.”


Although Castle’s overall strategy uses many targeted media channels, his use of social media is especially impressive. His dealerships’ innovative approach has cultivated over 70,000 Facebook fans, and his targeted social media advertising is so effective that Facebook actually outperforms Google for generating traffic to his dealership website – which gets over 10,000 unique visitors a month.

“It’s simple,” Castle said, “Thanks to SOCIALDEALER, we now have a three-part strategy that is designed to target, connect and convert.”

Target: At Castle they do four types of Facebook campaigns every month. Two for sales and two for service. Both focus on a branding opportunity as well as a promotional opportunity each month.

According to Castle, he found Facebook advertising to be highly effective for his dealerships for two reasons: First, it is extremely targeted, allowing targeting byspecific criteria or zip codes. Secondly, they see immediate results from the Facebook advertising, receiving feedback from the campaigns within minutes.

Connect: “We use our Facebook page to maintain our connection with our current customers and to reinforce our social media branding campaigns.” Castle said. The results have been amazing. Facebook is their Number 1 source of Website traffic. The Castle dealerships are living proof that social media can help a dealership not only to find a customer base, but keep that base engaged and coming back in the future.

“By connecting with customers where they spend their time online, we’ve found that we can become part of their lives.”

Joe Castle, CEO
Castle Automotive Group


To maximize conversion on the new 100% digital marketing strategy, Castle completely reinvented his sales and service engagement processes. Consistent branding across all mediums ensures everything customers see online (display ads, Facebook ads, website images, social media presence, etc.) must match what they see when they enter the dealership. Partnering with SOCIALDEALER and working with our dedicated social media team, as well as changing the sales process internally to allow customers the opportunity to pre-negotiate key elements of their deals before ever setting foot in the dealership has brought success to Castle Ford in Michigan City.

Castle Ford in Michigan City has…

Tripled sales by revamping the process, exclusively marketing to zip codes with the highest profit potential and lowest cost per sale.

Eliminated non-targeted advertising and implemented a 100% digital marketing strategy that reduced advertising per vehicle from $620 to $90.

Leveraged social media to increase website traffic by 500%– from less than 2k to more than 10k unique visitors per month.

Increased conversions using SOCIALDEALER’s strategy of branding and messaging standardization across all mediums.

Simplified strategy execution by utilizing SOCIALDEALER to manage all social media channels and reputation management activities.

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