iMotorsports closed out 2023 with our Chicago location becoming the number 3 Indian dealership by volume in the United States. All three dealerships came out of 2023, down about 10% versus 2022. I’m not ecstatic over that after years of a constant upward trajectory, but it is better than many of our peers and better than I would have projected, given all the challenges last year.
I have built several new tools, and we learned a lot about revenue and sales projections. When I look at 2024, I see a lot of challenges. SEO is in upheaval with Google embracing AI results and using those tools within their AdWords to provide new products. On the Meta side their audience targeting is making it harder to pinpoint demographics that match our audience cheaply. Video creation and marketing is growing very quickly and having that expertise is almost essential. We have work to do there.
Our YouTube channel moved up to 5,300 subscribers in 2023 and we get about 25,000 views every 28 days, and about 320 hours of watch time. It’s significant enough that I have started the monetization process. 8 years ago, when I took over the channel, we had 3 videos and less than a 100 subscribers. That success is a concerted effort with our photographers to take the time and effort to build it into our sales and marketing process. With 15% of our sales outside of 150 miles it is an important tool.
We continue to work on mastering VIN Solutions as our CRM. It is an incredibly powerful software package but targeted exclusively at the automotive market. I get around that with custom processes and reports, data extraction to our dedicated cloud server where I have multiple databases and automated processes to integrate Lightspeed EVO, Dealerspike and our vendors. These tools really took some big steps forward and have allowed me to do solid sales projections that are accurate to within a few percentage points. VIN Solutions automated sales processes let our salespeople focus on customer relationships, not drafting emails.
Our marketing costs are quite low overall. Efficiency is incredibly high – for now. We’ve always had high return / low cost, and January numbers on AdWords and Meta are coming in .07-.15 per click, conversion rates around $15 per lead. Conversion to sales has been amazingly steady and consistent over the last 3 years. Each store is unique but our well-run dealerships average 12.7 – 15.8 leads per sale.
Email will be the focus of 2024 as well as video. Major shifts are occurring in spam filters, with AI becoming more involved and its ability to do a much better analysis of an email’s usefulness to the recipient. I have let email campaigns drift out of favor because of the huge expense to use MailChimp or Klavio when our email list exceeds 150k. For us, as powersports dealers VIN just isn’t up to the task. I have a project running now on our cloud server that uses Stripo and Mautic connected to Amazon’s AWS product. The details are too complicated to outline here, but it shows a lot of promise. Overall, I think email is set to have more impact in 2024 as better spam filtering means higher open rates, higher interaction, and more leads.
I am writing this looking out a window into -7 weather and snow. Being a powersports dealer in the north is a challenge. There can be days when my job is extremely frustrating, but I have a lot of pride in it too. We have done well, and I believe 2024 can be a good year. Unlike some of the past year’s success isn’t going to be automatic or easy. I do think that being fast to understand market changes and being hyper competitive is the key. We have a reputation for being aggressive and probably that as much as anything has been the secret sauce to the dealership group’s success.