How Yossi Levi Built The Car Dealership Guy to 550k+ Followers

He launched his anonymous Twitter account in December 2021, and now, just 28 months later he has over 455k followers.

His newsletter goes out to over 65k readers.

And his podcast gets 50k to 100k downloads per episode. 🤯

This is a deep dive into how Yossi Levi built The Car Dealership Guy.

A Little Backstory

Yossi Levi worked at his dad’s car dealership in Northeast Philadelphia for years and helped him build it up until they were making around $2 million per year in revenue.

But Yossi wanted more from his work. He saw the car market changing with people starting to buy cars online via Carvana and decided to make a run at it.

In 2018, Yossi built a company called “Gettacar,” an online auto sales website. Everything was going great – he grew the business to $80 million in annual sales and was getting lots of press.

In 2021, Yossi started posting on Twitter anonymously as “Car Dealership Guy,” sharing insights and his experiences in the car dealership space.

In 2023, due to market forces and increasing competition, he quietly shut down Gettacar. This allowed Yossi to focus fully on building Car Dealership Guy (CDG) into a full media brand.

He ended up coming out of anonymity earlier this year in a documentary-style video on YouTube:

But how was he able to build an anonymous Twitter account into a full media brand managing other creators in just 2.5 years? We’ll get there, but first, let’s take a look at some of the CDG is making money today.

How CDG Makes Money

There are a number of ways the Car Dealership Guy brand makes money at this point. And they’ve experimented along the way as well.

Sponsorships

While he did experiment with a paid newsletter in the beginning, Yossi shut that down after a few months.

At this point, all of the CDG content is free for readers, but they do make money from sponsors within the newsletter and podcast.

He’s probably making a big chunk of change with these placements as brands generally pay more to get in front of a B2B audience.

Job Board

CDG also has a job board that is free for all applicants and businesses. A business can post up to 10 jobs for free, but if you want your listings to stand out and be featured, it’s $1,000 per month.

And if you want to add more than 10 jobs, it’s $2,500 per month.

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As of the time of writing, there were 2 companies with featured positions, so they’re making around $2k per month at the moment with this job board.

But this can shift wildly with the market.

CarWiser Partnership

They also have a partnership with CarWiser, which helps people sell their cars fast online. It reminds me of if Carvana and Match.com had a kid.

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I don’t know the back end of this deal, but I’d imagine CDG gets either a flat partnership fee or a percentage of sales on each transaction…or maybe both!

Vehicle Loan Partnership

What do most car purchasers need? A car loan. But often you get stuck with a high rate and want to refinance down the line as rates drop.

CDG partners with iLending to offer lower interest rates to refinance your car loan.

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This means it’s something they can continually promote and will be relevant to a good portion of their audience, and get paid everytime someone refinances.

Premium Twitter Subscriptions

For $6 a month, you can get even more content from CDG including:

  • Industry reports
  • Guest Retweet of the week
  • Subscriber-only Twitter spaces, which are like audio meetings
  • Podcast transcripts
  • Behind-the-scenes of CDG (upcoming guests, new studio buildout, etc.)

I subscribed for research purposes, but it doesn’t look like he’s posted much for subscribers since September 2023. I’d guess this isn’t a huge piece of his revenue.

The Growth Timeline of Car Dealership Guy

The growth of The Car Dealership Guy has happened incredibly fast.

Yossi launched his anonymous Twitter account in December 2021, and now, just 28 months later he has over 455k followers and an email newsletter with 65k readers.

You can see a big inflection point around December 2022, just a year into this journey, which we’ll get into later.

The Growth Levers of CDG

There are a number of growth levers Yossi has used to build his audience and now media company.

🐦 1. CDG’s Twitter Growth. Yossi started CDG as an anonymous account, and within 14 hours he had 4,000 followers. Now just 2.5 years later he’s at more than 450k. We’ll walk through how he got there.

🔤 2. The “ABC” Content Strategy. Yossi has a very specific content strategy that almost any of us can use as well. I share the exact strategy with you below.

♻️ 3. Content Flywheel. Over time, his content generates more followers and subscribers, and this flywheel is a self-perpetuating growth machine.

Alright, let’s jump into the growth levers and how you can replicate some of these for your own business.

1. CDG’s Twitter Growth 🐦

It’s no surprise that Twitter has been a big driver of Yossi’s success in building out the Car Dealership Guy brand.

He went from zero followers in December 2021, to over 455k just 2.5 years later.

It all started with a simple idea.

Yossi had seen Strip Mall Guy on Twitter, and loved how he was able to share insights he wouldn’t have otherwise if his name were attached. It probably helped that he saw this guy had grown to 35k followers just 3 months after starting that account.

Yossi loved the idea of an anonymous account because what he wanted to share with people were insights that other dealers and manufacturers would be angry at him for sharing.

The car market was like a black box for consumers before he showed up.

So he wanted to share transparent insights to help people understand the car dealership process better.

As for his account growth, I think there are a number of factors to take into account like:

  • The insanely valuable content he was sharing
  • Being able to share insights others wouldn’t dare to because his account was anonymous

But I think there was something else at play here: He was building relationships along the way.

While many other accounts post content and barely engage with people, Yossi took the exact opposite approach.

Being Hyper Engaged

The first day Yossi tweeted anything as the Car Dealership Guy was on December 26, 2021.

That day he posted 16 replies to others’ tweets and 8 of his own.

And some of those posts were him retweeting questions people had with the answer as the post:

Note: the screenshot above has different CDG branding because I had to use the Wayback Machine as the original tweet has since been deleted. This is what his branding looked like back then.

On Day 2 of his Twitter journey, Yossi tweeted more than a dozen times and replied to 30+ other posts. But these weren’t just replies like “great point” or “yes, agreed!” He was sharing insights that could almost stand on their own as separate tweets:

And he was engaging a LOT.

No one was talking about this kind of thing. And at the time, COVID had completely changed the car market, but consumers were still left in the dark on a lot.

The insights he was sharing got people’s attention fast.

In just 14 hours after posting his first tweet, he had gained over 4,000 followers and knew he had content market fit:

source

I’m going to say this again to make it hit home. He wasn’t just tweeting into the ether, he was engaging, commenting, and providing valuable insights to other posts.

He was building community along the way.

One example of this was asking his followers what his first thread should be about. Literally, he just got started, and he was already doing this.

This was at 5:19 pm on Day 2 of posting on Twitter:

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Within 2 hours, 274 people voted and he posted the winning thread:

“I just started tweeting my butt off” is what he told Chris Fort in an interview.

And he wasn’t kidding.

He’s posted over 18,500 tweets since he started. That was 489 days ago.

A little back of the napkin math says that equates to 37.8 tweets per day. This includes replies, but still. That’s a good amount.

That’s almost on par with Dan Go who tweets a lot (I calculated Dan’s average and it’s 45 tweets per day).

He went all in on Twitter and focused there for 8 months until July 2022 when he started the newsletter.

There was no vision or grand plan with this account when he started, he was just trying to help people understand the market better.

But over time he used the data and feedback he was getting to see what was resonating.

Find Your Wedge

At the beginning of his Twitter journey, Yossi was sharing insights and tips for the average consumer.

He kind of fell into this by realizing that when he shared consumer-focused content it would get way more engagement than dealer-focused content.

The first 20-30k followers he gained were strictly through consumer insight-type posts. He called this his “wedge into the market” – sharing wide-ranging tips for a broad audience of people, not just dealers themselves.

After the first 30k or so followers, he noticed that some of the people liking his content were folks in the financial world – investors, analysts, and hedge fund types.

He started sharing content they would enjoy, like insights into the car market as a whole, trends, and where the market was headed – not just how to buy a car.

Here’s one example:

And this:

Expanding the topics helped him widen the net of people interested in his content, but also in a weird way, was the beginning of him niching down into the more B2B side of things.

And then, something big happened.

The Big Retweets

On December 16, 2022, less than a year into his journey, Yossi posted a thread that would change everything.

It blew up. But not only because it was great content, but because a few key players helped it along.

First, Cathie Wood found of ARK Investments and a major player in the investment space retweet it with some thoughts. Elon Musk saw this and commented on her post:

This alone is huge. But 40 minutes later, Elon must have still been thinking about this because he retweeted it and commented:

At the time, a retweet from Elon meant a lot. It wasn’t like today when he retweets something and it’s not as big of a deal.

The post completely blew up and now has over 20 million views.

Capitalize on Virality

But Yossi didn’t just sit back and smile watching all of the dopamine flood his system, he did something really smart:

He added multiple calls to action (CTAs) underneath the original thread:

When you have a post going viral, it makes a lot of sense to add a callout to your newsletter and drop more helpful resources for people.

And Yossi did exactly that.

The results?

If you recall from his growth timeline, his following skyrocketed at this point:

yossi levi growth timeline

This viral thread got him over 60k new followers in a matter of days.

Within weeks, he had grown from 118k followers to 210k followers to start off January 2023.

As for the newsletter, he jumped from 12,000 subscribers at the end of November 2022, to over 25,000 subscribers at the end of December.

Love him or hate him, Elon has influence.

2. The ABC Content Strategy 🔤

Yossi has a very dailed in system for building out his content at this point.

While he now has 4 team members helping him produce the content, he’s still heavily involved with it.

4-Week Content Sprints

Yossi breaks up his content into 4-week sprints.

He’ll plan 4 weeks at a time, building out a content calendar and plugging in one of 16 types of content for each day of the week.

ABC Posts

Yossi breaks down each piece of content into 10-15 different content buckets and each of those types has its own letter assigned to it.

For example, an “A” post is a short-form stat that generally doesn’t have context.

Here is the list of some other post types:

  • Short-form stat with no context
  • Long-form stats
  • Community engagement posts (example)
  • User generated content
  • CDG self-promotion
  • Meme (example)
  • Breaking news/press release
  • Best car deals
  • Podcast post (example)
  • Podcast teaser (example)

Every Tuesday and Thursday, he’s putting out a new podcast episode, so that content lives on those days. The day before the episode goes live, he shares a teaser from that podcast, so those are on Mondays and Wednesdays.

And then you can fill in the rest of the calendar with the other content types.

This is what I imagine it looks like to some extent:

I love how formulaic this is.

Every day has 2 (or more) pieces of content that get slotted in. And he color codes each one to make sure he can see a good mix of those various content types throughout the month.

They plan out the next 4 weeks of content ahead of time so it’s merely just a matter of slotting in that type of content on that specific day.

4 week is enough time to plan a bit in advance, but still leaves room for change and breaking news to get added into the mix.

Insanely Valuable Content

I think I’ve made it clear to this point that Yossi isn’t posting random thoughts or ideas on Twitter and hoping for the best.

He’s posting content you quite literally won’t find anywhere else.

The car market was like a black box for consumers and other dealers before he showed up. There were many things dealers didn’t want you to know about the process and what was going on.

But having an anonymous account allowed him to share insights and behind-the-scenes info that he probably wouldn’t be able to with his name out there at first.

The market rewards asymmetrical insight and scarce insights.”

Yossi Levi

Look for the Haters

One of the ways Yossi knows he’s doing important work is by how many haters he has.

If you’re not getting haters, you’re probably not doing something that impactful. (1:11:00 on Fort)

Be Impartial

One of the things I love about Yossi’s business is that he has never taken money from a specific car brand.

He doesn’t want that relationship to influence the content he creates or make him feel bad about covering a competitor, etc.

He stays unbiased intentionally, and it’s built an insane level of trust with his audience.

https://twitter.com/GuyDealership/status/1688890892436840448

3. Content Flywheel ♻️

One of the most important pieces of a creator’s journey is the flywheel’s they’re able to build over time.

And Yossi’s content flywheel is really impactful, and getting stronger every day.

In the beginning, he was sharing his own insights and “boots on the ground” coverage of the car dealership industry.

This led him to build up a decent following on its own. But the trust he built also led to something even more important: Exclusives.

I’ve talked about exclusive content in my deep dives on Gergely Orosz and Eric Newcomer, but this one might be even better.

People know the Car Dealership Guy is the place to get news around the industry, so much so that his readers started sharing insider information with Yossi.

Here’s one recent example:

And in the comments of these posts you can see exactly how excited/impressed/blown away his followers are that he has this info:

And the more people see others sharing that info with CDG, the more likely they are to share it when they have their own insider news.

He also uses events like these layoffs to promote his free job board:

This is done in a tasteful way that people appreciate because it’s free, and he’s offering to help them in a hard time.

Again, continue to create insanely valuable content and tools for your audience, and they’re going to stick with you for a long time.

How You Can Replicate Yossi’s Success

You can make the argument that his content and growth aren’t replicable, but I’d disagree.

While Yossi’s growth story looks super strategic, even he admits he just kind of got started and didn’t know what he was doing at first.

All of the polished look and additional content came after he got started.

Provide Insanely Valuable Content

It all started because he just started sharing his experiences and ideas.

When in doubt, share what you already have a bunch of experience with:

I have this really unique set of experiences where I’ve built a dealership, I’ve grown a dealership, I’ve gotten to a big scale and have been at a small scale. I’ve been involved in dealership acquisitions. I’ve been involved in growing dealerships organically. People want to know the secrets, the nitty gritty of the automotive industry and so that’s what brings people to Car Dealership Guy.

Yossi Levi

Where can you intersect all of the experiences you’ve had in the past and build something on top of those?

For me? I’ve been dabbling with blogging since 2014, and have been helping other clients market their online businesses through Facebook and Google ads.

I’ve learned things along that way that have helped me with this newsletter.

I’m combining my experiences to help others navigate the path towards building their own newsletter and online business.

Be Intentional & Impartial

Yossi hasn’t taken money from a single car brand. He’s purposefully being impartial so he can build trust with his readers.

I’m sure he’s left a lot of money on the table, but he’s going to more than make up for that over time.

If your audience doesn’t trust you, forget about earning a living as a creator or entrepreneur. You have to protect that trust any way you can.

And taking money from any one side of the equation will make people question your motives.

Layer on Content Over Time

If you look at his brand now, they’re doing over 80 million impressions a month across their channels.

But it all started with an anonymous Twitter account. Then a newsletter. Then he added the podcast. And more social accounts.

These things take time. Make sure to take a step back and look at the one thing you’re doing now. Get really good at that one thing, and then add more over time.

Otherwise, you’ll be on the path to burnout and an unsustainable creator journey.

chenell basilio

Chenell Basilio

Chenell is the head writer and reverse engineer at Growth In Reverse. She spends her days researching newsletters, audience growth, and generally figuring out how to help others create better content.

She has an almost useless Bachelor's Degree in Geography, enjoys running, listening to podcasts, and eating guacamole. 🥑

Where I hang out on social media: