Generally speaking, car dealerships are not known for embracing emerging marketing trends such as the digital wave. Not because they don’t want to; but because they don’t always need to. Many local dealers enjoy great success with traditional, direct-marketing tactics and regional outreach via print and broadcast media. However, as national and international automotive sales manufacturers have begun experimenting with digital marketing tactics, car dealers now have a new wave of tools to remain competitive in a hyper-saturated market.
Digital marketing brings brand awareness across tiers:
Studies suggest that at least 40% of all digital spends correlated to car sales will target brand awareness rather than direct offers. At the manufacturing level, we see this from major retailers such as Mercedes-Benz. During the past to years, the brand has used robust social media and event campaigns to generate buzz about the introduction of their new C300 model with great success. Once customers know about the brand or car model, they will move down the next marketing tier to discover a local dealer who has aligned to these trends. Although it may feel redundant for dealers to promote brand material rather than specific sales offers, it is important for customers to easily find a local presence that mirrors what they are seeing nationally. Investing in digital branding allows your dealership to rise to meet your customers needs as the move downstream toward a certain product or brand. In this way, you and your customers will meet in the middle. This tactic allows you to lead with value rather than discounts as you attract customers who are actively seeking a certain product or brand.
Search marketing keeps your brand top of mind:
Okay, now your customers have found you. They are excited about the latest model of their dream car and are weighing their options. Big purchases, such as cars, often have a longer sales cycle than traditional retail products, so keeping your dealership at the top of mind is of critical importance. Paid, retargeted, and organic search campaigns give you the opportunity to gently nudge your customer toward the point of sale without bombarding them before they are ready to complete a sale. As customers are looking for information, your website should be optimized to pop up before your competition so your dealership is a place to find answers, not just buy cars. This keeps customers coming back to your site again and again as they move toward a sale. Search optimization is your first line of defense against competition and easier to implement than you may think. Our team of experts at your Orlando marketing agency can determine the best terms to target, what words will make you stand out against your competition, and how to prioritize your search initiatives.
The surprising importance of being mobile-friendly:
In that vein, your site needs to be mobile ready. We know that customers don’t buy cars on their phones. But they do search for prices, search for the closest dealer to their home or office, and search for promotions that are running when they are ready to buy. According to cars.com, 43% of shoppers start their search on their mobile phones or tablets. We recommend investing in a responsive website design for best results or, at the very least, carefully considering how your website looks and functions on a smaller device. Mobile marketing is one of the first places car dealers try to cut costs, but it may be one of the worst places to make the cut. Click here to learn about some of the amazing mobile strategies our agency has used for business owners just like you.
Digital marketing augments accessibility:
In many ways, car purchases are a sale of opportunity. If one dealer doesn’t answer the phone, the customer will call the next closest vendor. If a purchaser can’t find the information they need online, they’ll find it somewhere else. Being accessible and responsive is key to success when you are competing against other equally qualified dealers in your area. Digital marketing allows you to be more responsive than the competition. Consider investing in chat, email services, and social media monitoring that allow your dealership to get to opportunities before someone else does. We realize this is yet another channel to manage when you already have phone calls and the floor to look after, but the modern customer expects businesses to be “on” 24-7, available, and ready for business when they are. Love it or hate it, the customer expectation wins.
Battle dealer stereotypes with digital customer service:
It’s no secret that car dealerships sometimes have a reputation for being deceitful or opportunistic. Using digital marketing to combat these stereotypes gives you the opportunity to showcase your business values. Address issues right away on social media. Encourage customers to review your dealership on Yelp. And don’t ignore your site’s comment section and inbox. Digital marketing enables you to use less resources to tackle service issues head on, which, in turn, builds goodwill and trust between your customers and prospective clients. You can directly handle negative feedback and foster relationships with those who have positive sentiments to share. Trust us, a little goes a long way.
Show some post-sale love:
Digital marketing also gives dealers the opportunity to foster post-sale relationships with their customers. This can generate referrals, repeat sales, and brand advocacy. You might consider featuring a “customer of the day” on your website or social channels, emailing clients with service reminders or seasonal greetings, and using digital marketing to schedule periodic outreach completely unrelated to sales. Nurturing your customers relationships at every stage of the customer journey reinforces all the work you did throughout the sales process and will help create happier, more valuable customers over their lifecycle.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Digital marketing has completely transformed almost every industry – including yours. Click here to contact us about how you can begin the digital revolution at your dealership. We’ll work with you to tailor a custom strategy that uses the technology you already have in place to build stronger customer relationships than ever before.