Originally posted on https://www.autoshopdigital.com/car-dealer-marketing-tips
These days, automotive dealerships are a dime a dozen. If you’re serious about standing out in this hyper-saturated market and drawing new customers to your business, you’re going to have to get a little more creative than a wacky inflatable tube man.
Read on for our round-up of car dealer marketing tips that are sure to have customers beating down your door.
Any effective marketing strategy starts with a top-notch online presence. There’s no use pushing out an eye-catching online ad campaign if you don’t have a website to link it to and your potential customers can’t find your dealership address.
Here are a few ways to make sure your business is putting its best foot forward online:
These days, you can’t rely on an impressive physical presence alone to lure in customers. Chances are, the first place your customers will find your business is online. While it’s not necessary to have the world’s techiest site, there are a few basics you should cover to ensure your website lures people in rather than driving them away.
Over half your site visitors will be browsing on their mobile phones. For this reason, it is essential to make your website mobile responsive. While most custom-designed and templated sites are created with mobile responsiveness in mind, if your website is even a few years old it may have fallen behind.
If you’re in doubt about the mobile responsiveness of your site, check out the free checker tool available on the Google Search Console.
It should go without saying, but your website should be designed with the user experience in mind. When designing your site, think first about the different reasons people will be browsing your site. If the number one reason your customers land on your page is to see what cars you’re currently selling, it makes no sense to hide these away on a page that requires several clicks to get to. When designing your site, plan out the different users likely to land on your page and choose a layout with them in mind.
Last but not least, make sure your site is visually impressive. It may seem basic, but an outdated or just plain ugly website is a sure fire way to send potential customers running straight to your competitors. Take some time to really make your site stand out and look pleasing to the eye.
Have you claimed your Google My Business page? If not, you are missing out on a seriously effective (and free) marketing tool. Think of your Google My Business page as your virtual shop front, only better.
This handy little Google feature groups all your important info like your opening hours, location, website URL, reviews and contact info in one place. Google recently added a feature called posts, which gives you a place to highlight current promotions and exciting events in your business.
The best part about your Google My Business listing is that it shows on both Google searches and Maps. Say a potential customer searches for your location in Google Maps, if you have posted an update on your latest killer promo, your new customer will see it right then and there. It doesn’t get more timely than that!
In 2019, having a solid social media presence is a fundamental part of your automotive dealer marketing strategy. If you aren’t engaging with your past and future customers on social media, you are missing out on a seriously effective marketing opportunity. Here are a few quick tips to up your social media game:
Many business owners have made the mistake of trying to be everywhere at once. Unless you have a dedicated social media team, this is a recipe for disaster. Your best bet for social success is to focus on one niche and drill down into your target market. Are they up late at night trolling Twitter or keeping their inner-circle up-to-date on Instagram?
Decide which social platforms your customers are most likely to frequent and use this to improve your strategy. Picking two to three platforms and posting regularly is the goal, rather than creating profiles on every platform and never touching them.
These days, most social platforms include an option for paid advertising. Depending on the goals of your business, it’s wise to strike a balance between organic and paid content. On Facebook, for example, a good strategy to start with could be to schedule a series of organic posts and then choose the post that performed best with your audience (we’re talking reactions, likes, comments, and shares) and pay to promote that to a wider audience.
While it’s true that advertising on social media can be much cheaper than alternatives like PPC (pay per click) advertising on Google and other search engines, it’s easy to get carried away if you don’t know what you’re doing. Start slow and set a limited budget until you get the hang of things.
With social media algorithms changing on a near daily basis, there’s no shortage of hacks floating around to game the system. While there’s no certainty to these theories, the one thing all social platforms prioritize is genuine user engagement. And the best way to get this? Consistent posting.
Rather than taking a stab in the dark or posting when it suits you, look when your customers are most active online and aim to serve them content when they are most likely to see it. All social platforms have built in analytics tools that will give you this information.
Not all customers want to call you or contact you in the way you prefer, that’s a fact of life. If you are going to take steps to help your customers find you online (and you should!) you need to be prepared for them to contact you there, too.
From unanswered comments on Facebook to mounting negative reviews on Google, ineffective management of your online community is a seriously bad look. Not only will this leave a bad taste in your customers’ mouth, but it will also give new visitors to your social profiles the wrong impression.
If you don’t have the resources to hire a dedicated marketer or online sales person to stay on top of your online platforms, consider making a schedule and have each team member dedicate an hour or so a week to answering comments, responding to reviews (good and bad) and engaging with your audience.
User Created Content, or UCC, is one of the easiest (and cheapest) forms of marketing there is. If you’re not already encouraging and promoting UCC in your business, you are missing out on a seriously effective tool in your automotive dealer marketing arsenal. Read on for a few sure-fire ways to generate user-created content.
There’s nothing people love more than celebrating the big moments and plastering them all over their own social media channels. Ensure your business is ready to capitalize on these moments by setting up a photo station to snap pictures to commemorate your customers’ new purchase.
Not every auto brand has the marketing cache of the Toyota, jumping in the air commercials, but investing in a few simple props, like a giant bow for the cars or a novelty photo frame, are great ways to encourage your customers to stop and take a photo.
Considering your sales team spend the most time with your customers, it makes sense to involve them in this process. By encouraging your team members to either take photos themselves or direct your customers to the photo station, your chances of getting that coveted UCC will multiply.
All the user created content in the world is no use to you if you can’t find it. To make it as easy as possible for your customers to tag your business in their happy snaps, promote your social channels throughout your business. Business cards, invoices, emails – these are all great spots to promote your social handles and hashtags. Try to avoid using words that may be difficult to spell. You want you social handles and hashtags to be simple to spell and easy to remember.
Sometimes things need a little helping hand to get started. If you are having a hard time encouraging customers to take photos of their shiny new cars and tag your business, why not sweeten the deal? Consider running a promotion for a year’s free service for the most creative new car shot.
Remember, UCC has a dual benefit. Not only will your customers provide you with a never-ending stream of free content to use for your own marketing, but they will also post on their own socials, effectively promoting your business to a whole new audience you may not have otherwise reached.
While it’s easy to assume influencer marketing is no more than fitness bloggers pedaling detox teas on Instagram, this new wave of marketing is about so much more than that. Today, the influencer phenomenon has spread far and wide, with some research suggesting as many as 86% of women consult social media when making a major purchase. With stats like these, it’s worth including influencers in your marketing strategy.
Like all marketing, to get the greatest impact, you first need to consider your target market. If your core business is selling SUVs to soccer moms, look into some “mommy bloggers” in your area and calculate your estimated ROI based on the size of their following.
Depending on your budget, you can be flexible with what you are willing to offer your chosen influencer(s). For example, unless your influencer of choice is an A-list celebrity, you may not be in a position to offer them a new car. You may instead offer them the use of a car free of charge for a few weeks or months, on the condition that they make a certain number of posts on their social channels and continuously tagging you every step of the way.
Automation is a big part of marketing. Why waste your valuable time, or that of your team, by doing something that you can automate instead? Here are a few key ways you can save time in your business with marketing tech tools:
If you are serious about growing and maintaining your customer base, you need a CRM (customer relationship management) system. At their core, CRM’s save time for you and your team while ensuring no customers or leads slip through the cracks by storing data on every customer who comes into contact with your business.
A good CRM will store your most important customer data on the cloud so it’s easily accessible for all your team members, on any device, so it’s always available whenever they need to access it.
There are loads of different options on the market. The best solution for your dealership depends on both your budget and your requirements.
Sometimes, your business can become a victim of its own online success. Say you are running some Facebook or PPC ads that are getting great engagement with your audience. You might then find you start to get an influx of messages to your page or website that you and your team aren’t always able to respond to in a timely manner.
Rather than shelling out for a new team member, consider investing in a chatbot for your website and Facebook page. These chatbots can be as basic or sophisticated as you like, doing everything from replying to every customer with a generic message or guiding them to contact you in a different way.
Regardless of which bot you choose, you are likely to see an increase in your customer satisfaction and some serious time savings to boot.
We’ve covered many different online marketing tips that you can utilize for your car dealership. It’s critical that you stay up to date with new ways to keep your customers engaged. It’s easy for customers to be on to the next new thing and if you don’t keep up with them, your company will be left in the dust.
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