Just as new car models are released each year, the way in which you market your auto dealership should take on a new model year after year. To make the most of your marketing initiatives it’s important to stay up to date, understanding new trends in technology and advertising options that can help your business. Here are five of the best marketing tools for automotive dealers that you should be aware of, and utilizing:
1. Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation software allows you to market on multiple channels and automate tasks repetitive in nature (email blasts, etc.).
Perhaps the strongest part about marketing automation software is the ability to gather information about prospective customers. Understanding buying habits, interests, geographic information, and more helps you nurture leads and potentially turn them into customers. Marketing automation software can also gather emails from interested parties to create a subscriber list. However, Hubspot warns: “The consequence is that marketers begin buying lists of email addresses to nurture instead of generating inbound leads. While it seems like a quick fix, it's not a long-term solution, nor does it create the fertile ground for a healthier, longer relationship with your future customers.”
You can continue to generate inbound leads by offering relevant content to your potential customers, often done through blogs or video.
2. Social Media Management Platforms
Social media is an integral part of your marketing efforts, allowing you to generate leads and immediately see the success (or not) of campaigns through audience engagement. A younger and more tech-friendly audience is using social media to make informed car buying decisions. Auto News shares that “In 2013, MarketShare concluded that Twitter drove $716 million in auto sales among those 20 nameplates through Twitter Ads, positive brand mentions, amplification of TV advertising and the Twitter activity of the automakers themselves.”
If that’s not convincing enough, take a look at these 2014 stats from the CMO Council:
23% of car buyers use social media to discuss or communicate a recent purchase experience.
38% of consumers report they’ll consult social media the next time they purchase a car.
84% of all automotive shoppers are on Facebook, with 24% using the platform as a resource for the purchase of their last vehicle.
Yes, but how exactly does it work? Auto dealers are using Twitter to connect with local buyers by engaging them on the platform, answering their questions and sharing information.
Facebook allows you to reach your demographic with targeted ads and the ability to find subscribers from your subscription database on the platform. To maintain engagement consistency is key. Regularly schedule content and share videos, and most importantly, respond to questions and comments when they arise.
Opportunity Max recommends running a promotion on your Facebook timeline, requiring fans to interact with your post as a form of entry. They also suggest giving away a prize that will appeal to a larger audience, like a gift card, as opposed to offering a discount on new car purchase,.
3. Website Chat
Offering a chat feature on your website gives you the opportunity to engage potential buyers visiting your site, answering questions and discussing features, as well as lengthening the amount of time prospects remain on your site.
We Make Websites lists several benefits of offering live chat sessions on your website, including convenience (customers want quick assistance), building trust and the ability to make recommendations based upon information gleaned through a chat session.
4. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Another in-demand marketing option for auto dealers is pay per click advertising, in which you pay for strategically placed ads to drive traffic to your website. For example, you can use Google Adwords to target customers using carefully selected keywords. World Dealer Advertising discusses the benefits of PPC, including capturing the online market and the cost effectiveness of using this approach.
You can use pay per click advertising to target potential customers in your geographical area, those performing internet searches for particular car models you offer, and even qualifier keywords such as “cheap” or “used”.
5. Targeted Advertising
With the ever growing use of smartphones, targeted advertising offers the ability for you to further narrow your advertising efforts with mobile ads. Not only can you target prospects searching for a specific vehicle, you can also target your ads to reach potential customers within a geographic area and based upon their buying habits.
Frost Prideau, CEO at Simplifi, provides a great example of the importance of targeted advertising used in this interview with Street Fight, saying “in the auto industry the Toyota dealer in Palo Alto, Calif., has a lot full of Priuses and hybrid cars on its lot, and is after a very different audience than the Toyota dealer in Fort Worth, Texas, where they have a lot full of Tundras, pickup trucks and SUVs. If you were to apply a national audience segment to local Toyota dealers you’d be targeting an audience that wasn’t ideal for either of them.”
You can further hone your results with targeted contextual ads, as they are aligned with web content directly related to your business. For instance, if you are a Ford dealer, you would align your ads to content that is written about Ford cars, buying Fords, and the cost effectiveness of Ford vehicles. To see how targeted contextual ads work and look, take a look at this example on Dealer.com.
The online arena is ever-changing, but you can capitalize on your digital marketing efforts by using marketing automation, social media, web chats, pay per click advertising, and targeted ads.