Automobiles are much more than a way of transportation. They signify our sense of independence. Marketers specializing in automotive digital marketing and management understand the people, passions and processes that get vehicles from our dreams to our driveways. They also understand the unique challenges that promoting vehicle sales and the automotive industry in general presents. This article breaks down some of those challenges for the uninitiated.
Websites that connect to Dealer Management Systems
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and dealerships were among the first to recognize the value of an online presence. Creating websites connected to dealer-management systems, build-and price modules and vehicle detail pages were all massive breakthroughs when most websites were just happy with image maps. Now, OEMs support dealerships with cutting edge digital marketing campaigns that span social, blogs and video.
Having said that many dealerships still don't embrace the value of digital opportunities even though this is the future of automotive digital marketing. The reason being is that there are so many digital marketing experts around bombarding dealerships with apps, offers, technical mumbo-jumbo and stressing importance on things that a GM or GSM just doesn't really care about or probably understand. Digital marketing support for car dealerships has never been more confusing.
Digital Marketing Tactics for Car Dealerships
1 - Update your website a few times a week - Keep your site up to date with what your sales people think about the vehicles in the store. Blogging with your own 100% unique original content and perspective is great. If your a dealership in Toronto maybe talk about a test drive you took on the 401 in icy conditions and how the vehicle felt. If your a dealership in Dallas then you can speak to how the ride is on various roads there. OEMs provide general content about the vehicles, but its up to you as a dealership to take that information and make it meaningful for people in your primary market area. This will also address your search-engine optimization. So not only do you give your website visitors good information you're also improving your search-engine ranking by adding content a few times a week based on topics you want to rank for. 2 birds with 1 stone. It also goes without saying to keep your OEM specials current and up to date.
2 - Pay attention to your reviews - Entice customers buying anything from you - service or new and used vehicles to leave you reviews online. Google Reviews is obviously your best bet (since they appear when anyone Googles your dealership name), but Dealer Rater is a solid paid option too. Offer discounts for reviews and setup a little kiosk in the dealership for them. Concerned about bad reviews? Don't be. There are always a few bad apples and you always have the opportunity to respond to those negative reviews.
3 - Clear actions for customers - Make it easy for your visitors to do things you want them to do like book a test drive, make an inquiry or contact your team. Getting a website visitor's name or email address is the first step in matching them up with a car that suits them and getting an opportunity to talk to them in-store.
4 - Build Trust - Naturally, car salespeople have a very bad reputation for being pushy and aggressive which makes people afraid of even visiting the store. You can build trust by even providing things like a 'car-buying guide' for them or listing out questions they should be asking when buying a car. Offers of tips and guides like that in exchange for an email address is a fair trade and will build trust.
5 - Video helps - If a picture is worth 1000 words than how many is a video worth? Videos of your vehicles (not just stock photos) and a review of the vehicle by a salesperson or consultant is a great thing for your vehicle detail pages. It also doesn't cost nearly as much as you think.
6 - Find the right partner - The right automotive digital marketing partner can provide the technical digital support car dealerships need. Hiring in-house technical people like developers or designers etc isn't really going to help sell more cars. Not when you can outsource your development needs to a team experienced in automotive digital marketing for 160-200 hours per month that has an army of people at their disposal. Plus, setting up a non-compete with a business is far easier to enforce than one with an indivdiaul in the event that person is poached by a competing dealership.
Need more help? Computan offers development help to car dealerships and automotive companies woldwide. Our team is well versed in working with OEM 's, CRM's and crafting custom development solutions for our partners.