3 Essential Digital Marketing Practices Your Dealership Can Use in 20186 min read
Living in our very digital age, it’s become more important than ever before to have a strong online presence. In order to compete in the automotive industry, your website, social media profiles and advertising have to be top-notch.
Now, assuming you DO have a website, social media pages and an digital advertising budget, you might be sitting there and asking yourself “Am I doing this right?” or “Is my online presence effective?”
Lots of dealerships are perfectly capable of cobbling together a website and a Facebook page…. but the question is, are those websites and Facebook pages worth visiting? Do they even look presentable?
Here are 3 auto dealer digital marketing practices that I’ve recommended for 2018 to my clients:
Don’t Overlook the Importance of High-Quality Design
One of the first things I tell dealers trying to improve their digital marketing is that high-quality design is absolutely crucial.
Today’s consumers, baby boomers and millennials alike, have far more sophisticated taste. They expect a lot more out of dealerships than some obnoxious inflatable tube men or painted letters that spell out “SALE” underneath the hoods of your cars.
People don’t want to be pandered to anymore. They want to be spoken to like an investor — because frankly, that’s exactly what buying a car is: an investment! This is especially important in the digital age, as many consumers do their research online.
If they’ve never set foot in your store, but discovered you on social media or search engine, you want your online presence to be a reflection of your amazing inventory and customer service.
I’ll be completely frank with you…. there isn’t much of an excuse anymore to NOT have great design or, for that matter, a great consumer experience (Example: A highly functional website).
When you have the right tools and services at your fingertips, building a website, social media pages and creating ads that look really nice isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s actually extremely cost effective. Something as simple as embedding a video you shot yourself from your own phone can have a huge impact on how consumers view your dealership. It shows effort!
Build Trust and Legitimacy with your Brand
Okay, so — remember how I said consumers in this day and age are extremely sophisticated? Well, along with being sophisticated, consumers are also smarter and FAR more tech-savvy than ever before, too!
Back in the day, dealers used to hold all the power. Consumers couldn’t access information about financing, trade-in appraisals and inventory unless they visited the dealership and inquired about it. In the year 2016, however, this is certainly not the case.
Because of automotive resource sites like Kelley Blue Book and NADA, consumers have the same amount of data and access that dealers do. They can now both get up-to-date information on pricing, availability and competitors FAST.
Now, even if consumers happen to do their research via a 3rd party site, they eventually do need to go to a dealership to purchase their vehicle… and this typically means paying the actual dealership’s website a visit.
To keep prospective customers from straying way, you want your site to provide the best online experience possible.
Naturally, you might be asking “What does this mean? My website looks good. What more do I need to do?” Well, your site looking good isn’t the only thing that matters.
You also need to be able provide vital information that the customer might be looking for. Do you have resources available to better help the customer (like a FAQ section)? Do you have a payment calculator or an appraisal tool? Do you have a live chat option?
These types of things might seem small, but overall, they add legitimacy to your dealership. Also, consumer will be more likely to trust you since you are putting in so much effort to help them find the answers for themselves.
Be Relatable to Your Customers. Let Them Get to Know You!
Over 72% of consumers will check out your dealership online prior to stepping foot in the dealership… so along with a well designed, legitimate website, you also want to show that you understand the consumer.
Now is the time to talk about your dealership in more of a personal way and use multiple media formats to engage with consumers. When building or reconstructing your website and social channels, you might consider adding in an “About Us” or “Our History” page.
Many successful dealerships have these pages, as they’re a great way to tell consumers “Hey! We’re just like you!” A page stating “We’ve been family owned for 20+ years and customer service has always been our #1 priority!” lets consumers know that they’re going to be cared for.
In addition to “About Us” or “Our History” pages, it also helps to be completely upfront with them regarding things you know they already care about like: saving time, making sure they’re getting a good deal, or simply confirming the details of an individual vehicle. You can place these points on the main landing page!
Another way your dealership can be relatable is to make consumers feel like they’re in control as much as possible. You want to answer consumer questions or inquiries before they even think to ask them. On your social media pages, post pictures of your actual showroom so that consumers have an idea of what they’ll look like.
Or maybe on your “Schedule a Test Drive” form, provide some insights into what the next steps will be (Ex: You’ll meet with one of our reps, who will take you to the car of your choice, etc.). Consumers appreciate the additional information more than you might realize.
Use these automotive dealer marketing tips to help you build trust and authority with your current and potential buyers. It’ll bring your dealership’s marketing to the next level (and your sales, too).