Digital marketing trends are changing very quickly, and when talking about it in industries such as automotive, they’re more important than ever. Customers want more! It’s not just about selling a car; it’s about creating experiences.
Is that customer thinking about coming back to your dealership?
Are you his favorite salesperson?
How much information did he or she have before contacting you?
The answers to these questions will show you how much the customer-salesperson relationship has changed over time. Before, customers were talking to salespeople to get the information about a vehicle. Now, customers search for that information online, compare vehicles and dealerships and come to visit when they already know which vehicle to purchase.
Your customers are always online
That’s why the digital marketing strategy for dealerships needs to be placed in that part of customer experience. Do you know where your customers search for information? Are they active on social media, forums, or other platforms? What content do they prefer? If you want more people making purchases in your dealership, you have to connect with them sooner. In other words, your customers are no longer waiting in line; they are looking for information online! That’s where you need to be!
The first half of 2018 is behind us, but you still have time to make the best out of these trends. Boost your showroom traffic and sell more cars!
Moments create the customer experience
Customer experience is more complex than ever. It includes many more elements than it did before. To provide their customers with the best purchasing experience, salespeople have to become experts. Not just sales experts, but customer relationship experts as well. To do so, they have to know where their shoppers are, what they are searching for, and how are they searching for it. As a marketing professional in a dealership, start with a simple question:
What does my customer need?
Think about the habits, wishes, needs, ideas, problems they have in their everyday life. How can your way of communication be incorporated into their lifestyle? Don’t think for a second that details like a specific style of communication are not important. Every detail is important because it creates something bigger: a perfect online world designed just for this customer.
Start reaching shoppers during their buying experience and provide them with the exact information they need at that time. However, their buying experience doesn’t start when they visit your dealership. Not even when they contact you! Their buying experience starts when they first think of buying a new car. That’s where your digital marketing needs to be very effective! Start thinking step by step. When a car shopper begins thinking about buying, what does he or she do next? They scour the web to find the best deals, nearest dealerships and brilliant customer reviews.
Create good content on your website
Are you satisfied with your website? Are your visitors and customer satisfied with it? Don’t forget to check how your competition is doing. The average shopper will never make his or her buying decision without comparing at least 3 or 4 dealerships. They spend time exploring dealership websites, looking at their inventory, special deals, important updates, etc. If somebody spent 2 minutes on your website, would they be bored? Do you have enough good content to keep that person active and intrigued?
This is why your website needs to be tailored to your customers. Your website needs to provide the answers to all the questions your customers might have. You’re not just selling your customers their next vehicle; you are participating in a major buying decision.
Here is an example of a “Thank you” video:
Customers would rather watch than read
Yes, the video is here to stay. It dominated every industry in 2017 and will continue to do so in 2018.
But, what video content works best? What do your customers prefer?
When talking about purchasing vehicles, your customers will appreciate the kind of content that will provide them with the best information. Imagine your customer visiting your dealership website and the first thing he sees is a video. If you’re wondering if you should include videos on your website, you should know this: Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more. Your customers would rather watch videos than read a text. So, each time you think about writing about a specific vehicle (or any other topic), ask yourself: Would this be more effective in video form? Not only does it engage viewers better than text; it provides them with more information about the product.
The importance of including a video on your website could best be presented with the fact that the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Additionally, 64% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching branded social videos, according to Tubular Insights. If you look from the management point of view, 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video. Also, if you were wondering if you should include video on your landing page, the answer is yes. Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more.
Communication begins with the website visit
Keep in mind that your shoppers will watch videos on mobile phones more often than on their personal computer. Of course, that shouldn’t affect the way you record videos. On the other hand, don’t forget to think about the format, size and other technical details that could affect the viewer’s experience. The viewer of your video will more likely become the buyer in your dealership if you communicate effectively from the first moment he comes in contact with your company. In a digital world, that first contact is users visiting your dealership’s website.
Is there a person that is not active on social media?
Well, we all are aware that the world of social media is constantly changing. For users, it’s exciting to see every new update or feature. For marketers, it can get pretty frustrating. Let’s say you’ve just learned how to create effective and profitable social ads, but your favorite social media platform is announcing new updates for it. Yes, you will probably benefit from it, but thinking about changing the way you do things every once in a while can be frustrating.
When talking about the quality of your social media content, you should serve only the best. To be clear, the best is video! You need to get your shoppers into your showroom, simple as that. Of course, most of your shoppers will buy in person, but they will do their research online. But which social platforms should dealerships use? In the United States, Facebook is the number one social channel. For instance, 89% of adults in the U.S use Facebook, and 70% of them spend nearly an hour on Facebook daily. If you want to use the best Facebook feature, try out Facebook Marketplace which was recently launched.
Instagram is becoming the favorite social channel for dealerships
Instagram is becoming more and more popular, too. The reason lies in the philosophy mentioned above – creating moments. Dealership salespeople are posting pictures and videos of their satisfied customers who just bought a new car. What’s a better way to show your future customers that you are the right person for them than by sharing the experiences of your other satisfied customers? Not to mention that Instagram is a social media platform full of influencers. Why not convey your message to somebody your customers will start recognizing as part of your company? Options are various!
Here’s an example of how a dealership in Dubai uses Instagram:
According to Google, 69% of people who used YouTube while buying a car were influenced by the video that they watched. Even Hubspot confirmed that 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.
Best apps for dealerships
NADA MarketValues is an app designed specifically for car sales and valuation. With a quick scan of a VIN, dealerships can find the fair market value for a used car as well as a history report. The app gives you quick access to all the information you need for making smart decisions at an auction or on the lot. NADA MarketValues includes weekly Auction values, as well as monthly Trade-in, Loan and Retail values for used passenger cars and light-duty trucks along with many others.
If driving leads and customer retention is your dealership’s goal, NxGarage is the app for you. It’s designed to benefit automotive dealerships and attract their customers. NxGarage allows dealerships to efficiently manage inventory while driving leads and improving customer communication and retention. It also provides dealerships with a customer lifecycle management tool.
We can’t forget Twitter. You can’t be successful with your marketing strategy if you don’t pay attention to what your customers are talking about. With Twitter, you can easily search trending topics by hashtags or even open a discussion about something that is important to your dealership or your customers.
Everything needs to be mobile-friendly
When you design, design for mobile. This is probably one of the most important digital marketing trends. Now more than ever before, Google is focusing on websites and content that are mobile-friendly! Your marketing has to be tailored to mobile users because 18% of vehicle buyers only use mobile devices.
There are so many useful tools and applications for dealerships out there. For instance, Geo-Fencing allows dealers to greet customers wherever they are and send nearby shoppers notifications when they are active in your specific area. This is a great way of engaging your shoppers! If you want them to think about your dealership, your dealership has to think about them first. Yes, everything is becoming mobile-friendly! There is really no reason left to create content that is not mobile-friendly. Moreover, your complete website needs to be mobile-friendly as well!
The customer profile is constantly changing. Yesterday’s customer is much different from today’s customer. Today, customers are spending a large amount of their time searching for vehicles online and making their decisions before they even get to the dealership. Your dealership has to adjust its digital marketing strategy to meet the demands of its shoppers and the industry in general. If you don’t follow any of these digital marketing trends, you will give your competition a chance to get to your potential customers first. Remember, customers are not visiting dealerships as much as they used to before. This is why your website and your digital skills need to be at the top of the game!
In the end, it’s all about making your customers feel good and entertained. Check out this example:
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