We’ve talked about digital tactics and awesome examples of automotive marketing, but this post is about combatting some of the auto industry’s most common problems with marketing. Got a season that always tanks sales when it comes around? Annoyed by having to constantly lower prices? We’ve done our best to give solid solutions to the marketing issues that keep dealers up at night.
Seasonal Sales Slump
We’ve all experienced it. The seasonal sales dip. Some times in a year, people just aren’t buying cars. But there’s a solution, and though they are hard work, the steps are few and simple.
First, check your past sales records to find the weeks (hopefully not months), where you historically haven’t been selling so well. Second week in January? Summer slump? Focus on these times to up your automotive marketing game with seasonal-specific tactics. Sponsoring or hosting events in your local community, like a summer barbeque or a winter ice skating event, and inviting the community can let your salespeople hang out with potential customers and network in a casual, no-pressure situation.
Second, you can also create a targeted email campaign based on things you learn at these events. Found out that some customers do big summer roadtrips? Offer a tune-up discount to them via email during your summer slumps. In essence, gather information and then use it. A seasonal drop in sales is an extremely common automotive marketing problem. Now when the next lull approaches, you have the tools to fight it.
Lackluster Dealership Recognition
Contrary to hundreds of teen movies, there’s no shame in wanting to be popular, and it can hurt when your dealership isn’t getting the recognition it should. And it doesn’t just hurt feelings, it can hurt bottom lines as well.
One of the best ways to combat this is with inbound marketing and content creation. 89% of consumers are looking for vehicle information online, and the elements of inbound marketing are created to give it to them. Social media, blogs, SEO. The best way to get recognition as a business is to offer people information – just look at Google. The word “google” is now a byword for looking something up on the internet, regardless of what search engine is used.
Producing content like community traffic updates, driving guides of all kinds, even totally driving-unrelated things. The best fishing spots near town. Little-known RV camping spots for summer getaways. People love information, and they’ll remember those who provide them with good information.
Good content will also help with SEO, an essential element of automotive marketing. Ranking high on Google is never (well, almost never) a bad thing, and the more informational content you produce, the more people will find it, the more visitors you’ll get on the lot. This is a long-term solution. Content takes a long time to make, especially if you’re producing it consistently and well, but if you can sacrifice instant gratification for recognition, this is a great way to get it.
Selling yourself short? Literally? With increasing competition, dealers across the country are engaging in price wars, an unsustainable race to the bottom that is gouging profits and frustrating salespeople. The solution? Change the marketing conversation.
Research by Adam D. Little ranked customer touchpoints and found that digital experience was second only to live experience (meaning actually meeting the dealer on the lot), in affecting customer’s perceptions and willingness to pay.
That means that digital experience matters. A ton. And it matters for what customers think of your dealership, and how much they’re willing to fork over their hard-earned greenbacks. In other words, two of the most important things for a dealership to care about. So stop competing on coupon-level, marketing purely on the price of a vehicle, constantly dropping prices just to snatch some scraps from your competitors’ mouths. Improve your digital experience, your customer experience online, and you relieve the pressure of having to fight over price and gain more customers all in one go. Who could ask for more?
Low Automotive Marketing ROI
So far, we’ve talked about specific problems within marketing. So what if these aren’t problems you have, but your marketing ROI is still unsatisfactory? There are a couple of solutions to this major problem.
#1: Improve Your Conversion Rates
Conversion rate is a major part of your automotive marketing ROI. If your marketing ROI hasn’t been rising to expectations, you can do some things to improve your conversion rate – both online and on the lot.
Improve your conversion rate by:
- Make your CTAs work – they should match your shoppers needs, not the dealership’s.
- Send follow-up emails – lead didn’t end in a sale? Send a polite email asking why, and you’ll get feedback that will help you in the future.
- Contact prospects via text – 99% of texts are opened (unlike emails), and there’s way less pressure than with a phone call.
- Improve your website – build a website that gives shoppers the information they are looking for and has a landing page for them. Shameless Plug: Improve your conversion rates with our auto dealer website platform!)
- Limit distractions for shoppers – change your in-store announcements to text so messages for your employees won’t distract shoppers
- Fight showrooming – arm your salespeople with tablets to show off your website and let shoppers search it, rather than your competitors.
- Invite the sales manager – make a wavering customer feel special and comforted by inviting the sales manager over to help them feel more secure in their purchase decision.
#2 Keep Track of Your ROI
We apologize for how obvious this seems, and if you’re rolling your eyes because you already do this, you have every right to. But also don’t be ashamed if you don’t keep track right now. A lot of dealerships don’t. But just keeping track, checking and documenting means that you are four times more likely to see an increase in ROI year over year.
What it boils down to is information. By keeping track and documenting you are providing yourself with a landscape, a roadmap of profits from which to make informed decisions. Probably one of the simplest and best methods for increasing your automotive marketing ROI out there.