This is Step Three and Four of our Automotive Dealership Marketing Plan How-To Guide. If you haven’t read Step One or Step Two yet, we advise you go back to Step One: Market Research and read the whole guide.
STEP THREE: Tactics
The research has been done, the analysis has been made. The strategies have been decided on. Now it’s time for get into the fine detail- the tactics.
Figuring out exactly how to implement an automotive dealership marketing plan is always a challenge. Each dealer, depending on their own specific situation, will have a different set of goals and intentions. For instance, one dealership might want to focus on local marketing, making sure they are ranking on the first page of Google for local searches and showing up on maps as a major result. This would require a different SEO strategy than a dealer in a large metropolitan area who wants to draw in more shoppers from outside the city, or even the county.
But nevertheless, there are some tactical decisions that should happen in all automotive dealership marketing plans.
#1: Be Useful
We’ve written about this concept before, but what shoppers want, much of the time, is information. This means useful, unbiased, and easily accessed information.
- Create helpful content. Helpful content would not include the same old “we’re having a sale this week!” but instead, something that gives your customers a hand in their car buying journey. This content might educate buyers, assisting them with purchasing decisions, and provide a better customer experience overall.
- Disseminate this content via blogs, social media, community events, or even advertising.
- Cater that content to the prime audiences your research revealed. If you realized there is a huge untapped market of families, publish content like “More Than Seatbelts: how to evaluate car safety for the modern car shopper” (or something). If you have a community that is very environmentally conscious, you can try “8 Ways to dramatically reduce your vehicle’s emissions” (or the like).
#2: Focus Online
If you are launching a new automotive dealership marketing plan, you should look to your online experience. Potential customers will end up on your website at one point or another, and having a great marketing campaign but a poor website (particularly on mobile) can ruin your plans. As many as 70% of car buyers begin their research online. If their initial experience is frustrating and dissatisfying, this can actively discourage these car buyers from stepping foot onto your lot.
Some things you can do to beef up your online experience:
- Make your website mobile-first (not just responsive)
- Make it extremely easy for your customers to find all the most important and relevant information.
- Create simple, short forms that are easy to fill out to help you capture leads. Better forms mean you won’t have to push your shoppers to the point of leaving with distracting and pushy lead generation tactics.
#3: Post-Sale Promotion
Thankfully, the potential for marketing doesn’t end with the sale. A great source of leads are the happy customers you just waved off your lot. But this is something most dealers know. What you have the opportunity to do now is revitalize your referral and loyalty programs. During your research, you may have found new, more successful ways of running these programs and new ways to engage these customers. Implementing a new auto dealership marketing plan is a great time to also put a new loyalty/referral program in place and capitalize on all the satisfied customers leaving your lot. These plans encourage customers to keep coming back, whether for service on their automobile or to purchase a new model from your dealership. Once a customer has a positive customer experience, you want to keep your dealership top of mind for their needs down the road.
STEP FOUR: To Be Continued…
Don’t worry. This is the last step and it’s pretty short. Once you’ve formulated your new automotive dealership marketing plan and put it into operation, gather data. Don’t just put your marketing plan in place and let it go. Keep your eye on it and collect data and analyze that data from time to time.
Data is obtained from a variety of sources. If you’re sending emails to customers, view the metrics of each campaign. How many customers are viewing your dealership’s emails and clicking links? How many customers are showing up on your lot mentioning content you provided? How many leads are you obtaining from your lead capture forms? Are you reaching out to them in a timely manner and are they taking the next step to purchase a new automobile from your dealership?
Marketing has a lot of science involved, but some of it is art, and sometimes a great idea just doesn’t work. Collecting and analyzing the data and results from your new automotive dealership marketing plan allows you to build up a repertoire of effective marketing strategies that bring in profit for your dealership while scrapping the ideas that don’t work out. It is a continuous process of measuring and making subtle adjustments to ensure the customer buying experience is one that will keep them coming back.