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Reading about automotive content marketing can make it seem like a lot of encouragement and optimism wrapped in buzzwords. However, automotive content marketing is a good idea. When traditional methods have begun to stall, automotive content marketing can drive traffic to your dealership by offering helpful information, widening your shopper audience, boosting your SEO, improving your social media, and even aiding your dealership reputation. The possibilities to engage consumers are numerous and can drive significant traffic to your dealership website.
At the heart of automotive content marketing there is a simple and beautiful truth: shoppers want information and good automotive content marketing gives it to them. When shoppers begin the shopping process, research is a must – after all, they have to make up their minds. Shoppers begin researching with three brands, two body styles, and three models on average in mind. A full 60% of shoppers are “open to considering multiple vehicle option.” As they begin their buyer’s journey, shoppers turn to online sources for their search for information. Use automotive content marketing to drive traffic to your dealership website by providing your shoppers with the information that they are searching for and that will be useful to them. Shoppers are conducting research; they won’t buy a car without doing it. You can either wait for them to finish their research and hopefully find your dealership, or you can be their research partner and accompany them throughout their entire buying journey.
The buyer’s journey for car shoppers is a convoluted one. For one thing, the car purchase process is much, much longer than the average retail buyer’s journey, although not as long as one might imagine. 93% of people take four months or less to buy or lease a car, and 68% are done in just one month. In part due to the long purchase process, shoppers can enter and exit the car market as their lives change – income, location, household size or makeup, which makes an already highly variable process that much more complex. It may not seem like there is a space for automotive content marketing in this chaotic marketing, but really, it is the ideal place. Content marketing is often thought of as a powerful B2B and B2C tool. The car buying journey is very similar to the purchasing journey for typical business decisions – the contract or purchase is weighed heavily, lots of research is conducted, and the process regularly takes months to finalize. Content marketing exists partly to accompany users down the whole purchase road, by being a helpful and useful resource in all instances. Automotive content marketing allows dealerships to cover all points of the purchase process, all at once, with no wasted time or money on those who have exited the buyer’s journey early or entered it late. Automotive content marketing is necessary for a dealership to even be a part of the 59% of car shopping time that is spent online – compared to just 21% at the dealership. An exceptional automotive content marketing system that reaches into all stages of the buyer’s journey means a dealership could enjoy a larger share of that 59% of online time.
There are some that say that content marketing is really all about SEO, and they probably wouldn’t be wrong. After all, you’ll notice this is by far the longest section in this post. And that’s because there are a multitude of benefits that a solid automotive content marketing strategy has on a dealership’s organic SEO.
The immediate and most obvious benefit is increased traffic to a dealership site. This process works relatively simply. With the assumption of good and useful content, dealers should see increased traffic from all over the search query map from their content efforts. The more topics that fall along the buyer journey research pattern that a dealership creates content about, the more points of contact there are between the dealership and the shopper. Traffic should come from some shoppers searching about evaluating the best gas mileage and efficiency, some searching about new all-wheel drive models, some searching for information on leases, and the rest from many dozens (if not hundreds) more topics. Ideally, you would want a blog post from your dealership on the first SRP for every topic having to do with dealerships or cars. That’s unlikely, at least not without a TON of work, but that doesn’t mean that even modest content creation as a part of your automotive content marketing can result in a huge traffic boost just coming from shoppers in the first stages of the research process.
Another important, although somewhat less than flashy, benefit of automotive content marketing is the increase in links. Blogs give websites on average 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links to a webpage. When we get into the more technical aspects of SEO – away from the keywords and density that most people are familiar with, we get into the realm of links and indexing. An indexed page or link means that the URL has been crawled over and the contents have been analyzed for relevancy. Now, bear with us, we promise this does tie back into your automotive content marketing. These indexed pages are the ones that will crop up in SRPs, and which are essential not only for driving traffic to your site, but also for earning your dealership site legitimacy in the eyes of search engines, which will reward that legitimacy with better rankings.
There is another element to SEO and automotive content marketing that is often overlooked. There are dozens of ranking factors for web pages in search engines, and no marketer can tell how much each is weighted. But we do know that bounce rate is one of them. An average bounce rate is about 50%, but that varies depending on the type of page and the industry. Nevertheless, good content will help reduce bounce rate. Expect your content that reflects topics closer to the end of the buyer’s journey to have lower bounce rates than your earlier topic content. As with all things automotive content marketing, don’t be worried if bounce rates don’t shoot up, because even if researchers are looking at your page and looking away, they’re still contributing to another ranking factor: time on page.
The time a user spends on a page is more important than one might assume. In addition to being a ranking factor, time on page indicates the depth of your audience engagement. 10 seconds means they didn’t find what they were looking for, but over a minute means they have probably found something of value on your page.
All this comes with the caveat not to lose impatience. Maybe most searchers are just looking at the blog post, then moving on. That isn’t a problem. Maybe it isn’t driving traffic directly to your website, but it is providing shoppers with useful information, and though it isn’t time in their journey to visit a dealership website just yet, they won’t forget that you were a trustworthy and useful source.
People are using social media more and more, and with the importance of word of mouth in the automotive industry, automotive content marketing can be leveraged to totally revitalize your social media. In fact, social media is marketing’s most popular form of content delivery, with 87% of marketers using it as part of their content marketing strategies. If you have followed the advice above, you should have a good content being produced regularly, and that content can be promoted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. Particular content works better for social media than others. In order to capitalize on the audience you are reaching with your social media, you can create Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content. Good content can be disseminated on your social media accounts, and will, over time, generate more shares, views, likes and followers over time – powering your social media engine. A small time investment can result in tremendous social media success In fact, 81%+ of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.
Finally, we have one more benefit of automotive content marketing that may not be the most obvious. Automotive content marketing builds a dealership credibility, trustworthiness, and good reputation. Though it isn’t necessarily a direct benefit in terms of search engine ranking or sales won, good reputation is nothing to sneeze at. In 2016 (yes, literally last year) 87% of Americans reported they dislike something about car shopping at dealerships and 61% reported feel they’re taken advantage of while there. With automotive content marketing, dealers can introduce themselves to shoppers before they reach the dealership (and all the negative emotions they associate with shopping there), and begin building a relationship that is untarnished by the stereotypes they’d otherwise have to fight their way through. For most car shoppers, the first contact they have with a dealership is when they walk onto the lot. Automotive content marketing gives dealers the opportunity to, if not interact with the shopper, get out ahead of the negative emotions and have a better chance at making a sale.
To drive more foot traffic to your dealership, consider revamping your automotive content marketing plan. It’s clear that for the reasons stated above, you can reap tremendous benefits from such a plan. The key is consistency and usefulness in order to encourage your desired customers to visit your dealership over a competitor’s.