A successful marketing strategy for a digitally inclined car dealer is part statistics, part instinct. We always say at Bluesky Interactive that no two dealers work in exactly the same way. That said, there are some key elements that every successful digital marketing strategy should include in order to maximise car sales and lead generation.
So – does your strategy contain all of the below?
Managing your customers and developing a strategy that keeps in touch with them will boost customer retention and aftersales performance.
If you keep an eye on the digital job market, you’ll have seen CRM specific roles start popping up across the automotive manufacturers. That’s a very telling sign – it means that they think Customer Relationship Management is a vital part of selling a car – and we agree.
Use paid search to generate traffic to the relevant part of your website at all stages of the buying cycle.
When we talk dealer digital strategy, we mean strategy for making the most of your website – so we are purposefully leaving portals such as Autotrader off the list – they require a whole strategy of their own.
As such, we believe PPC is one of the best ways to reach relevant traffic, and ensure that traffic ends up on your website. Nowadays, a good PPC strategy isn’t just running a few ads on Google searches – instead, your strategy should at the very least include search and display, social advertising, and remarketing (so important it’s got its own section later in this article).
Inherently linked with your CRM strategy, email should be a valuable tools for staying in touch with current customers and prospects alike.
Your strategy should ideally involve keeping in touch with existing customers – most likely through a combination of service / MOT alerts, special offers, and content emails that are useful and remind them of your expertise.
Don’t forget prospects though – email marketing is definitely a way to generate business. Just make sure to make their emails as relevant to people as possible – whether that’s based on locations or their likely car preferences.
You need a comprehensive strategy to attract visitors and customers back to your website.
We’re keeping this separate to standard PPC, because it requires a separate strategy to be really effective.
Remarketing is about more than just showing adverts to website visitors – you can now show those ads across platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and show different adverts based on what they looked at on your website – including specific and similar cars. You could delay your remarketing, and start reaching them with content weeks after they left. You can even remarket based on customer details such as email address.
In short, remarketing is clever, and it delivers really good results. You need it.
Your website should be involved in any marketing plan to ensure consistency and lead generation.
Unsurprisingly, a plan for your website HAS to be part of your digital marketing strategy – as the website should be the place where customers view your car stock, and also where they can find out information and book aftersales services.
Just having a website isn’t really enough, of course. You need to make sure that the website is showcasing your stock and offers correctly, and that it is delivering as many leads as it can. As such, we’d recommend an optimisation and testing strategy to help your website continually grow and improve.
What you have to say matters in the digital marketplace more than ever before, and so every dealer should have a content marketing strategy for the year.
What does a content marketing strategy mean? It means that you should be generating videos, writing blogs, populating FAQs and being social – all of which should generate useful, sharable content that can help your brand to reach more people, and you customers to realise that you are an industry expert.
A good content marketing strategy will cross over with your email and remarketing efforts at the very least, helping to make your dealership embrace a truly integrated digital strategy.
Finally, if you haven’t become a social dealership yet then you are years behind the competition.
Yes, it isn’t a sales medium – but uit is a customer service one. By planning your social activity you can reach a relevant local audience, as well as staying in touch with customers once they leave the showroom. And as for the complaints – if you aren’t on social media they’ll complain about you anyway – but you won’t be there to hear them and turn the situation around.
Can you think of any other areas that are important in your digital marketing strategy? How do you plan to sell cars online over the next 12 months?