The retention cycle in the car industry and how you can use marketing to help you

As you know, retention is vitally important to the car dealer market. Whether it’s encouraging clients into a brand new model when their first MOT is due, staying in touch to resell year after year, or using servicing touch points as a way to maintain contact with your customer database, retention is and always has been the cheapest and most effective marketing option.

So if there is a practical and cost-saving marketing approach, how can you tap into this cycle to maximise your customer retention? And how can digital marketing help you out?

Stay in touch with your car buyer via email and SMS marketing.

Firstly, you need to stay in touch with your car buyer, after they’ve bought the car and left your website. We recommend a couple of approaches to helping with this. 1.Regular, targeted email and SMS marketing – keep in contact with your customer, but be careful not to overdo it with ill-timed sales messages. Instead, given them a reason to like you – maybe emailing tips on their car specifically, exclusive offers, and of course servicing and MOT reminders. 2.Consider using a product like PIXREVIEW. These guys combine handover photos and reviews, but are extending their product to allow you to do Facebook-style “reminders” about the happy handover moment the buyer had last year, using this as an opportunity for a marketing touchpoint.

Use creative thinking to advertise to them online.

With a bit of imagination there are a number of ways you can reach customers as they journey around the web, surreptitiously keeping them in touch with your business. 

  1. Remarketing adverts via Google, AdRoll, Criteo and more tend to be used to show adverts to people who have recently been on your website. However, with a little creativity you can involve them in your remarketing cycle. Try targeting people a number of months after they’ve paid a deposit online or booked a service, maybe accompanies with some sort of exclusive offer. 
  2. If you keep your data up to date you can use their email addresses to try and reach customers with Facebook advertising. It relies on them giving you the same email they use for Facebook, but if you can get that you can target them with social content and more!

Embrace the chintz with anniversary cards and the personal touch.

Though we’re a digital agency, we know that certain aspects of traditional marketing, such as cards and anniversary mailings, can have a big impact on keeping a happy customer just as happy throughout their car ownership experience.

However, there are digital things you can do for this too. Our favourite idea is to use social media to your best advantage by noting down customers social handles at point of ale. Individual messages and following can go a huge way to keeping in touch with a customer in the digital age.

Encourage repurchase with a digital strategy.

Finally, as you get closer to the point of re-purchase, you need to up the contact to get the customer to buy their next car with you. If your offers and deals are as good as the competition, then you should have the natural edge, as long as your customer service has been spot on throughout.

We recommend a couple of options to help you with this vital part of the motor trade retention cycle: 

  1. Reengage your email activity with some exclusive offers and regular, convenient content. You need to make the customer understand why they should want a new car rather than sticking with the one they have or go with a competitor. Consider highlighting upgrade models, and the more you can personalise this to the car they bought last time (with some intuitive educated guesses!) the better!
  2. Run VIP events for existing or past customers. We know in the automotive market place that events work, and even more so when they make people feel special.

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