Automotive marketing strategies have never been more vital to the success of your business. Car dealers now compete on a global digital stage, not just with local, neighborhood contemporaries. You need to stand out and be seen at every stage of the car buying journey – which starts online for 92%* of your customers.
Traditionally, car dealers have focused on two general types of marketing – inbound and outbound. Outbound marketing can typically be categorized as adverts that might be run in newspapers, or on radio and TV. This type of marketing is interruptive and has several drawbacks – most obviously that it does not specifically target active buyers in the market. So, as this is an article on automotive marketing strategies that work, we’ll be focusing primarily on digital, inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is any type of campaign that targets customers actively looking for a specific product or service, and directs them to your website or business. Overall, it aims to turn a searcher into a visitor, and visitors into customers and promoters. This is why inbound marketing delivers a much greater ROI to car dealers, and is much more effective as a strategy. Here are some of the best examples.
Get your reviews viewed
If you want to establish trust with your prospective customers, it’s vital that you can share positive reviews of your products and services from your existing ones. User-generated content is highly valued by buyers. Not only does it reassure them that they are making the right choice over a product or service, but it also confirms to them that they’re making the right choice about you too.
When it comes to reviews, you also need to make sure you cover all the bases. As a video marketing specialist, you won’t be surprised to hear the emphasis we put on video reviews. SnapCell provides simple, intuitive tools that make capturing impactful video content quick and easy. So, recording a video review with a customer on the fly can be done straight from any smart device, in-dealership, on a test drive, or on handover at their home. The great aspect of a video review is that it can be used over multiple channels. Upload your videos directly to YouTube and create playlists of customer reviews. Or share on Facebook and Instagram. Just make sure you regularly refresh your content with new reviews, so prospective buyers can (literally) see you are being endorsed by a constant stream of happy customers.
But that’s only one way of harvesting reviews from your customers. You should be regularly encouraging customers to leave reviews on social media channels, and on dedicated platforms such as Trust Pilot and even Google to maximize your reach.
In order to be seen by prospective customers, they need to be able to find you. And that means ranking highly on a search engine results page. There are two main ways you can optimize your potential for reaching the heady heights of the top few slots on Google. The first is by incorporating SEO into your automotive marketing strategies. Whether you’re producing content for your website, a blog article, or social media, you can use SEO to organically grow how attractive your business is to these types of listings.
The great thing about incorporating SEO into your content, is that a great deal of it can be done without incurring costs. However, to truly maximize your impact, using Pay-Per-Click (PPC), such as Google Ads, will really help optimize your content and visibility. We would definitely recommend using a specialist to review and manage your SEO activity, but, in short, to make the most of PPC and Google Ads, you should:
- Setup your Google Ads account and structure it correctly
- Keep all of your keywords related to your text and content
- Use ad extensions
- Add negative keywords to block irrelevant searches
- Allocate your budget properly
Give your prospects a second chance to become customers
Some of the automotive marketing strategies that deliver incredible ROI are remarketing campaigns. It simply gives your website visitors a second chance to become customers. Remarketing has been shown to increase conversions and increase the return on lead generation activity. Essentially, by creating personalized ads for those who have already visited your website, you can remind them that you’re still there for them.
As a prospect that is already familiar with your branding and offering, the chances of conversion skyrocket. Remember those requests to accept cookies from every website you’ve ever visited? That’s how these ads are generated. A user visits your website or views your brand content on a digital channel. They are then tagged with a cookie. From there, a platform, such as Google AdWords, can generate a personalized ad that will track and trace (in a good way) their activity, and provide them with an opportunity to come back to you.
Put on a show
Video is king when it comes to automotive marketing strategies. For almost any buyer, of any kind of product – seeing is believing. For prospective car buyers, this is even more true. Before they can envision themselves behind the wheel, they want to be comfortable with the look and feel of the vehicle. And that’s before they get anywhere near a dealership.
Over 40%** of car shoppers who watched dealer-produced videos about inventory and services ended up visiting the dealership as a direct result. And over 61% of car buyers use video to research their purchases‡.
Video is also incredibly versatile, reusable content. It can be added directly to webpages to improve their SEO and visibility. It can be shared on social media or imbedded in an email. The point is you no longer have to rely on dedicated platforms like YouTube to showcase your video content. Everything supports video.
Online video content that produces the best results for dealers is typically orientated towards vehicle features and talking points. We’ve already established that the buying journey starts online, and that prospects are researching their purchases extensively before contacting a dealer. So, you need to become a one-stop-shop for information on the makes and models you stock.
With SnapCell, you have an extensive suite of easy-to-use editing tools at your disposal. You can also create impressive, high quality videos in minutes. By creating short, separate videos that cover test drives, accessory demos, and walkaround tours for each vehicle, you can create an extensive catalogue of content that any prospect can access at any time. And the SnapCell app enables you to easily add your content to emails, or follow up with a two-way video call once you’ve sent it through.
It’s not all about you
Your website and digital platforms need to be built around the needs of your customers, not yours. In tech terms, this is called “user first”. Essentially, it builds onto some of the aspects we’ve already covered – providing customers with what they want and the information they need. You’ll know the questions you get asked most – and they will vary. Whether its gas mileage, popular specs and options, or if it comes in blue, the information your customers regularly turn to you for, needs to be highly visible and easily found on your website.
Simple things, like not having a responsive website (one that adapts to a user’s screen size or device), can massively impair the user experience. If you want to see dwell time on your website increase, then make sure it is responsive. This provides your customers with a smooth, fluid view of your content uninhibited by text they can’t read, or content they have to resize and swipe at. It’s also hugely positive for your SEO. Google prioritizes responsive and mobile-first content, helping you climb higher in the listing ranks.
Your website is also the perfect place to incorporate local SEO into your automotive marketing strategies. Even with nationwide delivery and price comparison, buyers still tend to look for dealers near them, at least at first. A great and simply way to do this is to ensure that your Google My Business listing is up to date and reflects your offering in full.
The joy of text
SMS marketing is another campaign type that generates some of the best performing campaigns for dealers. On average, SMS campaigns see a staggering 82%† open rate. In fact, 68%† of buyers are very open to chatting online to dealers. It shouldn’t be surprising that prospective buyers want to interact with professionals who can help them make the right decisions – it just has to be convenient for them.
SMS marketing provides dealers with the perfect opportunity to have a direct influence on prospects whilst they’re still at a crucial stage of the buying journey – when they’re still deciding where to visit.
Focus on quality, not quantity
More tip, less strategy, but your social media channels should not be used like a machine gun. Rapidly firing out multiple posts might get you seen, but it will be for all the wrong reasons. They will exhaust and annoy your audience. Just as with your website and other channels, your posts should only contain information a prospective customer would genuinely be interested in.
Also, especially on social channels, take the time to respond to comments and to take part in the conversation.
In summary, your automotive marketing strategies should have one goal – to convince car buyers that you are the right partner to lead them to a positive and successful car buying experience. There’s no single route to take, but by focusing on the proven strategies we’ve highlighted here, you stand a much better chance of courting today’s digital-savvy car buyer.
If you’d like further information or a demo on how SnapCell can boost your video marketing content, get in touch with a member of the team today.
‡ Auto News