As busy car dealership owners, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of creating campaigns targeted to suit anyone and everyone – after all, surely it’s best to try and sell to all types of customers? However, with millions of automotive businesses currently battling for business across the country, dealerships can’t afford to simply ‘make it up’ anymore. Instead, automotive business owners need to be thinking strategically about their target audience – not only to identify who they are but also to determine how you should be communicating with them. That’s where buyer personas come in – in short, they can totally transform your marketing strategy.
What is a buyer persona?
Go back a few decades and the car-buying landscape couldn’t be more different – if you needed a car, you’d simply head to your local automotive dealer. Nowadays the internet has not only given automotive customers the opportunity to shop further afield but it’s also provided car buyers with a whole host of easily accessible knowledge. In fact, it’s believed that more than 90 percent of automotive customers now research their next car online before actually buying one, making it more and more common for car buyers to have an idea of what they want. With this in mind, it’s never been more essential for car dealerships to have a good understanding of who their customers are and how they can reach them.
Ultimately, car buyer personas are effectively a guide to who their clients are – and without them, you basically risk wasting valuable time and money simply hoping a prospective customer will shop with you.
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, that you, as a dealership, create. They generally include personality, attitude, values, interests and lifestyle, as well as thinking about why the customer would be interested in buying one of your cars.
Most dealerships will have more than one persona, in fact, most automotive businesses have around three main personas that they work with.
How to create a buyer persona
Creating buyer personas stems from researching and spending time carefully considering your current customers. You can do this by speaking to your shoppers, analysing your social media channels and investing in market research.
Whether you’re new to buyer personas or you’re familiar with the concept, we’re making things a bit easier for you. Here are a number of questions you should ask, to help shape each persona:
- What are their key demographics? This includes their age, location and gender.
- What is their lifestyle like? Have they graduated? Are they married? Do they have children? What job do they have and what income do they earn? Do they have any particular hobbies or interests?
- What is their personality like? Do they make decisions quickly and spontaneously? Or do they spend time thinking about their options before making a final decision?
- What are their goals? How can your cars help them achieve these goals?
- How familiar are they with your company? Are they a loyal or previous customer? What’s more, how much knowledge do they have of the sector?
Remember, you don’t have to be able to answer every single one of those questions but the more information you can provide, the more detailed buyer persona you can create.
A top tip from us, is once you’ve created a buyer persona, we advise you to give them a name and even find a stock image to use when referring to them.
Key car buyer personas for your dealership
Michael: The millenial
With recent statistics showing that millennials have become the largest car buying demographic in America, it makes sense that our first buyer persona comes from this generation.
Name: Michael (the most popular name for millennials, so calling him Michael makes sense).
Education: Michael is a college graduate (note, millenials are the most educated demographic, but that also means they come with the most student debt).
Lifestyle: Michael is engaged, living with his partner but is yet to have children – although he has settled down and is planning to start a family in the next five years (while they have settled down, an increase in student debt has seen millennials delaying having children). Michael lives in the suburbs, commuting into the city for his job – your dealership should use this information, to promote cars ideal for commuting.
Finances: Michael works in the city, earning around $70,000 pre-tax, every year – he wants a car which is affordable.
Personality: Michael doesn’t like to follow the crowd, wants something a bit different or unique to them.
Hobbies: Michael works hard, so he has fun during his spare time. When he’s not working, he’s off visiting family, or enjoying road trips. He enjoys the beach in the summer and hitting the slopes in the winter – practicality is a priority.
Goals: Michael needs a car that comes with all the technology, so he can listen to podcasts and music while driving, along with his phone when navigating.
Automotive shopping trends: Michael wants a quick but professional sales experience, and doesn’t want to be wasting time waiting to take part in a test drive or filling out paperwork. Use the SnapCell app to quickly show Michael a two-minute virtual test drive, allowing him to experience the car easily.
For Michael, car buying is all about convenience – he’s done his research and now he wants a seamless shopping experience. It’s important your dealership treats him with respect, acknowledging that he knows the sector. The chances are he knows what type of car he wants before visiting you.
Consider showing Michael your electric vehicle range – he will know that electric vehicles will be big in the future, and will want to keep on trend.
Michael: A 32-year-old man who is looking for a practical, affordable but modern-day vehicle, ideal for long road trips to both the beach and slops. He needs a vehicle with space for luggage, along with extra passengers and one that will sustain daily commutes into the city.
Jessica: The stay-at-home mum
Education: Jessica has a college degree, and she used to own a job as a kindergarten teacher before she had children.
Lifestyle: Jessica is a mum-of-two, she is a stay-at-home mum and her husband has a well-paid job. Jessica has a busy life juggling childcare, dropping her oldest child at school. They also have a dog.
Finances: Jessica and her husband have a heavy mortgage to pay, which means she doesn’t have much spare cash to spend on a vehicle. Affordability is a priority, as is practicality.
Personality: Jessica is very internet-savvy, so has done a lot of online research ahead of visiting your dealership, however, she is open to advice from your dealership’s team.
Hobbies: Jessica’s life revolves around the children and taking them to-and-from school, classes or sport events. She doesn’t have much spare time for herself and her husband’s job means he works early and late.
Goals: Jessica needs a car ideal for families and one that can fit a medium-sized dog in, when necessary.
Automotive shopping trends: Jessica is a busy woman, she doesn’t have a lot of time to spend at your dealership. She needs a clear, affordable, practical and safe solution. She is also on a budget and while this should be recognized, she doesn’t want to feel like she is being patronized or looked down on. It’s worth putting together a vehicle package for Jessica, by throwing in a service deal to make buying a more attractive option. Ideally, you will have engaged with Jessica already thanks to SnapCell Messenger – make the most of the features the SnapCell app offers, to optimize Jessica’s hybrid shopping experience.
Jessica: Mum-of-two Jessica is buying a car because she needs one, not necessarily wants one – her old one is old and her visit to your dealership is purely a necessity. Think practical and affordable, not just when it comes to the cost of the vehicle but how much money she will have to spend running it. The vehicle needs to be big enough for a family, safe and easy to get the children, plus a dog in and out of.
Carol: The nearly retired grandparent
Education: Carol doesn’t have a college degree and she has worked as a nurse for more than 30 years.
Lifestyle: Carol is a mum-of-three grown-up children, with two grandchildren and another on the way. She and her husband – who is already retired – have been married for 35 years.
Finances: Carol and her husband have paid off their mortgage, they live on their own and are financially stable. They are in a position to spend more on a vehicle.
Personality: Carol doesn’t spend a lot of time on the internet, so won’t have researched cars before coming into your dealership. She is caring and has a soft nature, but this shouldn’t be taken advantage of. She and her husband are inseparable and they will be visiting your dealership together.
Hobbies: Carol enjoys meeting friends. This will be the practical car for the family and will need the necessary space for grandchildren, when she is looking after them. Carol will be looking to retire in the next few years, at which point, she will want to enjoy holidays across the country with her husband.
Goals: Carol needs a car that’s features are easy-to-use. She wants a practical car that she can get in and out of easily – she knows she’s not getting any younger.
Automotive shopping trends: Carol will be coming into the dealership with an open mind and will be sold on practicality and easy-to-use features. She will also want a car that looks aesthetically pleasing, so have the colour range available to show her. Use SnapCell to enhance Carol’s shopping experience, rather than using the app to lead the sale.
Carol: Grandmother Carol isn’t fussed about the tech in her next car, as long as it looks nice and does its job, that’s all that matters. She wants a practical, easy-to-use vehicle, which will allow her to travel with her grandchildren, and her husband, once retired. She has the money and flexibility to spend a bit more on a vehicle than she would 20 years ago.
Sell your next vehicle using SnapCell
Whoever your next customer is, use the SnapCell app to take their shopping experience up a gear. Whether you’re embracing the modern-day hybrid shopping style of Micheal and Jessica, or using it as an extra tool to enhance Carol’s car buying journey, you can use SnapCell to shape each customer experience. Book your free demo today.