In order to succeed in today’s increasingly digital world, dealerships need a digital marketing strategy that attracts shoppers and ultimately turns them into buyers. But with so many tools and channels to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start and how to create a digital strategy that works for your dealership.
Here are four marketing best practices that will have an impact on a dealership’s business, whether it’s a small independent or a large franchise.
1. Create an omnichannel marketing strategy to maximize your dealership’s visibility
What used to be a linear shopping journey is today a scattered process full of interruptions and spread across multiple channels. And the process is getting longer. Shoppers tell us they spend about 5.5 weeks shopping for a car, up from 5.1 weeks in 2018, according to CarGurus and GfK data. An omnichannel approach to marketing is needed to stay top of mind throughout this fragmented buying journey.
This means spreading marketing efforts across multiple channels — from email to social media to paid search and more — and focusing on each and every stage of the shopping funnel. For example, use a third-party listing site to get inventory in front of shoppers, but make sure there is also an investment in targeted display ads to continue reaching those shoppers on other sites across the web. With an omnichannel marketing strategy, dealerships will be able to stay in front of shoppers and keep them within their funnel.
2. Make mobile a priority
Mobile has never been more important than it is today for car dealers to master. Google’s research shows that over 70% of a car shopper’s digital interactions take place on a mobile device, and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.
Prioritizing mobile starts with making sure a website is mobile-friendly. This means it should be responsive on mobile and offer a digital experience consistent with other channels. Once a website has been mobile optimized, dealerships will be able to do the following:
- Implement SMS marketing
- Test new mobile ad formats
- Start creating content using longer, more conversational terms that show up in voice searches
3. Use personalization to cut through the noise and reach more shoppers
Car shoppers are inundated with emails, offers, and ads all throughout their shopping journey. In fact, digital marketing experts estimate that the average American consumer sees anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. Amidst all this noise, dealers need to find ways to incorporate personalization tactics to make their marketing efforts stand out.
There are plenty of tools and channels that customize marketing campaigns based on customers’ needs and preferences. For example, email lends itself well to personalization. Common email tactics include adding the recipient’s name in the subject line, tailoring messages by audience segment, and setting up behavior-triggered email campaigns. Similarly, creating personalized campaigns that show shoppers ads based on their interests and preferences is a great way to engage shoppers and move them closer to making a purchase.
4. Pick metrics that match goals and measure success
Measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns is a crucial best practice that can be easy to overlook. Marketing is one of the biggest and most important investments that a dealership will make and measuring its success over time will provide information around what is working and what is not.
Goals should be set to reflect a dealership's marketing strategy, then tracked accordingly. For example, if a dealer is trying to increase internet leads, then they should look at each campaign type related to that goal. In the case of a dealer's website, dealers would look at metrics like traffic, conversion, and lead volume and see how they perform over time.
Competition is stiff in the automotive industry, but there are many ways to gain an advantage in today’s market by improving your digital marketing efforts. Learn more about how to take your digital strategy to the next level at Navigate 2019, a new kind of automotive conference, brought to you by CarGurus this October.
Ashley Karr is the VP of B2B Marketing at CarGurus.