If you want to improve your digital retailing results, you need to understand how to implement successful marketing that supports your virtual showroom. This starts with understanding your customers’ online journey.
Too often, a customer finishes their buying journey alone. They sell themselves online before a dealer ever gained the opportunity to influence them.
Left to themselves, customers can easily get lost, stall out, or forget they ever started on a path with your dealership.
That’s why it’s vital to create a marketing strategy that walks people to and through your virtual showroom. As a dealer, you want to give them a boost when they get stuck, and encourage them every step of the way.
You need to be on your prospects’ radar.
That can happen through digital marketing, email, direct mail, blog posts, word-of-mouth, social media, or any other channel that puts your vehicles, offers, and finance solutions in front of car shoppers who have the highest propensity to buy your products.
For this, create advertising and top-of-funnel content that has high perceived value, gets people’s attention, and then informs them.
Merriam-Webster defines engagement as emotional involvement or commitment. It’s about building or deepening a relationship with them.
As a digital marketer, this stage begins immediately after your first touch (or interaction) with a prospect and continues through their entire experience with your dealership. It’s an ongoing conversation you have with them in multiple channels: blog, online community, email, text, customer support, etc.
When someone takes action and responds to your initial advertising or content, trust begins to build. Once that happens, it’s time to ask for a small commitment — a call to action that gets them to subscribe and give you permission to email, call or text them.
There’s just one problem. Today, people are careful about giving out their email address. You have to offer something valuable that makes it worth their while. Think exclusive special offers, conveniences and information they want.
You offer something they really want, they fill out a form to get it. It's that simple.
Connecting with prospective clients is one thing, but what's even more difficult is figuring out how to convert those leads. Advertising’s job is done – your prospect is now engaged.
This is where the real marketing begins.
Email and texting are essential tools when it comes to conversions. In order to take advantage of the leads that are generated by your marketing efforts, you’ll need to follow-up through email and text.
If you don’t have a system for selling, you’re at the mercy of your prospect’s system for not buying. You must reach out, follow up, and nurture your sales-qualified leads through their research stage. Without the right follow up email and text sequences your conversions will suffer, and you’ll be leaving money on the table.
Remember, every email and text has the same end goal: Getting your leads to convert to sales.
Trust is a very personal and emotional thing. Trust extends to issues of whether or not a customer feels respected by your dealership. Do they feel like they are making good use of their time? Are they confident they are getting a fair deal?
Consumers buy from people they trust. That means they are looking for trust both in sales and in service. They want to know their transactions are safe.
Almost 60% of showroom customers never contact a dealership by email, text or phone prior to their visit. Why? Because they don’t want to, need to, or trust the business.
When it comes to digital retail consumers, most all prefer to get the answers to their questions on their own. They expect a convenient, smooth, and transparent process.
Aim to build trust with your customers by:
- Planning, preparing and implementing safety measures for Covid-19
- Providing immediate responses to customer requests
- List transparent pricing online (this means accurate and real financing rates and payment estimates)
- Integrate a superior online customer experience (make it easy for customers to get exactly what they want, when they want it, wherever they are)
If your follow up messages include specials, services, conveniences and information that offers enough value (answering their questions fast and quick – hassle free), your prospects are often eager to deepen their commitment. They just need to know how.
Influence prospects with easy-to-follow steps that lead the customers down the purchase path. Allow customers to research and work their deal online, and come to you with the mindset of finalizing the deal.
70% of car buyers say they are more likely to buy from a dealership if they can start the process online. 83% want to do one or more steps of the purchase process online.
The more you provide online, the more digital retail leads convert to sales.
In the same, the more information you provide online and in follow up messaging, the more information the customer will share about themselves.
The more people share about themselves, the more people you will sell.
The dopamine from a new purchase gets people excited! You want your virtual showroom to build on that excitement.
How do you do that? By giving your new customer a memorable experience.
Consider offering new car clinics, bonus features that surprise and delight, or quick wins. Anything that makes your new customers happy should be integrated into your experience.
At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buyers and real profits. Your initial sale was designed for market share, your F&I (ascension) offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.
Maintaining F&I gross through digital retailing is increased when dealers educate shoppers ahead of time on F&I protection options.
This improves the customer experience and sets up your F&I team for additional sales.
63% of customers are more likely to purchase F&I products when they learn about them on their own time. By educating consumers online first, your team will have more effective sales conversations about the value of your offers and add-ons.
Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your dealership.
Ask people to share their positive experience with your dealership by writing a review or sharing a social media post.
Virtual showroom marketing is about helping MORE customers move along this journey faster. That’s why you can’t use just one tactic, or an ongoing series of unfocused marketing campaigns.
You need a plan that addresses every stage of the journey. And you need to think in terms of optimizing that journey.
Take a look at your current customer journey. Find the gaps and start putting together a strategy that gets people excited about being your customer.
Everyone in the industry is beginning to make the switch to digital solutions during this time. Get ahead of your competition by implementing a marketing strategy that produces true lead generation and a superior online experience for your virtual showroom.
As always, the team at J&L Marketing is ready to put our marketing knowledge and expertise into action for your business.