Dealers today have to consider more outlets, options, and channels for their marketing than ever before. It can be time consuming and confusing – especially when trying to narrow down choices to get the most out of a limited marketing budget.

Dealers like you have to consider what’s important to you and your dealership and what channels you should prioritize over others. You also need to know what to look for in a vendor and whether they can really provide you with everything they’re promising.

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These are tough questions to answer and result in tough decisions as you seek to spend your advertising dollars efficiently.

Make Sure Your Marketing is Data Driven

Everyone knows that vehicle shoppers spend the majority of their buying journey online.1 They’re visiting fewer and fewer dealerships before making a purchase and savvy dealers are turning towards multi-channel marketing methods to influence these shoppers long before they’ve made a decision.

Because multi or omni channel marketing means more channels working as one, they can take a large chunk of your overall marketing budget and, even if the customer gets to the dealership and makes a purchase, the profit can be minimal.

The key here is to use data to drive your marketing, so that you can identify your customers at the front of the buying cycle and influence them early, quickly, and inexpensively – so you can enjoy a higher profit margin. The less time, effort, and money you use to influence online shoppers, the more profit you’ll see when they finally make a purchase at your dealership.

Make sure that whatever marketing you choose to do to reach online shoppers is data-driven so that you don’t pay for ads, letters, emails, etc. that you don’t need.

By carefully choosing who you market to and when you market to them through data analytics, you’ll save money on marketing, sell more vehicles, and see a higher profit margin over all.

Evaluate Who Your Primary Audience Is

I would compare this to politics.

The first goal is to rally and excite your base. The second goal is to go after the swing votes.

The further you move from left to right or right to left, the less impact you will have.

The same is true in marketing. You need a solid balance between customer loyalty marketing and conquest marketing.

While it’s necessary to continually reach your customers with offers and incentives that will keep them coming back, conquest marketing has become increasingly cost effective and is proven to be a necessary marketing tactic.2

Make sure your dealership has found a healthy balance between marketing to previous and potential customers to ensure the highest ROI from your marketing strategies.

Catch Their Interest and Keep it

Have you ever shopped on Amazon and noticed ads following you around the internet with the same products you previously viewed?

Remarketing has become a key way to stay in front of customers.

This is because many dealers are able to drive a lot of visitors to their website, but conversions to actual appointments or sales remain low.

With VIN Specific Facebook and Display Remarketing dealers like you can follow shoppers around with ads that display vehicles they have already viewed on your website.

In a similar way, you can use VIN Specific Paid Search to match a vehicle in your inventory to a shopper’s search and serve them ads that feature information that’s specific to that vehicle like price and mileage. The shopper is then directed to the exact vehicle details page they have searched for. This means that you are able to serve in-market shoppers advertising that is so relevant to them, they’ve already searched for it organically.

The high relevance of these ads will mean better results for you and less money wasted on marketing tactics that don’t lead to conversions.

Make Your Customers’ Buying Journey Easy

Great marketing should go beyond a response; it should also make it easier to buy from your dealership.

When you get a customer response, if you don’t make it easy to buy, then it becomes too easy for the consumer to just go to another dealer or website.

By engaging your customer intentionally and guiding them through each step of the process, you can take your customer to a deeper level within your dealership and diminish the need for the customer to consider other dealerships.

Measure Your Results

Every dealer I speak to wants measurable results, so this last step shouldn’t come as a shock.

The more you allocate your budget towards options that drive customers to your dealership, the better results you’ll have. If you don’t see the results you need, consider how you can adjust your marketing towards the channels that will best match your customers’ buying journey.

This should give you a great start and (more importantly) help you get the most out of your dealership’s budget.

  1. 2016 Car Buyer Journey