How to Engage Customers After They Buy with Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Studies have found that the average American is holding on to their car for longer than ever. Most people own their vehicles for at least eight years before they consider upgrading to a new model. While this data reflects the quality of the cars on the market, it can also be stressful news for car dealerships that are trying to develop engaged customer bases. How can you keep someone coming back if they only need your product once a decade?

With the right strategy, it is possible to keep your audiences engaged after they roll off the lot with their latest vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about the customer sales funnel and developing a long-term digital marketing strategy.

Your Goal Is to Bring Customers Back Into the Sales Funnel

The customer journey is often depicted as a sales funnel, where customers at the top of the funnel have heard about your brand for the first time, while customers at the bottom of the funnel are ready to make a purchase. In the world of car dealerships, top-funnel customers are not interested in buying a new vehicle at the moment but at least recognize your name as a place to go when they want one. Bottom-funnel customers have visited your showroom at least once.

While the sales funnel looks like a straightforward process, the reality is that the customer journey looks more like the path of a bumblebee. A potential buyer might research your dealership and then forget about it for a few weeks until you remind them about your brand with a display ad or social media post.

The lack of a firm funnel is actually good news for dealerships who are trying to engage existing customers after they buy. It means they might move directly to the middle of the funnel the next time they need help with their car or truck or move faster through the funnel because they already trust your brand.

So, how do you re-engage your customers and win them over again? Here are a few steps you can take.

Repeat Purchases Start During the Sale Process

When you are trying to close a sale with a customer, it is natural for your sales team to focus on the immediate deal. However, effective dealerships train their staff to look to the future and consider the customer lifetime value (CLV) that comes with each sale.

You can calculate CLV by multiplying the amount a customer spends annually by the number of times they visit your location over the course of a period of time (usually a decade). Kelley Blue Book estimates the average cost of a new car is $48,008 as of March 2023. If a customer spends $1,000 per year in maintenance, oil changes, and other services with your business, then the CLV by the time they sell it (eight years on average) increases to $56,008.

Considering the average profit a dealership makes on the sale of a car is only $2,337, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), an extra $8,000 in service revenue isn’t something you want to overlook.

Look at your current sales processes and consider whether you have a strategy to bring customers back to your business after they make a purchase. If you can upsell customers on a maintenance plan or highlight the other services that your dealership offers, you can bring them back to the sales funnel and increase your overall CLV before they even pick up their keys.

Evaluate How You Remarket to Customers

While your sales team plays an essential role in setting up customers to return to you, it is up to your digital marketing department to develop messaging for existing customers in order to bring them back.

Customers who have already made a purchase from your business are more likely to buy from you again, and the more you bring customers back to your showroom, the more likely they are to keep buying from you. This is why marketing to your customers immediately after they purchase a car from you is so important. If you can bring them back, you can hook them for the long run.

Studies show there is a 27% chance that customers who buy from you will return after the first purchase. This jumps to 49% after a second purchase and 62% after a third purchase. You have already sold these customers on the value of your brand if they bought a car. The next step is to sell them on your other services and maintenance capabilities.

Not only is digital remarketing important for increasing your CLV and dealership revenue, but it can also help you balance your promotional budget. Remarketing is often less expensive than attracting cold leads because customers are already familiar with your brand and are more likely to make a purchase. You can increase your marketing ROI and stretch your budget with a remarketing plan.

Segmentation is Essential

This need to target repeat customers highlights the importance of segmentation in your marketing efforts. This is a big part of answering how you engage customers after they make a purchase. Your segmentation could be as simple as customers who have bought a car from you before and customers who have not. These two groups need completely different messaging. After all, someone who bought a car less than a year ago likely wouldn’t want to buy another one this week.

Here are a few ways you can potentially segment your repeat customers to market your dealership’s services. You can decide how detailed and segmented your customers are based on your resources.

  • By make and model: Provide personalized maintenance tips depending on the different models that your customers have bought. What preventative maintenance does a two-year-old Honda Civic need?
  • By month purchased: Alert customers when they need a new oil change, when they might be due for other repairs, and when their car anniversary is coming up.
  • By demographics or interests: Get to know your customers and send specific messages to parents driving around young kids, teen drivers on the road for the first time, or single adults looking for weekend road trip ideas.

Segmentation often makes people nervous because they find themselves reaching fewer people. For example, instead of sending an email to a list of 1,000 addresses, they might only message 50 people. However, segmentation should make your messaging more effective. If those 50 people are due for an oil change and 10 call you to make an appointment, that’s a much higher ROI on your marketing efforts.

Consider Your Brand Messaging

Segmentation is only the first step to engage customers after they make a purchase. You can segment people through your email messaging, paid search channels, display ads, and even through your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. However, it’s not always possible to segment on social media, especially if you post organically throughout the week.

Evaluate the audiences that follow your brand and consider how many potential vs. existing customers follow your pages and see your content. Decide whether you should continue to sell to new customers or if you are better off pivoting your messaging.

Audiences hate irrelevant information on their social media feeds. When 450 social media users were asked why they unfollowed brands, 67% said it was because the brand posted irrelevant content. This was the second-most common reason behind no longer being interested in the brand. The third most common reason was that the brand posted too often or too little.

Test your messaging to see if you drive better results by reaching out to existing customers. Another option, if you have the bandwidth, is to create a Facebook group for existing customers. This allows you to target new customers on your page while sharing relevant maintenance updates with existing buyers in a more private setting.

Turn Your Customers Into Advocates

When brands think about engaging existing customers, they immediately focus on selling to repeat customers. While this is certainly a big part of your remarketing strategy, you can also engage customers in a non-selling way that can help you bring in future sales from new buyers. If you can encourage a recent customer to leave a positive online review, you can grow your exposure and use your existing sales to drive new ones.

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most trusted forms of promotion on the web. While customers might be skeptical about a brand trying to sell one of its products, people listen to objective third parties who had positive experiences.

There are a few best practices you can follow to solicit customer testimonials. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Know which pages you want to target. Choose one or two websites and ask customers to leave reviews on those pages. Facebook and Google are two of the most popular options right now.
  • Ask questions to get customers thinking. Detailed reviews are often preferred over generic recommendations. Consider prompting buyers to talk about their customer service or purchase processes.
  • Send follow-up requests for reviews. Make these solicitations part of your sales process. Send follow-up emails and even make phone calls asking customers to share their experiences online.

Increasing the number of honest online reviews related to your business can drive more customers to your showroom at no cost to you. These efforts can also boost your other marketing efforts. Your business will become more visible in Google searches, which can help your SEO efforts and make your brand seem more reputable. Keep an eye on your organic traffic as you start collecting more reviews to see how it improves.

Develop a Long-Term Engagement Strategy With J&L Marketing

Engaging your customers after they make a purchase is a great way to stretch your marketing budget while increasing your future revenue potential. Segmentation and remarketing allow you to reach targeted audiences with messages that will actually make them act. Planning for the long term can grow your CLV and make your future sales more stable. Your key to success is developing a long-term relationship with the customer who thinks they are just buying from you today.

If you want to outsmart your competitors rather than outspending them, contact our team to consider how you can keep engaging your customers. We can help you develop a big picture that your sales, digital marketing, and customer service teams are all on board with. Contact us today and tell us your pain points. We are here to help.

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