Relationship building is a key factor in the success of your small-town dealership. You need to build strong relationships with customers in your local community. However, you may need to rethink your marketing strategy for 2020 to effectively connect with today’s tech-savvy consumer.
Connecting with Today’s Consumer
Google research has shown that 92 percent of auto buyers go online to investigate vehicles and dealerships before they make any purchasing decisions. Think with Google found that customers searched the following factors.
- Video – They view 360 digital, test-drive videos for interior/exterior views.
- Lifestyle Fit – These consumers research a vehicle online to see if it fits their lifestyle, with room for their kids, pets, and adequate cargo space.
- Price Range – They check to see if the vehicle fits their budget.
- Comparisons – Vehicle comparisons help during the buying process.
- Features – They want to know what features stand out and will make their life easier, like whether it includes adaptive cruise control or cooled seats.
Your small-town dealership needs to stand out from the competition and reach these consumers before they visit another local dealership.
You need to create a marketing strategy that meets the search needs of those 92 percent of consumers who are researching online before they visit your showroom.
Geo-Targeting in Paid Search Ads and 2020 Trends
If you haven’t already begun a paid search ad campaign, consider beginning one today. Increase the return on investment (ROI) of your campaign by using geo-targeting with zip codes to provide relevant content to consumers by geographic location and such factors as:
- Income data
- Census data
The right customer relationship management (CRM) software can improve the effectiveness of your geo-targeting efforts by helping you to invest where your current customer base is located.
Bid adjustments can be made at the zip code level. Use inclusion criteria to focus on specific target areas or exclusion criteria to exclude other areas.
Google launched its online advertising platform, AdWords, on October 23, 2000. In the ensuing 19 years, various changes have occurred.
Search Engine Journal recently interviewed 39 industry experts to ascertain the top pay per click (PPC) trends for 2020. Consider the top three trends and then tailor your PPC strategy around them for maximum ROI.
- Decreased Control – With AI, machine learning, and automation you’ll need to adjust your PPC strategy. With the increased push toward automation, manual bidding may be eliminated. For enhanced, intentional targeting, Google will continue to remove control from advertisers.
- Focused Strategy – Targeting specific audiences was an important PPC trend in 2019. For 2020, focus on reaching those highly targeted audiences when they are primed and ready to purchase—with the right offer and message.
- Think Differently – The trend for 2020 is to consider alternative PPC platforms such as Amazon, Pinterest, and Quora—in addition to Facebook and Google advertising.
Enhancing Customer Engagement with CRM
Building relationships with customers is an important factor in boosting sales for your small-town dealership. You need to enhance the way you engage with customers before, during, and after they show up at your dealership.
Small-town dealerships have an advantage over big city dealers because they often have long-established relationships with local families. This gives you an opportunity to continue to cultivate those long-standing connections.
You likely have developed such close relationships with local community members. However, if you haven’t yet started using CRM software, you should consider using it to enhance the way you engage with customers.
CRM software can help your dealership in the following ways:
- Customer Service – CRM software can make the buying process easier since it effectively tracks lead and customer information like vehicle preferences, contact details, birthday, and buying history.
- Automation – Your sales team can spend more time focused on enhancing relationships with customers since tasks can be automated with the CRM.
- Efficiency – It can help your team become more efficient through access to calendars, customer information, phone calls, and other details.
- Analytics – Maximize your customer engagement strategy by analyzing CRM data to make more informed decisions for interactions with consumers.
When your customers feel valued because you’ve taken the time to personalize your connection to them, it can boost sales for your small-town dealership.
Make sure you have implemented a consistent follow-up process so you don’t lose any sales. This is especially important because small-town dealers don’t have a large consumer lead base to work with. Every lead is a possible sale.
Investing in the Community for Increased Brand Awareness
This may sound obvious but investing in the community can increase brand awareness for your small-town dealership. Most locals likely know about your dealership.
However, when they see you participating in or hosting local events—like a fundraiser—that can cultivate a deeper loyalty for your standing in the community.
Host sales events and make them into a fun community event that locals would enjoy coming out for, even if they’re not interested in making a purchase just yet.
Marketing Your Service Department Effectively
Customer retention is a vital factor in boosting sales for your small-town dealership in 2020. Creating a balanced marketing strategy that focuses on both vehicle purchases and increasing sales in your service department will improve your bottom line.
According to the 2018 annual report from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), 310 million repair orders were written by U.S. dealerships. Sales from those repairs totaled over $116 billion.
Using CRM Data
You need to distinguish your small-town dealership from other local vehicle repair shops. They are likely focusing on the same primary market area (PMA).
However, you can set your dealership apart by using CRM and DMS data to market directly to current customers and leads in your PMA. Having an optimized CRM/DMS database will enable you to provide timely offers to customers and leads that will convert.
Make sure your sales and service team accurately collect and update CRM data so it can be effective and boost fixed ops sales. Make 2020 the year that you eclipse your competition and successfully market in your PMA.
Personalizing Your Approach
With the amount of information disseminated today—approximately 293.6 billion emails sent and received worldwide daily—your customers are likely flooded with content. They’re on social media, browse online, and are constantly bombarded with information. Overwhelming customers and leads with too much content will defeat the purpose of improving your conversion rate. Focus on a more personalized approach by identifying how a customer wants to be contacted.
Create an omnichannel strategy that not only markets your dealership but promotes your service department and reaches people in your PMA.
With a personalized omnichannel approach that utilizes predictive analysis, you can deliver the right content and offers when people are ready to receive them for maximized conversion rates.
Make Financing Available
If you aren’t offering financing for vehicle repairs, you may want to consider implementing it for your fixed operations (fixed ops) and marketing it as a benefit to your customers.
- Increased Sales – If a customer can pay $110 a month instead of $1,200, that could mean the difference between the service repair being completed or a lost sale.
- Satisfied Customers – Financing for car repairs can help your customers feel less stressed by additional costs to their already tight monthly budgets.
- Customer Loyalty – When customers are satisfied, they’ll bring their vehicles back for repairs with your service department, not the competition.
Focus on Convenience
No one wants to bring their vehicle in for maintenance or repair, so strive to make the customer experience convenient. If it’s too tedious, you could lose those fixed ops sales to the local service center that promises oil changes in 30 minutes or less.
For repairs that might take several hours, provide pickup and delivery services for customers.
Use technology for customer retention. Automate communication with customers through email or text for service appointment reminders.
Make appointment scheduling easier with online access to the service department. Don’t forget to market your easy online scheduling.
Make sure your service department is outfitted with the latest technology, like tablets for confirming repairs and maintenance. Benefits of digitally checking in customers include the following:
- Increased speed of customer service process
- Decreased need for paperwork
- Updated customer data for CRM
When you design your dealership around a customer-centric focus, you should see an increase in sales because your customers feel more valued. They will want to continue to purchase from your showroom and make use of your service center for maintenance or repairs.
Just remember that you can only create a customer-centric focus when all factors work together. You need a balance of innovative technology, excellent customer service, and a unified approach by all team members and management.
Your small-town dealership can experience a boost in sales if you use these marketing tactics in your 2020 strategy. Connect with today’s tech-savvy consumer, but make sure to maintain that personal touch and continue to build relationships.
Contact the J&L Marketing team and find out how you can implement these tips and start boosting sales for your dealership today!