By: Ryan Quam | Enterprise Strategy Manager, PureCars
Dealership advertising is tricky stuff these days. Not only do your ads have to be everywhere at once, but you also have to make every experience relevant to shoppers’ interests to win their attention. That’s a tall order, especially considering that “pay-to-play” is becoming the standard to have your ad seen by the largest audience of in-market consumers. So, outside of throwing more money at it, what can your dealership do to make your marketing and advertising strategy as effective as possible?
An effective dealership advertising strategy is about using all of the tools you have at your disposal. Here are five ways to make your digital advertising work harder so you can spend smarter.
1. Use Your CRM & Customer Data Effectively
Make sure your teams are logging all leads in your CRM. Recent studies show that 15% of leads go unlogged in CRMs. That can represent a significant profit loss when you think about close rate and average net profit per vehicle. Understanding what your in-market customers want, and following up with them consistently is critical if you want to be the destination they choose to keep coming back to for new cars and service.
Quick Tip: Provide quarterly or bi-annual training sessions to your staff on how to log, clean and audit customer data. Keeping that data clean and usable is a major key to successfully digital campaigns.
2. Optimize Your Website Experience with Relevant Ads
Get personal with hyper-targeted ads to low-funnel shoppers on your website. Highlight specific offers based on their website activity, and any other details you know about them. Even if they aren’t in your CRM yet, there are a number of tools out there that enable you to serve personalized pop-up ads on your website to visitors based on their interests.
Of course, it also never hurts to point out the things that set you apart from the competition whenever possible, especially for new visitors to your website. The best way to do this, and gain trust with new shoppers in the process, is to prominently feature customer testimonials on your homepage and other pages throughout the website. At the end of the day, that will be one of the big factors in which dealership they choose to visit to make their purchase.
3. That Said…Take Reputation Management Seriously
Review customer feedback across different third-party website as often as possible. While you can’t control everything that people will say about your dealership, you can control the fallout from those reviews by monitoring and responding to reviews (in a respectful way). Whether the reviewer had a good or bad experience at your dealership, consistently responding shows other potential customers that you take customer satisfaction seriously.
Reviews can help you see into:
- Employee performance – The good, the bad and the indifferent. Reinforces the need for consistent training.
- Broken systems (website, merchandising, employees, service)
- Changing economy and marketing preferences. Customers prefer trucks/SUVs, used versus new
4. Take Time to Get to Know Your Customers
The better you know your customers and the needs of in-market shoppers, the more likely you are to win their business. Even when a customer is on your lot looking at cars, they are on their phones checking reviews, prices in the area, etc. Make sure that you are optimizing every experience – online and offline – to grow market share and capture demand.
To that end, make sure you have a constant grasp on how you’re pricing relative to the market and merchandising vehicles online; also monitor market demand and other factors to stay ahead.
As mentioned before, it’s also important to know what people are saying about you and your biggest competitors online. The last thing you want to do is lose opportunities due to avoidable things like high pricing or poor digital merchandising.
5. Work with the Right Vendors
If your advertising isn’t effective or driving meaningful growth for your dealership then you need to dig in to figure out why and how to fix it. The last thing you want to do is just keep throwing money at the problem if you already have a healthy budget and you aren’t seeing an impact from advertising on car sales, ROs, or overall profitability.
Make sure that you are asking vendors for ideas on how to improve performance (without jacking up ad spend); and make incremental improvements to your advertising to sustain long-term growth.