Today online marketing techniques help auto dealers reach consumers repeatedly and at record speeds, and in effect, increase opportunities to convert shoppers into buyers. With emerging ways to analyze online behavior of consumers, auto dealers, who market online, can easily measure their ROI with "click-through rate", "cost-per-click", and "impressions" information.
We are, by no means, suggesting that you cancel your auto dealer's print advertising or radio spots. We know that these traditional marketing methods continue to prove effective in raising brand awareness. However we don't want you to ignore the fact that consumers today spend a lot of time online. And, more than 80% of that time is spent searching, reading email, visiting other websites, and on social media sites. So, it only makes sense to meet shoppers and potential customers where they are.
Online Marketing + Traditional Advertising = Integrated Marketing
Two goals in marketing and advertising are to maximize brand exposure and drive qualified traffic to your website to increase sales. To do this, auto dealers today must be able to attract shoppers and offer them a positive memorable experience online and offline.
Integrating your marketing practices says that you understand your target audience's needs and aim to meet those needs. A strategic integrated marketing plan should begin with a well thought out online marketing strategy.
Online marketing should at least cover the following:
Dealership Website: You should have a well-developed website which is optimized for Search Engines, easy to navigate, showcases your social media links, and converts traffic to leads. You should note that on every click, you potentially can use 11% of the users, therefore, pay close attention to the home page and top navigation of your sites. For example, if you sell more trucks than SUVs, then your site should promptly display a button or link (like Used Trucks for All Budgets) on all pages of your website.
Social Media: You should promote your dealership across all major social media sites, like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You cannot ignore the trends like Facebook’s new search engine “Social Graph” or the rising value of review on your Google+ page. Therefore, you should deploy all necessary resources to ramp up your social media strategy and implement it without any delay.
Performance Review: Analyze your website’s performance on daily basis. Use Google Analytics to track traffic, traffic sources, and set goals to monitor traffic to pages of interest. Keep an eye on total leads generated by your website, traffic is important but if your site is not converting that traffic to leads, you have find out the reason for this.
Email Campaigns: Auto dealers are embracing the power of email campaigns. Many are simply using emails to send a thank you note, follow up with email leads, and answer any question a prospective customer may have. However, you need to deploy email campaigns to be in front of buyers on a regular basis. Send out Monthly newsletter or “specials”, updates on staff, or your community involvement. Email campaigns are not costly and you can track success rate of each campaign very easily. Do not out source your email campaigns to your ad agency or a 3rd party. Yes, you can use a 3rd party to prepare the content or artwork but your Internet Manager should be the one who sends out email and monitor its results. Do not wait for a report to be handed down to you at the end of the month, track your success or failure on a daily basis.
Your offline marketing should include techniques like;
Direct Marketing: Your dealership should be doing some sort of direct marketing with existing clients and prospects. It can be service center coupons, reminders to bring in their vehicle for an inspection, a lease special, year-end promotion on new purchase, etc.
Print Advertising: Though print advertising is on the decline, it is not out of the picture. Newspaper ads are an excellent source for building brand names. You can also use weekly classified magazines to promote your dealership and “specials”. Keep in mind ROI is getting lower and lower so use print ad dollars as strategically as possible.
Radio& TVAds: These ads are costly so not every dealership can afford it. However, they are an excellent source to ensure your dealership name remain fresh in the minds of your buyers. You can partner with smaller radio stations The goal of integrated marketing is, making sure you’ve extended your dealership’s reach and covered all the necessary bases to achieve optimum success with your marketing strategies.