While reading a release of Dealer Magazine last month, I noticed that there was a lot of concern with online car dealer advertising and how money was being lost, or investments were not producing returns. I went looking to see what kind of advertising was online, and what I might change about it as a consumer. I came up with a couple quick, easy pointers that can help drive your online advertising.
1. Don't over saturate. Something I do see a lot of on some bigger Facebook pages is a lot of posts focused on one specific product. Your social media pages need to reach out to everyone that you sell vehicles to, not just a few specific people who may want that product. With some marketing automation solutions, you can automatically target individual customers based on location, gender and age.
2. Interact with your customers, don't just advertise. One thing that I noticed that was really cool was a contest on a social media page designed to do two things. First, it engaged the customers, even on a medium where people often expect that their messages will go unread. This will lead to more communication from your customers, and a better relationship. Second, social media posts also serve in this case to educate customers about specific parts or procedures related to their vehicles. Offering incentives for social media is also a good way to draw traffic.
3. Offer surveys and questionnaires. I noticed while scrolling through a Facebook page for a prominent company that one of their new releases was being received quite poorly. When they posted new concept vehicles, they were met with a bit of skepticism from some customers because of previously undelivered concepts. Post automated surveys ahead of time to gauge customer interest. Your marketing department might think something will succeed, but the consumers are the bottom line. They determine your success or failure, so consult them too.
4. Post your sales and seasonal promotions. This is mostly for local dealers. One of the big things about one of my own local dealers is that they don't have any of their sales posted. They put up closures and new model arrivals, as well as some general publicity stuff. But they don't bother to post their sales. Not a single one. And while it's true that a lot of sales are made on the floor, not having any publicity about any kind of deals certainly doesn't help matters.
5. Post often. In some cases, you'll see a dealership post maybe two to four updates a month, if that. Car dealer advertising is often done via direct mail, but it needs to be faster. You want at least two a day, ideally. Even if they're just images of your staff or tips for getting the most out of your car, you want to maintain a reasonably high presence online, with a patient and dedicated approach to building a page and a culture that customers want to be a part of.
These tips are small adjustments to just one aspect of car dealer advertising, but they can make a big difference in building customer interaction on your social media pages and within your community. Effective online marketing helps to build a sense of community with your customers, in turn developing more loyal repeat customers who want to purchase from you in part because of the culture you develop.
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