Topic: Marketing tips
As COVID-19 restrictions continue and even increase in pockets across Canada, automotive sales have been remarkably resilient. Consumers who formerly relied on public transit or ride-hailing are buying cars for the first time or replacing their existing vehicles, spurred on by the social distance they naturally provide.
But do automotive dealers need to worry about another decline as we head into winter and a second wave? From the perspective of complete shutdowns, most likely not: the lessons learned through the initial spring lockdowns are allowing dealerships and other low-risk businesses to continue operating with the right measures in place.
However, some tweaks to the systems and mindsets put in place in April and May could help dealers stay ahead of the unforeseen challenges through the colder months.
As dealerships look forward to reopening their doors, they’re thinking about how to do it safely. Since the COVID-19 virus can survive on many types of surfaces, concerns about transmission has set new expectations for car cleanliness. Your customers will expect a different kind of safety protocol for disinfecting cars—whether it’s for test drives or service appointments—and interacting with the public. So it’s important that you clearly communicate the steps you’re taking to keep them safe.
CarGurus recently hosted a webinar with Facebook and Bosak Motors to discuss digital marketing trends for a new 2020. The participants shared many key insights over 30 minutes. Here are four important takeaways:
Update your marketing messages for the moment
Make sure to update your creative and messaging to communicate exactly what’s happening at the dealership right now. Bosak Motors updated all their messaging to advertise the services they’re offering to help keep customers safe, such as home delivery, contactless services, and online vehicle sales.
Your dealership hours might be nine to five, but your customers’ lives are not. More and more are doing their homework—73% of car shoppers research and compare exhaustively—and a lot of it is done online. Shoppers visit 13 auto sites on average. So it’s likely that their first contact with a dealership is after regular working hours.
The worst thing you can do with customer leads is let them sit, so there’s extra pressure on dealers to respond even when the physical shop may be closed. Here are four ways to capture and address those after-hours leads.
Dealers are no doubt aware of the impact a decent set of photos can have on a used car shopper, but video takes things one step further because it’s the next best thing to seeing a car in person. More and more retailers are using walkaround videos to show off their inventory, but as with any form of advertising, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.
We explain the dos and don’ts of producing a top-quality used car video that’s guaranteed to catch shoppers’ attention.
There is no underestimating the value of high-quality car photography. Customers can tell a lot about your dealership from your advertising images, which are often the first impression a customer gets of a car.
New models benefit from polished manufacturer stock shots, while used vehicles don’t enjoy the same luxury and require a bit more effort. Get it right though, and you immediately showcase the car’s best qualities in plenty of detail, immeasurably boosting your chance of a sale.
However, photography is easy to get wrong–and a lot of businesses do exactly that. A lack of know-how or the scramble to get images online frequently leads to poor-quality shots that leave the viewer unclear about what they’re looking at and questioning the dealership’s professionalism. If you want to sell more cars, then you can’t cut corners with photography. If you have the budget for a professional then go for it–but handling your pictures in-house is perfectly doable whether you’re a veteran photographer or a novice with a smartphone.
Putting Canadian Millennials behind the wheel: think outside the showroom to reach this growing generation
Meet the Canadian Millennial – probably older than you think, quite possibly a hard-working parent, and with enough obligations to need a vehicle.
According to a survey by Canada Post, a good 33 per cent of Millennials have young families. They’re raising kids, with careers in full swing, and buying homes. That means they’re ripe prospects for car-buying.
Canadian car industry guru Dennis DesRosiers proposes, if you crunch the numbers, it would be impossible for Millennials not to buy cars. DesRosiers finds that car ownership in Canada has “exploded” over the last 17 years, currently standing at 87 per cent. He also notes that the number of the youngest cohort of drivers (under 16) has grown from 48.1 per cent to 54.6 per cent during that same timeframe. And the next two youngest cohorts (16 to 19, 20 to 24) have not declined. “Get them while they’re young and you might have a customer for life,” advises DesRosiers.
So how do dealers capture this growing market segment?
In the past several years, there’s been a surge in digital advertising spend in the automotive industry. And eMarketer forecasts that consistent, double-digit growth in digital ad spending will continue through 2021.
Yet all too often, dealerships treat the copy in their advertising as an afterthought. They toss in a few keywords, check the grammar, and hit publish. But copy is important—words matter!—and it should be treated that way.
We’ve put together some of the top tips for writing ad copy to help your dealership get the greatest ROI from online ads.
More than half of the average dealership’s revenue comes from its service department. Yet only about 30% of sales customers return to the dealership for service within the first year of ownership—and that number drops with each passing year. Why? Studies show that convenience and price are the main factors. Car owners believe that returning to the dealership for service is less convenient than visiting a local mechanic, and they assume non-dealership service options are better deals.
But as car owners continue to hang onto their vehicles longer than ever—and the opportunity to increase revenue grows—it’s become crucial for dealerships to expand their digital marketing efforts to include their service department. Dealerships that set themselves apart by marketing their services stay top of mind among existing customers and earn more new business.
Fixed ops marketing presents a valuable opportunity for dealerships, but to truly tap into the opportunity, you have to be strategic. Here we explore four things you can do to effectively market your dealership’s services and reach more potential customers.
Carefully measuring the performance of your email newsletter leads to better content and more engaged customers
As a car dealer who wants to engage customers and nurture loyalty, you probably send a regular e-newsletter (and if you don’t, you really should). But too many customer newsletters are bland, self-serving, and easily ignored. Great dealers set their newsletters apart by using key metrics to continually fine tune everything from core content to the time of day they send them. Customers value their newsletters, which makes them a potent weapon in your marketing mix.
Refining your own newsletter isn’t complicated, and it will never be wasted effort. Email marketing—of which an e-newsletter is an important component—remains an extremely effective marketing channel. According to Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing earns $44 in return.
In other words, an effective e-newsletter is a key part of your marketing strategy. But measuring that effectiveness and tweaking it accordingly is vital. Newsletters that offer no value annoy consumers, who are increasingly prepared to report irrelevant emails as spam and unsubscribe from contact lists.