The Real Time Digital View On: Car Dealerships
In recent months we’ve seen hundreds of businesses having to improve their digital capabilities to keep up with the exceeding customer need to buy online. Businesses around the world have accelerated their plans for digital transformation to make sure they remain relevant in this new environment.
An area where a shift towards a digitally-focused consumer journey has evolved over recent years is for car dealerships. Nowadays we’re prepared with user reviews, expert opinions and lists of specifications before we even step foot into a showroom.
In a recent survey by Google in May 2020, they found:
- People are finding comfort in car ownership – Google reported that 12% of people who didn’t own a car were considering purchasing one
- People want the dealer experience from their home – Brands should consider highlighting video content of interior overviews, walkarounds, test drives and reviews.
- People want online car buying and at-home delivery – 19% of car shoppers would buy a vehicle sooner if there was an online option
So how can digital marketing help support key lead generators for car dealerships by using what we know about the consumer journey so far?
You need to start engaging with your potential customers online before they walk into your showroom. With so much of the buying process taking place online, digital marketing gives you the opportunity to get in front of your potential customers more often and at relevant times. Let’s consider how a digital marketing sales funnel could help with this:
You want your brand to be the first one they think of
Whether someone is looking to buy a car this week, this month or later this year, your brand should come to mind when this happens. Showing brand adverts online through display, video advertising and social media gets your brand in front of a relevant audience to raise your brand awareness. According to Forbes, a strong identity and presence can help put any brand at the top of consumers’ minds, with digital interaction influencing 70% of sales. This is a key first step in building a pool of potential customers that you continue to interact with through online advertising as they progress through the sales journey.
Help them find the information they need, when they need it
By showing ads tailored to specific demographics, you can point them to relevant content on your website that will aid their decision-making. This could be videos of your latest cars, educational articles on how financing works or dealer specific information on the added value you provide. At this stage, your digital marketing is helping you capture an audience earlier on in their purchasing journey so that you can start building a relationship with them before your competitors do.
Make it easy for them to get in touch with you
Be proactive with ads directing users to book test drives, make a phone call or show directions to their nearest showroom. Audience targeting will allow you to be specific about who sees these ads – showing them to users who are in-market for a car or who have previously visited your website which means you’re targeting your warmest leads.
Use digital marketing tools to help close the sale
Buying a car can be a lengthy process, one that takes thought and consideration. Digital marketing can provide you with a suite of tools to continue to engage with those users who aren’t quite ready to buy and nudge them to the final purchase. This is your opportunity to sell the key points of the vehicle and your dealership. Photography and video will help ensure high quality content for these users, as well as offering personalisation through direct marketing channels like SMS and email. According to research from Google & Econsultancy, 90% of leading marketers say personalisation significantly contributes to business profitability.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how digital marketing can help your business, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to help.
- Google Survey, U.K. English, May 18th, 2020, n = 311 of respondents who don’t own a car – https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/auto-industry-impact-during-coronavirus/
- Google Surveys, U.K. English, ‘Global Auto Pulse’, May 19th, 2020, n = 886 of respondents who plan to purchase a vehicle in the next 12 months – https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/auto-industry-impact-during-coronavirus/
- Econsultancy and Google, Marketing and Measurement Survey, n=514, marketing and measurement executives at North American companies with over $250M in revenues, March 2017. – thinkwithgoogle.com/future-of-marketing/creativity/marketing-personalization-statistics/