If you are experiencing a slump in your automotive sales, throwing more money at your marketing department won’t work. Not unless you are going about it the right way. Customers are far savvier than in years past, mostly because they have instant access to so much information. When it comes to marketing, there are definitely a few dos and don’ts. Here are a few don’ts.
Don’t Forget About Social Media
If you are not using social media, you should be. People use the internet to do a lot of the research for buying anything these days. They have almost all the information they need long before they step on to the lot.
A clever campaign can make a lot of miles through the many platforms. Something can get a lot of likes and shares simply by being clever. But don’t overdo it, either.
You need to have a personal touch. If people already have access to all the information, they want a personal experience when they come in. Include the salespeople, service department and even the owner and their family.
People can shop anywhere, so give them more of a reason to visit your dealership. Let them see you and invite them to make an appointment with Bob or Mary.
Don’t Try to Please Everyone
Rather than trying to aim your marketing at the public in general, focus on your target audience. If you sell family sedans or minivans for hockey moms, you don’t need to target college kids or single people.
Build your campaign around their needs and what they will be looking for in a car. Otherwise, your investment in marketing will not be seen by the people who need to see it.
Don’t Hide or Ignore Bad Reviews
Oh, boy. People love to take to the internet the minute they’ve been wronged. Allow people to comment on your website. While some of them will be people just wanting to stir things up, many will be genuine.
If you don’t acknowledge them, the complaints and the person, you will lose customers. Thank the person for directing your attention to the oversight or issue. People need to know they have been heard.
Offer them a solution and/or ask them what they need. Very often, that will be enough to diffuse the situation and make the customer happy. It costs much more to find new customers than to keep the ones you have. Keep them happy.
Don’t Rely on your Photos
Use Video! People today have the attention span of a gnat. They are not going to waste their time reading a lot of text or fine print under pictures. They like things that move and excite.
A few great videos are not only well worth the investment, but you can use them for ages, with a slight bit of editing. Show off your product in motion, from all angles and let the customer see what it would be like to be driving that car.
Your target audience is already staring at their screens. Give them something worth watching. The guy considering a car who is watching your video while he is stuck in traffic on public transit.
Don’t Go Cheap
Instead, make smart investments.
Get professional pictures and get creative. Anyone can put up pictures or videos of cars. Make it fun, exciting, humorous, emotional. Do your cars go fast and make noise? Do they get the baseball team there and back safely and comfortably? Tell them. Show them.
Don’t Shun Old School Marketing
Instead, Balance your budget. Most dealerships use 55% of their marketing budget on digital marketing. Old school marketing still works just fine. It’s also affordable. Business cards, flyers, posters, outdoor signage and good old fashion word-of-mouth still have cred.
Signage on all your vehicles driven by staff, vehicles that are taken out for a test drive and other promotional items. Pens, caps, t-shirts and any other merch you can come up with are still very effective.
Embrace Your Community
Take part in your local community. Buy pizza for the baseball team, engage with the local street festivals and summer BBQs. Donate a van for the high school to get to away games.
A few kind gestures are more than free publicity. It takes very little for your business to be thought of as a beacon in the community. Giving away free items to people coming in means a lot more than you might think.
Plus, you never know where that free pen or calendar will end up. People may re-gift these items and before you know it, you have your business name on the walls of more and more people and potential customers.