Today's consumers are more connected, empowered and informed than ever before, and with their easy access to information, and the power that comes with it, they naturally demand higher value and satisfaction from the products and services they buy.
Auto dealers are not immune from these demands. In fact, they're under more pressure than most businesses to compete in every value category including price, quality and customer service. And, they have to communicate their value to the world through the channels their increasingly sophisticated buyers are using.
Number One is the Digital Realm, the Online World.
Ninety percent (90%) of automotive shoppers begin their search on the Internet. Seventy Percent (70%) of U.S. adults have one or more email addresses that they check regularly throughout the day. Sixty Percent (60%) of emails are opened on mobile devices. Just these metrics alone insist that auto dealerships devote themselves to digital marketing, starting with a smart, effective and sticky website, and continuing from there to:
• Regular, targeted email campaigns
• Social media
• SEO and SEM strategies
• Blog posts
• And more
Smart, attractive and effective digital marketing enhances the dealer's brand as an involved and forward-moving company, and is also the hardest working merchandising medium available anywhere. Digital marketing is the most thoroughly tracked and measurable of all media, and also the easiest and fastest to adjust and target on-the-fly for maximum response.
Here are a few of the components of an effective digital strategy:
Determine Your Digital Mix - Which mix best delivers your brand and merchandising messages? Consider email campaigns for best sales and service merchandising, social media for brand development, SEO and SEM for organic searches, blogs for brand and also to increase your organic presence.
Lead Generation - Keep an eye on your lead providers. Which ones are sending you leads that actually convert to sales? Which are shotgunning leads to you and your competitors, which only burns out your staff and drives down your profits and closing ratios? Which are giving you exclusives? How are you measuring results and ROI?
Cross Device Marketing - Make sure your message is optimized for all digital devices. Again, 60% of emails are opened on mobile devices -- tablets and smartphones. If your message isn't optimized for all platforms, it's not optimized at all.
Product Promotion Through Email Marketing - Email campaigns are by far the most effective means to digitally merchandise your products and services. Digital retailing demands smart, targeted, and legal email deployments. Look for the best providers, and above all, don't try this on your own if you're not ready to pay the harsh consequences of spamming.
Create an Engaging Social Media Environment - Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and others, is an excellent avenue to build brand awareness, brand loyalty and a large fan base.
Measure and Adjust - Digital marketing gives you an expansive toolbox to know in real time how your campaign is working. It beats other media like newspaper, radio, television and direct mail hands down. It also allows you to adjust your targeting and marketing mix on-the-fly and at minimal cost compared to other media.
Adopt New Trends - Always be ready for the next breakthrough in digital marketing. New developments and new opportunities are appearing every day. Be an early adopter to beat your competition.
Whether dealers wish to outsource their automotive digital marketing or keep it in-house, the automotive industry, from the manufacturers down to the local, single-point dealership, is a true believer. Digital is essential to success.