While the ongoing pandemic initially turned brick-and-mortar stores and small businesses into what resembled ghost towns, they have seemingly bounced back as quickly as they were closed. The auto industry, though car sales are increasing and those in the market are making purchases again, has not had the same luck as other smaller industries. With an international microchip shortage, causing manufacturers to slow the production of new vehicles, the auto industry as a whole is still taking a hit. While dealerships scramble to come up with new ways to bridge the sales gap during the shortage, we have a few tips for auto marketers that can help.
Promote your services and people since drivers are more actively looking to fix their current cars – Head over to social media platforms to discuss services your business may offer. Social media is a quick and inexpensive way to reach larger audiences while still promoting brand. With new social media and search algorithms that target users based on search history and activity, customers looking for auto services have a much better chance of seeing coinciding services if businesses are pushing their offerings.
Spotlight your people to build trust and increase employee engagement with your content – In addition to promoting services on social and through brand campaigns, consider promoting your people to customers. While promoting services is helpful, allowing customers and users to put a face to who they will be buying from will further assist in building relationships and encouraging customers to visit the dealership. When customers can see that it’s a person on the other side of the screen, they’ll feel less like they’re dealing with a stranger and more at ease addressing potential concerns, learning about services, and eventually purchasing.
Continue pushing overarching brand messaging so you’re top-of-mind when inventory does return – As previously stated, social media is a wide-reaching and inexpensive place to push messaging. Build up brand by telling the story of how your dealership came to be or by highlighting the strengths of your people, inventory, and services. By pushing engaging content, such as giving interior tours of cars in stock or interviewing customers who had positive experiences, those who may be waiting for new inventory to arrive may be following and ready to purchase.
Strengthen relationships with “sold” customers to get them back in the dealership – Following up with previous customers and getting back on your network’s radar is going to be crucial through this time. This can be accomplished through email marketing or customer survey requests. Feedback from previous customers can also be leveraged into marketing campaigns that focus on customer service or the brand as a whole. By promoting the opinions of happy customers, this word-of-mouth tactic will be a resource to those purchasing in the future. In Microsoft’s customer service research campaign, findings state that nearly 90% of buyers in a given industry rely on reviews from their fellow customers. Build relationships by promoting positive customer experiences, remaining transparent, and staying open to feedback from those who feel their experience could have been better.
Push used-car sales through dynamic, customized ads – Though the microchip shortage may be impacting the production of new cars and shipments, it has little to no effect on like-new and used car sales. Take advantage of the stock on each lot by creating online access for customers looking to peruse your inventory without coming to the dealership. This may mean targeting customers through search engine advertisements and digital media. WardsAuto states “Adopt dynamic ad technology that syncs with the stock on your website to target customers with unique, model-specific ads featuring in-stock inventory and up-to-date pricing. When you present potential customers with ads tailored to their true purchasing interests, dynamic campaigns result in more clicks and a higher conversion rate.” In short, design ad campaigns around reaching customers digitally versus traditionally.
Focus paid search on low-funnel keywords – As search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns continue to gain traction and effectiveness, the inventory shortage may be the perfect time to take advantage of this strategy. By adding keywords to your website that are frequently searched and relevant to inventory, brands can reach customers that otherwise may have been overlooked.
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