Daniel Martin March 05, 2021 Auto Digital Marketing: The Definitive Guide One of the most exciting aspects of running a car dealership is how diverse the business is. You can be in a yard closing a deal one minute, reaching a customer through email the next, and planning to ship in an hour. Automotive marketing is comprehensive, and if you want success in the trade, you must stay up-to-date with current trends. Today, the level of success enjoyed by your business depends on your online marketing strategies. These are the digital activities that attract the right buyers to your business. For example, if you are selling trucks, you need to attract visitors that deal with transportation. This can be through engaging emails, social media, or websites. In this article, we’ll share more about automotive digital marketing. We’ll highlight the whys, wherefores, and which digital marketing categories can boost car sales. We’ll focus our discussion on how you can reach top positions in online searches and maintain that status. Why Automotive Businesses Need to Embrace Digital Marketing Automotive dealers are going global. Unlike traditional setups where marketing efforts targeted specific geographies, internet marketing is now attracting diverse groups. Because of this broad reach, car dealers need to be clear with their goals. They need to embrace digital marketing activities that boost the performance of their car companies. Here are other benefits of automotive digital marketing that your business can take advantage of to boost performance. Boost Online Reviews with Automotive Digital Marketing Buying a car is a big deal for many. Most will look at online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Testimonial Engine’s survey showed that 72% of buyers wouldn’t make a purchase decision until they’ve read online reviews. And another survey showed that customers want to see over 40 reviews before trusting the star rating. So, imagine your website as user-friendly. Imagine your online site having everything a customer needs when they first visit the page. If this is true for you, then it’s only a matter of time before positive reviews start flowing. And if you are consistent with delivering valuable automotive information, you can engage the 50% of visitors that need to see a 4-star rating before considering a purchase from an online business. Here’s a car dealer rating example on Google: Improve Online Visibility There’s no better spot on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) than at the top. This is the where 33% of page visitors click before considering other options. So, if your organic or paid results are placing you in this coveted position, you can expect to attract more car buyers. But, if your car dealership has stuck with traditional marketing strategies only, it’s time to make changes. Yes, billboards, TVs, and radio play an important role in sales, but their impact is lower than digital marketing concepts. This is because modern-day customers spend most of their time online and reaching out to them on the internet will boost your sales. If Facebook is where they spend the most time, your digital marketing strategies should help them convert from there. Good online visibility opens opportunities for positive reviews, sales, and referrals. Direct Engagement with Clients Online marketing platforms are a good place to connect with potential clients. It’s in such places that you can build relationships that act as referrals for your car business. For example, Facebook conversations can build communities. It’s through these communities that you can find people with similar interests as you. Through the comments section, you can gradually introduce potential buyers to your car dealership. Such direct engagements build trust and eventually improve the performance of your marketing campaigns. Easy Tracking of Progress Clicks, open email rates, and website visitors are all ways of knowing how your automotive marketing campaigns are faring. Digital marketing metrics inform you of what you are doing right in your campaigns. If, for instance, you are sending emails about auto financing projects, the conversions, open rates, and responses will inform you of what the customer wants. These results from your auto digital marketing campaigns form your basis in understanding what needs to change in your marketing strategies. Personalization Automotive digital marketing helps you market the right products to your buyers. It helps you personalize your actions so you can deliver value to your audience. For example, if a new car buyer visits your website, personalization helps you address their needs. This can be through email subscriptions or content on your page that assists the visitor in finding answers and solutions. You can also personalize the experience by choosing the right channel, device, and time of posting. A person accessing a car dealership website through their mobile phone should have as good an experience as if they were on a computer. It’s also important that you consider your time of posting. If research or previous results show visitors convert best during the day, it’s best to plan for posting during those hours. By keeping in mind the time and process of a buyers’ journey, you will create platforms that address their needs when they are most likely to convert. Choose web elements that attract the most car buyers to your dealership. This can be through colors, fonts, or content that your audience likes to see. Keeping the elements simple but personalized will ease navigation, improve engagements, and eventually sales. Improve UX Elements It’s a digital world, and every aspect of your website determines where you appear on search engines. This includes page speeds, mobile responsiveness, and graphics that affect the user experience (UX) on your pages. It’s through aspects such as conversion rates that will tell you if your UX elements are affecting engagements. For example, if your page speed is slow, you’ll notice high bounce rates, which can inform most of your design decisions that affect your car sales. 6 Marketing Categories Your Car Dealership Should Consider There are many internet marketing categories that can boost your online trade. Here are a few that you might want to look at when starting or upscaling your digital marketing strategies: 1. Email Marketing This traditional marketing strategy still reigns as one of the most effective for nurturing relationships. It’s through emails that you can tell how your audience perceives your digital marketing campaigns by your audience. For example, if you are running a trade-in and trade-up project in a few months, you could use emails to measure customer reactions. By sharing such information with your list of customers and prospects, the open rates, feedback, and queries will inform you of what buyers are looking forward to in the event and if they’re likely to attend. The good thing about emails is that it’s easy to create a list. If you already have a website, you only need to include a subscription form to encourage people to join your mailing list. One of the best ways to be successful in email subscriptions is by sharing freebies. A good freebie could be an ebook with helpful automotive information relevant to first-time and experienced car owners. For example, an ebook detailing how to take care of your engine could appeal to a diverse audience. But in all this, remember that you are dealing with distinct groups of people. For instance, a customer who purchased a car in the last month requires a different email message from a one-year client. For better email open rates, segment your list. By grouping your audience, you can send emails that are relevant to each group. For example, a new subscriber may need more information about the car models sold through your dealership. For the new buyer, information about the first service appointment and request for feedback is most appropriate. But, to nurture relationships with old clients, service deals or news on new car models will boost your engagements. Remember that you are running a list to boost your sales. So personalization, formatting, messages, and metrics are of the utmost importance. Always allow room for repurposing your email strategies if current open rates aren’t boosting your ROI. 2. Social Media Marketing With over 53% of the world population on social media, it pays to boost your social media marketing strategies. Buyers spend so much time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you might miss out on opportunities if you aren’t targeting these platforms. Social media marketing is cost-effective. Emerging businesses can easily create free business accounts and start marketing their car products. And as the business grows, the dealers can still choose to use paid ads to boost sales. Another advantage to social media is that prospective buyers are always waiting for opportunities to interact with car dealers. A report shows that 84% of car buyers start their search on Facebook. Out of these, 24% have confirmed making a car purchase through the platform. This is quite a positive return, and a business keen on social media marketing must include Facebook in their plans. Image source: Shane Barker But for your social media campaigns to work well, you need to consider the best digital marketing practices. First, keep your business account separate from your personal account. Make sure that everyone visiting your social channel detects professionalism in your operations. Include a profile photo, contacts, business hours, and content that illustrates what your car dealership is about. Next, be consistent with post updates. Regularly share useful and interesting posts that encourage people to interact and share. Shared content has more opportunities to go viral. It’s through viral content that you can increase followers and eventually sales. Lastly, remember to manage your reputation. News spreads quickly on social media, and it’s best if it spreads only the good news about your car business. To avoid conflicts, quickly respond to negative and positive comments. It’s best to have a social media manager oversee your operations. Build an audience that has trust in your business and will purchase from you. 3. Direct Mail Direct mail is an excellent way of channeling your offline customers to your online platforms. For example, you can send out brochures highlighting car deals in your showroom. You can include your website address or social media platforms to encourage people to find you online. A point to note is that direct mail complements your auto digital marketing efforts. Remember that you need to know your target audience and be creative for this campaign to be successful. Include visual elements to boost your open rates and subsequent conversions. 4. Search Engine Optimization SEO determines where you appear in search results. It’s through good SEO tactics that people searching for businesses like yours can find you. SEO involves many aspects, but the most important is content and link building. Through quality content and responsive link-building strategies, people searching for a car dealer like you will discover your business first. But for search engines to recommend your page, you need to use the correct keywords. Keywords are those terms that visitors use to search for businesses like yours. If well-targeted, keywords can boost the quantity and quality of your traffic. Another aspect of SEO is understanding your target audience. Knowing the people most likely to buy cars from you will help you determine the keywords they use in their searches. The keywords can be terms like “auto car dealership,” “automotive car dealers,” or “car dealers near me,” and these target words can put you on the top of search pages. SEO is a detailed process. Mostly, you’ll have to practice On-page, Off-page, and technical SEO tactics to please page crawlers. You’ll also have to share valuable content and stay up-to-date with Google algorithms, so you can get and stay on top of search engines. SEO is all about building a website that delivers value to visitors and pleases search engines. The website should be responsive enough to attract visitors, engage users, and convert prospects into buyers. 5. Pay-per-Click(PPC) If you are looking for ways of appearing on top of search results – without the hassle of SEO strategies – PPC is your best choice. PPC ads are the sponsored links to websites, social media, or videos that promote your business. PPC marketing is a fast way of carrying out automotive digital marketing strategies and beating competitors on SERPs. When carrying out a PPC campaign, you pay a fee for each click on your ad. And since you are paying for the ad space, it’s important to consider aspects that affect your results. For example, your keywords play an important role in ad placement. If you are inviting customers to buy used cars from your business, it’s important to include the right keywords in your ad. Ultimately, run different ads for various operations. For example, run ads that target keywords such as new cars, used cars, or car services. Also, as you carry out your PPC campaigns, remember to always check the results. Results will inform you of what needs to change depending on clicks and conversions. 6. Videos Videos are gaining immense popularity in the automotive industry. This is because videos are proving effective in delivering complex details in an easy-to-understand format. For example, a dealer introducing new car models can easily define the features and added capabilities that make the new model stand out from the rest. Additionally, videos can hold a prospect’s attention. With videos, it’s easy to take a customer through the purchase journey and convert them in the shortest time. Videos are also easily integrated with social media marketing. Integration creates better opportunities for video virality that boosts sales. Interestingly, video marketing is a good fit for many businesses in the automotive industry. If you are a startup, you can simply create your video with a smartphone. Here is how you can plan a video creation process to ensure it’s a success: • Do research to understand your target market • Prepare your script • Choose the location and equipment for the job • Prepare your team for the shoot • Shoot the video • Edit the content • Publish your video Wrapping Up The first step to a successful automotive digital marketing campaign is knowing your targets. By understanding your market, you can craft strategies that attract more customers to your business. Through emails, websites, and social media sites, an automotive business can improve online visibility and reach a larger audience. Daniel Martin Dani started his career in an aviation company and worked his way up the ranks into positions of leadership, where he feels most at home. Now, he’s building winning SEO teams that are able to solve complex problems with simple, effective solutions.