Take Your Marketing to the Next Level
It’s one thing to secure the low-hanging fruit, digital marketer Ryan Alford of DOM360 says; it’s another entirely to capitalize on and maximize the marketing platforms either making waves today or on the cusp of making an impact. An effective website and collecting customer reviews are the baseline of what all dealerships need to have to be successful today, he says. To become an exemplary marketer and cement your brand in today’s market, there are four marketing strategies that all fixed ops managers should consider implementing:
Beef up video content:
It’s no secret that video is the next frontier of online marketing. Across the board, video content is promoted more heavily than any other type of ad. Alford says it’s a great opportunity but one that is still greatly underserved.
“Every website should have a video library on parts and service pages,” he says.
The key is not to think about video as TV. More than likely, your fixed ops marketing budget won’t allow for that type of media buy, Alford says. Instead, the goal is to provide relevant, digestible content that’s easy to engage with and compelling. Those videos could include educational videos, how-tos, a facility tour and a video explaining why they should come to the dealership. When it comes to distributing the videos, consider an online pre-rolled networks, such as SpotX, which is a video ad serving platform that provides video owners with monetization tools for various devices.
Implement search-engine marketing:
Instead of phone calls and direct mail, dealers can more effectively target and reach today’s customers with search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, which involve buying keywords and driving traffic to the websites. To truly integrate SEM/PPC into your content campaign, you need to determine which channel or channels best fit your strategy (See Sidebar: “The Top SEM Platforms”). Text, display and video ads can all play important roles in reaching your goals. The more specific your target audience, the easier it will be to serve up a message that is relevant and relatable to them and their lifestyle through a channel that is already part of their daily lives.
Modernize the in-store experience:
Just as marketing is becoming increasingly digital, so too is the in-store experience. A customer’s repair experience is hugely reflective of the brand (See Sidebar “Retaining the Customer After a Sale”), which is why Toyota has made a recent push to turn the service lane into a digital platform, says Marty Quinn, customer service operations manager for Toyota Division's Cincinnati region. That involves writing customers up with a tablet and conducting an electronic multi-point inspection and utilizing e-pay at the end of the transaction. In addition, Toyota recently launched an in-store digital messaging strategy that utilizes monitors in the customer lounge, service drive and showroom to promote relevant content, such as educational videos and messages about promotions.
Develop parts e-commerce:
In 2013, parts purchases represented $104 billion through e-tail. By 2023, that figure is expected to grow by $28.8 billion, according to the Auto Care Association. It’s a huge opportunity, Quinn says, with one problem: The majority of that business is currently captured by eBay, Amazon and AutoZone. For dealers who choose to develop an e-commerce strategy, implement a great SEM campaign, and utilize modern payment systems, however, parts e-commerce “can sing,” he says.
Toyota is currently 120 days into a pilot program working with dealers across the country to implement parts e-commerce. The strategy? Utilize SEM to capture customers on Toyota.com, direct those customers through to the dealership’s website where a shopping cart system allows customers to buy parts, electronically check out and ship. It requires commitment, Quinn says, and the proper resources to do it (including a dedicated person at the dealership to stay on top of orders) but nearly every dealer in the pilot program has hit objectives and average dollars per ticket.