Offline and On-site

06 October 2014

According to JD Power, in 2005, the average car buyer visited 4.5 dealers before buying a car. The key to success back then was to ensure that your dealership was the one they remembered and went back to. Now, the average buyer visits just 1.4 dealers and is “transaction ready” when they arrive on site. The key now is to make sure that yours is the first showroom they visit. So just how is this achieved?

Offline and On-site

Buyers have never been so well informed. Over 90% of buyers visit more than 20 online sources before going on to visit 8 dealer websites, in order to select the showrooms they visit.

Making sure that your site is found and selected for an on-site visit is critical in this latest digital era.

To enable customers to find your website you need to have a strong digital presence, which for most means allocating a large proportion of your marketing spend to digital in one form or other.

The first aim is to ensure that your website is on the front page and ideally in the top 5 ranking on Google search. This ensures that your prospect can find you and make the all-important first click of interest.

Once on your website, it must be engaging, so using videos, testimonials and live chat to keep your prospect’s attention and encourage them to visit your dealership is essential.

Use of video is becoming more and more important. According to Dr James McQuivey of Forrester research, a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

It is no coincidence therefore that 40% of buyers decide on the brand to buy based on video; 30% of car buyers began the process of buying an actual car due to an on-line video; and 61% visited a dealer based on a video advert.

Whilst social media is now seen as an inefficient way of generating leads, it does still play an important role in improving your Google search ranking, and “humanises” your company profile away from just direct marketing and hard selling.

McKinsey and Co have found that email has been shown to be 40 times more effective in acquiring new customers than social media. It is therefore worth devoting an appropriate level of resource to contacting prospects via email, and as 45% of all marketing emails are opened on mobile devices, the content needs to be mobile friendly.

Whilst manufacturers have increased the focus on response times to enquiries generated by them; there is, however, far less focus on the quality of the response. For example, research has shown that 67% of responses to leads do not include an offer of a demonstration appointment. This is critical if the customer is to visit the dealership, but how many manufacturers measure and compare this?

So how does a business achieve all of this? Exclusively for the subscribers to our newsletters, here’s the answer:

Ten top tips for taking customers offline and bringing them into your showroom
• Allocate at least 50% of your marketing budget to digital marketing
• Use Google ad words to make sure your prospects find you near the top of the search
• Ensure your website is mobile enabled, regularly updated and logically structured for ease of use
• Use video demonstrations and customer testimonials to keep the customer engaged
• Make sure you use good quality, professionally produced images to illustrate your dealership
• Make sure that every touch point is customer-centric and warm; it’s a human thing after all
• Ensure that live chat delivers the promised experience and results in an agreed next step
• Ensure that your email responses offer a test drive appointment every time
• Have a robust strategy for marketing by email…gathering and checking addresses constantly
• Measure activity for website traffic and digital mailer responses with a weekly analytics report!

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