According to published studies, U.S. customers are spending more than five hours per day on their smartphones.
In those 5 hours, they are using their mobile devices, with an average of nine apps.
Take a moment and let this sink in, we have moved to the digital age.
The time has passed when car model pamphlets, newspapers and even TV ads were the only way for consumers to hear about your dealership.
For your best chance to successfully market your auto dealership today, you need to find the right balance between various communication channels to reach your target audience.
How many social networks and apps you used today?
Most users look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram LinkedIn, Email, Google, WhatsApp and Google Maps.
This is typical for professionals and millennials in the digital age.
However, since users access these channels at different times, dealerships need to follow the three R’s and send the right message, on the right channel, at the right time to have the best chance for customers to see it and read it.
The way consumers purchase automotive is changing, and the main reason for this is the rise of the digital age.
Fundamentals of multichannel auto marketing
One of the keys to a successful multichannel auto dealership marketing campaign is managing all channels in a harmonized manner, keeping in mind the same uniform goals and framework.
Maintaining a single customer database is critical, this assures coordination of which groups of customers and prospective customers are receiving which messages via which channels.
3 critical elements of multichannel marketing:
Do you understand who your target audience is? Today, it is essential that you have a firm understanding of your target audience:
You cannot expect potential customers or current customers to change their behavior.
You must be attuned to their preferences and desires and be willing to act across all channels to reach your target audience at the right time and place, with the right message.
Today, consumers have plenty of choices this means that your messages must be highly targeted and relevant to cut through information overload and market noise.
Planning what channel you’ll use to reach your target customer is a must. This takes researching your buyer personas and should be done taking into consideration the preferences of your target audiences to ensure that your product message is delivered accurately and reliably.
Multichannel marketing today requires automation of marketing campaigns to be effective.
Marketing automation enables you to manage marketing campaigns while collecting data. Centralized data, allows you to send targeted messages and follow up with potential leads.
Why do you need multichannel auto market/dealership marketing?
Multichannel marketing has many moving parts to manage and may feel like it’s an overwhelming task.
According to Gartner, more than 90% of marketers struggle to efficiently use more than three communication channels throughout the customer journey.
74% of businesses have increased sales with an effective multichannel marketing strategy
64% of businesses have improved consumer loyalty and customer acquisition, and almost 57% of companies have an enhances the customer experience.
Email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing or digital marketing:
Which channel is effective at getting your target audience to book test drive appointments at your dealership?
The answer is: There is no one set channel.
Your target audiences are engaging with your dealership through digital media
To effectively engage your existing and potential patients, you will need to use a combination of marketing channels, e.g., multichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketing gives a dealership the ability to connect with your target audience when and where they want and how they want.
Multichannel marketing involves leveraging different marketing channels, ranging from social networks, email, your website, SEO, content marketing, and content distribution, etc. to interact with your target audience.
Multiple channels allow your potential customers to interact or engage with your dealership often giving the target audience a better idea of your product and services, so when the time comes to book a test drive appointment, they are more likely to give your dealership the nod.
Consumers expect and demand that dealerships be available and present on all channels from social to website, to chat and email across the spectrum of possibilities.
Today, 97% of car buyers start their customer journey online.
MultiChannel Marketing Defined
Multi-channel marketing is when a company interacts with customers through multiple channels, directly and indirectly, to educate and sell them their products and services. Today’s customers have numerous choices and options for researching you and your products or services.
The available channels include the physical store, company website, email, social media, mobile, and many more.
By being present on multiple channels, it will have a positive impact on your business as you will be more exposed.
Not only do your customers have numerous ways to interact with and contact you; brands also have multiple ways to execute marketing campaigns to target their audience.
Today, consumers take a multi-device path to purchase, with most starting out on mobile and migrating to a laptop or PC to continue their research.
1. Brand Visibility is Easier Today Than Ever Before
To attract new customers, you need to make them aware that you exist.
Today, almost all car buyers (97%) are researching a potential new car online long before visiting a dealership in-person.
If your brand is not online and active, you are missing opportunities to separate yourself from the competition.
Today, a website (typically the first step to establishing an online brand presence) is not enough.
Consumers are active on social media channels, in forums and more. Every one of these online communities contributes to your brand visibility.
Social media sites have many potential and existing customers who post on these sites; today, 34% of new vehicle buyers are using social media for automotive information and research and will add a picture of their new car on a social site according to J.D. Power.
2. You need to be where the Customer is and align with their communication preferences
Today, customers will have a preferred method of interacting and contacting you directly.
It may be a phone call, on social media, a website chat or a text message. Dealerships need to be able to meet the customer where the customer is.
By offering a range of communication options for customers can be the most important contributing factor if they contact you or not.
For whatever reason, some methods of communication may be inconvenient or a turn off for some customers, by offering a varied option your dealership eliminates any disconnect between you and the consumer.
The Google Autobuyer Study demonstrated that consumers are gathering more information than ever using various channels and platform to research cars.
Today, car buyers average 24 research touchpoints before they buy.
Source: Think with Google
3. Response Time & Ability to Contact
The automotive industry continues to be falling behind on customer expectations when it comes to the ability to contact a dealership and response time.
In a recent study, customers were asked whether they felt that dealerships were easy to get in touch with and efficient at getting customer questions and concerns resolved rapidly and efficiently.
The statistics show that 19% of automotive consumers felt that the ability to contact a dealership was inadequate, putting the automotive sector towards the bottom of the list of all industries.
Dealerships need to address this issue if consumers believe that their needs are not met.
81% of consumers will take their business elsewhere if their concerns, problems/issues or questions aren’t answered quickly enough
Being present on multiple channels will benefit dealerships as they can discover any indirect (and direct) questions, concerns and problems immediately.
The ability to respond to your prospects and customers effectively and efficiently, assuring that you are not missing any opportunities and offering an exemplary customer experience, almost guarantees that customer will not be taking their business elsewhere.
4. Reputation Monitoring and Management
Today, long before a customer or prospect choose a dealership, consumers are turning to online review and rating sites such as Cars.com, Yelp and other. A dealership reputation is crucial if they are going to be successful in the long-term.
According to the recent DealerELITE study, consumers expect a 24/7 real-time response when purchasing a new car.
The benefit of multi-channel marketing includes the ability to discover negative online reviews.
This gives auto dealerships the ability to resolve issues and work through a solution that meets both parties needs by responding promptly.
By being proactive, you now can turn a negative review into a positive or neutral one is an imperative today.
Benefits of multichannel auto marketing
According to a recent report from Digital Doughnut, nearly 95% of marketers admit that running a multichannel marketing campaign is critical to the success of their business.
Marketers using multichannel marketing strategy see higher ROI for their efforts.
Consumers are viewing content across multiple platforms. As a result, these consumers buy 24% more than those who see ads and content on only one channel.
Investing in a multichannel campaign provides your dealership with the opportunity to attract consumers who have a high value to your bottom line.
Does Your Dealership need To Be Present On Multiple Channels?
Today, customers expect your dealership to be present on multiple channels. This allows your customers to feel more connected and makes your brand more reliable in responses and accessible in all forms of communications.
Multichannel marketing gives auto dealerships the opportunity to create multiple touch points with prospective and current customers.
When managed correctly, multichannel marketing can change the dealership-customer relationship forever, providing effective two-way communication, valuable insights and more.
However, getting a multichannel marketing strategy right for your auto dealership is not easy. However, it is not impossible.
You need to research where your target audiences are online and communicate the right message to them, on the right channel and at the right time, is a constant process of monitoring, refining and optimizing your techniques and strategies.
The average auto dealership owner does not have the time or energy to learn about LinkedIn, Facebook, email campaigns or Google AdWords to get the balance right.
Multichannel marketing is a step in the right direction. Your dealership may need help in setting up a cohesive program. Here is where Outsell Digital can assist.
Call or email OutSell Digital today to learn how we can make your sales soar with our proven multichannel marketing approach.
The automotive market is changing and will continue to evolve as digital and mobile continue to grow in significance. We’ve outlined a few automotive trends that you should consider in 2018, here.