Finding sales prospects has changed dramatically in the past few years. Retaining the loyalty of past customers has become a necessity to remain a viable enterprise. Reaching out to find potentially new customers has become more difficult. Newspapers ads, radio spots and TV just don’t generate the results they once did.
The industry has transitioned into a new era of automotive marketing. And this new era continues to evolve and change. But some fundamentals are permanent–such as nearly every car buyer turning to Internet sources while conducting research.
To tap into that consumer enthusiasm and influence potential buyers, successful stores need to become a trusted source of information. Once engaged in dialog with past customers and new prospects, such stores can sustain an invaluable marketing advantage over their competitors.
To get your store moving in the right direction, consider following this 7 step process:
- Establish your marketing goals.
- Define your strategy and priorities.
- Create a plan that includes a timeline of milestones and expected accomplishments.
- Execute your plan.
- Assess your results (actuals vs. goals).
- Revise your plan (what assumptions proved true vs false, what lessons were learned) .
- Repeat the process.
How Effective Is Your Website?
Your website is the first place most consumers will encounter your dealership—which means it’s vital that you maximize leads and sales from your site. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a checklist that enabled you to measure the effectiveness of your website investment? Perhaps you should ask yourself these questions:
• Do you know how many unique visitors browse your site each month?
• Are you converting at least five percent of those visitors into leads?
• Do you have enough “call-to-actions” on the inner pages of your site to promote lead generation?
• Do you know how many leads are specifically generated from your website each month?
• Have you been able to cancel third-party leads because your website is generating leads?
• Does your Internet department close more than 30 percent of what the sales floor does?
• Can you locate your dealership on search engines using high volume search terms, such as “Los Angeles Honda dealer?”
• Do you know what your customers are looking for on the web?
• Do your customers compliment you on how easy it is to use your site?
• Can you identify any of the five tell-tale signs of a properly optimized website—html content, anchor text within the content, a sitemap, title tags, and landing pages with content?
Adding email to your marketing mix just makes business sense. It helps increase revenues. It helps drive down marketing costs. It helps improve overall operational efficiency. Now that’s a rare and exciting mix. But to begin, you need to build your email-list.
Step 1. Focus on your customer base.
A great place to start is with every service appointment. Ask for an email address during that initial phone call. For example, offer to send an email confirmation with all the appointment information.
Beware of sham shortcuts like purchasing email addresses. Recipients from these lists will quickly flag you as a spammer. Don’t fall into the blacklist trap just to find all your efforts null and void.
Step 2. Get your staff on board.
Train your staff. Set standards and goals. Establish competitions and rewards for capturing email addresses. You need to measure your email collection rates. If you can measure it, you can improve it. Lavish praise to those who exceed a 90% email penetration rate per service appointment.
Step 3. Integrate your email marketing into your strategic plan.
Even with a small list, you’ll want to start marketing. Get your colors, logos and messages consistent. Consider investing in software such as the ServicePoint Advanced Scheduling System and the eZ Internet Marketing System.
Today’s lack of widespread usage amongst dealerships will not last. Get the upper hand before your competitors wake up and start building their lists. The time for change has arrived.
Start now, or you’ll hate yourself later.