Are you looking to increase the number of qualified sales leads that walk through your dealership’s showroom doors? With inbound marketing, you can guide your leads through their buying journey and provide them with the valuable information their looking for at the right time. Instead of buying massive email lists, expensive ads, and sending spam, inbound marketing for car dealerships is about creating quality content that pulls people in, instead of pushing your messages in front of them at the wrong time. Creating and distributing content your target customers are looking for will make their journey towards buying a car much easier, and they’ll have you to thank for it.
So, what is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is different than traditional marketing. Instead of the push strategies utilized by traditional marketing, inbound marketing looks to bring potential customer to you rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. It’s all centered around the inbound methodology which focuses on delivering value and useful content to the customer as they travel through their journey towards a purchase.
Inbound puts your potential customer and their stage of the buyer’s journey at the center of your marketing efforts. By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers instead of interruptive. In other words, it’s natural in their research process and the feeling of being sold is removed.
Sounds Great! But how does it relate to car dealerships?
Well, I’m glad you asked. The biggest mistake I see car dealerships make is only using traditional push marketing activities to try and bring in customers. Inbound marketing is great for car dealerships because there is such a clearly defined customer buying journey. Instead of pushing biased reasons as to why they should come in and buy a car first thing tomorrow, you can use the inbound methodology to attract, convert, close, and delight these people into lifelong customers.
Traditional marketing efforts are outdated. Attracting millennial car buyers continues to be a challenge for car dealerships, and they have no time for irrelevant marketing tactics. This group of people grew up in a digital environment and view their interactions with websites as a personal endeavor, meaning if you try and push them to buy when they’re not ready they’ll simply leave.
The average process leading up to a vehicle purchase consists of over 10 hours of research to visit just 2 dealerships before making the purchase. This is where your content comes in. The 10 hours of research is when your content speaks for your dealership and naturally attracts potential customers to your website, and ultimately a landing page where you can gather some basic information.
Landing pages are a way you can leverage more valuable content in the buyer’s journey to gather information about the customer. Since the content is more valuable in their decision-making process, landing pages allow you to get customer buy-in, and convert strangers into leads. If they’re serious about buying a vehicle, they’ll have no problem giving up their name and email address for something that will help them with their decision.
After attracting millennial car buyers, it’s time to give them a reason to give up their precious email address. Even as an increasingly ambitious generation, millennials are hesitant to give up their information to businesses. However, when they decide to give you access to their inbox it provides you with the opportunity to create and nurture a relationship. They’ve introduced themselves, now it’s time for you to keep the conversation going.
Millennials (aka Generation-Y) have grown up in the fast-paced digital environment, and expect the instant gratification the internet can deliver. Studies show that receiving notifications releases the chemical dopamine in the brain, causing an increase in self-worth and happiness. Someone wants to talk to us, and it makes us feel important. Since millennials grew up in this environment, this is where you can really make your mark.
Setting up automated email campaigns to send right after a lead submits a form is the best way to make someone feel like you care. They spoke and you answered right away. Not only does the little “ding” or vibration cause happiness, but it’s expected. If you fail to reach out right away, the happiness they’re expecting will be let down, and you’ll have lost the opportunity to connect at the optimal time.
Remember, people won’t always remember what you do or say, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. Reach out right away and create the feeling of happiness they’re expecting and you’ll set the foundation for nurturing and retaining customer relationships.
Even though you have a lead, now you need to be patient. Just because they downloaded a piece of your content doesn’t mean you can revert to a push strategy. Send them an email thanking them for downloading your content. This isn’t the time to sell them. This is the time to nurture the lead in their progression towards their purchase.
This is sometimes the hardest part. Salespeople love to pounce on customers that have shown interest, but that’s a great way to take the lead’s focus off the help you’re providing. Instead, continue to deliver them useful and relevant content based on what they’re showing interest in. People like to do business with other people, not someone who sees them as a commission bonus to their paycheck.
Once they’ve shown signs that they’re ready to decide, try and schedule an appointment for a test drive. Make it a personal meeting so when they come into the dealership, they know exactly who they’re looking for and what they’re there to do. There should be no surprises for them. At this point, you’ve provided your lead with enough value that they should happily do business with you.
So they buy the car, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about them. Follow up with them. Make them relive the great experience you delivered. Use surveys to gauge how they felt about the overall experience and use social monitoring to see what they’re saying about their most recent big purchase! Continue to add value to the experience of owning a car bought from your dealership and you’ll increase customer retention rates.
Create an Educated Customer
A customer that is exposed to inbound marketing is an educated customer. They’ve done research and have read content that empowers them to make an educated decision rather than blindly buying from an eager salesperson. Not only do they know your product, but they know your team. You’ve been in touch with them through emails and social channels that allow them to put a helpful face to your brand, making communication flow seamlessly. An educated customer is a happy customer because they know exactly what they’re buying and who they’re buying from.
Inbound marketing will allow you to take your dealership to the next level. It will allow your team to spend less time with leads that walk through the doors and focus on the needs they’ve already expressed through the nurturing phase. When leads aren’t coming into the showroom, your team can focus on nurturing the leads that have expressed interest and can work on providing them with the value they’re looking for. Push strategies are dead and gone. People want to do business with people and inbound positions dealerships as personable companies to do business with.