We know that auto dealers and sales professionals are dynamic and skilled. But ask the average buyer to think of one word to describe salespeople, and they’ll often come up with “Pushy.” The traditional idea of the hard sell turns consumers off. To sell more cars, today’s dealerships can’t push -- they have to pull.
What is Inbound Marketing - And Why Does It Matter to Auto Dealers?
Inbound Marketing: Strategies for drawing customers to your products/services through relevant educational content, social media, and search engine optimization techniques.
Rather than pushing your company’s offerings on consumers, inbound marketing works to pull them to you. According to the Car Buyer Journey study conducted by IHS Automotive, 88% of car buyers use the internet for vehicle shopping. When they begin their car buying journey online, they are more open to suggestions and options than at any other point.
In fact, most only visit one dealership, and 71% end up purchasing the vehicle they decided on when conducting their online research. The bottom line: vehicle shoppers are taking their buyer’s journey largely on their own. Your job is to be there along their route, providing relevant information and helpful content so they take the right turns.
Successful sales are a result of relationships forged online. An experienced inbound marketing agency can assist you in creating and implementing an integrated strategy that engages buyers and helps them make informed decisions.
Sell More Cars with Inbound Techniques
Let’s take a look at key steps along the car buyer’s journey:
- Attraction. Car shoppers are out there, looking for information. Pull them in with an intuitive, attractive, optimized website that is fully populated with great content. Offer a mix, including videos (most car shoppers plan on watching an auto-related video to help with their search), images, side-by-side model comparisons, blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, infographics, social media posts, and more. Your content focus should be on education - not on sales. Stay research-oriented.
- Conversion. The next step is to convert interest into leads. Integrate conversion-oriented elements into your digital presence. For example, clear calls to action tell prospects what actions they should take next. Learn More. Sign Up For a Test Drive. Get $500 Off Your New Vehicle.
When they click through, visitors will be guided to helpful landing pages. For example, if they click on “Get $500 Off Your New Vehicle,” they may be directed to a form they can fill out to receive the offer. Congratulations: they are now a lead.
Don’t forget other tactics, such as email marketing and marketing automation to help you reach out and connect with prospects and leads and facilitate the conversion process.
- Nurturing. Leads are like seeds; they need the proper conditions in order to sprout and bear fruit. What are the “proper conditions”? You guessed it: education and information. Today’s consumers feed on it. About a quarter of your leads are ready to buy (whether they buy from you or your competitor is a different story); and about half are qualified to buy but aren’t ready.
Lead nurturing helps you gain ground with both groups. In the first case, you are providing educational content that (a) helps them make a decision, and (b) differentiates your dealership as the trusted authority. In the latter case, your content delivers the information they need on models, safety features, onboard technology and more to help them feel ready to buy.
Your inbound marketing agency can help you develop the content you need for people at various stages of their journey, as well as the methods necessary to put that information in their hands.
- Analysis. As you put inbound marketing to work for you, take the time to measure and analyze the efficacy of your strategies. How many website visitors are you seeing? How many of them convert to leads, and of them, how many convert to customers? How is your content performing? Which has the highest levels of engagement? Are you getting leads but failing to improve sales? Use these insights to modify your techniques and amplify your results.
- Brand Ambassadors. The buyer’s journey should be a loop. That is, ideally, your service and relationships are so effective that buyers become repeat buyers. Not only that, they become advocates for your brand: that is, they refer their friends and family; they post positive comments on social media; they write favorable reviews.
To foster advocates, continue your relationship. Send content such as “10 Tips to Retain Your Vehicle’s Value,” “Your First Year Maintenance Checklist,” “5 Reasons Routine Maintenance Is A Must,” etc. You continue to deliver value to them. And when they need a new vehicle or a trade-in, well… they go with who they know and trust.
Inbound marketing empowers you to sell more cars by pulling customers to you. When your customers think of you, “pushy” will be the furthest adjective from their minds.