Dealers have more data available to them than ever before. In fact, dealers are often deluged with reports from various marketing sources, OEM data, and data from their own internal software such as their CRM and DMS. Continue reading
Privacy and security have been heavy topics of discussion in recent years. Revelations of government interference and big business hacks have many people skeptical about putting their personal information online, yet the world of eCommerce continues to grow. There’s a safer, more useful side to all of the “big data” that’s floating out there. The car business is ideal for merging consumer information with proper advertising.
Targeting has held a negative connotation for some time. Google in particular has been accused by everyone from competitors and consumer watchdogs to entire governments of taking their data collection and usage too far. Just because we receive an email about Coach Bill Belichick’s thoughts about conspiracy theories doesn’t mean that we’re interested in buying a Coach purse.
In this day and age, any company that wants to succeed with their digital marketing needs to have chat on their website. It’s not an option. Of all the industries that can benefit from chat, the car business is one that is very clear. People have questions about cars and service. Many of them want the ability to chat with someone at the store.
It’s for this reason that it’s surprising so many dealers do not have chat on their websites. There are plenty of chat companies out there. Most specialize in the automotive industry because of the specialization required to handle it, particularly from the managed chat perspective. Some dealers do it themselves. Others rely on their vendors. Some vendors operate during business hours. Some, such as CarChat24, work around the clock. Regardless of which way the dealership wants to go, they have to have some variation of chat available.
When consumers think of car dealers and their profits, most believe that the sale of new cars that can be $30,000 or more is where the money is made, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s in used car sales and the service drive that the profits are truly driven at most franchise dealerships.
Even though consumers don’t usually know this, most dealers know it. This is why it’s a conundrum that the majority of their advertising dollars are spent on selling cars rather than driving customers to their service bays. For many, the argument is that the majority of their service business comes from people who bought their car at the dealership, so marketing for more sales will also help them increase the fixed operational side. Things are different now thanks to the internet and the drop in brand loyalty, so dealers should be investing more into filling their service bays.
When car dealers hear the expression, “casting a wide net”, they usually associate the concept with going after a larger geographical area, branching out from their standard market area to get people who are further away from the dealership. This is one way to look at it, but another (and arguably more important) way to casting a wider net is to get out to a broader digital audience by being in more places online.
The narrow approach isn’t bad. It’s important for dealers to make sure that their website is getting plenty of traffic and helping to generate its own leads to have exclusive contacts with potential customers. This is the approach that most dealers take and we’re not suggesting that it should stop. However, the wide approach has benefits you simply cannot get with a narrow approach.
The easiest way for a customers to lose trust in their car dealer is to feel that they’re not disclosing everything that they should. Incentives, whether from the manufacturer or other financial institutions, are rarely disclosed properly on dealer websites. It’s not that the dealers are trying to hide it. There are simply a lot of potential incentives and they rarely fit on a contact form.
If you dig deep enough, you’ll probably find all or most of them somewhere on the site, but there are services like Automark that do this directly on the vehicle pages themselves. This method is preferred since it gives customers the ability to put themselves into a category in order to learn more about the incentives that they can get.
There has been a contradiction that has persisted in the world of automotive marketing for decades. Fixed operations – auto service, parts, and accessories – usually account for the largest portion of a car dealership’s revenue, but it is rarely given more than a miniscule portion of the marketing budget.
Before the digital age, this was due to two things: loyalty and excitement. Car buyers were more likely in the past to have a dealership-of-choice through which they purchased most of their cars as well as had their service performed. The best way to get more service business was to sell more cars and the marketing involved with selling more cars is always more exciting than anything a dealership could do with fixed operations.
There’s an important reason that both car dealers and their car buying customers should love Lotlinx. The pure transparency of cutting out the middle man is good for both buyer and seller when it comes to listings on 3rd party websites.
What many people do not know when shopping third party sites like AOL Autos is that they aren’t necessarily contacting the dealership that has the car they want when they fill out a contact form. The inventory of the majority of dealers get listed on dozens, even hundreds of 3rd party websites. When people do a search on these websites and click on a vehicle that they might be interested in, they expect to contact the dealership that has that vehicle. It’s not always the case.
In a recent discussion with the team at CarChat24, we discovered something that is rarely seen in the automotive industry when it comes to marketing solutions. We found science.
The most compelling element we found in their solution for car dealers was an intense level of testing and improvement. There is a certain psychology associated with engaging in chat on websites, both from a proactive prompting perspective as well as the online conversation itself. What we witnessed from the team greatly exceeded what we had found with other chat providers.