Not a bad first quarter, right? Optimism was high and all signs point to better times ahead. So, what does this mean to you and your dealership? Well, it would be easy to adopt a laissez-faire approach and let traffic and brand interest determine your sales fate. But we all know that's not an option.
Still, after all your hard work through the lean years, I wouldn't blame you for relying on attractive incentives, robust manufacturer advertising and good luck. But just in case your the proactive type, I thought I'd list out three key business drivers that can help improve your odds as the key summer selling season approaches.
1. Database Marketing Strategy: Yeah, you've heard it before, you've probably tried it, and you may have had some success. Well, I'm here to tell you that there is a big difference between knowing something and actually executing on it.
See, in order to mine that gold stored on your DMS, you need a strategy and process that goes beyond the basics. So, to get you on the right path, here are three questions to consider and answer before you draw up those plans:
Question 1: What type of database marketing are you doing now? Your strategy should cover letters, phone calls and e-mails based on the customer information you can pull from your database. This will allow you to take immediate action once you've identified a prospect.
Question 2: Are you using finance data to target buyers? A great way to create a better prospect is to use better information. So, instead of sending out generic trade-in, trade-up, trade-out letters, use your data to determine which customers are in a positive equity position. This will not only allow you to improve the value proposition you're offering, it will create a stronger call to action for the customer.
Question 3: What's your strategy for marketing to your lease portfolio? Many dealerships look at their lease maturity list on a rolling, 30-day basis. Unfortunately, that leaves them vulnerable to customers trading out their vehicle before they can be reached. Getting an early start isn't always the right answer either.
The problem I see with most 30-day plans is they start and end with asking the customer what they plan to do with their vehicle. That's why I recommend a 90-day strategy that revolves around a pre-inspection appointment? Customers will see more value and may respond better because they don't feel like they're being sold. You can then escalate the urgency of them making a decision on their vehicle as they get closer to lease end.
2. Social Media Strategy: It's not just a buzz word, folks. In fact, what you really need to be doing right now is determining how big of an investment you need to make to grow your social-media footprint, because they don't grow overnight.
Yes, listening to and engaging your customers are the major benefits of social media, but they're not the only reason you need to get social. I look at social media as an opportunity to stay connected with customers throughout the ownership cycle, influence the content they absorb, and dramatically reduce dealer defection.
3. Digital Marketing Strategy: Traditionally, we think of digital marketing as pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization. The reality is there is so much more to consider. You must decide whether your current strategy is really working before you dump more money into a failing plan.
To do that, determine which areas on your website are attracting the most eyes and which buttons visitors are hovering over the most, and for how long. These types of insights should be major considerations when it comes times to redesign or refresh your site's design. Remember, the name of the game is lead generation.
I also recommend looking into Internet remarketing, which is a way to track all those customers who came to your site, looked around and left without taking action. And with this knowledge, you'll be able remarket your sites and products to them continuously as they surf the Internet. If you want to learn more about this, shoot me an e-mail.
Database management, social media, and digital marketing are key ingredients to a successful marketing mix. The secret is to have a strategy that creates harmony and not chaos. Too often in our business, important initiatives are treated like checklist items. Social media is one box you can't just check off and move on. You have to plug these strategies together, track, test, modify and hold all parties accountable.