If you own a car dealership, you’ve probably seen a big change in sales since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, you’ve probably noticed that more and more people are choosing to shop online.
No matter how you feel about that change, online car shopping probably isn’t going anywhere. As such, it’s up to you to lean into it and make the most of it. Fortunately, that’s not too hard to do. There are all kinds of digital marketing tips and strategies that can help your dealership soar to success. These strategies can help increase both your online car sales and your in-person sales too.
Search Engine Optimization
First things first, if your dealership website isn’t search engine optimized, you could be missing out. Search engine optimization is a process of making your website more appealing to major search engines, such as Google. As a result, your site can appear higher in relevant search results, which can lead to increased traffic and conversions.
Good SEO, however, isn’t just about stuffing a bunch of keywords into your on-site content, In fact, that can actually have an adverse effect on your Google rankings. Instead, it’s about using proven, effective techniques and creating a dealership site that’s easy to navigate, well-designed, and that provides useful, informative content to visitors. Ideally, your website should also contain images and be mobile-friendly.
While it is possible to research and implement SEO strategies on your own, it may be worth it to hire an SEO agency to help. If you’re consistently ranking lower in search results than you want or if you have a lot of local competition, professional SEO can make all the difference.
Communication is Key
When it comes to dealing with customers, communication is key. You want to do all you can to keep your dealership in the forefront of customers’ minds. So, work hard to develop an email list that you can reach out to regularly. This list should consist of contact information for past customers who may want to do business with your dealership again. However, you should also work to build your inventory of new local emails. Whether you’re hosting promotions or giveaways or just asking people to sign up for relevant information, you can easily expand your reach. Then, each time you send an email, you’ll be touching base with people who might just be ready to buy a vehicle.
Of course, you shouldn’t just send constant email advertisements. That’s a quick way to get your messages sent to “spam” or blocked. Instead, be selective about the communications you send. Each one should offer valuable information or incentives. Let people know when a new, highly coveted car becomes available. Send out information about promotions or sales. Give each email a clear, useful purpose. The wider your reach and the more useful your emails, the more likely it is that your efforts will return results.
Create a Full Digital Experience
In today’s world, many shoppers may not want to set foot in an actual, physical dealership. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t want the dealership experience. Smart dealerships understand how to create digital experiences. They offer shopping solutions that are more than just browsing through inventory online. Instead, they create and showcase full digital showrooms.
These showrooms are the next best thing to being at a dealership in person. They can give customers the chance to take cars for a virtual test drive. They are also stocked with high quality images, spins, videos, virtual reality experiences, and more.
If you want to create a showroom experience for your shoppers, it’s all about having the right tools. For example, EVOX offers a quality database of automotive stock images, videos, and more. You can use their library to design top-of-the-line experiences that appeal to customers and increase your chances of making a sale.
Make a Splash on Social Media
These days, all kinds of businesses are using all kinds of social media platforms to reach their target demographic. Car dealerships are no exception. So, if you’re not already on social media or if you’re not using it to the fullest, it’s time to start.
Begin by conducting some background research on your ideal customer. Find out what social media platforms they use and the type of content they’re most likely to engage with. Then, start using those platforms, and use them regularly.
Daily posts of videos, photos, questionnaires, and more can help you develop a big online presence that customers will remember. It can also help you engage past clients and bring in new ones. If you have any local social media influencers, consider reaching out to them for advertising and collaborations, particularly if they have a big “in” with your target audience.
Don’t Ignore Bad Reviews
In addition to everything you’re doing to attract customers, don’t neglect the customers you’ve already served. Pay attention to all of the major review sites, such as Yelp and Google Reviews. And, when you get a negative review, don’t get mad or ignore it. Instead, respond to each and every bad review. No matter how awful, respond kindly. Apologize for the situation and offer some kind of solution. This will go a long way toward showing you care about your customers and their experience, which paints your dealership in a positive light.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. If you have a feeling that a customer has had a positive experience with your dealership, ask them to leave you a review. You might even offer some kind of incentive for them to do so. Positive reviews and good responses to negative reviews help boost your online reputation and can be a big asset to your business.
Add a Personal Touch
Just because customers want to shop online, that doesn’t always mean they want a completely impersonal car buying experience. Thus, try to add a personal touch to your online sales process. There are lots of ways to accomplish this. Some ideas include:
- A personal “chat” feature that connects customers to a real, live customer service representative
- The option to book a car tour in person
- Allowing customers to reserve a car online but complete the sales process in person
- Offering digital tours and face-to-face virtual sessions with a representative
Also, make sure all contact information is easily available throughout your site. This lets shoppers know that they can connect with you if and when they need.
Offer A Comparison Feature
When buyers shop online, they’re often considering several different vehicles. As such, why not make the shopping experience easier for them? Add a comparison feature into your site that allows users to compare different vehicles. They should be able to easily assess the differences in price, features, available options, and more.
When you give shoppers the option to compare, you show them that you care. You’re not just trying to sell them a car. You’re trying to sell them the right car and are doing everything you can to simplify the buying process. This can improve the way customers feel about you and make them more likely to buy from your dealership.
Show Cars From Every Angle
Another way to create a positive online buying experience is to include automotive images that are as detailed as possible. Photos should be very clear and high quality. They should show vehicles from every single angle and should showcase both the interior and the exterior, as well as any unique features. Images should also be available in every possible color and configuration.
If you want images like these, basic stock photos are not enough. Instead, you will need a highly comprehensive library of photos to pull from. As mentioned, EVOX is a great source for automotive images, videos, and more of the highest quality. Remember, the better the images you provide your customers, the greater your chances of making a sale.
Provide Useful Information
As a final tip, make sure your site isn’t just made up of images. It should also provide useful, helpful information to your visitors. Include information on the financing process, what is and is not included in the sales price, and details on any trade-in options. You may also want to consider adding a blog that covers relevant information. This can help you engage with customers and will show that you are an informed and aware dealership worthy of doing business with.
The world is changing, and your dealership needs to continually change and evolve right along with it. This includes making the most of modern digital marketing strategies. If you can do that, there’s a good chance you can increase your sales and appeal to a much wider range of customers.