In the past, automotive companies relied solely on traditional marketing channels such as TV, print, and radio to reach potential consumers. But over the last decade, digital marketing has become an increasingly important component of automotive marketing strategies. It’s no longer an option to implement digital marketing strategies–it’s a necessity.
Some automotive companies have already started to incorporate digital marketing into their strategic campaigns. However, the digital marketing adoption rate among automotive companies still falls behind many other industries.
Digital marketing is a powerful tool, so every automotive company should take advantage of it. Here are some of the many benefits of digital marketing for the automotive industry:
INFLUENCE CONSUMERS’ PURCHASE DECISIONS
Ninety-two percent of automotive consumers research their options online before ever stepping foot in a dealership. When they start this research, two out of three automotive consumers aren’t sure which vehicle they are going to purchase. If you want to influence their purchase decision, you must use digital marketing to engage with them online.
Google reports that search is the most commonly used source in the car-buying process. If you don’t show up in the search results, you will miss out on an opportunity to engage with these potential customers. This is why search engine optimization, or SEO, is such an important part of every digital marketing campaign.
Optimizing your website can help you climb to the top of the results of relevant searches. This way, you can reach consumers who are looking for a local dealership or simply trying to learn more about a specific type of vehicle on your lot.
Remember, consumers who are searching for more information on different types of vehicles are in the research phase of their car-buying journey. To engage with these consumers, you must publish relevant, informative content on your website so they can find the information they need to make a purchase decision. Use this content to connect with these consumers, build trust, and persuade them to purchase a vehicle from your dealership.
SEO isn’t the only digital marketing tactic that can help you influence consumers’ purchase decisions. According to Google, about 75% of automotive consumers rely on information from online videos to help them decide which vehicle they should purchase.
Many automotive consumers watch online videos to learn more about what it would be like to drive a specific vehicle. These test drive videos can help consumers narrow down their options and decide which vehicle is right for them.
These are just several examples of digital marketing tactics that can be used to influence consumers’ purchase decisions.
GENERATE NEW LEADS
Lead generation is the process of attracting the right people to your automotive company and converting them into customers. Digital marketing, when done correctly, can help automotive companies generate a steady stream of new leads. Here’s how it works:
- A potential customer finds your automotive company as a result of your digital marketing efforts such as content marketing, SEO, pay-per-click ads, or social media.
- This potential customer clicks on your call-to-action, which could be an image, button, or text that asks the customer to perform a specific action. For instance, you could ask users to sign up for an email newsletter or contact your dealership for more information about a specific vehicle.
- Clicking on the call-to-action takes the potential customer to a landing page where they can provide you with their contact information. You can then contact your new lead and attempt to convert them into a customer.
There are many ways to use digital marketing to generate new leads. But one study found that online content marketing is one of the most effective lead generation techniques.
According to this study, companies with blogs are able to generate 67% more leads per month than companies without blogs on their websites. This study also revealed that although content marketing costs an average of 62% less than traditional marketing, it generates three times as many leads.
EASIER TO COMPETE WITH LARGER COMPANIES
Running print, TV, billboard, or radio campaigns is expensive. For example, it can cost up to $160,000 to run a single print ad in a major publication and up to $15,000 per month to advertise on a billboard in a large market.
Smaller automotive companies simply cannot afford to pay hundreds of thousands–or even tens of thousands–on marketing. For this reason, they cannot compete with larger automotive companies when it comes to traditional marketing campaigns.
However, digital marketing is far more affordable than traditional marketing. As a result, digital marketing levels the playing field by allowing smaller automotive companies to go head-to-head with larger competitors.
For example, the average cost-per-click on Facebook is $2.24 for the automotive industry. This means you could run an effective Facebook advertising campaign even if you only have a few hundred dollars to spend.
You can get in front of your customers regardless of the size of your budget. Automotive companies no longer need to break the bank in order to reach their target audience and keep up with larger competitors’ marketing efforts.
Automotive consumers want to purchase vehicles from companies that they trust. One way to build this trust is to show consumers that you know what you’re talking about. In other words, make it clear that you are an automotive expert.
Digital marketing gives automotive companies the opportunity to establish expertise in a way that traditional marketing does not. You can show your expertise to your target audience by creating high-quality, relevant blogs, social media posts, videos, infographics, and other forms of content. You could even host live question-and-answer sessions on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Don’t use this content to make a sales pitch to your target audience. Instead, use it to inform your target audience on a wide range of automotive topics, including automotive trends, new features, industry news, and maintenance and repair tips.
Creating this type of content on a regular basis is time-consuming, but it will pay off in the long run. Eventually, your target audience will start to think of you as the go-to source for all their automotive needs.
BUILD BRAND AWARENESS
Brand awareness is your target audience’s ability to recall and recognize your automotive company. Building brand awareness is important because consumers won’t purchase vehicles from your dealership if they don’t know you exist. Fortunately, it has never been easier for automotive companies to build brand awareness thanks to digital marketing.
Using social media is crucial to increasing your brand awareness. Posting on social media can help your target audience get to know your company, so when they are ready to purchase a new vehicle, they may immediately think of you.
Your followers can also share the content you post on social media with their followers, which can expand your reach and introduce new consumers to your brand.
All social media platforms can help you get your name out there. But Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are some of the best platforms to use to build brand awareness for your automotive business.
TARGET THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
If you run an ad in a magazine or air a commercial on TV, there’s no way of really knowing whether or not your target audience will see it. Anyone who reads the magazine or watches that specific TV channel will see your ad regardless of whether or not they are automotive consumers.
But if you run a digital marketing campaign, you can adjust the targeting to ensure your messaging is only shown to potential customers.
For example, say you are running a Facebook ad for your automotive dealership. You can use the Facebook Ads platform to target these specific groups of consumers:
- New Vehicle Buyers-Near Market: These consumers will likely purchase a new vehicle within the next 365 days.
- New Vehicle Buyers-In Market: These consumers will likely purchase a new vehicle within the next 180 days.
You can narrow down your target audience even further by choosing a subcategory of New Vehicle Buyers based on the style of vehicle they are most likely to purchase.
Narrowly defining your target audience ensures your ad is only shown to consumers who are preparing to purchase a new vehicle. This means you won’t waste a dime of your marketing budget on reaching consumers who are unlikely to convert.
Being able to target a specific group of consumers also gives you the opportunity to create more relevant ads.
For example, say you are specifically targeting consumers who are likely to purchase a new SUV in the next six months. In this case, you may want to use an eye-catching image of an SUV at your dealership alongside copy that highlights its luxurious features. This ad may not appeal to automotive consumers who are looking for a sedan or coupe, but it’s perfect for SUV consumers.
These are some of the many benefits that automotive companies can enjoy by implementing effective digital marketing strategies. There’s no doubt that investing in digital marketing can help your automotive company reach new levels of success!