Digital Marketing is generally the largest component of a dealership’s advertising budget--and with good reason. The majority of all car purchases start with an online action a consumer has taken. Whether it is a Google search looking for the best deals, or a click to call on your GMB page, there is no denying the need to have a polished, transparent online presence with the channels your customers are on.
As 2020 continues to fade behind us in the rear view mirror, 2021 focuses us of all the changes that have occurred in automotive sales in a very quick period of time, and how/why we need to adapt, adjust, and pivot to stay relevant to our consumers.
3 Statistics Automotive Marketers Need to Know
Since digital marketing became a common practice in the automotive industry, we have consistently spent advertising dollars on elements such as websites, SEO, SEM, 3rd Party Endemic lead sources, and the like. However, we are seeing this trend increase on a large scale due to the shift of consumers and competitors with purchasing models such as Carvana, Vroom, and Tesla.
In 2021, automotive is projected to spend over $13 billion dollars on Digital Marketing. With that amount of spend, there needs to be a focus on what we are doing with those dollars to convert shoppers to buyers.
Why Should I Care?
You would be hard pressed to find a store who is not spending money on bringing traffic to their website, highlighting their value and transparency on social channels, and focusing on SEO to remain at the top of organic searches. With all this money being spent, do you have a process to quickly and knowledgeably handle the leads, messages, calls, chats, and texts that come from these consumers?
Every engagement that comes through must be seen as a priority, or you are wasting your part of the $13 billion spend. Make sure you have a process in place and that your team truly understands the importance of each and every engagement.
Just 15 years ago, this could have easily read “Automotive customers visit an average of 4.2 dealerships…”, but consumers have more knowledge at their fingertips than ever before. Our “Always On” way of life with computers, laptops, phones, and tablets always an arm's length away, automotive shoppers are living online and shopping multiple dealership websites and third party pages.
Why Should I Care?
Knowing that the research process for most automotive shoppers starts online, and knowing that after they search the 4+ pages, they will visit on average 1 dealership, your website and engagement from that website is more valuable than ever. And with new updates that Google is rolling out with a focus on the Core Web Vitals, here are some tips to make sure stay relevant:
- Remove pop-ups that follow the customer, pop-up intermittently as the customer is shopping, or cover prime real estate such as the vehicles on the SRP.
- Scale down your CTAs on the VDPs and SRPs. Instead of giving an overwhelming (and confusing) amount of choices for the consumer, give them a few specific options that guide them down the path to purchase.
- Ensure your Chat/Text function is manned by a mix of AI and Real People who know the industry and know how to interact with the consumer. Engagement is key when winning a customer over to your dealership and keeping them from the 3 other dealerships they were going to search online.
As people drive by your dealership, hear an ad on streaming radio, or see a car drive by with the license plate stating “ABC Motors,” customers are searching in real-time on their mobile phones. Your mobile presence must be a focus with your website provider, but there are other elements that must be focused on as well to win the mobile game. The biggest being Google My Business.
Google My Business (GMB) drives the “0 Click” searches and directs customers directly to your website, dealership, or sales/service department via phone. When searching a dealership, their GMB Knowledge Panel takes up all the space on mobile, can showcase offers, products, and is even piloting an inventory feed directly on the page. It houses reviews and provides a way for customers to post pictures and leave reviews.
And it is all at little to no cost to the dealership.
Why Should I Care?
If you are not optimizing your GMB pages, here are a few places for you to get started:
- Separate your Sales, Service, and Parts pages. This increases your visibility on Google and gives the customers the specific information (hours, phone numbers, ability to schedule appointments) they need for the department they are seeking.
- Add products and offers to your GMB knowledge panel. You can even add video, which is always a thumb-stopping bonus!
- Look into the pilot Google currently has underway where you can add inventory to your knowledge panel. A link for more information is here.
All of these statistics showcase the importance of digital marketing in 2021. And all of the dollars spent should lead to specific customer engagements such as leads, calls, texts, chats, and messages. You need to ensure that your money is being optimized and not wasted. Inspect what your engagement process looks like. Evaluate how many customers may have been missed, ignored, or forgotten. And if you decide you may need some help, reach out to us at BCP. We are the customer engagement experts and would love to help you retain your unfair share of customers!