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Autumn 2018

Digital is shaping auto marketing

Published on 26 September 2016 by От редакции

Author: Mohamed Fahmi, Digital Expert

Recently, the number of customers who are doing research on cars before making a purchase decision significantly increased. Consumers seek personalized information on cars and show less interest in interacting with sales during the research process. Automotive websites, online and offline publications, video reviews & advertisements, social media and  word of mouth are the most influential factors in the research stage. Studies show that 96% of auto buyers use online sources to research cars and two thirds of research time is spent on mobile devices. Mobile devices empower buyers to explore more, learn more, and decide with confidence; even many customers change their desired car during the research process. Accordingly, we can notice the importance of digital marketing influence in changing the role of car dealers.

 

Today, car dealers have far more tools and capabilities to engage their buyer during that research process. This shift is creating an urgent need for businesses to reformulate their marketing and sales funnels with a very positive upside:

  • Marketers now have the digital marketing tools to efficiently engage and serve customers during the upper and middle parts of the funnel when customers are not engaging salespeople.
  • Salespeople can spend most if not all of their selling time with customers who are deep in the funnel and likely to buy.

 

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Search Engines. 

 

Search Engines  are the first tool that auto shoppers use in their research journey and the dealer website is the most important source that should be discovered by auto shoppers while searching cars online. Search engine traffic is one of the most valuable sources of traffic, if not the most valuable, as more than 30% of any website visitors come via search engines and 3 in 4 car shoppers use search engines in their researches.

 

Paid search campaigns are an effective activity for dealers to stay competitive in their markets. There are two major ways to make sure a website appears in a prominent  position on the major Search Engines: Paid Search (also known as Pay-Per-Click) and Organic Search Engine Optimization.

 

Desktop and Mobile Websites.

 

There is one source that continues to grow in importance in the auto shopper’s buying journey, and that is the car dealer website. Driving the best user experience through the dealer websites’ features and services is just as important as the customer’s experience with the dealership facilities itself.

 

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Buyers are using multiple devices to decide. According to Google, the use of mobile devices are increasing by 35% YOY and mobiles have passed desktops for the first time ever in 2015.

 

Typical websites don’t fit well on a small screen. Mobile sites provide a site that is built specifically for those small screens to give the user easy access to the information they want, using the device’s best features like touch-to-call. By displaying the relevant information in a format that fits the screen correctly, you will engage the consumer for longer, and create more opportunities for a sale.

 

A responsive website is a single website that adapts to all platforms, by adjusting according to what device is being used. Dealerships that don’t currently have a responsive website, are not meeting the needs of their customers and their sales are suffering for it.

 

Online Videos.

 

As the web continues to become more visual, and as a result of increasing bandwidth and easily accessible Wi-Fi, consumers are expecting to access rich content through the use of videos. Buyers who watch auto videos have grown significantly since 2012 and today more than 2 in 3 buyers watch videos as an important stage in their research journey. Auto shoppers who are able to watch videos on third-party websites during the shopping process are more satisfied with their experience, as videos keep them more engaged, informed, and confident with their purchase decision. Also some vehicle features are more exciting to consumers and easier to illustrate with video content, such as entertainment systems, vehicle handling and technology.

There are many types of online videos that should be considered by car dealers marketing activities.

  • Videos comparing two or more vehicles,
  • Auto reviews,
  • Brand’s TV commercials,
  • Video tours of a dealership,
  • Educational videos (e.g. how to change a tire)

 

Social Media.

 

“Interactive Engagement” is the simple definition of Social Media. With the ways of communication nature in Social Media, people view social networks as not being a one way marketing machine of “we need you to buy our product”. They are less likely to see what posts as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. That gives brands and organizations the ability to draw their characteristics and deal with their fans as celebrities or field consultants.

 

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photo by mkhmarketing


The transition period from a normal social media activity to a strong earned media channel is a long-term strategy that needs massive concentration for building the right community. Yet, the strong organization presence and participation on social media is a significant tool to create consumer awareness, maintain customer loyalty, enhance company viral reputation, interact with customers, influence in buyer’s decision making process, build organic SEO, enhance plans based on the communities feedback and control viral threats.  

 

The recent Social Media Studies revealed that car shoppers ranked social networks as more important than a dealer’s website. The communication nature of social media gives the ability for users to get answers on their questions from neutral parties. And generally, the more participation on social media, the less creation of negative waves.

 

 Display Ads.

 

The power of display ads lies to its interactive nature. Fill in the forms, press to call, click to engage and other online interactive “call to action” features are mandatory for digital advertisers to get the maximum benefits from such advertising method.

 

Sales force in large organizations is often divided into three teams “traffic Sales, telesales & corporate sales”. Usually car dealers use traffic retail sales and corporate fleet sales  in their hierarchy. Telesales are rarely found except in dealerships that have big sales volume. Also with the current technological development and smart phones spread, online chatting became one of the sales communication tools.

 

Economic changes and the current intensity of competition demonstrated the importance of digital marketing. Companies have resorted to digital display ads and performance campaigns, for its reasonable rates and measurable effect, where it has helped car dealers to create a different level of client approach. Collecting prospect clients’ data from the online communities and contacting them is a significant approach to create and enhance car shoppers’ demand.

 

Direct Messaging.

 

Database collection is considered one of the most important digital marketing outcomes, which has to be considered and carefully obtained from “all” the digital and non-digital activities.

Car dealers must analyze this data, classify it and use it with the utmost care, as it is considered a fortune that increases by time.

Direct Messaging types: SMS, Email shots, newsletters, surveys, etc.

 

Selling vehicles is more competitive than ever, as consumer habits have changed, where the internet plays a prominent role on his sources of information. As a result, car dealers have seen the need to develop new digital strategies that lead shoppers toward conversion.

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