If you’re a dealership marketer, chances are you’ve heard a lot about content marketing. Well, be prepared because it’s going to be even more important in 2018.
The term “content marketing” covers a lot of territory within marketing strategy from blog posts and website content to social media and, of course, SEO.
Content marketing has become a buzzword, which can be dangerous because jargon doesn’t produce results. I’m not a fan of buzzwords so I want to define exactly why content marketing is the nerve center of a company’s digital reputation and how it grows your revenue.
The goals of content marketing are to:
Grow a community of interested buyers
Boost engagement with current customers
Establish relationships with prospects
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced, a comprehensive written content strategy is the only way to truly succeed with content marketing.
It’s similar to building a house – without the plans first, you end up with an unstable, discombobulated mess.
Starting off with a solid written strategy builds your online presence – and your store’s authority and ‘likability’ – with content that attracts prospects, engages buyers and ultimately converts them into leads and sales.
Content marketing is the kingpin to your online marketing and it requires…oh, dare I say it?…commitment.
This is tough for many people because they’re expecting immediate results from their efforts. The truth is that while expert content marketing can lead to increased sales, there is no magic potion that lets you skip over laying the groundwork to attract and convert target customers.
Unfortunately, many dealers still experience difficulties with creating a written content marketing plan. They start out with the old-school tactic of blasting messages to strangers – expecting them to respond.
Regardless of how many challenges your business faces, the fact remains that you can no longer afford to ignore the importance and influence of content marketing.
10 reasons why every dealership needs a written content strategy
For those commitment-phoebes out there, perhaps I can lure you over to the light with these very compelling reasons to take action now.
- Promote your brand.
The choice between brand awareness and lead generation can feel like a boxing match. ‘Awareness’ fights to increase the size of your audience, while ‘lead generation’ limits your audience to a group of people who are willing to trade their contact information for your follow up.
The good news is your store’s brand doesn’t have to let awareness and lead generation duke it out. With a potent written strategy, the two goals can complement each other. Brand awareness is often necessary for lead generation to be effective, and content used for lead generation can reinforce customers’ awareness of your brand.
- Give prospects something of real value – education, entertainment, and inspiration.
Everything you do online or off should be of value to your customers. Social media affords you the opportunity to deliver value on a daily basis.
With a robust network of fans, it’s important to remember that most of them are not immediately in the market to buy what you’re selling. For those people, you can provide helpful, useful, entertaining content.
For those that are in-market and researching, there’s a specific type of educational content to attract them (such as blog posts).
And finally, for those that are ready to buy, here is where your content strategy is crucial and should include a social advertising strategy.
- Improve your SEO rankings.
If there were ever two marketing tactics that belong together, it’s content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Blend them together properly and they’re better than PB&J.
Well-optimized, indexable content drives organic search results.
- Foster an ever-expanding community that mirrors your store’s real-life community.
All of us prefer to buy from people we know, like and trust. Superior content in the form of storytelling connects us all and fosters community around your company brand.
An integral part of a written content strategy is to document the stories happening within your company and illustrate them well through social media.
- You’re seen as the “Likable Expert”
Are you the likable expert that owns your market?
Your blog and the content you publish on social media can establish authority with your most valued prospects and customers.
- Compel your fans, followers and readers to share your content with their network.
It’s a fact: quality content gets shared.
You know how it works. When you see or read something valuable or authoritative and realize that others would benefit from seeing it…you share it. Customers behave in the same manner so give them something worth sharing.
- Turn fans into customers.
Within the parameters of your written content strategy there should be content created specifically for generating leads and sales.
Turning Facebook fans into customers depends heavily on your ability to promote your content through Facebook ads. Components include:
Ad text/copy to fit target audience
- Improve employee engagement.
It’s a fact that engaged employees lead to…
Higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to…
Higher customer satisfaction, which leads to…
Increased sales (repeat business and referrals), which leads to…
One of the biggest challenges for dealership marketers is coming up with enough relevant content that customers either need or want to engage with.
Taking a collaborative approach to these challenges often produces outstanding results and you’ve got your best “brand experts” at your fingertips. Employees possess the knowledge your customers need and their seasoned expertise fosters more trust than any ad you’ll ever run.
- Allow “Raving Fans” to speak
A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is.
A fundamental part of your written content strategy is to leverage the equity you’ve built up from consistently delivering excellent customer service. (NOTE: if you’re not delivering excellent customer service then the Internet will only magnify that fact).
What are your “Raving Fans” saying about their experience?
Develop ways to incorporate customer stories and video testimonials in your social media and content marketing.
- Build and solidify your online reputation.
A lot of dealers don’t consider management of online ratings and reputation as part of their content strategy. But the fact that ratings show up in search results is evidence enough to start developing an internal process to capture your happy, loyal customers’ feedback.
Content marketing is about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time.
A strong house is built on a solid foundation. Don’t let yours fall into disrepair. Get a written content strategy in place and let content marketing do its job to improve your reputation and grow your business.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”.