Taking good care of your internet sales funnel separates the powerhouse dealerships that are dominating their regions from the stores that are just getting by.
Still, plenty of marketing managers are struggling to make their teams see the real-world value of strong online auto marketing.
Don’t just describe it to them. To get your whole team on the same page, show them how clicks become sales.
The Automotive Road to Purchase
It’s vital for everyone on your staff to be aware of real buyer journey’s so you can talk strategy with a cohesive grounding. Take this infographic for example:
From 2015 data, Google, Millard Brown Digital, and Polk identified 24 actions of the average in-market auto shopper on their way to a purchase.
Above, you can see the most common path. Of these touchpoints, only five were offline actions, while 19 of the 24 touchpoints were part of the digital car sales funnel.
That means that nearly 80% of the auto buyer’s journey is taking place on smartphones, tablets, and computers!
If you’ve got a GM who’s still focused on television or print buys, sit them down with this graphic, and get them up to date.
Paving the Road from Clicks to Sales
Inbound marketing has the power to make your website visible to the right people without the high cost of traditional (or outbound) marketing.
In today’s world, you’re better off implementing a strong inbound marketing strategy along with your outbound efforts.
The simple truth is that modern consumers have an immunity to traditional marketing techniques. Their eyes glaze over billboards, they aren’t reading print magazines, and they fast-forward through commercials.
Instead, people turn to search engines to find exactly what they need, when they need it. And that’s where your inbound marketing web should be waiting.
Attract Attention Instead of Demanding It
An old school outbound marketing strategy interrupts you. It jumps into your mailbox or tries to swipe your attention while you’re watching the game.
Whether it’s radio, television, or print, you’re trying to force potential buyers to hear your message.
With inbound marketing, you’re attracting a specific audience, enticing internet users with the information they want to consume.
Instead of interrupting, inbound enables prospects to easily and quickly find you when they need you, thanks to the information you’ve made available to them. And in this age of instant gratification, being available with a few strokes of a keyboard will do wonders for your business.
How does that lead to a sale? The inbound methodology defined by HubSpot lays out the sales funnel as follows:
With an inbound approach, you’re engaging people who actually share your outlooks, interests, and values. You can get started by making sure the right audiences are finding you online.
Think about some of your own buying habits. When you have a big purchase to make, don’t you turn to search engines pretty quickly? If anyone wants to know what I’m shopping for, a quick glance at my Google history will turn up research on customer reviews, prices, and features for whatever I’m after.
YOUR SEO RANKINGS
Not only do you want your site to be visible in search results, you also want it to be the first thing a shopper sees. Optimizing your search engine rankings is a big undertaking, but it’s vital to reaching new customers online.
The best strategy is to make sure that in a sea of content, you’re putting out the best information possible, moving your site up through the rankings. Not only will great content help with search engine optimization (SEO), it will also help your website be the one that prospects refer to and trust.
It takes months to build up a robust online infrastructure, but your return is going to be higher and easier to measure than return from traditional advertising media.
Your Original, Honest Content
So, how can you stand out in a vast sea of content without blowing your budget on traditional marketing strategies?
Create content! In today’s marketing game, the person with the best answers wins. Your internet content lives forever, and it continually generates traffic as long as it stays relevant.
Instead of going on about this month’s lease offers, dig into the questions people are actually going to turn to a search engine to answer. Which F-150 trim is best for me? What’s the benefit of XM radio? What kind of tires should I have?
The key to being a great blogger is to create content that doesn’t just give the best answers; it also stands out. For dealers, that means combining your expertise with an approachable voice that makes people want to trust your dealership.
Again, make sure your content offers real value. People are weary empty messages when they have the expanse of the internet to explore. An ad saying, “Product X is the best because it’s just the best” doesn’t work for people willing to do research online.
By crafting excellent online content that appeals to buyers, you’ve taken the first step ahead of your competition. Now you just need to learn how to get that high-quality content in front of them, and start them on the Automotive Road to Purchase detailed above.
Author: Matt Stoffel
Matt Stoffel is a Creative Content Strategist at 9 Clouds, a digital marketing firm focused on helping auto dealers. Stoffel heads up content testing operations at 9 Clouds to constantly look for the most effective ways to connect with leads online, especially through cutting-edge channels like Facebook ads. Stoffel is a playwright, actor, and writer. He has also served as Executive Director of two theatre companies. At 9 Clouds, he writes with frank honesty on what works (and doesn’t work) online. Visit 9clouds.com/blog to read more or 9clouds.com/live to see him in the free Facebook Ads video course. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org