AI, or artificial intelligence, is not just about flashy new devices for connected cars. It also has some great practical ways to get ahead in digital marketing. Intimidated by the term? Don’t be. AI can help your dealership reach customers more effectively and create a better marketing strategy.
A brief explanation of AI: it’s using machines to take large amounts of data to analyze information and make predictions. They can understand and imitate human language and speech, or understand and act on your customers’ interests. For your dealership, AI technologies can simplify tasks, build customer loyalty, and boost leads and sales, which is ultimately every dealership’s goal.
So there’s no need for intimidation. Your dealership can take advantage of AI to get some practical benefits.
“Natural Language Processing is a hot topic in AI these days: the ability of machines to understand human language. It’s also the basis for chatbots.”
Here are four ways AI can help your dealership right now.
- SEO. Search engines are one area of AI that you are already using– and hopefully maximizing to your dealership’s benefit. Today’s sophisticated search engine is no longer just an index– it’s actually AI. That means instead of simply scanning for information and keywords, it actually reads and comprehends text, analyzing it for quality and relevance, to decide who should see it when. With SEO, you aim to optimize your site so that the search engine understands your site, deems it relevant, and features it in search results, leading to more site traffic and more customers for your dealership. Here are a few tips for maximizing your SEO:
- Think of the questions your customers have and answer them on your website. For example, if you’re researching online for your next car, you might Google “price of leasing F-150” or “used Corolla” and the name of your city. If your site has clear answers to these questions, it will help your dealership’s search result rankings.
- Read up on industry discussions and respond to them in blog posts. Make sure to use keywords and clear, descriptive titles. Becoming part of important conversations makes it more likely people will find you.
- Post articles and videos on your website that are relevant to car shoppers. The more valuable your site content, the higher your rankings.
- Ad targeting and retargeting. Your ad targeting efforts also take advantage of AI technology. A targeting program gathers and analyzes data from customers both before and after they leave your site, and across their different devices. It tries to understand their intent, and reaches out to them with ads relevant to their interests. Targeting brings you in-market customers, and retargeting can draw previous shoppers back to your website. That way you can interact with customers who are actually interested in your store, and encourage eventual conversion on your website. Also something you’re likely already doing!
- On-page personalization. Today’s shoppers expect a personalized online shopping experience– websites that offer content relevant to each person’s interests. And yet, providing consistent and effective personalization can be a huge challenge. Enter AI. Artificial intelligence technology can track and analyze user data to create customer segments, predict the interests of shoppers on your website, and offer the right content to the right people at the right time. That means you don’t have to just sit back while your website shows that same special to everyone, regardless of what they actually want to see. Instead, you can customize, which makes customers feel heard– and more likely to convert to leads. Here are some examples of how this personalization can work:
- A shopper who visits your site for the first time can be shown a lead form with a storewide sale 15 seconds after arriving on your homepage. They’ll have time to get oriented and view content general enough for someone still shopping around.
- Someone who returns to the same VDP for the third time can be shown an offer on that particular vehicle at the time they are most likely to convert. That customer wants to see a deal on the car they clearly are interested in– whereas a shopper looking for your service hours probably doesn’t.
- A customer whose onsite behavior shows particular concern about price can be offered deals on economy vehicles for a tight budget. This helps them find what they are looking for, moving their process along in a customized way.
- Chatbots, or NLP. Natural Language Processing is a hot topic in AI these days: the ability of machines to understand human language. It’s also the basis for chatbots. As this technology becomes more available, your dealership may consider using a chatbot instead of, or in addition to, a human-staffed chat service for your website. Chatbots can be a great way to keep your customer service going after your dealership closes, responding to customer questions rapidly and accurately. They can also save your dealership money and generate more leads as shoppers can get the service they want anytime, anywhere. Bonus: chatbots can “live” where customers already are, in programs such as Facebook messenger and iMessage, which makes interaction even easier and more seamless.
These AI applications can be a great way for your dealership to upgrade and maximize your digital marketing efforts. So don’t be scared of AI. Take advantage of it to reduce your workload, save money, and make more sales.
Author: Shoshana DuBow
Shoshana DuBow is the Sales Operations Manager at AutoLeadStar. Holding an MBA, and bringing a wide variety of professional experience to her position, including real estate management, teaching, and marketing, she is constantly looking for creative ways to improve sales processes. Shoshana is always open to industry collaboration, so please reach out.