In the car business, everyone knows what a cold call is. For decades, the cold call has been the foundation of lead conversion. With the wealth of resources at our disposal, cold calls have become as outdated as car phones. Today, dealerships are leveraging technology to track prospects online and follow-up digitally. They are now able to eliminate the cold call with marketing automation like high-impact letters, email retargeting, clicker notifications, and website revisit notifications.
Why did dealerships build Internet Departments and BDCs? Because sales teams were incapable of following up with the influx of internet leads. Now, with an average of 20,000 unsold leads sitting in the dealership CRM, BDCs lack the manpower to follow up effectively with every single lead. This is where email marketing automation bridges the gap.
Marketing automation is one of the most popular topics among digital marketers. Dealers are able to work smarter and not harder through automatic follow-up. The BDC was built to follow up, marketing automation sets them up for success. High-impact targeted messages incentivize buyers who are the fence to make a move. Email retargeting follows interested prospects throughout their online research. Clicker notifications alert your BDC that a prospect has clicked on a link in an email message, and what link they clicked on. Website revisit notifications signal when clickers go back to your website to research. Combine these tools for fully omnipresent immersive marketing.
According to Adestra, marketers report that the biggest benefits of marketing automation are:
- Saving time (74%)
- Increased customer engagement (68%)
- More timely communications (58%)
- Increased opportunities including up-selling (58%)
Marketing automation takes the legwork out of follow up and can be executed immediately. One way to use marketing automation is through high-impact offer messages. For example, a prospect clicks on “New Vehicles” they are automatically sent a personalized welcome message from a sales associate inviting them to take a test drive. Or if a prospect clicks “Value My Trade,” they are sent a special offer for an extra $500 toward their trade. High-impact targeted offers give them the extra nudge to make their purchase.
Less than 2% of website visitors are completing the desired result. Today’s car buyer is always on. One trip to your website is not going to hold their attention. Another way to use marketing automation is through email retargeting. Touch base with website visitors to check in. They may have visited your website when they entered the buying funnel. Consistent, relevant messaging keeps your dealership top of mind when they are ready to buy.
Software Advice reports that 42% of CRM users plan to increase spending in marketing automation. If your CRM does not currently support marketing automation additions, your email marketing provider probably has a marketing automation option available.
The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the last five years, according to SiriusDecisions. Car buyers typically spend 1-3 months conducting research, reading online reviews, and showrooming online before they ever set foot inside of a dealership. How long does your BDC follow up with leads? One week? Two weeks? Until hundreds of more leads come in at the end of the month? Marketing automation simplifies this process.
Triggered email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages (Pardot). Save your BDC the research and solicit responses from potential car buyers. Prospects clicking on links or visiting your websites are hot prospects, they are interested in your dealership. Follow up before your competition has a chance to.
Ideas on how to use marketing automation for your dealership:
- A prospect receives a sales email from your dealership with links to New Vehicles, Pre-Owned Vehicles, Value My Trade, and Service Coupons.
- Based on what links they click, use marketing automation to follow up with targeted letters related to their interest.
- Take it a step further, and send follow-up messages to website visitors and re-visitors based on what pages they viewed.
Marketing automation can be easily integrated into your current email marketing plan. This is the most effective way to follow up with every lead and never let any prospects fall through the cracks.
Marketing Automation is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools to master in 2017. Through marketing automation your sales team can turn a cold call into a soft sell. Join me for my session “Triple Your Internet Closing Ratio” at Digital Dealer 22, were we’ll review the secrets to writing message copy that encourages prospects to buy, and appropriate follow-up offers based on how many times they revisit your website. Eliminate dialing for dollars by harvesting hot leads with detailed data.
Author: Peter Martin
Peter “Webdoc” Martin is a technology correspondent and digital marketing expert. Currently, he is the president and founder of Testimonial Builder, a video-based app used to build customer reviews. He is also the president of Cactus Sky Digital, an integrated digital marketing agency serving dealers around the country with products like Lead Igniter for lead reactivation and Dealer Influence for online reputation management. He is well-known for his innovative services for the automotive industry and his contributions to the email marketing field. Martin is an acclaimed speaker and automotive industry expert specializing in digital marketing trends, mobile-enabled emails, conquest email marketing, and selling to women. He has previously appeared at numerous industry events such as NADA, Digital Dealer, RVDA, and numerous other dealership training programs around the country.