When it comes to automotive marketing, the phone plays a bigger role than most assume.
Cars will likely always be a lifetime product most shoppers are more comfortable buying in person, but consumers have embraced digital as a part of their journey to purchase. In fact, 83 percent of car buyers now do research online before purchasing.
It’s not surprising that the automotive industry, like many others, is trending toward omnichannel shopping habits. However, despite the opportunities multiple sales channels offer dealers to boost the volume and frequency of engagements with at-market car buyers, omnichannel strategies pose new attribution challenges for marketers.
Fortunately, auto marketers can use call tracking solutions to not only prove their efforts are driving real leads back to dealerships, but also solve top frustrations buyers experience when car shopping. This includes roadblocks like dealing with salespeople, finding the right car and spending too much time on the process.
Call Tracking Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
For auto marketers, phone tracking can play an important role from initial engagement to final conversion. Consider the following scenarios throughout the buyer’s journey to see this strategy in action:
- The Beginning: In-Depth Research
In an age of instant Amazon shopping, auto marketers require a different engagement strategy that accounts for the fact that nearly half of car buyers take one to three months before making a final decision.
The automotive business’ in-depth purchase process makes calls crucial to final sale. To consistently manage relationships from the beginning, dealers can use call tracking solutions to merge their online and offline strategies. For example, while dealers have struggled to attribute specific in-dealership sales to digital campaign efforts, call tracking software’s dynamic number insertion can deploy unique, trackable numbers that link each marketing asset with a phone call. This makes it easy for marketers to understand which channels are driving top engagement. These numbers can even be localized to each call, inspiring a sense of familiarity between shoppers and dealerships.
An early positive engagement experience can work wonders for dealers in earning consumer loyalty, as less than half (43 percent) of car buyers are still loyal to the car brand they purchased from last.
- The Middle: Constant Communication
Once a car-buyer has started her journey, there are ample opportunities for her take her business to a competitor. Comparing prices and features is routine in the auto industry, and marketers must ensure their initial prospects do not stray.
For marketers using call tracking software, opportunities to re-engage shoppers are abundant. Take texting, for example. While shoppers do not always check their email or answer a phone call from an unknown number, consumers open 99 percent of SMSs. This channel best ensures engagement efforts reach their desired audiences and offers marketers an organic entry into shoppers’ lives.
When text is added to a campaign, auto marketers can receive sales-ready lead information directly to their smartphones. This allows marketers to respond in real time to leads via text. Being top of mind as consumers progress toward purchase can help a dealer earn brand recognition, foot traffic and, ultimately, more business.
- The End: Improving Campaign Strategy
If marketers are not using today’s insights to inform tomorrow’s campaigns, they’re missing a major opportunity to use real customer feedback to improve performance.
Call tracking opens marketers to a wealth of data (both qualitative and quantitative) and establishes an important feedback loop with customers. For example, as marketers learn which channels are driving the most calls (or the most valuable calls), they can adjust ad spends to top-performing channels in real time to boost engagement. Perhaps a social campaign is inspiring more calls leading to showroom visits than a campaign on vehicle detail pages (VDPs), and the marketing team can shift its efforts accordingly.
Another way to improve campaigns is through call recording. Modern call tracking software can record and transcribe calls between representatives and consumers, surfacing valuable insights about what is resonating with car buyers, and what isn’t. Over time, dealers can incorporate these lessons into coachings to educate a smarter sales teams.
Tracking Calls Start Now
To reach auto shoppers, the U.S. automotive industry will spend nearly $8 billion on paid digital advertising this year. Dealers have no time to waste when adding call tracking to their suite of digital tools, as such a major investment should never come without the ability to track ROI.
Even greater motivation to blend the technologies soon is that the results of doing so speak for themselves. After partnering with a call tracking solution, one dealer was able to uncover $450,000 in monthly revenue from missed calls. This same dealer now earns more qualified leads, resulting in boosted close rates.
Similar improvements are possible for any dealer willing to embrace call tracking capabilities, and they’re truly the tip of the iceberg. Remember those roadblocks from before? Each was addressed by the call-tracking capabilities mentioned above. Insights into the buyer’s journey lead to more competent and prepared salespeople. Finding the right car is made easy as dealers learn specifically what attracts shoppers online, and then begin to incorporate this information into future campaigns strategies. And the entire car-buying process is simplified through constant communication and auto marketers who simply understand how their target audiences want to shop for cars online.
So sure, call tracking helps dealerships boost their bottom lines, but they’re more importantly it facilitates a more enjoyable experience for shoppers.
With so many benefits, there’s little doubt that call tracking is the right investment for today’s auto marketers. The only thing left to figure out is which dealerships will be first to pick up the phone and call. Those that do aren’t “old school” — they’re truly in tune with today’s customer journey.
Nancy Lim is Director of Marketing at CallRail, a leading call tracking and analytics company based in Atlanta and trusted by more than 60,000 businesses in the U.S. and Canada.