Would you believe that according to a Placed Inc. / Cars.com study, 51% of car shoppers view web content related to price, payments and offers on their mobile device while standing on a dealer’s lot? And about half of those shoppers are comparing price at competing dealerships? If that doesn’t get your attention to become hyper-focused in your mobile targeting, you’ll miss the mobile moments that matter the most to dealers – when car buyers are closest to making their ultimate buying decisions.
This article focuses on three strategies that help dealers retain the car shoppers that make it to their dealership, attract potential buyers who are comparing prices while on your competition’s lot, and stay in front of as many in market vehicle intenders as possible after they’ve left the dealership.
Before we jump in, it’s important to understand your market share, and if and where you are losing business to your key competitors. If you do not closely monitor vehicle registration data for your entire market – and not just your own dealerships – it will be more difficult to employ a strategic mobile campaign that addresses your weak spots and defends areas where you have a foothold. Be sure to focus on top selling makes and models in specific zip codes to determine where to concentrate your mobile strategy. For example, if your biggest competition is Shmuckatelli Ford, and you notice they have an equal share of F-150 sales in your own back yard while dominating their own, that is a tell-tale sign a laser-focused mobile campaign is in order.
So, what do we do about it? Here are three strategies that will help you keep buyers from leaving your lot while attracting some of your competitors’ shoppers:
- Be mobile. Well, of course. But that doesn’t just mean mobile geo-targeting your primary market area and seeing what happens. Use mobile technology that sets up a “geo-fence,” or highly accurate radius, of approximately five miles around YOUR dealership. But you already dominate your back yard, you say? First, make sure registration data agrees. You might be surprised. Second, the proliferation of mobile advertising available today could leave dealers who ignore their own stomping grounds vulnerable to mobile conquesting. Remember, mobile usage is only growing. It is critical that we defend our back yard, even if it “feels” like we are dominating it.
- Be Hostile. This sounds aggressive; because it is. Based on registration data, you should be able to determine which dealerships are the biggest threats to eat your market share on top selling makes and models and who are outselling you in key geographies. Using the geofencing technology, establish 500-meter geo-fences around five to ten (for smaller markets, ten is recommended) competing dealerships, sending them make-model specific display ads with competitive pricing and financing messages. Remember, car shoppers constantly compare prices on their mobile devices while literally standing next to your salespeople. This will help draw additional low funnel, in market shopping traffic from other dealers to your website and dealership.
- Be Worthwhile. Why go through the effort reeling in your own fish and catching a few more to throw them back in the ocean? While it’s commonly accepted that people visit fewer physical dealerships that at any time in the industry, not ALL of them buy a car during their first visit. Especially used-car shoppers. Utilize the capability to re-message folks who have been to any dealerships in your market during any defined time frame on their mobile devices. There are mobile marketing partners that offer category (automotive) and location-based (been to a dealership in a given market in last 30 days) mobile re-messaging to keep your message in front of those fickle customers. How valuable would it be to send sales-specific mobile ads to car shoppers who were just on a car lot hours ago as they’re browsing their phones during reruns of Breaking Bad?
Be sure to conduct due diligence in finding agencies and vendors who have a proven track record in mobile advertising technology. Of course, that is only half the battle. Your strategy must make sense, and understanding your market share is equally as important. By launching a strategic, three-pronged mobile campaign based on market knowledge, you’ll be able to defend your home turf, bring in additional traffic from your competitors, and win the mobile moments that matter most – at the dealership.
Learn more about location-based mobile targeting to reach car buyers on their mobile devices while they’re shopping by attending my session at the Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo (this Sept. 18-20th in Las Vegas). The mobile strategies discussed in my session, will help you win the mobile moments before, during, and after the initial visit to your dealership, driving critical traffic that increase car sales.
Joe Altomonte is Senior Training Manager for Advance Local. An authority on automotive marketing strategies and a dynamic speaker, Joe helps marketing professionals and dealers across the country develop effective, comprehensive marketing campaigns. Joe distills complicated media concepts into simple, actionable steps to help dealers grow their business in today’s challenging environment.
Author: Contributing Writer
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