It’s no surprise that 2017 will be more competitive than ever, and the right email campaigns can mean the difference between prospects buying from you or from the dealer next door. That’s why segmenting customer data in your CRM is critical, because it’s a cost-effective way to target customers in your database, deliver personalized messaging and increase brand awareness.
I use Google in the title, because they are the 800-pound search engine, but you can substitute Yahoo, Bing or others if you desire. The secret is: There is no secret recipe. Depending on a variety of factors, every recipe is slightly different. But, there are some basic core ingredients you can master that will get you to the top.
There are five billion searches performed on Google alone and 95 percent of all clicks happen on the first page of the results. But being listed on Page One is just not good enough these days when 65 percent of all clicks come from the top three search results, also considered as “above the fold,” borrowing from an old newspaper term. The first “paid” ad displayed by Google on a search results page has become even more valuable with the rise of mobile searches. A significantly larger share of traffic goes to the first ad displayed on mobile and tablets, compared to desktops. On average, 39 percent of clicks go to the first ad on smartphones, 36 percent of clicks go to the first ad on tablets and 30 percent of clicks go to the first ad on desktops.
In theory, direct marketing has always been future based. After all, it typically happens before any dealing in the showroom takes place. But today, intelligent direct marketing based on predictive analytics amounts to so much more than the “good old days” of sending out a bunch of mail and waiting for the up bus to pull in.
At this point, we’re looking at a perfect storm of technological and cultural factors driving marketers to work harder to figure out what car buyers are going to do next. The question is whether predictive analytics is reality or hype.
As the Thanksgiving season draws near, my thoughts center around things for which I am grateful — family, loyal friends, my work family and our clients and business partners. I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with the automotive community and dealerships.
Time is a valuable commodity, so for a dealer to share their time with me – I truly appreciate and respect it. Whether it is time spent to see me speak at a convention or to simply send me an email, I always try to give value to them. One such email caught my eye last month. After reading through the entire email, the quote in the signature stuck with me: “Matt LaFontaine, ‘Make It Great — Make It Matter.’”
Consumers want to love the car buying experience just as much as the vehicle they’re purchasing. There is no sacrificing one for the other. Transparency is crucial in making the experience worthy of their trust, their confidence and, ultimately, their business.
However, newly released data tells us that there is an alarming disconnect between dealer perception and consumer reality. A resounding 81 percent of dealers think consumers enjoy the car buying process. What you may find alarming is a mere 19 percent of consumers who purchased a vehicle in the last 12 months say they actually enjoyed the process.
Have you noticed how “customer retention” is the new buzzword? For many years,
it was “improved CSI” that manufacturers pushed for via incentives. Dealers quickly complied and, after a while, realized that improved CSI scores were good for the manufacturer (which is why they are willing to pay incentives), great for the customer (thanks to improved processes), and led to cleaner facilities and more amenities. They were not, however, a game changer for the dealer. The truth is that CSI really hasn’t done much to grow the dealer’s business. Since all manufacturers have a CSI program, the bar of expectation has been raised and all dealers have arrived at the same plateau of customer service.
Automotive News recently reported that September 2016 sales fell about 2 percent, a decline for the second consecutive month. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive reported that this is the fifth month in the past seven to show an overall retail sales decline. As we head into the final quarter of 2016, auto dealers are understandably nervous that they are not going to meet their sales goals. The simple truth is, not as many people are shopping.
By hiring better-quality employees, your dealership — and your customers — benefit in the long run. Top-quality employees provide a better customer experience, allowing you to inspire repeat customers, referrals and a positive online reputation.
Customer experience is increasingly the differentiator between high- and low-performing companies. Especially in the case of new-car dealerships, competition for the same target customers has never been stronger. Meanwhile, it’s increasingly difficult for dealerships to remain competitive based on a vehicle’s price tag alone — your customers are expert researchers, so they’ll eventually find the dealer with the lowest cost cutting into your margins and impacting your monthly revenue. However, price alone doesn’t guarantees happy, loyal customers.
It’s well known that it costs far less to sell and service a repeat customer than it does to attract a new one. Beyond the simple cost, it is a much easier transaction and usually more profitable. For this reason, dealerships across the country are looking for ways to keep their existing customers coming back. A successful transition from sales to service is the most likely way to get sales customers to utilize the dealership’s service department throughout their ownership experience, and getting these customers to use the dealership’s service department is the most likely way to get them to return when they are ready for a new vehicle. In a perfect world, this cycle will repeat time and again. Customers are retained and the dealership profits increase. Is it really that simple?
The automotive industry is standing toe-to-toe with several marketplace disruptors — all of which affect your dealership. Among consumers, there is an increased demand for ride sharing and in-vehicle technology, and overall vehicle needs are changing. Autonomous cars are coming closer to being a reality for everyday drivers, and consumers in general are increasingly seeking out online shopping sources. There have been so many changes to the marketplace that many businesses are struggling to keep up, and for dealerships specifically, innovation continues to move at a breakneck pace.