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4 Tips for a Better 2021 Marketing Strategy

You’ve probably heard the saying that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results. Keep this in mind as you review your 2021 marketing strategy.

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Do you plan to do the same old bulk mailings and monthly e-mail blasts, or could it be time to rev up your results with a fresh approach?

Consider these tips to increase the effectiveness of your 2021 marketing plan.

1. Focus on Relationship Marketing

If your marketing strategy is only focused on sales events, OEM incentives and service specials, you’re missing a key element of effective marketing, which is relationship building. Marketing campaigns that promote your value propositions help to build trust and deepen connections.

Dealers who focus on this type of communication strategy are more successful at increasing revenue from their existing customer base. However, don’t lump these messages in with a sales or service campaign! These specific messages deserve their own separate campaigns.

2. Get Hyper-Personalized

Personalized marketing goes beyond simply greeting customers by their first name. Create targeted lists based on where your customers are in the ownership lifecycle, or based on their specific needs and interests. Use their preferred communication channels to message them. This requires robust customer data in your CRM, so if that hasn’t been a priority, start an initiative to hold sales and service staff accountable. 

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Most dealers understand the importance of personalization, but many haven’t taken the time to do it. I understand the typical thought process: dealers want to hit the greatest amount of people with the least amount of effort. However, the dealers who are doing better are actually more targeted with their efforts.

For example, if you want to move Honda Accords, target current Honda Accord owners first. Create separate personalized campaigns for new car prospects, used car prospects and service customers. Equity mining campaigns are also a great way to get hyper-personalized with specific offers for specific service customers.

3. Automated Marketing

Most dealers already use automated email marketing on the service side for service reminders, appointments, declined service and recall opportunities.

But many dealers underutilize automated email marketing on the sales side. Automated campaigns can be created for lead follow up, lead nurturing and reputation management. You can also improve sales-to-service conversions with incentive campaigns and defector prevention campaigns. If you can combine automated marketing efforts with a dedicated BDC effort for follow up, these campaigns will generate even more ROI with very little effort required from your sales team.

4. Don’t Excessively Message

If someone is a new prospect, reach out to them frequently in the first week, then continue to message them once a week until they get to the 90- to 120-day mark. After that, reduce the frequency but continue your efforts.

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Once a prospect purchases a vehicle and becomes a service customer, the ideal messaging frequency is no more than once or twice a quarter. If you do more than this, you increase the risk they’ll unsubscribe. This is one reason why personalization is so important. You can still send out campaigns every week, just not to the same customers. In the long run, sending occasional, highly relevant offers to a select list generates more ROI than monthly email blasts that promote a service special to a bunch of people who don’t need that service.

Email marketing is often viewed as free and easy, but remember — nothing is free! If you look at the customers who are opting out, you quickly realize that sending out irrelevant campaigns can cost you a lot of money in the long term.

The new year is always a good time to review and update your marketing strategy. In 2021, focusing on relationship building, personalization and technology will help drive different results.

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