Think back on advertisements in the past that left you with a good impression of a company or brand. Did they make you want to talk about the ad content with someone, or even move you to action?
It might have been content that inspired tears or fears, or an ad from a brand like Apple or Google that tied a product into a meaningful, people-focused narrative. What do those ads have in common? They’re telling a story.
Storytelling is embedded in our DNA. People always have loved and always will love stories — they are a critical part of how we function as social, cooperative beings. It only makes sense that one of the most effective ways of getting your dealership’s marketing message out there would be through content marketing focused on storytelling.
If your marketing and advertising efforts can establish an emotional connection and hook the audience’s interest with something they can relate to, your message is 95 percent of the way to being successfully delivered.
In a marketing landscape that often feels dominated by the cold facts of demographic analysis and data mining, it’s worth a reminder of what’s at the core of the most successful campaigns: useful, relevant content that impacts the audience. And that’s what can make content marketing a powerful tool for your dealership.
The key trait separating content marketing from any other tool in your marketing and advertising arsenal is simple: It matters to the customer. It contains relevant content that customers want to seek out, rather than an ad message they’re forced to endure.
How do you make your message matter? Rather than focusing on product, you hook the audience with storytelling. In your content marketing, you should aim to craft a narrative that both features your product and its value and connects to people’s day-to-day lives in a plausible way. This could be a narrative illustrating the importance of getting your vehicle serviced regularly, or a light-hearted, comedic exchange between a customer and an F&I manager. It could be a branded email newsletter, direct mail piece or a short video.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Often, the simplest and most direct stories are the best ones. But, a relatable narrative is key to establishing an emotional connection and hooking your audience. They will unthinkingly put themselves in the context of whatever situation you’re showing them, and then naturally begin thinking about how your product could work for them.
The genius of content marketing is that it allows you to establish an emotional connection to get the customer’s undivided attention and then positions you as an important source of information and advice. Woven into your story is relevant, authoritative and trusted content that opens a conversation.
That’s the other critical component in the content marketing equation: Once your content has established its relevance, it also must prove useful. You’re telling a story, but with a goal in mind of prompting the audience into some decisive action concerning your brand or product. Thoughtful targeting plays a big role here as well, which is why a story-based, content-centric approach lends itself well to your dealership’s SEO, social and targeted marketing efforts.
Studies have shown that nearly half of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, so it’s essential your content is accurate and uniquely suited to meet your target audience’s needs.
Your content can come in different forms — email newsletters, blogs, Webcasts or podcasts, videos, articles or events — but it’s shaped and handled differently than traditional marketing. It informs, rather than sells. It delivers the right information to the right audience in the right way to build a relationship between you and the consumer.
Engage Your Audience
With content marketing, you can tell meaningful stories that establish an emotional connection while communicating useful, relevant messaging in all sorts of ways — and those efforts can be scaled up or down to match your marketing and advertising goals.
Recognize that content matters, tie your messaging into relatable, people-focused narratives and prepare for better customer engagement and action.