Having strong marketing efforts for your dealership — or any business in 2019 — is a non-negotiable business strategy. With marketing efforts, the expression “you gotta spend money in order to make money” is definitely true. But with so many different options available for businesses, how do you know what will work for your dealership?
Be Willing to Put Money in Reliable Places
Marketing is the most important way to reach your customers. Think about the last time you heard about a new company or restaurant. Aside from possibly driving by and seeing a sign for a grand opening, you more than likely saw something on Facebook, Instagram or through a friend who has been or used a service firsthand. Before you start marketing your dealership and its services, first be sure to have a clear sign at your physical location as well as posted business hours and a working phone number. It might sound like a no-brainer to do these things, but you want customers to be able to find you both physically and by phone.
After you have taken the first initial steps for your dealership, it’s time to make your presence known online. Set up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Write a simple press release about the services your dealership offers and any upcoming events you may be attending or involved in. If the idea of writing a press release is intimidating, do a quick Google search of some examples that other big companies have written and use it as a template to start. Send the press release to local newspaper and news stations asking them to cover your event or at least post it to their website to receive more traffic.
Be sure to also utilize marketing tools through social media to help advertise your dealership. LinkedIn and Facebook have specific tools to create ads for companies to use, and you are able to choose how long you want it to run for, how much money you want to spend and a target market for who will be reached with the ad. Spend time researching reliable websites and tools that are designed to help your dealership market your services. Seek out free tools, but be willing to create a marketing budget in order to help your business succeed.
Embrace New Internet Trends
Trends on the internet are ever-changing. One month we are learning about hashtags and Twitter lingo and the next we find ourselves talking about new drinks and holiday cups Starbucks is rolling out. While you don’t have to be well-versed on every company’s newest product, you should be constantly aware of what works for other companies in your own industry.
Maybe this means your dealership puts out a week-long coupon on your Facebook page for a free oil change that customers can receive by showing the coupon in person at your dealership or leaving a review on Google or Yelp. Or offer giveaways and contests to engage customers online that will eventually lead them in to your dealership. Engaging with customers is essential to do after they have been to your business, because you want to give them reasons (other than excellent customer service and quality) to keep coming back.
Don’t be afraid to try some new things out in your marketing efforts. Every business is unique, and often it takes much trial and error to find what works for your dealership. Incorporate current events and culture into your marketing, as it has been proven that millennials in particular respond well to things that they feel speak directly to them. Be creative and use humor to speak to your audience as well. One time I saw a sign outside a dealership that read “You deserve a brake. Save $30 per axle.” It was such a simple sign, but it has always stuck with me because of its creativity.
Be Persistent with Marketing Campaigns
As mentioned, marketing requires a lot of trial and error. This means that your team has to be persistent with your efforts. If you try out a new marketing campaign and aren’t seeing a lot of engagement or return, instead of just taking it down, use it as a learning moment. Ask yourself, why didn’t this campaign work? Should I have used a different website? Should I change how much money we spent on it? Was the language you used confusing or misleading? If you were able to see what could have been changed, tweak it and try it again the next month.
Track how well campaigns do with analytics provided by places like Facebook and Google if you can, and make a spreadsheet so you can see which weeks or months do the best so you can go back and see what worked well with a particular campaign. Use the face-to-face time you have with your customers to ask them how they found out about your dealership, or ask what kind of things catch their attention when they are perusing LinkedIn or Instagram.
Seeing a strong return on your dealership’s marketing investments is a long-term commitment to your business. You have to be willing to spend the money, do some research and try new things within your marketing team and business. If you take the time and view marketing as one of the biggest ways to create customer retention, you will be sure to see a strong return on your marketing efforts and investments.