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The Data-Driven Dealer Series, Part 1: Where’s Your Data?

Blog courtesy of EasyCare

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With the challenges the industry is seeing in 2020, and with customers demanding a personalized experience more than ever before, data-driven marketing is a dealer’s best friend. As dealers compete for leads in a tough market, any insight that helps them better understand potential customers and boost their overall competitive advantage is priceless.

In our three-part series, “The Data-Driven Dealer,” we share how to find, use and learn from the data at your fingertips.

Today, customers expect more personalized retail experiences no matter what they’re shopping for — and buying a car is no exception. To unlock a competitive advantage, relevant, well-planned communication is critical. But how do you know what your buyers want to hear?

Dealers have access to all kinds of data that can help them customize marketing efforts, source new leads and maintain longer customer relationships. In this first part of our series on The Data-Driven Dealer, learn more about five sources that can give you crucial insight into your customers.

Where’s Your Data?

1. YOUR WEBSITE
If you’re looking for data to help guide marketing decisions, your website is a treasure trove. It can help answer critical questions, taking the guesswork out of what your audience is looking for and where they’re coming from. Although Google Analytics can be overwhelming, a free account can give you access to a wealth of data such as how many people are visiting your site, how these visitors are finding you and if your marketing campaigns are actually leading to conversions.

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Wonder if anyone is signing up for your emails? Curious about where potential buyers who schedule a test drive came from? Want more information about what search terms are bringing people to your site? Google has a report for that. Taking the time to study your site’s Acquisition and Behavior data can help you understand how customers navigate your website and where they spend the most time researching — and what they’re using to access your content.

With better technology and faster mobile connections, internet traffic is increasingly being driven through mobile devices. But there’s a catch — 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if your page takes longer than three seconds to load. If your analytics show a lot of mobile usage, make sure your site is optimized so you’re not losing potential sales.

Google has all the data you need to optimize your online efforts — and they do all the work to gather and update it regularly. All you have to do is log in. Learn more about how to take a look under the hood to guide your marketing efforts with their free training courses.

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2. DMS DATA
Taking the time to analyze your purchase records can give you a good picture of who your customers are. Just think about it — you’ve got the purchase history, warranty status, service records and demographic details for every sale you’ve made.

Some of the details may seem small, but there’s more to developing a customer persona than what OEM they prefer. Things like the distance they travel to get to your dealership or their age, income, gender and family type can help you make concrete marketing plans tailored to your customers. Something as simple as understanding what zip codes most of your customers come from means you know where to focus direct mail campaigns.

Successful marketing comes from understanding your customers’ identity, and building a picture of who purchased from you in the past helps target who is more likely to buy in the future.

By looking at your sales cycles, you can also evaluate what coupons, discounts and other incentives that have contributed to sales to help put together promotional campaigns for the upcoming year.

3. CRM DATA
A good CRM can provide valuable insight with useful data and analytics, doing a lot of the data-lifting for you by providing a full view of every customer’s car-buying journey as well as insight into their behavior during critical moments of consideration. Some systems can bring together all your customer data from all sources — website analytics, DMS records, email KPIs — to give you a view into the attributes and behaviors of every shopper.

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Every web page visited, ad clicked and vehicle purchased can be tracked as the engagement happens. Research what reports your CRM can provide to gain actionable insights on buyers to not only answer the what and who about your potential customers, but also help you understand what they’re looking for, when they convert, why they leave and more.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social sites can provide enormously valuable data with their built-in basic analytic offerings. Insights like what days of the week you get the most engagement and which calls to action get the most clicks can save you time and help optimize your efforts. Facebook can even offer data on the average age of viewers who click for directions to your lot, and information on what their preferred language is to help you decide what translations might be necessary.

If you’re planning to invest in social media advertising, user demographic statistics are an essential ingredient. Stretch your marketing budget by using social media networks to their fullest potential by targeting extremely specific demographics and geographical areas to optimize your reach.

But you can source your own data quickly on social media, too. Almost every site has an easy way to poll followers to find out their preferences. Create simple surveys to find out what your followers are looking for or where they are in their buying journey — the sky’s the limit.

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5. THIRD-PARTY DATA
Once you’ve determined who your customers are, there’s a world of data at your fingertips if you’re willing to work with a third-party vendor. Consumer data can be purchased to get access to marketing lists based on income levels, education, shopping habits, interests and almost anything you can imagine.

Depending on your budget and marketing plan, you can request lists of home addresses to advertise via direct mail. Want to send a promo to young families in your zip code who’ve recently moved, own minivans and earn a combined income over $200,000? There’s a list for that.

And don’t forget to measure response rates. If the data you’re paying for isn’t bringing in sales, adjust your parameters and try something new.

It’s possible to get a full picture of every follower, buyer or prospect if you know where to look. But once you’ve got their demographics, habits and history, how can you use that to your advantage?

We’ll cover that in the next part of our Data-Driven Dealer series, Reaching Your Audience.

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