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The Data-Driven Dealer Series, Part 2: Reach Your Audience

Blog courtesy of EasyCare

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In Part 1: Where’s Your Data?, we discussed how successful marketing comes from understanding your customers’ identity. In this second installment of our three-part series, “The Data-Driven Dealer,” we share how to find, use and learn from the data at your fingertips.

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 tight market, any insight that helps them better understand potential customers and boost their overall competitive advantage is priceless.

It’s hard to ignore the advantages of using data to direct your dealership’s marketing efforts. As discussed in Part 1 of this series, you already have the data you need to create targeted campaigns. Leveraging this data from your website, social media, sales records, CRM and more allows you to get to know your customers and make a connection, resulting in a better customer experience.

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Building relationships requires being able to send personalized, relevant communications to customers, making your data priceless. Delivering the right offer to the right customer at the right time will increase response rates and engagement with your brand — opening the door to more sales.

Sell More Cars

With the data at your fingertips, you can create models of your most valuable customers and learn where to focus your advertising dollars. Data points like how many miles buyers drive on average, frequency of service visits and trade-in frequency can help you figure out what behaviors and service patterns your customers share and when to communicate.

It’s all about connecting the dots and picking up on buying trends. Notice that parents of teenagers tend to return as their kids take the wheel? Are most repeat customers coming back every five years? This kind of data allows you to plan campaigns that appeal to specific customer segments and identify customers in your database that fit the mold but haven’t exhibited the same buying behavior (yet).

Your sales records can show you how local vehicle sales fluctuate from national trends. Some markets have more families and are farther from city centers, so high-mileage SUV and minivan sales are above-average. These trends can help with product planning and creating specific marketing initiatives to focus on what customers in your area need, not what national averages dictate.

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You can also segment potential leads that have spent time on your website or interacted with active campaigns based on where they are in their journey, if they’re looking for new or used vehicles, or the specific make and model they’ve been researching. Use these audience segments to deliver relevant and dynamic messages online.

Then, find out where you’re losing customers in their digital journey and factor in touchpoints for these leads. Not hearing back from customers after they’ve filled out an online lead form? Maybe it’s time to re-examine your approach. 

Research shows that only 3% of dealers personalized their responses when following up with form submissions — canned responses may turn off customers who were serious enough to reach out. Customizing your response to include more detail on the vehicle(s) the customer is interested in and starting the conversation on scheduling a test drive could drive a greater sense of urgency in your leads.

Keep More Customers

It’s hard to believe, but 26% of car buyers said that they were never contacted again by the dealership following a sale. Keep the lines of communication open with past buyers, even if you don’t expect them to be in the market for a new vehicle just yet.

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You’ve got the data on what your buyers’ regular maintenance schedule should be — use it to reach out proactively before they decide to go elsewhere for service — because it’s easier to keep customers than to get new ones. Leveraging the goodwill that comes from a successful sale could reap great rewards in your service bay, and even when your customers are in the market for another vehicle for their household.

Have a structured plan to follow up with all your VSC customers as well — engaging when their coverage is about to expire captures them at a critical decision point. But there’s benefit even if you didn’t close the sale on a service contract. Reaching out to customers who declined coverage as they approach the end of their factory warranty could open the door for the sale of a service contract, adding revenue for you and relief for your buyer should anything go wrong. Either way, whether it’s their VSC or factory warranty expiration, some customers may decide to take things further and trade in their vehicle before they reach the end of their warranty, meaning a potential sale for your dealership.

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Identifying and reaching out to your target market can mean more sales and more service appointments. But by taking things to the next level with detailed customer profiles and a closer look into the inventory you should have on your lot, your budget can work even harder.

We’ll cover that in the last part of our Data-Driven Dealer series, Analyze Your Data.

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