8 Marketing Challenges Dealerships Face Every Month
Mar 30, 2020
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, automotive dealerships are scrambling to innovate their processes to meet the fast-changing needs of the automotive buyer. Challenges that dealerships faced before the crisis are being exacerbated by slowing consumer demand and a decreased appetite for person-to-person contact due to personal health and safety concerns.
These factors are leading to fewer physical visits to your store. As a result, dealerships are being forced to take measures to build trust and confidence with customers to match their current fears and social expectations.
This article discusses 8 marketing challenges that dealerships face every month and gives ideas and recommendations on how dealerships can turn those challenges into strengths.
1. Google My Business (GMB) Optimization
Dealerships have long struggled with managing their GMB listings. Whether the challenge be time, lack of resources or lack of knowledge of how to properly utilize and optimize GMB, dealerships weren’t using GMB to its true potential. But, those times are changing. Dealerships now realize that GMB is a key foundational piece in their local SEO strategies.
By optimizing your dealership’s GMB profile, you make it easier for local automotive shoppers to find and discover your dealership in local search results. In addition, GMB helps you drive those local shoppers to the most important pages on your dealership’s website. GMB can also be used to communicate vital dealership information to customers about COVID-19.
When optimizing your GMB profile, make sure you address these 10 items:
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Optimize and manage your dealership(s) GMB listing(s)
Manage your online citations and directory listings to help your dealership show up to local shoppers more often in relevant search queries. This will also increase the general awareness and visibility of your dealership by providing local shoppers with more ways to find you online.
This service limits the manual work and cost required to manage your Local SEO strategy — saving you time and money.
2. Determining ROI from Social Media Advertising Efforts
Another marketing challenge that dealerships face every month involves determining return on investment (ROI) from social media advertising efforts. It can be difficult to show how social media advertising efforts contribute to the overall sales success of a dealership, such as units sold.
Dealerships also struggle with digital marketing vendors spending money in the wrong places — resulting in wasteful spending. Fortunately, there are solutions to these challenges.
Dealerships can match their advertising efforts back to sales via Facebook’s offline conversions. Offline conversions allow dealerships to spend smarter while knowing which campaigns help lead to sales.
Once set up, Facebook runs the uploaded data against Facebook’s ad data. The resulting Facebook report shows how many people who just purchased a vehicle also viewed or clicked on your Facebook ads.
Dealerships can choose from different attribution windows. The default is set to 1-day view and 28-day click. This means you see actions that occurred one day after someone viewed your ad and up to 28 days after someone clicked your ad.
Use these valuable insights to determine which marketing messages are most effective — allowing you to adjust campaigns and create new ones with similar successful messaging.
Used car aging and used car pricing processes are additional sore spots for many dealerships. Automotive dealerships often find it difficult to move used vehicles off the lot within the first 30 days. This is when the highest gross is typically generated.
Dealerships need to watch their price buckets closely. You may need to be more aggressive with price changes to prevent vehicles from moving to 45 or 60 days old without adjustments. Prices may fluctuate more often due to physical and simulcast auctions closing.
If you’re advertising on 3rd-party sites, consider moving vehicles to flat pricing (ex: $14,000 vs. $14,099) to increase your visibility within price filter searches.
To solve this problem, make sure you have a strict aging policy and processes in place to prevent vehicles from sitting on your lot. You can also eliminate wholesale losses by marketing your aged inventory to help ensure that inventory doesn’t sit on the lot too long.
Whatever your policy and processes are, be proactive, manage and constantly monitor your inventory to stay competitive and avoid having aged units sit on your lot longer than necessary.
4. Managing Incentives
Managing your dealership’s incentives is challenging. You’re certainly not alone. Keeping up with OEM incentives, current rates and knowing how to merchandise and market them is a lot of work.
Keep your eye out for special OEM incentives and support programs being offered during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s important to pay attention to current rates as well as looking for ways to streamline your process.
Also, consider looking for automation tools that can make the merchandising and marketing of incentives easier and faster. This will help reduce your workload. For example, with Dealer Teamwork’s patented MPOP® platform, you can create fully merchandised offers with OEM incentives, compliant disclaimers, service coupons and more.
Updating your marketing campaigns with new OEM incentives and cash back programs, such as zero percent financing and payment forgiveness programs can be hard to manage.
Again, whichever incentives or programs you choose, be sure to communicate those to your customers across all of your marketing channels.
5. Showroom & Dealership Processes
Coming up with showroom and dealership processes that are inviting and convenient for the customer can be challenging. With the arrival of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it’s essential to update your showroom and dealership processes.
Regardless of the changes that are made to your dealership’s process, you need to communicate these updates to your customers. Make the effort to share these changes via home page messages, landing pages, social media updates, email marketing and videos from the leadership teams.
Below are several ways to modify processes that traditionally require face-to-face interaction:
Offer remote test drives
Offer mobile appraisal
Offer home delivery
Create processes to limit face-to-face interaction when finalizing a sale
Now is a good time to reassess your own selling proposition and adjust it to appeal to customers’ changing wants and needs.
For example, you could tout certain processes that your dealership takes to keep your store clean and healthy for automotive shoppers. Explain how your remote test drive or home delivery processes work to show that you are going the extra mile for your customers.
Promote your updated vehicle service processes and detail the precautions you are taking to ensure a customer’s health and safety.
You can also do an online search and see how other dealerships (including your competitors) are promoting themselves. Look for selling propositions that address customers’ current health and safety concerns and that promote efficient and streamlined shopping processes.
7. Ensuring Goals & Measurements of Outcomes are Accurate
Do you know if your ads are working and contributing to dealership sales? Dealerships have long struggled with ensuring that their goals and measurements of outcomes are accurate.
Make sure your dealership is focusing on outcomes rather than vanity metrics when measuring your digital marketing results. Vanity metrics are smaller metrics that make up a marketing campaign (page views, bounce rate, etc). These metrics can contribute to the success of a campaign, but when looked at alone, they aren’t as valuable to your dealership’s long-term sales goals.
Outcomes are more meaningful metrics that directly correlate to the success of your dealership. Examples of outcomes include store visits, form submissions, chats/texts, click-to-calls, etc.
Take advantage of sales match-back opportunities to better measure ROI from your digital campaigns.
If you’re using a digital marketing vendor, make sure you know how and where they’re getting their data from. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendor about outcome-based conversions.
Feel free to use it to audit your current digital marketing vendor.
8. Understanding & Relying on Marketing Automation
Automating your dealership’s digital marketing processes is crucial for saving you time and money. Google, Facebook and other advertising tools provide automation options to help you cut costs through time-savings and automatic optimization towards your goals.
Dealerships can also leverage marketing automation through automotive digital marketing tools. Here at Dealer Teamwork, we have a patented omnichannel digital advertising platform called the MPOP® (Merchandising, Personalization and Optimization Platform). This unique digital advertising tool saves you significant time and money through automation.
The MPOP® works by taking your inventory details via inventory feeds and pushing that information to the MPOP®. The platform then pushes dynamically generated content like payments, current incentives and other valuable buying information, to a dealership’s linked marketing channels in real-time.
When a shopper clicks on your ads, they’re taken to a unique MPOP® dynamic landing page on your website. That page matches the vehicle make/model/trim featured in the ad that the searcher clicked on.