Effective digital marketing can transform your business and allow you to reach more relevant customers. 70% of consumers turn to search engines to research cars online, so how can you leverage this to reach your audience in the right place and time?
1. Understand Your Audience & Marketing Funnels
Firstly it is important to consider who your target audience is which will ultimately come down to what cars, parts or services you sell. The Bentley’s, Porsche’s and Mercedes will attract customers with different needs and wants compared to Toyota’s, Honda’s and VW’s. Having a strong understanding of what is important to your customer will allow you to relay compelling messages that resonate with them.
97% of those looking to buy, fix or customise cars start online.
Knowing your audience is a good first step but we also need to understand the steps a purchaser moves through. Enter the marketing funnel –
A marketing funnel is a way of breaking down the customer journey all the way from the “awareness” stage (when they first learn about your business) to the “purchase” stage (when they’re ready to buy your product or service).
a) Does the customer need awareness of your brand and product?
Customers in today’s modern age will research their product and how it fulfills their specific needs. The go-to place to do this is a search engine such as Google or Bing.
b) If they are aware, what are they interested in and why?
Customers are now aware of your brand and product but you can further determine what they are truly in the market for from their actions such as – pages visited, test drives booked or videos watched.
c) The customer knows what they want to buy but why buy from you?
This is where you can be more direct with your offering. Push exclusive limited time offers, guarantees, warranties or free oil changes to create a sense of urgency.
d) How can you maintain a long-lasting relationship with your customer?
No matter the stage in the funnel remarketing is an effective tool to bring prospects to the purchase or repurchase stage. After spending time, resources and money nurturing leads down the funnel it is a lost opportunity if you don’t invest a little more to achieve that all-important conversion.
In addition to the funnel, it is important to understand why a customer is purchasing at a particular time. September and March are when many customers tend to part-exchange their cars for the new plate formats.
Reference the new plate format dates, savvy customers will shop around August and February to land a deal whilst dealerships are clearing space on their forecourt for the latest vehicles in the market. Similarly, spring will bring in a wave of convertible customers whilst winter will bring in the masses of 4×4 vehicle hunters. When customers buy and why is another key area in understanding the all-important wants and needs and ensure the correct message is portrayed to prospects through your marketing.
2. Choosing the platform that’s right for you
Your channel of choice will heavily rely on the understanding of the above information being accurate through industry insights and trends. With this deeper understanding, you can make better platform choices.
How will you distribute your marketing over various platforms? Yes, after rambling on and on of the importance of knowing your audience it comes down to exactly that. For expensive luxury vehicles, you want to target the older demographic who will have a larger disposable income to invest. Whereas a couple who’ve just had a child will often decide based on price and fuel economy as this is a choice based more on necessity rather than desire.
It is no secret that Google holds the majority of PPC market share at over 90% of search and there are many reasons why Google should feature in your marketing mix as explored here.
Bing, Microsoft’s advertising platform, can also generate great results. The typical bing user is over the age of 35 and commonly are aged 55-64, which plays into the fact that Bing comes default on Microsoft, Amazon Kindle and Apple Siri products (as the older demographic are less inclined to go through the fuss of setting Google as their default browser). 33% of users have a yearly household income of over £77,000 so naturally advertising luxury vehicles here for your business is a wise decision. This article has a more in-depth analysis.
Unlike search engines which bring customers to your business, Facebook brings your business to customers. 80% of internet users and 65% of users over the age of 65 use Facebook. The main advantage of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram is being able to visually capture your audience (videos will be 80% of the worlds online content by 2021). Bring your story to life using images and 360० videos, which shows you the interior and exterior of a car you will potentially buy or even repairs completed allowing you to view before going into the dealership/workshop. 70% of those who watched video content were influenced by what they watched. What you highlight in these ads will depend on your target audience, luxury needs will include heated seats/steering wheels whereas fuel economy and boot space will fit the more practical needs.
3. Use all platform features to your advantage
Now you have chosen your platforms, a multichannel approach is the best way to reach your audience through various touchpoints, use the platform features to really stand out from the competition. Using all the platforms features will fast track your success.
Common search engine tools such as callout, location, price and promotion extensions when used with the correct campaign will uplift sales. The difference between Google and Bing extension is slim as they are both search engines. Phone calls are imperative in the automotive industry as these leads are much easier to convert into sales. Consumers are more inclined to call on their phones so using mobile bid adjustments will allow you to bid higher on this traffic for your callout campaigns. Bing boasts an action extension which you can set so users can instantly book test drives. Let’s not forget scripts that allow you to automate tasks on the platform with a piece of code (even for beginners!) giving you superior control of your ad account.
Social platforms such as Facebook, have plenty of features allowing us marketers and business owners to get the most out of the platform. The edge these platforms have over search engines is the unrivalled audience targeting available. Going through all the advantages of this will require a dedicated piece so I will summarise in as much simple detail as possible.
We can start with interest audiences which are created by Facebook through users liking pages, posts and interacting with ads. Facebook uses sophisticated behavioural modelling to compile lookalike audiences which are new customers that mirror the behaviour of existing customers. Custom audiences can be created using information such as phone numbers, address and emails which you have collected from your customers through forms and subscriptions. Facebook then matches this information to profiles on the platform giving you the opportunity to target/retarget them directly using tailored messaging.
Combining these three elements will allow you to revolutionise your marketing. Anyone can set up ads but it takes a real understanding of marketing principles to generate profitable results.
The world of digital marketing is constantly changing. Can your automotive business keep up? Push is a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency, a leading voice in both Europe and on the global stage when it comes to online advertising trends.
Still, have questions? Feel free to contact me directly. We also offer a free audit to evaluate your current digital marketing approach and formulate a winning strategy.