Walk-ins are a major source of dealership traffic. On the one hand, that’s great for dealerships, because it means less time chasing down leads, since customers simply show up at your door. But it also means that when walk-ins dry up, so does a major portion of revenue. So how can you get more people in the door, prepped and ready to go?
Start with Killer Marketing
Every day, the average person receives 118 non-work-related emails. And that’s not including social media advertisements or physical mail. As you can imagine, most people don’t read them all. You have to have great marketing to cut through the noise and get that oh-so-important click or open. That means you should be staying top-of-mind with consistent, highly relevant messages to get a leg up on the competition.
But your marketing should give customers more than the latest features in your vehicle lineup—they can access tons of specifications, comparisons, video walk-arounds, and reviews online. Instead, give them a glimpse of the vehicles you have to offer, and focus more on what differentiates your store from the rest: your amenities, your expertly trained staff, and your hottest sales offers. This is what marketing is for, and by educating customers on why they should be visiting your store, you’re well on your way to influencing their next buying decision.
The Expectation Gap
Unfortunately, there’s a large gap between what dealerships think matters to customers and what customers actually care about. Customers aren’t interested in how many vehicles your dealership sells or how loudly you yell in TV and radio commercials. The benefit that customers are really looking for when purchasing a vehicle is simple and easy: they want a hassle-free experience. And there are a number of ways you can make it clear to your customers that that’s exactly the experience they’ll get when they purchase from you. Advertise up-front values for trade-ins, competitive pricing, fast and convenient paperwork, and a no-pressure experience. And be transparent on pricing, as it’s the most important aspect for many customers.
Speed of Response is Key
It takes more than sending the right message at the right time to resonate with your customers, though. The other aspect of killer marketing is clear intent. If you’re serious about selling vehicles, show it. And that’s where real-time responsiveness comes into play.
If you’re sending owners specials on a specific selection in your inventory and they respond, the battle is only half won. You’ll want to give customers a straightforward path to connect with you, be it over live chat or through a direct line to your cell phone, so you don’t miss their attempt at contact. In addition, your marketing is only as targeted as your platform makes it. So it’s important to utilize real-time reports, predictive customer scoring, and more to ensure you’re kept up to date on the status of customers visiting your showroom.
And if your customers aren’t responding? Segmented marketing will have a bigger impact than mass marketing. If your intent is to help your customers into a new vehicle, follow up with reminders on those special sales offers you sent them before. Keep following up with incrementally better offers for all non-responders. Deliver other relevant messages to keep them engaged or start new conversations. And most importantly, once they do respond or walk in, give them the prompt attention you’d look for if you were shopping for a new car.
It’s a Jungle Out There—Get a Guide
Fortunately, there are companies that can make this easy for you. It’s their job to stay on top of the quickly-changing marketing industry and ensure your messaging is clean, professional, and hard-hitting. Make no mistake, what works for email isn’t necessarily what works for mail or social media. And limiting yourself to a single mode of advertising isn’t doing your business any favors. AI-driven marketing is a major up-and-coming element, and it can help you target highly-engaged customers and keep costs low. Some marketing companies even focus on different avenues; make sure the one you work with understands the differences and when to use each for maximum effect. That way you can drive more walk-ins—and more vehicles sold.
Director of Marketing Communications