Once again, the unofficial start of summer is upon us: Memorial Day Weekend! From now until Labor Day weekend, interested auto shoppers will be on the lookout for the best deals for their ideal car.
According to Edmunds, the best months to buy a car are between May and August. Here is why:
- The model year traditionally starts in the fall, so dealers use the summer to clear inventory of the outgoing model year. Memorial Day weekend begins the critical period when dealerships promote their clearance deals to make room for the new models coming in from the factories.
- The weather is nice and there’s more daylight to get the job done. Interested car buyers have more time and are more willing research cars in-person. No one wants to search for their new vehicle in a snow storm.
Of course, you already know that! So the real question is how can you maximize your sales and reach more customers? For automotive marketers that have yet to ramp up their dealership digital marketing strategies, it’s not too late.
The first step is to understand what’s driving purchases and then enlist the latest dealership digital marketing techniques to connect with your consumers. Utilizing data compiled from our Automotive Consumer Journey Study, coupled with our automotive marketing expertise used in thousands of dealership digital marketing campaigns, we compiled a few digital marketing tips to help make your summer car buying season as hot as the weather.
Consumers Start Their Engines on Search Engines
According our research, search engines were the most popular starting point for car buyers, with 85 percent of respondents using sites like Google to kick off their car-buying journey. Search engines were followed by general auto sites like Carvana.com (61 percent) and manufacturer’s website like Ford.com (32 percent).
Tool #1: Use Advanced Search Marketing
Being at or near the top of search engine results is a given goal. But high rankings don’t happen by accident. You have to leverage the right search marketing technology to make sure your website, social media pages and blogs will be picked up on searches.
Keep in mind that not all search engine tools are created equal. Advanced smart optimization technology can help you get a leg up on the competition by automatically adjusting your keywords so your campaigns are always performing. And don’t forget to create content with SEO in mind to augment your paid search efforts and boost your ability to reach your target audience of in-market auto shoppers.
Reviews Matter for Younger Car Buyers
The stats don’t lie, and for younger consumers that means that dealership reviews are a top influencer in the car buying process. Those under 34 are three-times more likely to use dealership reviews as part of their research process, compared to those 55+.
Tool #2: Use Reviews to Improve Operations
Mistakes happen, but it is how you handle those mistakes that seem to resonate with car buyers. As such, it behooves you to monitor and respond to negative online reviews promptly. Better yet, respond to a negative review with a solution to demonstrate your commitment to stellar customer service.
Which means you need to be on it with your listings and review management. Leverage both good and bad customer feedback to drive continuous improvements to your operations and watch your review ratings skyrocket.
Social Media Use Isn’t Slowing Down
Hands down, Facebook was the most preferred social media research method with a whopping 70 percent of respondents turning to this popular social site to vet their next car purchase. Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said they used Facebook Marketplace.
Tool #3: Maximize Social Media Efforts
Stepping up your social media marketing and social advertising efforts is increasingly becoming a must have dealership digital marketing technique. Highly personalized audience targeting on social media allows your dealership to reach customers in an entirely new way.
You can even use social ads to get leads delivered into your inbox. Plus social ads now offer dynamic creative so you can show more relevant ads based on the user’s search history. Gone are the days of simply posting an update on your dealers’ social site. Today, there are seemingly countless ways you can get social with your customers – from retargeted ads, educational content, mobile capabilities to video.
Dealership Websites Are a Key Research Tool
Visiting a dealership’s website ranked as the second most popular research method with 61 percent of car buyers using a dealership website to gather information.
Tool #4: Get Back to the Basics: Website Optimization
The best websites mirror a dealerships’ unique personality online. To do this effectively, you not only need to accurately represent your inventory, hours, staff and other departments beyond sales, you also need to button down your dealership search engine optimization and have a strong search marketing strategy for PPC ads. Don’t overlook the value of quality images and video, unique and educational content, and a mobile-friendly site. With the right tweaks, losing a customer to a bad website or not being found on search can easily be prevented.
The sweltering summer months are the opportune time to fine tune your dealership digital marketing prowess. Refreshing your dealership digital marketing strategy to better align with modern-day automotive consumer behavior along with the latest digital marketing technologies will help you and snag those additional sales in the summer and all year long.
Contact us to learn more about our dealership digital marketing solutions to drive leads and awareness for your dealership.