From preventative maintenance to tire changes, vehicle service is one of the few things for a car dealership that will never exist entirely online. But that’s no reason to ignore digital marketing when it comes to promoting your parts and service business plus building dealership brand affinity and customer loyalty.
After all, in our increasingly digital world, consumers are more connected than ever before. We’ve got three ways you can use digital marketing channels to accelerate your sales. Capture and connect with consumers by reaching them on their screens with useful email reminders, establishing trust, and providing useful, engaging content.
1. Send reminders and notifications via email, and make online scheduling seamless.
For your dealership to stay top-of-mind with consumers, your digital marketing plan needs to include frequent communication touchpoints. However, to avoid becoming nuisance, these messages must be both valuable and relevant.
Whether a customer is trying to keep an aging vehicle going or just needs routine maintenance on a new model, there is no shortage of communication opportunities in the service world. And studies show, they want to hear from you. Roughly 33% of auto service customers rely on maintenance, service, and recall notifications.
Though you may already be sending out postcards and coupons through direct mail, consider expanding these messages to email marketing. This will make it easy for customers to save, find, and forward your reminders and notifications. And, you can expand your messages beyond your mailing lists by including everything from recall information to special offers on your website. A MarketingCharts study showed that account related and post-purchase emails have a high read rate.
You can take convenience a step further by allowing customers to schedule their appointments online. A J.D. Power Customer Service Index survey showed that online scheduling boosts customer satisfaction. You could even offer a service clinic with a complimentary multi-point inspection for loyal customers. Leveraging digital marketing channels for targeted customer communications can help you drive revenue for your fixed operations, while also creating service into sales opportunities for trade-in offers.
2. Build trust with content that engages.
It’s no secret that consumers are often skeptical of auto repair shops and dealership service centers. According to a AAA survey, two out of three drivers don’t trust them. This is due in no small part to news exposés showing how some mechanics at auto repair shops pad their bills or recommend unnecessary, expensive service. In one such story, ABC News recommended that “consumers to be well-versed in how a car works to avoid being ripped off at the auto repair shop.” That’s easier said than done. Most people don’t have the time or aptitude to learn about the innerworkings of their vehicles, and many vehicles utilize complex computer systems beyond the capacity of home mechanics.
Rather than get defensive, dealership service centers should demonstrate that they’re not only knowledgeable and manufacturer certified, but reputable, too. And when it comes to building trust, it’s not about telling, it’s about showing. Fortunately, digital marketing can make this easier. Your dealership content strategy is a great place to start.
Consider developing a video content series where you show customers how simple repairs are performed in your service center. Help them identify the sources of anxiety-inducing sounds to become a more informed customer. This video content could live on your website, be posted to your social media pages, or even be featured as a piece of branded content on a trusted network.
Again, the key with digital marketing is to build trust—and building trust means treating your customers as partners. Demystifying common service jobs and helping them understand how your dealership sources the quality parts they need can go a long way towards building that trust.
3. Become the go-to source for useful information.
You can create content, video or otherwise, not only to promote your business or showcase your service center abilities, but also to educate and inform your customers. According to Google and Ipsos Micro-Moments studies, 70% of consumers would rather learn about products through content than through traditional advertising. With the rise of mobile, content is influencing shoppers more than ever before—and businesses that are providing web content are reaping the rewards. A Micro-Moment survey showed that when the information is valuable, 51% of smartphone users have purchased products or services from a company/brand other than the one they intended to.
The key to creating compelling content is to make sure that it adds value for viewers. For example, instead of showcasing an accessory on a top model, show the audience how the accessory works and makes their life easier. DIY videos are increasingly popular, featured heavily on video sites like YouTube, and shared often on social media sites such as Facebook. Dealership service centers can develop a video series highlighting some of the features that make your service center stand out: comfortable long, shuttle or loaner car service, knowledgeable and certified technicians.
Need help developing the digital marketing strategies that will attract and retain customers? We can help! We have the competitive insights, industry expertise, and automotive marketing solutions to drive sales.