Advancements in web and digital technology have paved a new way for dealers to communicate with customers and prospects. From e-mail notification and social media, to search engine optimization and mobile technology, new doors are opening every day for dealers to improve their customer interaction and build better relationships. The local community is online and it’s up to dealers to get the attention of potential and existing customers on the street and in the virtual world.
What’s the Buzz about Multiple Channels?
Multi-channel advertising programs improve key areas critical to car dealerships and are necessary in developing relationships with the customer. The three areas of interest are:
- - Customer retention
- - Customer value over time
- - Customer satisfaction
Businesses that don’t employ multi-channel strategies quickly fall behind in these areas. This means that businesses that are not engaged with customers and prospects in the virtual world have lost valuable time in online interaction, developing relationships, and promoting their brands.
So What is Multi-Channel Marketing?
Simply put, it means using more than one form of media to promote a dealership. With a marketing world that has gone online, it is critical to make use of all the available tools to generate qualified leads. For example, you probably already have a website; try adding a blog that provides useful information about simple car care, travel preparation tips or green technology and introducing hybrid cars. These posts should be trending topics that draw the attention of local web users and potentially new customers, engaging them in a two-way conversation that becomes a critical point of contact. These are the building blocks of the new customer relationship.
The success of a multi-channel program requires a strong and consistent message across a wide spectrum of media, including:
- - Outdoor display
- - Newspaper advertising
- - Coupon mailers
- - Coupon magazines
- - Direct mail
- - Broadcast television
- - Radio
- - Search engine marketing (SEM)
- - Search engine optimization (SEO)
- - Google AdWords
- - Banner advertising networks
- - Social media
- - Company blogs
- - Chat
- - Online video promotions
- - Mobile technology
- - E-mail notification
- - Company web sites
Social Media Is The New Water Cooler
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have become the new gathering places where people share their lives and experiences . When your company decides to make the move to social media, take the time meet your new neighbors and make friends before filling your wall with services, products and special offers. Just like the conversation at the cooler, it’s very easy to turn people off by promoting your business too aggressively. And with the addition of mobile technology, social sites are a prime target for a paid advertising programs. Here, dealers can promote rebates, list available pre-owned cars and introduce the latest new hybrid auto coming onto the market, complete with video and testimonials. When customers make a purchase and have a good experience, they’ll proudly show their new car to friends and followers through social networking and give the dealership an invaluable word-of-mouth recommendation or review.
The Power Behind Expansion
Expanding marketing efforts into four or more channels has the potential to increase your website traffic. With more customers visiting your website, the opportunity to convert traffic into qualified leads is now greater than ever.
Adding channels to an existing marketing program will require more effort and strategy. It will involve the use of special website tools and a strong commitment to social networking. If this type of work is not your area of expertise, you can make use of online advertising management programs or contact marketing agencies that specialize in multi-channel marketing for the automotive industry. If you already have online strategies in place like search engine optimization, search engine marketing or reputation management, then making the jump to multi-channel marketing will be a natural extension for your marketing team.
Multichannel Marketing Increases Sales and Retention
– Dealer Refresh, August 17, 2012