Razsor, the digital marketing company has put together five tips for dealers looking to improve their online strategy in 2012.
The company quoted a media and telecoms watchdog Ofcom which shows that UK consumers spend more than 12 hours a week online.
Andrew Whitehair, Razsor managing director, said: "It took time, but in 2011 brands and businesses finally realised that if their audience is online on Facebook, Twitter, discussion forums or the mobile web, that is also where they must be.
"Digital marketing can be incredibly daunting, but the right presence online is critical to being seen by consumers and the feedback consumers give online is invaluable.
"Dealers should start listening and if possible, engaging, as soon as they can to ensure they stay relevant in the digital landscape.”
Razsor’s top five tips for 2012
1. Changing consumer behaviour
In a few short years social media and smartphones have revolutionised the way consumers behave. Smartphones mean that people are constantly connected and social networks allow consumers to engage with both peers and businesses easily. Consumers are now checking prices on the internet via their phone while on the forecourt. Nearly three-quarters of consumers Razsor asked said they use their mobile phone for research before purchasing something. Dealers need to fully understand this changing consumer behaviour to engage with consumers, drive web traffic and ultimately sales.
2. Listen and learn
The first step to participating in the digital conversations around you is listening. Organise your team so that you are well placed to listen to all the conversations going on around you. For some dealers, this may mean having a dedicated head of digital communications. Remember, online is always ‘on’. Consumers may be interacting with you at any time of the day or week, whether you are aware of it or not, so start listening to these conversations as soon as possible.
3. Digital strategy as part of business strategy
Digital marketing does not happen in isolation. Your digital strategy should feed into your overall business strategy, with business-related key performance indicators (KPIs). When measuring your digital marketing activity make sure your measuring the right thing to achieve these business KPIs.
4. Rapid response
In the new social and mobile world consumers now expect quick responses to their enquiries. Of course this usually includes email response, but there are also a number of new ways to interact with customers. If they tweet you, tweet back. Encourage questions via your Facebook page. Making live chat services available on your website creates a quick way to talk to your customers. Razsor recently found that 67% of people asked would be likely to spend more money with dealers they consider to be responsive.
5. Back to basics
The basics in digital, mobile and social marketing are still the same as traditional marketing. Honest, clear descriptions of your cars, fair pricing, a website that is easy to navigate and a strong understanding of your audience will be as crucial in 2012 as ever.