A recent straw poll carried out by Search Optics, a global digital marketing provider, showed that while dealers are shifting their marketing spend from traditional promotions to digital marketing, there is a growing need for online originality to truly embrace a ‘mobile first’ mentality in order differentiate themselves from competitors.
Around 30 dealers attending a motor trade show were asked what kind of marketing activity they currently undertake.
The top three activities, in rank order, were website (95%), social media (79%), and online advertising (75%).
Talking to the delegates, we found that for many dealers, marketing strategy was driven not only by consumer behaviour, but also by the car manufacturers.
For many motor dealers the car manufacturer dictates how the website looks, what content is published, and even which digital suppliers they should use.
This may help dealers appreciate digital marketing and benefit from the support, but it may not be the best way to help distinguish themselves amongst the competition.
The results from the poll also showed that the majority of dealers display similar content and provide the same functionality on their websites.
Unsurprisingly, more than 95% of the dealers used their website to list current stock, 75% had an online service booking functionality, and another 75% displayed social media links.
However, the poll demonstrated that many dealers underutilise high-demand functions, such as live chat, online consumer credit checking, and online demonstration booking.
Monitoring a return on investment and maximising digital marketing campaign results is certainly becoming a priority for many motor traders.
Nearly 80% of the participating dealers staff a dedicated marketing person to develop, manage, and measure the results of all digital marketing activity.
Nearly half of the dealers said that they monitor the number of visitors to their website on a daily basis, and around a quarter of them review key SEO words and paid searches every day.
Digital marketing analytics can determine whether ongoing activity or specific campaigns have been successful or not. The added benefit is that it can be a simple operation and it is also accurate, so that you can actually calculate the cost to generate each lead.”
Nevertheless, when asked if there was one marketing activity that they think they could improve upon, the majority (13%) suggested their social media strategy needed enhancing.
Furthermore, although 75% of the dealers claimed to be ‘mobile ready’, 13% said this is an area that they can improve upon.
I don’t believe that everyone really understands what mobile ready really means.
It is not simply about having a website that is accessible across all devices, but it is about being at the top of the page in the search, and providing the right information, to the right customer, at the right time.
Ultimately this is how you can differentiate yourself, and get a prospective customer to make the sale with you and not your competitor.
Author: David James (pictured), managing director, Search Optics UK