Eight Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Sell More Cars

If we see that a customers website visit frequency is ramping up or if we receive a live-chat inquiry, we can send a special coupon offer to entice them in for a test drive. Weve achieved high response rates using those techniques.

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No.8: Use text and short message service (SMS) marketing carefully. New Federal Trade Commission rules require companies to have explicit opt-in customer permission before texting them for marketing purposes.

No.2: Identify one person at your dealership whos responsible for digital marketing. As with most things, if you leave it to a committee, it just doesnt get done.

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Outsourcing chat to a service (much like an answering service) that fields chat messages on your behalf.

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Some other automotive salespeople tell me theyve shied away from digital marketing because they dont want to spam. I counter that our digital marketing tools ensure that wedontspam.

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Your website and email templates should be based on responsive-design techniques that ensure they are automatically resized to fit any screen, whether its a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

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Ive worked in automotive sales for 15 years, and managed Internet sales for 10. Ive learned about what works and what doesnt. If you are considering expanding your digital marketing efforts for 2014, here are eight tips from the front line.

Having your staff take shifts monitoring and answering chat messages. We prefer this. Weve found most chat sessions involve inventory or pricing questions a third party cant answer.

No.7: Leverage live chat. Prospects visiting your website are actively looking for a vehicle. Their interest in buying is as high as a showroom visitors.

Take advantage of that. It likely comes with a lot of content from corporate that you can use while you learn to personalize for your market. Chevrolet provides a tool called Digital Traffic Generator from Agency 720 that I use every day.

Were at the point with our process that we can target very specifically. For instance, if we detect customers searching for SUVs at our website, we can target them with an SUV offer via email.

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The Internet manager of a successful dealership tells what she has learned in 10 years.

Margie Martin is the Internet sales manager at Friendly Chevrolet in Fridley, MN.

Our CRM system includes a live chat feature, but you can also buy these tools separately. There generally are two options.

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Outsell data shows that dealers get a 31% response rate from SMS campaigns.Thats a significantly higher than we typically see from email.

My dealership, Friendly Chevrolet in Fridley, MN, has been the No.1 Chevy dealer in our district for 16 years running. We leverage digital marketing. It has helped boost monthly sales by an average of 10 to 15 vehicles. That is more than 10% of our sales volume.

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No.4: Most dealerships start with generic newsletters one version sent to all prospects because its easy to do. Thats a great start. But over time, you should use the tool more creatively and learn to segment and personalize those newsletters. It will have a big impact on results.

So, we use text campaigns sparingly. But as our opt-in list builds, I expect to add text marketing into our mix. Outsell says text messages have a 99% read rate, and 90% are read within three minutes of delivery.

A survey found 43% of car buyers use their mobile devices on the lot to access pricing information, research features and visit a dealers website.

All customers and prospects have opted in to email marketing. Our communications are targeted and timely. For each mailing we send to our database of over 60,000 people, we might have five or six people unsubscribe. Thats incredibly low.

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No.3: While one person should lead the effort, train multiple people on how to use your digital marketing tools. Salespeople should look at this as a career builder. They should be clamoring to learn these skills.

Chevys latest advertising campaign features the slogan Shop, Click and Drive. Consumers do so much online, including shopping for cars. So invest in digital marketing.

No.6: Keep your website fresh. Its truly the face of your dealership. Virtually every customer now visits your website multiple times before they visit in person. Make a good first impression.

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No.1: Start with a strong customer relationship management system or digital engagement platform. Chances are your brand or regional dealer network provides a tool to dealers, and may even subsidize the cost.

No.5: Make sure your website and emails are mobile ready. Data from Outsell shows that more than one third of dealer emails are opened on a mobile device.

Selling vehicles is more competitive than ever, so dealers need any advantage they can get. Yet, Im amazed at how few dealerships leverage modern marketing technologies.

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Great tips! Thats why it is vital in digital marketing to have a platform like can help capture leads and get more buyers.

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