Automotive Advertising Agencies Focus on People Using Social Media Vs Product or Price

The role of the automotive advertising agency has changed to follow the new rules of the road on the Internet Super Highway. Newly empowered consumers are no longer limited to shopping for a vehicle using information provided by self serving auto dealers pushing information to them using conventional media like radio, T.V. or newspaper. Social media has allowed car shoppers to gather information from like minded customers before, during and after their shopping and/or buying experience. These online friends are playing an increasing role in the car shopping process and automotive advertising agencies are using them to influence buyers.

The new pull / push nature of the market powered by the Internet requires automotive advertising agencies to focus on people vs. product or price. Car shoppers are following their own agendas when pulling information from the world wide web that no longer requires them to rely on an auto dealer as the source. Today’s online shoppers prioritize people when selecting a dealership they are willing to do business with. That is not to suggest that product and price aren’t important. It simply suggests that all systems start and end with people and that people are the true asset of any auto dealer, automotive advertising agency or vendor!

The most obvious evidence of the priority that people play in the auto shopping/buying/service experience is the explosive growth that social media has enjoyed as a marketing media vs. conventional radio, T.V. and print that used to dominate the automotive advertising landscape. Automotive advertising agencies recognize that people have always preferred to do business with people that they like and social networking has expanded the spheres of influence of car shoppers/buyers to include their online friends.

The market is a conversation amongst friends before, during and after the car shopping/buying/ service cycle. Auto dealers that have friends in the social networking communities are more likely to be invited to participate in the dialogue. More specifically, automotive advertising agencies realize that it is difficult to befriend a building or a website! It is the people that work at the dealership to support their families that have the story to tell to their friends and who will earn the sale — not the Chevrolet, Toyota, Mercedes, etc. — or the extended service hours and weekly specials. Saturday service hours have no appeal if the customers don’t like or trust the people that they are handing their keys to. Having a friend in the car business is a relief that trumps the best process, product or price for the average car buyer.

Automotive advertising agencies also recognize that people play a role in both the real and virtual world showroom experience which will be reflected in the number of units sold and their job performance at the end of the month. First impressions are irretrievable and they are not limited to a large inventory, clean showroom or a dealer centric selling system that processes customers in sales and/or service. The atmosphere in a well run dealership reflects the morale of the staff in sales and service which directly impacts the customers that an automotive advertising agency drives to the dealership.

A smiling sales person, service writer, operator and cashier can’t be forced as a part of policy — much like customer satisfaction can’t be bought or taken for granted by simply offering the best price; it must be earned. It is earned when a dealer or manager appreciates the individual and team contributions of his staff — and tells them so on a regular basis! It is maintained by HR departments and hiring practices that select personality over prior auto sales experience with compensation plans that reflect individual contributions along with job descriptions and defined areas of responsibility that are managed and monitored by a caring management team.

Employee retention is directly linked to customer satisfaction and customer retention and neither can be taken for granted. Automotive advertising agencies are counseling their auto dealer clients to invest in their people before, during and after they are hired to compliment their investments in automotive advertising. It is their people that will represent their dealership and it is their people who will sell their cars and service to a growing list of friends and customers.

Automotive advertising agencies have extended their areas of responsibility to include their involvement in all aspects of day to day operations at an auto dealership. Most selling systems and related processes include a meeting and greeting, an initial manager T.O. to qualify the customer’s needs, an inventory and facility walk, a test drive, a feature benefit presentation, a desking procedure, a manager T.O., negotiations, an F&I introduction, a delivery procedure and service introduction. All of these steps are then supported by a state of the art CRM/ILM, DMS and follow up system. Unfortunately, all of these well thought out procedures are only as good as the sales person who entered the customer into the system and/or who is expected to follow up if not sold or who is relied on to solicit future service and referrals.

All of these actions reflect on the job performance of the automotive advertising agency and they must be addressed as part of their areas of responsibility. Automotive advertising agencies recognize that sales training is all too often limited to a few weeks immediately after the hire and/or some outsourced trainer hired to pump up the staff. Given the complexity of a well planned selling system — as described above — how can a new hire be expected to retain everything that they need to know? Add product information and an understanding of how human nature impacts the negotiation process and — once again — the investment in the people becomes self evident.

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Advantages of Doing Email Marketing For Automotive Dealers

Email Marketing helps automotive dealers to enhance relationship with existing customer base and to acquire new customers. It enables automotive dealers to target specific group of customers to share information timely and affordably. Adopting E-mail marketing strategy enables automotive dealers to directly contact their potential customers, promote business, and stay ahead of competitors. Unlike many traditional marketing methods, E-mail marketing is quick, convenient, and a trackable form of communication.

Efficient and Effective Communication Way
Apart from directly getting in touch with large database of existing customers, Email Marketing helps automotive dealers to grow new business opportunities. It is ‘push’ based marketing method enabling dealers to reach a substantial set of customers in shorter delivery time. A well designed customized content in email in Text or HTML format gives a personal touch that is sure to cast a good impression on the new and existing customers. Automotive dealers can also directly receive valuable feedback from the customers through emails. A targeted email can helps to know specific requirements of customers. Sending questionnaires through emails can help gain valuable information from customers.

Remains In Touch With Customers On A Regular Basis
Maintaining relations with existing customer base is important for any automotive dealer. Email marketing is convenient and easy way to get in touch with customers and keep them informed about various schemes, services, products, and events etc that are launched by automotive dealer. Staying in touch with customers through emails helps to build long-term relationships and increase the repetitive customers. Existing customer can also refer the dealer to their friends, relatives, and known persons thereby gaining the new customers. As e-mail marketing is easy, reliable, and quick way to reach large customer base, the automotive dealers can remain in contact with the customers on a regular basis. Keeping in contact with customers can put the dealers ahead of their competitors.

Grows Loyalty within Existing Customer Database
Maintaining regular contact with customers can increase their loyalty to automotive dealer’s business. Sending newsletters, latest updates of dealer’s activities, developments in automobile sector, offers, launch of new models of cars etc through emails can help to improve customer’s loyalty towards the dealer. Emails can be sent to existing customers on their birthdays, anniversaries, and festivals, and also informing about new schemes launched in recent past. This can make the customer feel special for being associated with dealer and increases the loyalty in return. It helps to persuade customers, by reminding the particular automotive dealer on his next any automobile purchase.

Cost Effective
Email Marketing is a useful way to communicate online and reach customers because of its cost-effectiveness. Dealers need to spend relatively low to send emails to their customers compared to other forms of communication media. Employing email-marketing technique can provide good return on investment (ROI). Also, email-marketing enables to track what customers are reading in the emails. The dealers can analyze the effectiveness of email marketing strategy being used for whether it works out or not.

Email marketing is an effective online marketing tool for automotive business to reach a large existing customer base, to include new customers and drive sales. Automotive dealers can leverage email marketing to grow business from the existing customer base and to acquire new customers as well.

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Importance of Online Reviews For Automotive Dealership Sales

Online reviews on automotive dealer’s website are valued features and play a key role in influencing the customer’s automotive buying decision. Online reviews are sought after by customers using Internet at every stage of car buying process, as they offer existing customer experiences on vehicle models, services, policies etc of particular automotive dealers. It is important to include online reviews and testimonials in dealer websites as they help in retaining the existing customers and builds initial trust among potential customers. It helps to increase sales as prospective customers prefer to deal with dealers they can trust.

Positive Impacts:
Online reviews positively impact the dealership sales by increasing the confidence among both existing and potential customers.

Credibility
Potential customers perceive online reviews as authentic, genuine opinions from other customers and feel that they are receiving accurate information. They provide an effective way for dealers to communicate with customers. A good number of positive reviews on dealer website mentioning satisfactory experiences of customers are likely to instill confidence among potential customers. The potential customer can feel more comfortable and satisfied when reading a comprehensive evaluation of the dealer from a large number of customers. Even, the way dealers handle negative reviews by customers by quickly and efficiently resolving problems increases the trustworthiness of the dealers. It is likely that such unhappy customers will revert back to the same dealer.

Included In Consideration Set
The customers usually have a pre-defined set of vehicles that they prefer to buy. The automotive dealers in order to increase their sales needs to persuade the customers to alter their consideration set. The customer generated content like vehicle ratings and reviews, consumer ratings and reviews, dealer ratings and reviews can be effectively used by automotive dealers to alter the consideration set of these automotive internet users. The information given through dealer ratings and reviews can effectively target the new-vehicle buying customer segment. The reviews enhance dealer consideration among customers as both positive and negative reviews increases awareness level of the particular dealer. Also, positive reviews improve the attitude of customers towards dealers. Thus, expanding the consideration set helps to increase automotive dealership sales.

Reassurance
The online reviews and testimonials at automotive dealer website provide reassurance to the new customers that the dealer stands for professionalism, quality, credibility, and security. Reviews by previous customers reassure the potential customers that it is safe to deal with this dealer and there is commitment to customer’s privacy. Providing reviews on dealership website also increases conversion rates as it increases trust and confidence among first time visitors. Thus, existing and new customers will confide upon the dealership that helps to increase sales.

Negative Impacts If Not Monitored:
The negative online reviews can have impact on the attitude of customers towards automotive dealers.

Left Out From Consideration Set
Online reviews influence the purchasing decisions of automotive internet users. Also, they are checked while researching for a particular car on the Internet. Thus, ignoring or not monitoring the online reviews means failing to effectively target the large segment of automotive internet users and getting left out from user’s consideration. Poor online reviews and testimonials can fail to persuade, build confidence and trust among first time visitors and lose out on important prospective customers.

Needs More Time To Convince The Buyer
Online reviews and testimonials indicate the satisfaction of other customers due to better services and quality offered by dealer. Potential customers reading improperly monitored reviews are likely to view the dealer as less reliable and not trustable. Thus, the dealers may have to put in more efforts and time to convince the customers.

As online reviews are like online conversations between customers, automotive dealers need to actively get involved in them that can result in sales growth. The automotive dealers can leverage online reviews and testimonials by existing customers to generate new customers by efficiently targeting them at each step of car buying process.

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Online Display Advertising For Automotive Dealership Owners

Online display advertising provides a targeted and direct response approach that help to effectively target segment specific audiences and increase brand awareness. According to IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, the total Internet advertising revenue for 2009 was $22.7 billion. While online display advertising accounted for 35% or $ 8.0 billion of the total Internet advertising revenue for 2009. The automotive advertisers accounted for 11% or $2.5 billion of total Internet Advertising expenses in 2009. Thus, online display advertising that includes display banner ads, rich media, digital video, and sponsorship links can be effectively used by automotive dealers to target customers based on website context, geographic location, specific demographic information, and user behavior.

Advertisement Is Based On:
Advertisements based on demographic information, website context, and geographic location can help narrow down and pin point specific customer segment.

Website Context
Contextually relevant advertisements can help automotive dealers to better target the potential customers as they are willingly showing interest by viewing specific themed areas. Automotive dealers can effectively target those customers searching for new cars, pre-owned cars etc on Internet by positioning advertisement based on website context. Also, the website viewers are likely to respond positively or pay more attention to such theme related advertisements.

Buyer Geographic Location
Display advertisements based on user location allows automotive dealers to effectively target potential customers in local area, geographic region, or in any specific city. Delivering customized advertisements with proper relevance within a specific region or city generates interest, engages, and attracts potential customers.

Buyer Demographic Information
Display advertisements based on specific demographic information like industry, profession, age group, household income, gender etc can help automotive dealers effectively reach to a specific customer segment. Demographic advertisements informing about various offers, coupons etc given by automotive dealer can appeal to a variety of market segment. Display advertisements based on specific demographic information can help grab attention of key audiences and turn them into potential customers.

Advantages:
Online display advertising allows automotive dealers to reach a wider segment of customers in a limited advertising budget.

Increases Brand Awareness
Effectively employing online display advertising helps to create awareness about the automotive dealer that results in building a brand image in the long run. Positioning creative and relevant advertisements to specific segment help to effectively target potential customers, increase automotive dealer exposure, and increase online traffic leading to higher conversion rate. However, even if the customer does not click on ads, it increases brand awareness about dealer. As display advertising ensures that potential customers get to know about the services and inventory offered by automotive dealers, the next time these customers think of making a purchase, they can prefer and trust these dealers whom they can recall.

Effectively Target Customers
One of the key benefits of online display advertisements is that automotive dealers can effectively target potential customers within their advertisement budget. Display advertisements provide a better coverage and effective targeting of potential customers as they can be based on website context, geographic location of buyer, variety of demographic information, and user behavioral information.

Increases Online Traffic
Effectively positioning relevant and engaging display advertisements to a specific segment of audiences can help drive qualified traffic to the automotive dealer website. Display advertisements in the form of banner ads, pop up ads, and contextual ads catch the attention of potential customers and increase the website traffic. Also, display advertisement increases the brand awareness that generates more traffic to the dealer website and increases the chances of customer making a purchase.

Provides Good ROI
Apart from targeting specific segment of customers, online display advertising increases online traffic and increases the chances of sale thereby provides a good Returns On Investment (ROI). Also, display advertisement effectively targets desired customer segment thereby reducing the ad spend wasted due to unwanted and ineffective impressions thus maximizing the ROI. Display advertisement facilitates tracking of display advertisement campaign by automotive dealers through metrics like clicks and conversions, impressions to better calculate the ROI.

Online display advertisements can have an impact on purchasing decision made by automotive Internet users as they provide better consumer engagement. Thus, display advertisements can be effectively used by automotive dealers to increase their brand awareness, online website traffic, website interaction time, and maximize ROI. Moreover, display advertisements also encourage users to conduct search on Internet that increases the website traffic.

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