Consumer demand isn’t always consistent. Fluctuating buying trends, global financial dynamics, and other influences have a big impact on the economics of running a dealership, resulting in times of both boom and bust for your business.
During times of diminished interest when consumers are less inclined to buy, you have two choices. You can wait out the downturn and hope that the situation improves, or you can take matters into your own hands and turn up the marketing intensity to give shoppers more reasons to buy.
With digital marketing, you don’t have to take the passive approach—relying on your website and word of mouth alone to bring customers back. You can take control of consumer demand to maintain sales and reach your revenue goals.
This article will help you identify and prioritize your marketing needs in an ever-changing and inconsistent market. It will outline ways you can reach, re-engage, and convert shoppers to keep consumer demand more consistent through the following topics:
- The Basics of Digital Marketing
- Finding the Best Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Dealership
- Digital Marketing Strategies
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Targeted Digital Advertising
- Automated Email Marketing
The Basics of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is the sum total of several interconnected marketing disciplines. It’s a collection of strategies that can be tailored to a variety of marketing channels, empowering your dealership to consistently connect with online leads and meet sales and revenue projections.
When consumer demand dips, digital marketing allows you to dive into actual consumer data to understand which platforms shoppers are using to search online, and then target them with specific content tailored to their interests.
It’s a proactive approach to marketing that puts you in control of your business to generate more interest, connect with more potential customers, and increase consumer demand. It’s one of the best ways you can align your content with actual consumer searches on the internet.
Finding the Best Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Dealership
Because digital marketing encompasses such a wide range of marketing channels and tactics, it’s important to prioritize your business objectives and identify the most effective marketing channels to meet your goals.
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s not a matter of which method is most effective, but rather which is most applicable to your circumstances and goals—which combination of digital marketing strategies will bring the most benefit to your business.
The best place to start is to identify your dealership’s most pressing marketing needs, which may include the following:
- Building Brand Awareness and Credibility (Search Engine Optimization)
- Driving Qualified Traffic to Your Website (Search Engine Marketing)
- Controlling Your Brand’s Social Narrative (Paid Social Media Marketing)
- Engaging the Right Customer at the Right Time (Targeted Digital Advertising)
- Reminding Existing Customers About Your Business (Automated Email Marketing)
While you don’t need to dive into every possible marketing platform, you also shouldn’t put all your focus on one channel and miss out on the benefits of a holistic digital marketing approach. Combining different strategies and channels will improve your overall results.
As you implement your multi-tier marketing approach, it’s also important to ensure that your messaging and branding remain consistent across all platforms to avoid confusing shoppers. Staying consistent with your brand, design, and messaging across your marketing efforts will drive customers to your website and help you to nurture shoppers through your sales funnel.
Digital Marketing Strategies
Consider the following digital marketing tactics and how each (both individually and in combination with other strategies) can help you to fulfill your business and marketing goals.
Search Engine Optimization
It’s no secret that organic search is the foundation of a successful online presence. In fact, websites at the top of the search results page secure as much as 42% of web traffic, according to Bing, a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft. If you’re not seeing a lot of traffic on your website, it may be because you’re being outranked in search results by your competitors. This is a telltale sign that you may need to improve your dealership’s searchability online.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making calculated changes to your website content to increase visibility on search engines and drive more traffic to your website. By catering your website content to answer common consumer questions through keywords, copy marketing, link building, and meta descriptions, you can improve your search ranking and increase clicks on your website.
Still, SEO is about more than online visibility alone. It’s about building brand recognition and trust with your shoppers. It allows you to generate more leads, but it also helps you to establish your brand as an authority online and in the minds of your consumers by returning helpful results to their questions and acting as a voice of authority in your industry.
Elements of SEO
Implement the following tried-and-true SEO elements as part of your digital marketing strategy and bring more shoppers to your website.
When you create content for your website, do it with the intention of addressing shopper search inquiries. Incorporate keywords that relate to your business, including terms that relate to specific inventory that you carry, specific services you offer, and your location.
Run a competitor analysis for keywords to see what keywords other dealers are targeting and how well they perform. Choose keywords that have a low competition, and go beyond basic terms to target the phrases used by shoppers who have a strong intent to buy.
There’s a balance between appealing to your audience with a few well-placed keywords and overstuffing your content to the point that it’s unhelpful. Don’t just use one or two keywords. Try to include words that represent various ways customers search for a topic. Try to answer the primary question they searched for, as well as similar questions on the topic.
Website Content Marketing
When shoppers stay on your site longer, it signals to search engines that your website is a reliable resource. Generate copy that’s well-thought-out and engages your shoppers in the form of blog articles and interesting and informative web pages. In other words, don’t just create copy for the sake of adding something to your site.
This is your opportunity to engage your audience and improve your search results. Focus on solving problems, answering questions, and being descriptive. Start with a specific goal in mind and limit your topics to one per page or per article. Of course, this is also a great opportunity to use your keywords and include links to relevant posts and other pages on your website.
Link building, the process of creating inbound links that bring in new users from other platforms and websites, is fundamental to a good SEO strategy. It signals to Google and other search engines that your site is worth being recommended by placing value on backlink equity to build shopper trust. It also helps you to build domain authority by contributing content to other industry websites, newsletters, and online magazines to secure links back to your site.
In order to build valuable backlinks, you have to create content that’s worth sharing. Similar to website content marketing, your blogs and webpages should address specific industry questions and audience needs to draw interest from other users. You should also choose sites that are related to your business and have a higher domain authority.
To bring in the maximum amount of users, it’s important to link your website to your dealership’s social media profiles and focus on creating linkable assets, such as infographics, which are 30x more likely to be read and can be picked up easily by other publications.
Meta descriptions are HTML tags that you read when a search engine recommends your site. It’s the quick description of your page that helps browsers decide whether your webpage content will meet their needs. Meta descriptions appear below your webpage title and URL in search results and give your dealership a first real opportunity to sell your shoppers on your website’s content—a first chance to make a first impression that shoppers should buy from you.
SEO best practices recommend that meta descriptions should be between 140 and 160 characters to ensure that copy doesn’t get cut off for the reader. They should include a unique selling point for that particular webpage and should offer a compelling reason why shoppers should click on your link over another. They should also include keywords to help improve your site’s search ranking.
Search Engine Marketing
Not every shopper who clicks on your site through a search engine result is ready to make a purchase. In fact, most won’t be, especially in a market where buyers are scarce. During these times, you need to take the extra step to stand out from your organic search results competition and target actual qualified leads.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the method of partnering with search engines to market your dealership through pay-per-click (PPC) ads. You still take advantage of finding leads through search engine results—the primary way people find inventory and dealership services—but now, you’re guaranteeing that results will appear at the top of the page.
While organic rankings achieve long-term success, SEM works quickly to build your brand presence. It gives you the unique ability to see what your potential customers are searching for, so you can closely monitor your search terms for strong insights into consumer psychology. Essentially, SEM allows you to optimize your online ads and improve your overall marketing strategy.
SEM is also cost-effective because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. In fact, an economic impact report revealed SEM ads generate an average of $2 for every $1 spent, making them extremely effective at driving click-throughs and conversions while reducing costs per acquisition and improving ROI. In this way, SEM levels the playing field between big companies and smaller dealerships. Still, there are a few things you can do to improve your SEM strategy.
Search Engine Marketing Best Practices
When implementing a strong SEM strategy, it’s important to explore your targeting options. Segment your audience by demographic, geography, online behavior, interests, etc. and schedule ads to appear during business hours and at times when more people will search for and see them. You should also set your ads to run in close proximity to your dealership in order to target local customers.
When it comes to ad copy, your primary goal is to educate your audience. Not only does this allow you to tailor your ads to provide a specific service, but consumers are 131% more likely to make a purchase after reading educational content. You should also try to write copy that’s concise and to the point. Do this by writing up to three headlines and limiting them to 30 characters each, as well as two description blocks that are 90 characters each.
It’s also best practice to continuously monitor and tweak your ad bid amount—the money you’re willing to spend on a specific keyword when a lead clicks on your ad—depending on how your ads are performing. You may also choose to run ads that include your business name to prevent competitors from stealing your traffic.
Social Media Marketing
Is your dealership active on social media, but you’re still not seeing a lot of engagement on your posts or traffic back to your website? Social media marketing complements your other marketing efforts, including SEO, giving you more control over your social presence to bring in new shoppers and engage with them on a platform that encourages them to take action.
If you don’t have a large social following, don’t worry. Paid ads are showcased in your shoppers’ feeds often enough to interrupt mindless scrolling and ensure that the effort you place in your social presence is not wasted. As a dealership, you can take this opportunity to post about your services and inventory, and include links back to your website where shoppers can further engage with your content and offerings.
Paid ads are also highly effective. In fact, almost half of social media users have made a purchase after seeing and clicking on a paid ad.
Types of Social Media Ads
Instead of trying to market on every social platform, focus on a few social media types and platforms that will help you engage with your target audience. For example, photos are a great way to catch the eye of social media users as they scroll through their feed. Videos can help you showcase your inventory and give shoppers a glimpse into what it might be like to see a unit in person. And carousels are an effective way to show off multiple units in a single post. As you find the right mix of social media types for your dealership, get to know as much as you can about each platform.
- 2 billion active monthly users
- 65.9% of users log in daily
- Third most-visited website in the world
- Most popular with boomers, Gen X and millennials
- 1.1 billion active monthly users
- Most popular with millennials and Gen Z
- 319 million monthly active users
- Most popular with Gen X and millennials, especially male
Social Media Marketing Best Practices
Whether you use photos, video, or carousels, go with graphics that will catch the attention of potential customers as they scroll through their feeds. Because each audience member will be in a different stage of the buying funnel, use each platform’s segmentation and targeting tools to match the right shoppers with the right ads to maximize your social media marketing spend.
Consider the demographics that use each social channel and ask whether or not they are your ideal audience? Facebook and Twitter are the top social platforms to discover new products and services, while LinkedIn caters to building social connections, and Twitter favors sharing news. No matter where you share your ads, make sure that each post aligns with your brand to keep your dealership top of mind.
Targeted Digital Advertising
Before you can deliver truly personalized digital marketing experience, you have to identify your ideal audience. Most often, that includes knowing the demographics, interests and locations of the people you want to target. With this information, you can know who is most likely to see your ads and select the appropriate advertising platforms to cater to your audience.
Because your ads may be more effective where potential customers live, work and recreate, geofencing, a type of targeted digital advertising, allows you to set the parameters of your advertising within a specific geographical location, such as the area surrounding your dealership.
Targeted Digital Advertising Best Practices
Identify high-traffic areas frequented by RV enthusiasts, such as competing dealerships, camping sites, RV shows and outdoor events. Craft geofences around these locations to target a concentrated audience that’s actively interested in RVs. Eighty percent of consumers will use their mobile phone inside of a physical location to look up product reviews, compare prices and research other stores.
Once you’ve crafted your specific geofences, tailor your marketing messages based on the specific interests and behaviors of the audience within those areas. Offer exclusive promotions or discounts to individuals within the virtual boundaries, incentivizing them to visit your dealership.
You should also seek to leverage geofencing during industry events, rallies or expos to intercept potential customers. Highlight your dealership’s unique offerings and promotions to those attending industry events, and those in the immediate area surrounding events, to gain a competitive edge in real-time.
When you have a relevant message to deliver to your audience, implement geofencing to trigger timely news, information, and promotions, such as maintenance reminders or special offers, when customers enter predefined areas. You can also enhance your dealership’s local search visibility by integrating geofencing with local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. When potential customers are in proximity, ensure your dealership appears prominently in their online searches.
As with any good digital marketing campaign, follow up and analyze results to determine effectiveness or your targeted digital marketing and make changes to optimize your ad spend. Utilize analytics to track and understand customer behavior, measure foot traffic to your dealership, and refine your strategy based on real-time insights.
Automated Email Marketing
Digital marketing is an ongoing effort—a never-ending battle for your customers’ business. Automated email marketing empowers you with simple, effective tools to nurture and follow up with leads, and keep invested in existing customer relationships. Automated email marketing is an essential part of engaging with shoppers who have clicked on a CTA or made a purchase.
Automated email marketing is the practice of sending automated emails to your customers after they have completed a specific action. It’s one of your best resources for nurturing customer loyalty and converting your existing customer base into a rich source of revenue. In fact, Constant Contact reports that email marketing generates an average $38 in revenue for every dollar spent.
Automating your email marketing is a great way to promote your brand and keep your products and your dealership top of mind for potential customers. It keeps your content in front of customers through emails that are personalized to their interests, always inviting them to follow up, make a trade-in, or take the next step down the path to purchase.
Automated Email Marketing Best Practices
Because you will be sending emails to your customers depending on their specific actions, the first thing to do is segment your emails by audience type, or the specific actions they complete. This simple step may help you to increase your revenue by as much as 760%, according to a report by Campaign Monitor.
As you choose which email to send to which audience members, be sure to consider the complete customer journey. When a shopper places a unit or item in their online cart, send a follow-up email. When a customer makes a purchase, send an email thanking them for their business. When a customer has equity in their unit or may be interested in an upgrade, send an email offering a trade-in. This type of comprehensive email marketing engages each audience type and continues to nurture each customer, no matter where they are in the buying journey.
Of course, as with every type of digital marketing, it’s a best practice to review your reporting metrics, including opt-outs, and make changes to your email campaigns to optimize open rates and click-throughs.
Drive Consumer Demand
Consumer demand isn’t always consistent, but digital marketing can help you take control of your marketing to maintain sales and reach your revenue goals. Carefully consider each type of digital marketing tactic, identify your dealership’s needs, review these best practices, and implement the right mix of digital marketing strategies to funnel shoppers to your dealership. Even during times of inconsistency, digital marketing can help you promote your brand, bring awareness to your business, and drive consumer demand.
If you are concerned about the time and resources required to manage a full-scale digital marketing strategy, you may consider outsourcing to a digital marketing partner to handle the day-to-day requirements of launching and optimizing your marketing campaigns.
One of the main benefits of working with InteractRV as a digital marketing partner is gaining access to our team of experts. These professionals have experience and knowledge in all aspects of digital marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, paid advertising, email campaigns and more. Our experts would help you develop a comprehensive strategy that suits your specific needs and goals.