Tiffany Peeler, VP of Sales & Operations, Proactive Dealer Solutions
How far will customers drive to buy the cars they desire? Before this year, I would have said buyers stick close to home. But, it’s a seller’s market and customers are expanding their online searches to include dealerships that are hours away. How can you take advantage of this situation and appeal to those outside of your current market? Dig deeper into social media marketing.
It makes sense to increase your presence on social media platforms. The learning curve is minimal, the gratification is instant, and it’s a cheap way to advertise if you can target and define your demographic (more on that in a minute).
Dealers have seen record sales and record profits this year due to the inventory shortage. Yes, you’re making a lot of money but you’re selling fewer units. Fewer sales mean fewer holdbacks from your OEM which adversely affects ad spending. Dealer cash is also non-existent in this market, further affecting your advertising dollars.
I can hear you saying, “Why do I care about spending on advertising and marketing when I’m selling every vehicle I can get?” The fact is, this market will normalize and dealers will have inventory again. No one knows when that will happen, but we can all agree that it will.
This is the time to invest in making your dealership highly visible, so that you’re front-of-mind in your home market and further afield as lots slowly fill up again. Social media marketing is a cost-effective and relatively easy way to get your brand in front of customers. However, you need a strong social media plan and strategy to get results. Here’s what I suggest:
Define and target your demographic.
Your social media target audience consists of the people who are most likely to buy from you. Think about who your current customers are. What are their jobs? Age? Income? This information will allow you to target more buyers like them outside of your home market. Also, take a look at your inbound call analytics. Track the most popular prefixes and geographically target those markets.
Once you know your audience, explore where they’re hanging out online. For example, older generations gravitate towards Facebook. Twitter, TikTok and Instagram appeal to younger audiences. Once you know where your audience gathers, you can prioritize those platforms.
Sell the benefits of your dealership and your team.
You may have the truck a customer wants, but you still need to make a compelling case for why this person should drive an hour or two to your store. It comes down to the value proposition for the customer. Consider promoting the tools and processes that make your dealership easy to work with, make the experience pleasant, and save the customer time in-store.
Take the time to articulate your 10s: 10 reasons to choose your brand; 10 reasons to choose your model; 10 reasons to choose your dealership; and 10 reasons to work with a particular salesperson.
Create compelling content.
An Audi store in Milwaukee recently made the news for two sales it can attribute directly to TikTok. The store’s social media manager commented that TikTok is a tool that can grab the attention of consumers across the U.S. and reel in buyers through videos that cost nothing to produce and take little time to create.
You can also create compelling content that people want to watch. Walk-around videos, sales introductions, and how-to videos (such as how to connect Bluetooth), are all great ways to get started.
Social media is here to stay. Invest the time in creating your dealership’s presence now to grab the attention of current customers and those outside your home market. The payoff is high visibility for more sales when our market stabilizes.
About the Author
Tiffany Peeler serves as VP of Sales & Operations for Proactive Dealer Solutions, which has been helping dealers maximize their success through people, process, and technology for over 20 years.