IMPROVE DEALERSHIP PROFIT WITH SMARTER MARKETING

Marketing is one of the top expenses for Dealers. There are ways for you to instantly improve the business impact of marketing through deploying a few simple tactics on Facebook.

How you spend your marketing budgets can have a material impact on the bottom line. With increased pressures on margins in a challenging automotive market, look to invest in marketing tactics that are measurable and allow opportunities for continual improvement. Digital – and specifically mobile – advertising needs to be a central pillar in your dealership marketing strategy in order to start capitalising on where the audience is.

To be clear, there is no silver bullet provided here but, instead, principles for Dealers to establish fundamental digital tactics, track performance in line with business objectives and use data to improve performance over time.

Be a mobile first Dealer

Today’s consumer approaches the research and car buying process dramatically differently than they did 10-20 years ago. We live in the mobile age. The mobile device is central to the entire process now and represents a widely untapped opportunity for Dealers to get in front of prospective customers during the crucial period of research and purchase decision-making. More research on mobile equates to less time spent at dealerships. Evolve your dealership to proactively communicate with today’s mobile savvy customer. Without a presence during the mobile research phase, your dealership is missing out connecting with the majority of the market.

Car shoppers use various online sources on the path to buying a car, but one behavior that is a daily ritual for the high-majority of Australians is visiting Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Between checking review sites or OEM and Dealer websites, 13 million Australians (including auto intenders) are visiting Facebook every single day, while 11 million come back to Instagram, and 13 million to Messenger monthly. The majority of these people are predominantly accessing these services on mobile.

Instead of trying to track down your prospects and customers fragmented across the entire web, you can largely find them all across Facebook’s various platforms. The key is using targeting intelligence and basic measurement capabilities to ensure you’re delivering efficient outcomes for your dealership.

Never before has a single advertising offering provided the unique combination of mass reach with pinpoint accurate targeting. Local mass reach on mobile across your primary market area is extremely cost-effective and more measurable compared to traditional channels.

It’s important to understand that the most successful Facebook campaigns require a paid marketing budget. Relying solely on free, organic posting from your page simply will not have impact on your bottom line. It’s not worth paying for an agency or internal resource for basic page posting on Facebook or Instagram unless you have the resources to amplify your messaging to drive outcomes as well.

Below are four basic strategies you can implement for your dealership today with Facebook’s platforms:

Power of the pixel

Action: Install the Facebook pixel across all pages of your website
Who: Your website developer

If you do nothing else after reading this article, make sure the Facebook pixel is added to your website as a priority. Without the pixel your dealership is at a massive disadvantage to those Dealers already tapping into its capabilities.

The Facebook pixel is a short line of code which helps track and report on website activity and should be installed on every page of your website. The pixel opens up advanced in-market targeting solutions, more intelligent media buying and better reporting capabilities sure to improve your marketing performance. More on this below.

The most effective strategies are not possible without the Facebook pixel. Talk to your website developer to get the Facebook pixel implemented today.

More leads on mobile

Action: Use Facebook remarketing to convert more prospective buyers
Who: Your media agency (make sure they are ‘Facebook preferred’)

Once your pixel is in place, remarketing to people considering your dealership is easy. Facebook uses real identity information, therefore your remarketing can reach customers seamlessly across every device from which they access Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Given that today’s automotive customer utilises multiple devices to research and shop, Facebook’s unique ability to remarket cross-device helps improve advertising messaging relevance, which minimises media wastage. The long-term impact of better channel efficiency is improved profitability.

While targeting potential buyers from your website, take advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s Lead Generation ad unit to seamlessly capture in-market customer information. Lead generation ads prepopulate basic information (name, email, phone, etc) pulled through from a person’s Facebook profile, which dramatically increases the lead fulfilment rate on mobile.

It’s important to ensure your dealership is set up to nurture these leads appropriately. Not every Facebook lead will be ready to buy immediately, so think about how you continue to nurture the prospect based on the information input into the lead form (model of interest, contact via email or phone, when they’re looking to buy, etc).

Pro tip: Ensure you add into the lead generation form some blank fields that require manual input from the user. We’ve seen this help improve lead quality and conversion to sale.

Conquer your competition with lookalikes

Action: Use ‘lookalike’ targeting to conquest new in-market customers
Who: Your media agency (make sure they are ‘Facebook preferred’)

Using your Facebook website pixel as the data source, Facebook allows you to create ‘lookalike audiences’, i.e. people who look and behave like the in-market group from your website but aren’t currently considering your dealership. This targeting function is free, but only accessible via your paid advertising campaigns with the Facebook pixel installed on your website.

Simultaneously utilising lookalikes and website retargeting has proven to be a highly effective one/two punch for Dealers. Use lookalikes to generate traffic of new in-market customers to your website and remarket to these prospects now aware of your dealership with lead generation ads.

Pro tip: Scale budget across remarketing and lookalike audiences to understand for your dealership the sweet spot of volume (web traffic and leads) and cost per action. The optimal monthly budget for every dealership will differ, so it’s important to test the limits and ensure you’re maxing out the opportunity efficiently ongoing.

In a similar manner to how you would approach advertising messaging across other high reaching channels (like radio), use lookalikes to land key messages with broad appeal. For example, a four-day sale, specific incentive or exclusive servicing offer. These will intrigue in-market audiences not thinking about your dealership and attract them to your website to find out more. Once on your site, you can now implement the intelligent cross-device remarketing to stay in front of them as they move down the purchase funnel.

Measuring cars sold

Action: Use ‘offline conversions’ measurement to track the advertising impact on actual sales
Who: Your media agency (make sure they are ‘Facebook preferred’)

Facebook now offers the capability to link your sales data directly into the advertising platform to understand which campaigns were directly linked to an eventual sale at your dealership. No more guessing how advertising is impacting your bottom line.

Simply upload your vehicle sales data into Facebook’s Business Manager, and Facebook will match your offline data with advertising interactions to tell you which offline customers were influenced by an ad from your recent campaigns. As you know, not every buyer will submit their information via a lead form, so this helps improve visibility of performance beyond direct leads.

This capability is easy to set up and helps build a meaningful story regarding your marketing return on investment. Don’t wait to get Offline Conversions running if you already use Facebook, Instagram or Facebook Messenger advertising.

Never stop improving

In closing, take control of your margins with more efficient and measurable marketing expenditures. Keep an open mind about how you can continually optimise your media buying and creative messaging to maximise performance.

Not every strategy will work the first time. The Dealers who are using Facebook’s platforms to deliver a material impact on their bottom line aren’t asking whether Facebook is the right channel but, rather, how they can most effectively scale the current successes they’re already experiencing.

Australia’s current Facebook preferred dealership agencies: AdTorque Edge, ClickMedia Solutions, Ignite Group and McKenzie Partners.

More information available at: https://www.facebook.com/business/industries/automotive

Ted Bergeron
Head of Automotive, Facebook Australia

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