I actually read on an automotive forum that a dealer did not want to have a web site and that he felt that Internet customers weren’t worth dealing with because there wasn’t any profit for the dealership. I thought that is was laughable because most customers are starting online to find the dealership they want to do business with. Customers are using the Internet to narrow down make, model and dealerships before even contacting a dealer. The average car shopper is only visiting 1.4 dealerships before making a purchase decision. Based on this information I believe the importance of having on an online presence is growing.
76% of all new vehicle buyers use the Internet at some point in their shopping process. By maximizing your presence and effectiveness online to stuff the purchase funnel with these shoppers, you will engage more customers online, by phone and in your store. Ensuring that your store will be one of those 1.4 stores visited.
It is crucial that the message you deliver online be the same message you are delivering at your dealership and through your traditional media. There is nothing like going to McDonald’s after seeing a TV commercial for 2 Filet-O-Fish for $3 and the store has $1.00 cheeseburger merchandise everywhere.
Another crucial area to capture qualified shoppers to effectively and efficiently increase your market share is through search engines. 90% of Internet users are using search engines. Search Engine Marketing is one of the methods to increase the amount of new visitors to your site – you only pay when someone clicks on the link. It is important to include current special offers in the ad copy and again stay consistent with your offline creative. Your message is delivered only when someone enters a search term qualifying them as a potential prospect, this a very targeted form of online advertising.
A tool that is being used to drive used car and certified car traffic is Search Engine Intuitive Marketing (SEIM) or direct to inventory searches. By building updated keywords and ads based on your inventory, you can deliver customers directly to the pre-owned vehicle they are searching for. Cutting all waste to drive searchers looking for your vehicles to your inventory opposed to them finding used vehicles at Autotrader.com and other sites like that.
Display advertising with behavioral targeting has been highly successful for many automotive dealers and manufacturers. The key here is to buy highly targeted display advertising to reach customers during the consideration phase of the buying cycle. 90% of online shoppers visit a third party automotive site and using behavioral targeted ads to target these shoppers on automotive and non-automotive sites (where shoppers are spending most of their time online). We have seen success stories where websites have seen increases of traffic in one month of over 175% using behavioral targeting.
As you can see it is crucial to be focused with your online advertising to capture in-market consumers, providing them with specials and all the information they need during their car shopping.