8 Things Dealers Should Do Now to Prepare for Success After COVID-19
Apr 16, 2020
Is your dealership preparing for the new normal after COVID-19? Though COVID-19 affects our daily lives today, life will eventually return back to normal. When that happens, dealers will want to hit the ground running ahead of other competitors.
Until then, it’s important for dealers to position themselves for immediate and future success by updating their digital marketing strategies.
To help, we put together a checklist of things dealers can do right now to set their dealerships up for success after COVID-19.
1. Market new OEM incentives and rebates aggressively
OEM incentives, offers and rebates will be a high priority for dealers. Dealers should include these in their messaging whenever possible. Customers are responding favorably to these new offers, even in states that only offer online and remote sales.
One of the problems dealers face is the ability to publish or update OEM offers in real-time, considering the current dynamic nature we’re working in now. Automation tools will make this process easier and faster.
Dealer Teamwork’s MPOP®, helps dealers publish OEM incentives, compliant disclaimers, service coupons and more. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your current OEM offers are available for your customers and prospects across all of your marketing channels.
2. Market and advertise fixed operations offers & solutions
Marketing and advertising your dealership’s fixed operations services online is more important than ever as dealers are forced to close.
Set your dealer up for success now and after COVID-19 by advertising service and parts to customers. This is an opportunity to capture market share and conquest customers from your local competitors at a lower cost, especially as fewer dealers
Step up your email campaign activity reminding customers that they’re due for an oil change, promoting service coupons in your online ads and via your free GMB listing.
Dealer’s should also retarget customers and form lookalike audiences to prospect new service shoppers who are similar to your most valuable customers.
Is your dealership doing something different? Have you created new remote service solutions? Share videos with customers that explain these new offers and build FAQ sections to help answer their questions.
Service business will still be needed. Be sure to address possible customer questions about pick-up and delivery options.
Also, be careful about offering services and sales offers to customers that won’t be continued after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
What dealers offer now will set the minimum expectation and new normal for customers later. Dealers should only offer what they’re willing to continue offering after the crisis.
3. Utilize all of your dealership’s digital marketing channels
When your dealer advertises on multiple channels, you’re able to balance out the strengths and weaknesses of single marketing channels while reaching additional customers in more places.
Take advantage of advertising channels like Facebook and Instagram as well as Microsoft Advertising. Don’t just rely on Google Ads for your advertising.
Need help understanding why you should be marketing to multiple channels? Here are three resources to help you get started.
4. Maximize support from your digital marketing provider
COVID-19 has proven how quickly things can change quickly in digital marketing. The changes will create new problems and with that comes new opportunities and solutions. Your dealership needs someone who can help you rapidly adapt to changing circumstances or customer behavior.
You should ideally meet with your vendor on a weekly or biweekly basis — depending on your needs. That vendor should be available for support when needed. Vendors should also help and provide your dealer with:
Weekly performance reviews
Strategy & tactical planning
Analyze your data: website analytics, social media performance, budget reviews, etc
5. Partner with flat-fee digital marketing providers
Dealers need to manage their ad budgets and costs carefully. Margins will be thin as dealers begin to rebuild. Digital marketing providers offering flat management fees can save dealers thousands of dollars each month versus those taking a percentage of the marketing spend.
Vendors are incentivized based on what the dealership spends on their digital marketing channels. Wouldn’t you rather partner with a vendor who has your best interest at heart rather than their own? If you spend more, they make more.
Dealers should also avoid lengthy term agreements. They lack flexibility. You should be able to cancel if your dealership isn’t satisfied with a vendor’s performance,
Instead, dealers should look for digital marketing providers offering month to month contracts. This payment system provides greater flexibility for dealers and gives them peace of mind knowing that the vendor’s recommendations are based on the best interests of the dealer rather than the vendor.
6. Get a digital marketing audit to know what you’re spending (and what needs to be fixed)
Knowing where digital marketing dollars are being spent can help dealers eliminate waste. It can also help dealers discover what does and doesn’t work — allowing you to put money in areas that produce the best outcomes (calls from ads, form fills, texts, etc).
Identify opportunities to improve campaign performance
A quarterly marketing audit is important for identifying areas where your dealer can save money.
7. Review and update your digital marketing strategy
Every dealer should continually monitor and adjust their digital marketing strategies. Proactively adjusting your digital marketing strategy will yield the best outcomes and help contribute to the long-term success of your dealer.
Whether your dealer uses a digital marketing vendor or not, use the following best practices to ensure your digital marketing strategy is successful:
Regular check-ins with your team
If marketing is done in-house, frequently analyze your data, make changes based on those findings and then rinse and repeat. If you have a vendor, meet with them on a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on your needs.
Reach out to your vendors and ask questions. Get their feedback on recent trends, if you anticipate budgets changing or even if you don’t understand how to handle a situation. Your digital marketing vendor should be able to proactively identify new trends or other opportunities to improve your campaign performance.
Review opportunities to improve
Always look for opportunities to improve your campaigns. Regularly review your keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns for performance and for any oddities like unexpected visitor traffic from unknown or irrelevant sources.
Your vendor should actively recommend changes to your campaigns to improve performance, reduce costs and take advantage of new opportunities.
Make changes in a timely manner
Responsiveness is important for eliminating wasted spend on campaigns that aren’t performing well. Whether you’re manually making changes yourself or using a vendor, it’s vital that you do your best to make changes in a timely manner.
Review Google Ads and Google Analytics activity
Make sure you connect your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts. You can do that yourself by following these Google instructions or you can ask your vendor for help. With Dealer Teamwork, we’ll automatically connect the two accounts for you.
Connecting the two accounts gives you and your vendor a bigger picture of how car shoppers behave after they’ve clicked on your ads. Without Google Analytics being connected to Google Ads, you won’t be able to identify potential issues or opportunities based on how shoppers behave after an ad click.
Digital marketing automation helps dealers syndicate content consistently across digital marketing channels such as their website, model-specific / body-style specific landing pages, local search, social media and email campaigns.
It’s important to use a digital marketing provider that uses modern automation technology because it’ll help your dealer save time and money. Dealers need solutions that create greater efficiencies as they’re forced to do more with less internal resources.
We have a patented omnichannel digital advertising solution called the MPOP® (Merchandising, Personalization and Optimization Platform). This unique digital advertising tool makes it easier to get your vehicles in front of shoppers and saves you more time and money.
Dealer Teamwork offers live demonstrations of how the MPOP® can help solve dealers’ unique digital marketing challenges. Schedule a live product overview to see how the MPOP® can fit in with your dealer’s current processes.