If I were to break down the typical auto shopper experience today, it would begin and end with the customer’s smartphone. There is no arguing that the primary access point to your dealership for someone making a purchase decision is more than likely from the person’s smartphone, the use of which is increasing at unprecedented rates compared to anything else ever.
But pounding you with statistics to prove a point accomplishes little. You already know the statistics on mobile usage and adoption because you are one of the stats.
The real challenge is how to integrate the use of mobile into your dealership marketing strategy. To do this, let’s take a deep dive into a few simulated scenarios.
Ideal Simulated Customer Experience: Integrated
You are driving in your car, listening to commercial radio when suddenly an ad plays for a local dealer that catches your interest.You can’t memorize the phone number to call but you remember the dealership name, so (after you pull over or have stopped at the next light, you search for the dealership on your smartphone.
A click-to-call button appears in the browser of your Google Search and so you press the button to call. Take notice that in this scenario the dealership’s website is bypassed.
During the call, the person on the other end, ideally a skilled automotive BDC rep, engages with you to determine your needs.She records your mobile phone number and verifies that you are okay with receiving text messages from the dealership. You agree because that is your preferred method of communication. You also schedule an appointment to meet with a sales rep about a specific vehicle, the one from the radio ad that caught your interest.
Shortly after you end the call you receive a text message from the dealership. In the message is a link to the dealership’s website, which you visit. While on the site, you look at a few cars before getting distracted, not converting and not returning anytime soon.
Later in the evening you are on the couch watching TV, smartphone in hand. You are sifting through your Facebook News Feed when suddenly a paid targeted targeted ad from the dealership you called earlier appears.Naturally this captures your attention and so you click on the ad. As a result of doing so, you are now looking at vehicles again on the dealership’s website.
The next morning you receive a text message reminder about your appointment, thankfully because the appointment was not on your mind. Now you are on your way to your appointment at the dealership.
I am going to stop here because hopefully you get the picture. You are truly engaged at this point with the dealership, all from your smartphone via text message, social media, and the web.
Now let’s look at a non-ideal scenario starting off the same exact way.
With you driving in your car, listening to commercial radio when suddenly an ad plays for a local dealer that catches your interest. You can’t memorize the phone number to call but you remember the dealership name, so you search for the dealership on your smartphone (once you have stopped at the next light of course).
Failed Simulated Customer Experiences: Not Integrated
Fail #1 – Your Google Sucks
This time the dealership does not have a click-to-call campaign with Google. Their Google listing is inadequate and does not give you a number to call, and their SEO sucks, too, so you wind up inquiring with one of their competitors who is on their game.
Fail #2 – Your Site Sucks on Mobile
Maybe you do manage to find their website listed in the Google Search. You click through but the site is not mobile-friendly, so you leave because you can’t navigate the site efficiently.
Fail #3 – You Don’t Offer Text Messaging
Or maybe you manage to call the dealership and speak with somebody. You schedule an appointment, but the dealership does not offer text messaging. Instead, they record your email address and send you an email confirmation, and you miss the email because it’s buried in your inbox, or because Google filtered it as mass marketing mail. A day later the dealership sends a reminder email, which of course you do not see.
Guess what happens??
That’s right, you never show up at the dealership because it’s not on your mind. The dealership calls your cell phone but you don’t recognize the number and so you don’t answer. The dealer leaves a voicemail but you don’t actually listen to it until later that evening when the dealership is closed.
Now you are back on the couch watching TV, smartphone in hand. Sifting through your Facebook News Feed when suddenly a paid targeted ad appears from the a competing dealership. Naturally this captures your attention and so you click on the ad. As a result of doing so you are now looking at vehicles again on the competing dealership’s responsive website.
As I stated earlier, you don’t need more statistics. You need an integrated dealer marketing strategy. One that effectively incorporates the proper Local, Mobile, and Social concepts so that you can engage with potential customers. One where you know you will have their attention – on their smartphone.