Have you ever thought that your auto business or dealership, despite being in a great position to succeed, should be closing more sales?
There are a number of important factors that go into making a closed sale, and the marketing bridge is one you should take a closer look at. By marketing bridge, we are referring to all forces combined to make a sale, with advertising being just ⅕ of the bridge that connects you with your customer.
In automotive marketing this can mean a variety of things, from radio ads to the attractiveness of your storefront. These are things that can influence whether or not a consumer buys and may or may not be directly related to your sales team. That’s why we’re outlining how to create a marketing bridge for your automotive business, so that your sales numbers will be closer to what you expect them to be.
As mentioned, the definition of your marketing bridge can include anything from displays in your storefront to your employees knowledge of your products and services. These are among several factors that contribute to closing a sale prior to purchase and that’s why we call it a marketing bridge.
To truly maximize your business potential and ROI in advertising, each step of the bridge must be complete. Customers must perceive your product or service to be of great value, and your business should be easy to find and contact. Employees at your dealership should be knowledgeable and friendly. All cars and other merchandise should be clean and well lit, in addition to any advertising on premise being up to date and consistent. Because all these forces work together to make a sale, advertising is most effective when we make sure that each step of the bridge is complete.
The first thing you need to ask is not what products you’re selling, but what specific solutions are you offering? How are you better than the competition? What are you doing different or special? How are you going to stand out from the other competition in the auto industry? What quality of products, in addition to level of service, are you offering? Answering all of these questions will go a long ways to helping define your auto business and build a marketing bridge. Specifically for your auto business, this means looking not just at your physical location, but your online identity. How easy is it for someone to locate your dealership and figure out how to get there? Do you make it easy for people to interact with you on social networks? Also take a look at your reputation on online review sites, and compare them with the competition. Are you a new dealership or well-established? It’s also important to look at things like your financing process, shuttle service, and parking availability as these are key factors people look at when deciding which dealership to visit.
Now, you’ll want to take a look at both the price point of your vehicles and associated service, but also where they stack up in terms of value for the consumer. Sure, you may be selling a lower cost car, but it might be a great value for the consumer making your dealership uniquely appealing. This goes towards determining value, both perceived by the customer, as well as how competitive it is in the overall marketplace.
Next you need to think about where your automotive business needs to be seen in terms of advertising. What’s the appropriate frequency per each advertising channel? What’s your overall plan or strategy that you’ll go by before you actually start executing your marketing efforts? Do you have a microscope vision (short-term) or a telescope vision (long-term) view of what you want your advertising to do?
Another key element to your marketing bridge is your physical storefront and associated merchandising. Is it clean, organized, and inviting? You’ll also want to make sure it’s well lit and the signage is clearly visible and attractive. Overall you want your storefront to be welcoming to customers and make them feel secure that you’re a reputable establishment. Finally, when customers actually enter your dealership, view the automobiles, and interact with staff, try and objectively rate the customer experience.
For auto dealerships, make sure to consider these three key physical spaces as a part of your merchandising appeal: bathrooms, service waiting area, and lobby. While actual merchandise may only be displayed in one or two of these areas, all three go a long way to impact how a customer feels about your dealership and are opportunities to impress them. These facilities at auto dealerships (and likely some of your competitors) are notorious for being unimpressive at best and unsanitary at worst. Think of customers, impressing them with clean, well-kept areas shows that you meet their standards, care about them, and have attention to detail.
This aspect of the marketing bridge encompasses whether or not your staff are personable and knowledgeable about the automobiles and associated services they are selling. Are they able to clearly communicate the benefits of specific products? Can they handle any potential customer issues, questions, or complaints, or do they have to constantly go back and ask a manager? Being personable and able to overcome buying objections is a crucial final portion of the marketing bridge.
So now you know how to create a marketing bridge for your auto business, which connects everything from your storefront to your sales staff and helps fill in the gaps of your customer experience. For a more detailed look at the elements of the marketing bridge, download our free infographic to use as a reference as you build it out.