Remember when you were a school kid? Teachers taught important lessons, but over the summer – with its heat and happy diversions – things faded from memory. Meanwhile, the world moved on, with new discoveries unfolding, technology advancing, and techniques evolving. It was easy to find yourself unprepared for the first day of class (which usually arrived too quickly).

Not anymore. We’ve gathered “back-to-school” lessons to make sure your dealership doesn’t “get schooled” in digital marketing when fall rolls around. Take a few minutes to do your homework, read up, and refamiliarize yourself with automotive marketing basics, trends, and target audiences.

We’ll focus on three main automotive marketing topics:

  • Back to basics: The best ways to reach auto customers.
  • Trends: What’s happening in digital marketing.
  • Today’s auto shopper: How to turn shoppers into buyers.

Back to Basics: 7 Lessons in Automotive Marketing  

This year will be the first time digital ad spend beats out traditional ad spend in the U.S., according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. Total digital ad spend is expected to grow 19% – to $129 billion – with mobile making up $87 billion of that.

This means it’s never been more important to increase spend on digital marketing – and to make sure your dealership gets digital advertising right. Take a few minutes to refresh your digital marketing know-how or explore new areas of advertising opportunities:

Back to Basics: Automotive Branded Content Best Practices

Back to Basics: Automotive Display Ads Best Practices

Back to Basics: Automotive Email Marketing Best Practices

Back to Basics: Automotive Search Marketing Best Practices

Back to Basics: Automotive SEO Marketing Best Practices

Back to Basics: Automotive Social Ads Best Practices

Back to Basics: Automotive Video Ads Best Practices

Trends: Technology, Data & Strategy  

After brushing up on the basics, it’s time to turn our attention to what’s trending in automotive marketing. Think of it as “extra credit” – your way of getting a jump on the competition. So, take advantage of these emerging technologies to get the data and insights you need to drive strategic dealership marketing campaigns:

  • Some dealers lost more than 20% of their organic traffic overnight when Google recently changed how websites ranked within results. Follow Google’s best practice guidelines so it doesn’t happen to your dealership.
  • Chatbots will handle 85% of customer service interactions by 2020. Keep your team on tasks that make the most sense – financially and strategically – and focus on moving customers through the sales funnel.
  • Smart speaker sales increased 50% this year – and 50% of all searches will be done via voice next year. This calls for a more conversational keyword strategy, because how people type is different than how they talk.

But the stats don’t stop there – check out the latest trends in mobile, video, AI, geofencing, listings, reviews, SEO, and video.

Today’s Auto Shopper: The 6 W’s  

Remember the 6 W’s? Who, what, when, where, why, and how? (Forget the fact that “how” starts with an “h” – it ends with a “w.”) Keep these in mind when you’re working to turn online shoppers into showroom buyers.

Who: Car shoppers 34 years and under are 3x more likely to use dealership reviews, compared to those 55 and older.
Influence what shoppers see – and say – with listings and review management.

What: 95% of online car shoppers use digital as a source for information. Make sure your dealership marketing is there waiting for them – with digital advertising, social media, video, display ads, branded content, and more.

When: 22% of internet shoppers use social media sites when searching for a car. Stay top-of-mind by advertising on the most popular sites used by auto shoppers – Facebook and YouTube. Automotive Marketing Lessons from the Retail Crisis

Where: 85% of shoppers start the car-buying journey with search engines. Move your dealership to the top of searches with search engine advertising. Understand the Automotive Consumer Journey

Why: 51% of people start searching for a car 1-3 months before making a purchase. Plan campaigns, engage customers, and set sales forecasts based on this 1-3 month cycle.

How: More than 50% of car shoppers use mobile devices when searching for information.
Target in-market car buyers on your competition’s lot (and your lot, too) with geofencing.

Ready to put everything you’ve learned to the test and see how you stack up to the competition? Ask for your free Dealer Scorecard analysis – and get insights on how to reach the right customers with the right offers.

Contact us to learn more about back-to-school automotive marketing tips so your dealership doesn’t “get schooled.”

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