By Damon Sefa, Director of Client Services, Elead

Newspaper and TV are the traditional giants of a dealership marketing strategy. But relying solely on these two channels constricts your reach. Every year, fewer people gravitate to the traditional, and new avenues gain steam.

According to the Pew Research Center, for the first time in 2018 social media sites surpassed print newspapers as a news source for Americans, with one in five adults saying they often get news via social media. While this data is from a couple of years ago, current numbers are likely even higher.

When it comes to TV, the proliferation of streaming services and competition for eyeballs decreases the effectiveness of traditional TV advertising.

You have to be in the newspaper and on TV because that is where your competition is. But you also have to be everywhere else, using social media, phone, email, direct mail, and text messaging.

A multichannel strategy that gets your brand in front of as many people as possible will maximize your reach and campaign effectiveness. Get started with the following four steps.

Analyze your customers.

Every store and brand has a different customer profile. Facebook advertising may work well for a store in your 20 Group but less well for your target audience and therefore not deserving of a big chunk of your budget. Lean on your CRM to help you segment your customer data and run reports that identify how customers show up on your website or floor. What current channels are your best lead generators?

Dip your toe in the water.

Once you have a basic customer profile, start adding channels and monitor the response. Pick one or two new ways of communicating and try it out for a month or two. For example, include a vanity number on your next direct mail piece and encourage customers to text you for more information. Track the texts. A large number of responses indicates that your customers like texting and that’s a viable channel you should use more. A note of caution, make sure to follow all FCC guidelines and regulations to avoid penalties and lawsuits.

Tie it all together with your CRM.

Your CRM should help you view, organize, and analyze your marketing/advertising spend and ROI so you’re not throwing money away on ineffective channels and campaigns. The best also allows you to track social media ROI in one place so you don’t have to log in and out of multiple platforms. You can also conduct a free 20-minute social media audit using Hootsuite, a social media management platform that helps you identify the best content and channels for your business.

It’s worth noting that any CRM is only as good as the process in your store. Data accuracy is vital to create targeted campaign audiences and personalized follow-up. Train and manage your staff to always update customer records and include notes, such as preferred channel of communication, that can lead to future sales.

Get help when you need it.

I know many dealerships are still operating lean, but this is not the time to pull back on marketing. The buyers are coming back thanks to vaccine hopes and states loosening restrictions. If you need extra hands without adding staff, consider partnering with an external BDC. A good partner understands different forms of advertising, follows all regulations, and is 100% dedicated to the task. An external BDC is also immediately scalable. So, if the market changes or you want to run several campaigns at once, a BDC can be flexible to meet your needs.

The way customers find and access information is evolving. You have to keep up or you will be left behind. Use these four tips to begin augmenting traditional advertising channels with a multichannel strategy that will maximize your reach and keep you in front of customers.

About the Author

Damon Sefa is a 20+ year veteran of the automotive industry, most notably holding home office and field positions with General Motors before joining Elead. As Director of Client Services, Damon currently oversees all aspects of the customer experience center operations.

Author: Alissa Frey