As we face the uncertainties of the impact COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will have on the automotive market, automotive dealers must take immediate action to optimize their lead generation strategies.
Being in denial in the early stages of economic and consumer behavior changes will only make you vulnerable in a couple of weeks or months’ time. You must make changes to your strategy today to protect your income and your dealership against the impact the current health crisis might, and probably will, have on your ability to sell cars in the next few weeks and months.
Protect your dealership during the health crisis
In the next few weeks, most of your automotive competitors will likely chase short-term tactics that won’t prove to be reliable throughout the incoming economic crisis.
What you should expect in the next few weeks and months is a significant drop in the size of the car-buying market and an increase in the length of a buyer’s shopping cycle. Why is that? Well, for four reasons:
(1) More and more people are afraid to leave their homes
(2) Many ‘ready to buy’ car shoppers will choose to delay their purchasing decision
(3) Buyers that were in the early stages of their purchasing decision will extend their shopping process
(4) Buyers that are not in the funnel are less likely to make the decision to buy a car
Put a strategy in place to tackle the impact of COVID-19
Here are some of our suggestions on things your dealership can put in place TODAY to thrive and grow during the aftermath of coronavirus.
Obstacle 1: More and more people are afraid to leave their homes
Solution: Make your purchasing process “COVID-19 friendly”.
Your dealership foot traffic is probably already witnessing a significant drop. People are, rightfully, choosing to stay at home due to the health risk that COVID-19 has created. This does not mean they no longer have an automotive problem that they are trying to solve. Don’t miss out on these sales opportunities! Make your car buying journey one that is “coronavirus-safe”. Adapt to the current health situation by making sure your car shopping and purchasing process can be handled online with an easy-to-use and navigate website.
If someone is interested in a vehicle, take a personalized video for them of the interior and exteriors of the car or offer to deliver the car to their home for a test drive.
Obstacle 2: Bottom of the funnel buyers will delay or postpone their vehicle purchasing decision
Solution: Make purchasing from your dealership more appealing with special offers.
You want to make sure you don’t miss out on these buyers. They were ready to buy a car a few days ago. Everything that is happening around us has made them hesitate but it does not mean they are completely out of the market. You need to put yourself in their shoes. They’re facing the same uncertainties of the future that your dealership is facing.
Reassure them by retargeting them with incentivizing offers. Consider putting a place a 3,000 mile or 3-month warranty when they buy a car or try re-evaluating your financing options. Our point is, these are still in-market buyers that may have been a done deal a couple of days ago. However, post-COVID-19, your sales team will need to work a little harder to close the deal.
Obstacle 3: Buyers that were in the early stages of their purchasing decision will extend their shopping process
Solution: Reach new buyers as soon as they show intent and retarget lost buyers with online ads.
For these buyers, you’re going to have to go the extra mile to reach them as soon as they show intent with online ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. If you don’t have the time or don’t know how to do this, find a provider that can run your campaigns for you.
Obstacle 4: Buyers that are not in the funnel are less likely to make the decision to buy a car
Solution: Lure car buyers into your sales funnel with quality content.
While spending money on Google and Facebook ads will help you close in-market car shoppers, you must also make sure you are building your long-term pipeline by targeting people that are not in the market for a vehicle. How is this done? Simple: with valuable content.
Many potential buyers are not in the market to buy a car because of misperceptions on topics like trade-value, credit, down payments required, costs of maintaining a vehicle, etc. When you create content marketing that educates potential buyers about these misperceptions, you help move more consumers with automotive problems into the market to buy a car. In simple terms, you are helping people understand that their automotive problem has a simple solution. With the help of valuable content and a structured social media strategy, your dealership will get a head start in closing buyers as they enter the market.
If there is one thing you should remember from this article, it is that you need to find the balance between advertising cars and providing valuable content to your potential buyers. In these times of uncertainty, the market for people looking to buy a vehicle might shrink, but people’s needs for automotive solutions do not.
In other words, at first glance, you may feel like there are fewer buyers, but when you look closely, you’ll realize there won’t be fewer people with an automotive problem that needs to be solved.
To ensure your dealership’s success, you need to make sure you are eliminating any points of friction in the car buyers journey by:
- Simplify the purchasing process at your dealership and make it ‘quarantine-friendly’
- Retarget ready-to-buy car shoppers with special offers
- Target top-of-the-funnel car shoppers with online ads and strong call-to-action messages
- Lure in more buyers into your sales funnel with valuable automotive content
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