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How To Increase Leads During And After COVID-19

Jul 14, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Regardless of how we all feel about COVID, it's become a massive part of our society in this current time. However, instead of looking at its impacts negatively, we want to focus on the strong opportunity the situation could present. 

This event can be an amazing catalyst to revolutionize the way the automotive industry operates. The dealers that choose to lean into this curve and adjust the way they operate will find themselves far ahead of the competition as we emerge from this crisis as a country.

While automotive sales were flat, and profit outlook was less encouraging heading into this crisis, surprisingly over 70% of automotive dealers reported feeling prepared to whether the impacts of COVID. This is indicative of an industry on the cusp of becoming even more sophisticated in terms of being data and tech driven. More than ever, rather than rely on showroom visits alone, dealers are exploring ways that data can help reach the right customers at the right time. 

Buyers are asking questions differently and seeking different answers about how to buy cars, how to find cars, and how to get the best deal. Let's embrace the future. With so many buyers reentering the market as the effects of COVID continue to taper down, how do you capture these leads? How do you take commanding control over your competition?

Let's dive in.

Lead Generation Strategies That AREN'T Working Like They Used To

To understand what we, as dealers, need to do in an evolving industry, we want to first look at what is NOT working.

Uninformed Spray & Pray Tactics

When we say "spray & pray", we don't mean general marketing tactics. We highly encourage sending out your offers and specials to your audience in numerous forms and formats. We are referring specifically to un-guided marketing tactics. 

What performs better, Facebook ads or radio ads? Do you know what the ROI is on your Google ad spend? How well do your emails convert as opposed to direct salesperson outreach? To answer these questions, you'll need to rely on accurate data. Beyond that, effective marketing is leveraging that data to plan smarter and spend more effectively across all marketing tactics. 

Standard Equity Mining

On average, the sales where buyers lower their payments or sales of vehicles with positive equity potential makes up a rough, overestimated 10% of all sales. Average vehicle age in the US is rising to around 12 years. Because of this, mining these sources is an outdated, ineffective, and highly competitive lead generation strategy with poor returns.

Poor Data Usage

Easily the biggest issue with marketing today is the use of bad data. The world is overloaded with data. This usually results in having too much data to decipher properly or utilizing the wrong data to drive marketing. The only good data is actionable data that is easily accessible, and identifying that is key to marketing success.

Remember, buyers are inundated with information and offers, so if your's does not appeal to them specifically in a way they want to receive it, they're going to ignore it in favor of a more customized marketing message from competitors. 

Foundational Strategies To Generate Leads

Identifying & Using Good Data

Experian estimates that around 80% of companies lose roughly 12% of their yearly revenue from using bad data. How do dealerships ensure that they are among the 20% that don't? By understanding and using actionable data that is easy to understand in order to drive marketing.

Where are your leads coming from? What is the conversion rate on your digital marketing vs. outbound marketing? How much of a ROI can you get from x marketing channel?

These questions are answered when a dealership has access to and understands their data. Where are you getting yours from?

Creating "Experiences" For Your Leads

Today's buyers reach a purchase decision faster via personalized experiences than anything else. How do you personalize your messaging? By building off the first strategy and implementing your quality data.

Use your peak selling times to push your marketing efforts. Analyze your leads to determine where they are in their buyer's journey and reach out to them when the time is right. This means in everything from digital ads to direct mail outs. Most consumers who respond to direct mail or digital marketing ads make a purchase within 3 months when given tailored messaging.

Other great strategies include things like targeted messaging, 1:1 outreach, video marketing, targeted social ads, prospecting leads based on inventory, and more.

Focus On Customer Service

We've talked about acquiring leads, both conquest and past customers. So, how do you ensure you keep them coming back? By doubling down on your customer service.

Aligning your marketing and sales efforts with your quality data is a huge focus here, as is delivering when they come into your showroom or service department. This ensures that your leads and customers receive the same excellent messaging and care regardless of their touch point. All of your efforts built on quality data go towards delivering the best customer experience.

Don't Stop Marketing

Lastly, the main trend we've seen help dealers - don't stop marketing. So many dealers have been able to show strong numbers, given COVID's impact, solely because they've stuck with delivering quality, tailored messaging to their consumers. Even if it's not heavily purchase-focused, delivering consumer-minded incentives in a sensitive way that shows buyers you're there for them when they're ready is what is setting many dealers apart.

All of these tactics and strategies boil down to two primary things: your data and your messaging. How actionable is the data you're using? How clear and effectively are you able to deliver your message to your prospects?

At EDIFICE Automotive Marketing, we specialize in these areas, helping hundreds of dealers market themselves with quality, actionable data to the right buyers with the right message at the right time. Our proven strategies and quality attribution is backed by a 4x ROI guarantee for our clients. Contact us directly to learn more about how you can make your data work for you and how to come out of this crisis stronger than ever.

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Skip Soucie

Written by Skip Soucie

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