Make sure your Dealership Doesn’t Hit the Holiday Slump

 

We all know that December and January aren’t stellar months for the automotive industry, but that’s no excuse to roll over and accept defeat. Yes, the market may be slower, but that means every deal is that much more precious and we as marketers should be doing our utmost to squeeze out every lead possible.

Do not fall prey to the dreaded holiday slump, use these strategies to end 2015 off on a high note and ride that momentum into the New Year.

Use Paid Search to Increase In store Traffic:

Don’t Play Follow the Leader: Many dealerships lower their advertising spend over the slower months, in an effort to cut back. Instead of following this tradition, break the mould and stay ahead of your competition. As others lower their campaign spend (or pause it altogether) the competition over keywords decreases. This allows you to get more clicks at a lower cost, and steal leads from others in your market. It also ensures your account maintains a healthy quality score with Google , so when everyone inevitably comes back to the party, they will be paying more than you and working harder for their clicks.

  • Bullseye your Prospects: Christmas is prime shopping season. What better time than the present to look for ways to increase foot traffic to your stores? This can be beneficial for both Sales & Fixed Ops. Because of this, it is recommended to set up tiered geo-modifiers around store locations in order to bid highest for people nearest the store, slightly lower for a broader radius, and even lower for an even broader radius. This will ensure the biggest bang for your buck during the holiday crunch.
  • Show ‘em what you got: A Google study asked participants what information was considered “extremely helpful” in planning a store visit. Seventy-five percent responded price, and 74 percent responded availability; those were the two highest-ranked answers. Ensure you have ads running of your actual inventory, with your real photos and pricing, and watch your click through rate skyrocket. If you aren’t running dynamic ads, talk to your provider to get started.

 

Use Social for Lead Generation:

  •  Be Santa’s Little Helper: Most dealers are using social media in some form, but the holidays is a great time to step up your game. Your consumers are stressed and frenzied over the festive season, so use promotions to make their lives easier. Create ads, posts and events that show them you’re here to help. Help them avoid the anarchy of the shopping mall and maybe have Santa come to the store for photos. Offer stocking stuffer gifts like 4 for 3 oil changes, winter ready gift sets in a variety of price points, emergency kits or detail gift cards. If you offer a shuttle service or loaner program, blast that messaging out on social channels- nobody likes being stranded in a Canadian winter.
  • Get Snap Happy: Instagram has opened up their advertising product to all advertisers, internationally. No brand, budget or idea is too small to take advantage of this next wave of social media advertising. Mercedes Benz USA was able to increase website visits as much as 54% through their efforts, according to a case study put together by Instagram. Couple your photo, or 30 second video, with the geo-targeting that best fits your goals. Take advantage of Instagram’s sponsored ads to run a giveaway or promotion that requires users to follow your page, share your photos and/or interact with your posts. (Think: “Enter to Win a Detail Package by Sharing & Following Our Page!” or “Take a Selfie in a 2016 Ford Fusion & Tag Us to Win a Free Gas Card”)

 Master the Content Game:

  • Get Organic: With less people coming in over the holidays, it’s a great time to get your sales team building out stellar content. It doesn’t take a wordsmith to get some quick and easy blog posts together. Maybe a section on everyone’s favorite car in the 2016 line-up and why? Explanatory seasonal posts on fixed ops (winter tires, snow safety, cold weather tips). Search Engines love regular page updates & blog content so getting into this habit for the new year will pay off with more traffic long term.
  • Light, Camera, Action: Get on YouTube. This segment is highly underutilized by Canadian car dealers. You do not need to be Spielberg to do this. A small investment in a couple good tools and dedicated sales rep is all you need to get started. Purchase a good quality phone, mic and some sort of tripod or stability system. Ask your sales people to film themselves doing walk arounds, introducing themselves and the languages they speak or showing the coolest features of a new vehicle. Most dealers know this is all it takes, but they do not consistently do it. Consistency in content is key!

We at Strathcom Media hope you enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season and wish you all the prosperity of the New Year. Get ready to kick ass in 2016!