Auto dealers can significantly increase sales and brand recognition with specific iPad and tablet marketing campaigns. Due to the current and future rise in the use of mobile devices, this segment deserves a great deal of attention from car dealership marketing departments.
With small and large car dealerships leveraging mobile content, some innovators are already setting the stage in this industry. Some best practices advice can come into play for dealerships looking to utilize mobile marketing methods.
The Uncanny Potential for Mobile Marketing
What happens when a visitor views a non-optimized website for mobile on their tablet or smartphone? According to SmartMediaTips, 61 percent of respondent would visit the website of a competitor.
This is the pulse of the mobile world, where, according to the same source, the average response time for email is 90 minutes – compared to a mere 90 seconds for text messages. Customers are enjoying mobile content that is optimized and useful. After all, SmartMediaTips also notes, apps account for more than half of an individual’s mobile phone usage.
Yet, is there real promise for auto dealers in the mobile market? A few stats on an infographic from Mashable point to the affirmative:
- By 2015, the mobile web is expected to reach nearly two billion users, resulting in more people using a mobile device to access the web than a desktop – allowing dealers to capitalize on this clearly growing trend
- Over 50 percent of mobile Internet are over the age of 35 (the majority, 25.6 percent, are in the 25 to 34 age group range) – right in the range of most new car buyers
- The top four uses for mobile technology are text messaging (74.3 percent), photos (60.3), email (40.8), and social networking/blogs (35.3) – all relevant to car dealership marketing methods
Merging Mobile Marketing to the Auto World
Michael Singer notes the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Autoshopper Study which points out that – for 2010 to 2012 vehicle lease or purchases – 20 percent used a smartphone to help with the purchase. Most used mobile devices to look up manufacturer information, availability, dealer addresses, and information from social media, Singer notes.
A look at the use of mobile marketing from Ken Kraemer elicits a couple of important considerations for car dealers:
- Keep Up with the Times: Singer agrees that dealers must “be in the know,” so to speak with tools that customers are using to stay competitive with price points. Kraemer singles out newsfeeds – ala social media – as a way to keep up with what customers are doing. As social media sites are creating dedicated apps for their networks, dealers can engage followers on mobile devices in this area.
- Value: Kraemer points out how saving money and even emotionally-appealing content and media can be impactful for brand awareness. Some Mercedez-Benz dealers are doing just that with iPad-based sales tools, reports Chris Shunk. It doesn’t just provide a visually-appealing experience for the user, but it helps dealers connect to customers with offers and shorten turn-in times on leased vehicles.
Questions for Auto Dealerships to Ask
While an average auto dealership may not be able to incorporate iPads in every showroom, or rework an entire website to accommodate the latest social media sites like Tout and Pintrest, there are plenty of ways to appeal to mobile users. Some important questions can be asked to help determine which avenues are best for the target market:
- Website Adaptability: Is the website optimized for mobile adaptability? Recently, Dealer eProcess won an award for mobile sites based on an adaptive mobile platform that illustrates this important element. You website should work across multiple platforms from tablets to mobile to even TV in the not to distant future.
- Lead Generation: Does the current client database incorporate mobile-friendly avenues of marketing? Direct email marketing with targeted and useful SMS can be quite powerful for a dealership (extending to customer service, such as when a serviced car is ready).
- Social Media: Can customers “check in” to the business, paving the way for social media word-of-mouth and advertising possibilities? Which social media sites should be targeted? Also, consider a site like Pinterest, where plenty of car-related pictures could have traction on the web.
- Tools: How will the business know what is working? It may be valuable to look into social media and website analytics to see who is coming to the site, the use of mobile devices, etc.
- Valuable Content: From apps to interesting email and SMS messages, is the content valuable? Does the blog, if applicable, relate to the customer (and gain SEO traction)? How can content generate more shares and likes?
In this growing mobile marketing world, auto dealers are well-advised to do some soul searching to make the most out of this opportunity. It clearly seems to be a permanent part of the online marketing world – and one that can drive sales, customer service, brand recognition, and more.[otw_is sidebar=otw-sidebar-2]