Building your business in the digital world has many of the same fundamentals as in the physical world.
I probably don’t need to tell you the importance of building your brand. Most dealerships we work with already know the value of brand recognition.
How can you improve your digital brand?
Your branding should be cohesive. If a customer sees your profile on Facebook, then sees a promotion by you on Instagram, are they going to know it is the same business? Make sure all your social sites use the same logo and branding across all platforms so you are immediately recognized.
Avoid having variations of the same the same logo, unless it is temporary and on-topic for a promotion or cause you are supporting.
Claim any listing that appears when you do a search for your dealership name. Then you can control the content and branding.
Create great customer experiences.
How can you create a great customer experience on your website?
It begins within the first seconds – the load speed. Make sure your website is loading quickly, and gives a great first impression.
Understand the audience that comes to your website, and make it easy for them to quickly find what they are looking for. That means a clean website with clear navigation. Avoid too much flash and glitz that might distract them from their goal.
A great customer experience can also include instant chat, so your representative can answer their questions immediately or help them find what they need. Many web visitors have come to expect this kind of instant gratification, and you can gain their trust and get more leads by offering this option.
Always respond quickly to emails or contacts through your website, and on social media. Users expect a quick response. And don't forget to thank customers who leave reviews on places like Google or Facebook!
Good user experience (UX) is also a top SEO trend that will help your site rank better, a win-win.
People make buying decisions based on emotion. Telling a compelling story breaks through the impersonal distance of digital marketing, and helps your brand connect with potential car buyers.
Use the concept of the hero’s journey to turn your customers into heroes.
Create a story in which they are facing a difficulty that only can be overcome by purchasing a car from your business. And while they may have difficulties along the way, with the help of your business, they overcome these obstacles and can return home a hero (with a reliable car, a new car for their child, etc).
By making the story about your audience, it will connect with them emotionally and show them how your business will change their life for the better.
Speak your customer’s language.
A deep understanding of your customer is important to knowing how to relate to them.
What is important to them? What are they looking for in a vehicle, and more importantly, in a car shopping experience?
Don’t throw industry buzz terms or lingo at them. Confusion leads to distrust and unhappiness, which is probably not going to result in sale.
This logic also applies to your website. Make sure your web content speaks directly to the customer in a way they can understand it.
Provide easy to consume content.
Content of all kinds – articles, vehicle descriptions, videos, social posts – are crucial to everything else in this list. Content builds your brand, it creates a better customer experience, it tells your story, and it can help you connect with your customer.
Providing content that your users find valuable and that is easy to consume – a series of short videos versus one long video, for example – will attract more visitors to your website and keep them around longer.
This is probably one of the most important things on this list. Showing car shoppers the human side of your brand is essential to making a connection, gaining their trust, and ultimately making a sale.
How can you “be human” in the digital world?
Build the personal brands of your key employees.
As the owner or manager, post blogs with anecdotes or personal stories.
Post images of behind the scenes at your auto dealership on your website and on social media.
Be active in your local community, and highlight that on your website.
People prefer to buy from people over shopping a brand, so the more you can “humanize” your business, the more leads you will get.