Digital innovation is constantly changing the car business. A dealership can no longer simply post inventory to its website and expect that to be enough to bring in customers. The internet opens up a world of possibilities, and it takes a well-executed, coordinated effort to truly capitalize on its potential and draw attention to everything your dealership has to offer.
The cars on your lot could be matched with potential buyers from much further afield than you might think. With some planning and analysis and using a variety of platforms, your staff can cultivate a strategy for finding and reaching a customer base that extends far beyond your local market.
How to identify new potential target markets.
To find a starting point, analyze the lead data you already have. Have any leads come in from outside your immediate area over the last few months? If so, can you draw any conclusions from similarities between those leads? Perhaps several inquiries have come from a nearby town or region that’s underserved by your dealership’s brand, for example, or there’s a shortage of a vehicle type such as pick-up trucks that’s leading buyers to widen their search radius.
Google Analytics can be a valuable tool here, not only for learning where visitors to your website are originating from but also for assessing which search terms are attracting clicks. This can help you assess what edits to your website text might help your dealership to appear more often in search results. For example, a dealership in Boston getting leads from customers seeking delivery to Barnstable could add terms such as “free vehicle delivery to Barnstable” or “free vehicle delivery throughout Cape Cod” to its website homepage to attract more visitors seeking that service.
Make use of Area Boost to improve reach on your CarGurus listings.
CarGurus’ Area Boost helps you put your deliverable listings in front of buyers from outside your dealership’s local market.
This product allows each individual listing to have its delivery terms set to geographic parameters as broad as national or as specific as a stated radius around the dealership. A tag on each listing also makes it clear whether the cost is to be paid by the dealership or the customer, and the setting can be turned on or off entirely between listings for added customizability. As a result, listings appear in searches by buyers who live a distance from your location but within the offered delivery area, increasing your potential base of customers.
Check out the Market Analysis Tool.
All CarGurus customers with a paid listings package can use their Dealer Dashboard to access the Market Analysis Tool, which identifies vehicles that are in high demand in your dealership’s area. Change the radius to view data covering a larger area around your dealership or sort the data to explore key shopper search trends. Use this tool for guidance on which vehicles to purchase at auction or seek out for trade-in to ensure your lot is stocked with inventory that’s more likely to move and attract a good price.
Don’t ignore social media.
Building a rapport with customers on social media can help you gain visibility far beyond your local area by meeting new clients where they already spend their time. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great platforms for generating conversation around unique inventory, sharing details of promotions, and adding a personal touch by posting staff profiles or sharing holiday greetings with followers. Some dealerships have found YouTube to be especially effective for reaching customers at a distance: vehicle walkaround videos can sometimes attract the attention of potential buyers on the opposite end of the country!
Ensure staff know how to handle remote leads.
Communicating with customers who may never set foot in your dealership requires a different set of skills than some salespeople may be used to employing. Highly effective written and telephone communication skills are essential skills for the staff assigned to these leads, as is attention to detail in ensuring all customer questions are answered and potential complications are identified early. Having these same staff members undergo training will provide peace of mind as you venture into these new forms of customer engagement.
Employing these strategies today will help set your dealership up for success in 2021.