Online – or inbound — marketing has become essential to promote growth, increase your market share and increase revenue. It works for every size dealership. However, even though there are myriad ways to promote your dealership as a business, not all of them are equally appropriate or effective for marketing construction equipment or heavy duty truck products.
Therefore, we’ve compiled six tips proven to promote growth for dealerships like yours. Thinking strategically will help you stay focused, get better results and make the most of your marketing resources.
The easiest way to think strategically is PEER.
It’s an acronym we developed here at ADI Agency to describe the online marketing and sales process. Every one of your prospective customers follows this process as they travel through your sales funnel, but each of them is at a different stage in that process. Your marketing has to be varied enough to meet the needs of each prospect:
- Prepare – you’re attracting initial interest and building your brand name and reputation.
- Evolve – you’ve got their attention, now you have to keep it by converting that website visitor into a bona fide lead.
- Engage – you’re nurturing your leads, wherever they are in the buying process. That’s why relevant content and calls to action are so important — they guide your leads further into the funnel until they’re ready for personal contact from your sales team.
- Retain – now you’re building customer loyalty, the key to sustainable business growth.
These six tips will help you put PEER into practice for your dealership:
1. Create personas for each of your key target audience segments.
Inbound marketing’s greatest strength is your ability to tailor your content for each type of prospect – truck or equipment buyers, those needing parts or service or construction equipment rentals, etc. To do that effectively, create a “persona” for each of them – an imaginary person that represents your prospect’s typical age, gender, most pressing business challenges, purchasing and online searching habits, etc.
Next to your website, a blog is your most valuable marketing asset. If you don’t already have one, make starting a blog your #1 priority. You can use it to offer advice, comment on the latest industry news and present information your various prospects are looking for — establishing your dealership as a useful all-around resource.
3. Use lots of pictures.
It’s hard to imagine a more visual product than a heavy duty truck or a piece of construction equipment, especially when they’re on the job. Pictures don’t just decorate your website, they can significantly improve your SEO, if you optimize them. Always give them a “normal language” file name – FreightlinerCascadia.jpg, not 2*	oo.jpg or photo1.jpg – and add a short description of the photo.
4. Create an email newsletter.
This is a great way to stay in touch with customers, to foster repeat sales and build loyalty. A monthly or even quarterly newsletter carries your latest updates directly to each person – short stories about a big sale you just made, a new product introduction, new staff members, your current community volunteer project, and of course links to your blog articles, etc.
Pick one or two sites to start, and learn to use them well, then you can branch out. The type of content you post and the tone will be quite different for each social platform. Facebook is informal, a good way to engage with potential and existing customers. LinkedIn is all business, an excellent way to connect with colleagues, OEMs and other industry partners.
6. Shop the competition.
It’s easier to differentiate your dealership when you know what your top competitors are saying about themselves. Check out websites of dealerships out of your competitive area and even out of your industry, too, to get some good promotional ideas.