SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One year after the U.S. declared COVID-19 a national emergency, automotive digital marketing leader Sincro is providing insights into how dealers can thrive despite its impact.
Since the emergency was declared March 13, 2020, auto dealers have coped with lockdowns, new sanitation guidelines, mask rules, a lack of new car inventory, and increased competition for used cars. Some have pivoted successfully; the Sincro Dealer Trend Report found a majority of dealers increased gross profits in 2020.
In another positive sign, consumer activity on Sincro websites has grown. In February 2021, the average dealer saw year-over-year site visits increase by 25 percent and Vehicle Details Page views grow by 23 percent.
To build on this promising momentum and leverage the pandemic as a catalyst for growth, Sincro recommends the following:
1. Prepare for Continued Inventory Fluctuations
While most OEMs have resumed regular manufacturing after shutdowns in 2020, the global chip shortage is expected to impact production in the first half of 2021. In February 2021, new vehicle inventory on Sincro websites was down 22 percent from a year ago.
Used car sales will continue to be important to dealer success. In addition, most manufacturers and the government are increasingly focusing on electric vehicles, which will impact inventory.
- Create content, including high-quality images and descriptions, to generate excitement for new models, including EV. Build on OEM promotion around new models, such as creating landing pages, walk-around videos, social media posts and virtual events.
- Target shoppers who show intent to sell their vehicles by targeting keywords such as Kelley Blue Book, trade in value or Black Book. As well, contact shoppers who purchased a vehicle more than five years ago and may be ready to sell and buy again. Target them with messaging on the value of a trade-in versus selling independently or using a third-party seller.
2. Be Ready for Online Shoppers
Propelled by the pandemic, the amount of research and time car shoppers spend online continues to increase. To capture this opportunity, align with how people want to shop now.
- Invest in marketing to be visible to shoppers during their digital journey. The Sincro Dealer Trend Report found a significant number of dealers plan to increase digital marketing budgets in 2021, despite forecasting flat sales. Top areas of growth will be digital advertising, social media and SEO. According to eMarketer, digital advertising will jump 21.4 percent this year to $13.3 billion, with the strongest growth in social media and mobile video, banner and search ads.
- Optimize Google My Business listings with at least three profiles (sales, service, parts), quality images, and an impactful business description. A Sincro dealer poll found only 30 percent had all three recommended pages.
3. Reinforce the Value of Your Local Presence
Dealers provide essential services, jobs and commerce in nearly every community across the nation. They should showcase that commitment to their hometowns.
- Promote the benefits of buying local, such as knowledgeable sales and service teams, same-day test drives and delivery, and certified repair shop.
- Use social media to drive shoppers to a dealer’s site and brick-and-mortar stores. As people spend increasing amounts of time online, social media is an ideal low-cost outlet to create and share content and promotions.
Sincro, an Ansira company, provides auto dealers a seamless approach to digital marketing brought to life by intelligent technology, expert services, and powerful strategic insight. Sincro solves complex marketing problems for retailers through offerings that include a modern digital storefront, coordinated omnichannel marketing campaigns, local search strategies and consulting. Sincro is the leading provider of local marketing services and technologies for automotive clients, driving more than 83 million monthly unique visitors through a cross-channel landscape. For more, visit SincroDigital.com.