Have you had your fill of everything mobile yet? It can be incredibly overwhelming being bombarded constantly by salesman, vendors, customer demands and many other influencers telling you if you’re not mobile you will fail. So how about we take a few steps back and simplify things for you and your dealership.
One of the very first questions I posed when starting this blog back in January was: “What resources and budget have you dedicated to a mobile strategy?” If you haven’t answered this question then nothing else I’ve shared will be of much use to you. But let’s go back even one step further and ask what resources you’ve committed to marketing and advertising period? It seems like an obvious question with an obvious answer. Of course you advertise and market your dealership. But you’d be surprised how little some dealers invest in promotions. But it’s not the quantity that matters as much as the quality.
Traditional advertising and marketing has worked for years. And for many it still does in a very meaningful way. We all get mired in all the digital lingo and channels so at times it’s easier to just throw up our hands and say enough. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lists the “basics” of what advertising can do for your business:
- Remind customers and inform prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service
- Establish and maintain your distinct identity
- Enhance your reputation
- Encourage existing customers to buy more of your product/service
- Attract new customers and replace lost ones
- Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line
- Promote your business to customers, investors, and others
Notice in all those points there wasn’t one mention of online, digital, social media or mobile. But the SBA also adds three caveats that speak to the core of why advertising doesn’t work for so many. Advertising takes time, persistence and planning. So whether it’s mobile marketing or a billboard on the highway you can’t just expect success without putting in the time and persistence as well as strategic planning.
We all fall prey to overcomplicating many things. We want the latest greatest thing because we assume our customers want that even if we don’t fully understand it ourselves. Taking a true evaluation of what advertising can do for your dealership by defining the purpose and measuring the outcome of that advertising is a necessity. Keeping things simple can accomplish all of these needs.
Now let’s circle back to this SBA basics and apply them to a mobile strategy.
- Remind customers and inform prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service. The first word tells you right there a text “reminder” can be very effective in informing customers. Tell them about a new bike or helmet or accessory. How do they even know you have certain items unless you tell them.
- Establish and maintain your distinct identity. As your customers interact with your dealership more through mobile channels you must constantly reinforce your identity. Not the brands you sell but your name as a dealer. Don’t just tell them you are a Yamaha or Honda or Harley dealership. Tell them why you’re the Yamaha or Honda or Harley dealer they should visit. Make sure every text alert has your dealership name. Your logo should be prominent on every piece visual material online whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, your mobile website. Even on a small screen like a mobile phone your logo can be very eye catching.
- Enhance your reputation. Use your mobile audience to help your reputation in a positive way. Direct them to Yelp or Google Places to rate your business. Customers are on their phone doing this so help them out and give them some pointers on why to rate you.
- Encourage existing customers to buy more of your product/service. This is a MAJOR point of emphasis that dealers overlook. Customers rarely seek out information from you daily. They think of you when they are ready. But through simple mobile alerts or contextual advertising in social media you can grab their attention and motivate them to shop now versus waiting.
- Attract new customers and replace lost ones. In all your traditional advertising include a mobile call to action. Text to win something. Or when you’re off site use a mobile call to action for a giveaway or something and attract those new customers.
- Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line. Use your existing data to help with incremental sales. If you know a customers owns a specific bike then send them specific suggestions on accessories or parts for that bike. Don’t be generic when specific can truly add to the bottom line. As you do this more and more customers will come to expect it form you and will show their loyalty by adding more to their purchase amount and more frequently.
- Promote your business to customers, investors, and others. This can be the most challenging. I am often asked how do I get more customers. Traditional advertising can still accomplish a great deal. But adding a mobile element can help. Even partnering with another business to tap into their customer base can be extremely worthwhile and the customer benefits form both you and that business.
As you read through these basic things I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep it simple and start with the basics. Don’t overthink digital and mobile. Your customers habits may have changed on where they focus their attention today but why has not changed at all.
Ron Cariker is owner/president of 7 Media Group, a diverse mobile marketing firm based in the U.S., and the leading mobile provider for the powersports industry. Ron and his company have worked with over 100 dealers across the U.S. for the past 7 years. He speaks extensively across the U.S. and internationally about the mobile industry and mobile education.