PSB 123s: Marketing tactics

1. Don’t inundate customers with too many messages.

“Your mobile alerts should be relevant and timely. Don’t send them a series of messages promoting the same event or offer,” said Ron Cariker of 7 Media Group, also a Profit Xcelerator speaker. “If you did your job right the first time, your message was clear and concise, and the customer does not need to be reminded countless times. They will save the text if it were important to them. Also, understand that overwhelming the customer can become annoying and give them more reason to opt out of your mobile club.”

2. Create a strong online brand.

“Although logos, fonts, colors and advertising messages are not your brand, they should support and strengthen your brand,” explained 50 Below’s Ben Borchert. “Consider the feelings and senses that define your brand, and then paint a complementary picture. When the images in your store, within your ads and on your website match your customers’ feelings about you, you win their trust.”

3. Use staff skills to enhance social media efforts.

“We see dealers wasting time trying to keep their staff off of social media during slow times at the dealership,” said Heather Blessington of Duo Web Solutions. “Since everyone has a smartphone these days and its not realistic to cut off staff Internet access, instead, we encourage dealers to engage their staff in the dealership social community efforts. The staff can help the dealership expand the reach of those communities, plus this approach adds different personalities to the mix, making the content more robust and interesting.”

4. Use your website as a marketing tool.

“A successful dealer wants a website to promote all of its profit centers and generate a lot of quality traffic, whether it be via phone, foot, or email – all for less money than traditional media,” said Jay Mason of Dealer Spike. Dealership websites www.folsomhd.com and www.monarchhonda.com are examples of dealers using this tactic. Jim’s Harley Davidson of St. Petersburg, Fla., (www.jimshd.com) has tripled its leads said marketing manager Jeremy Coad. “When the site launched, we got a lot of comments about how the site was cleaner and more user-friendly. Customers are happy because it’s easier to request a quote online and find their trade-in value.”

5. Have a plan.

Before launching a specific marketing tactic, a dealership should consider its purpose. “What is the specific goal and optimal outcome you would like to achieve with your marketing?” asked Mark Mooney of Mohala Motorsports Consulting.

6. Try co-marketing.

“I had a customer who owned a pizza parlor, and we decided to do a little co-marketing together,” said Mark Mooney of Mohala Motorsports Consulting. “Every pizza that left his restaurant – to go or delivered – had my message on it, taped to the top of the pizza box. In my dealership, every parts customer and every bike delivery got the same thing: his message on a flyer or coupons.”

7. Always include a call to action.

“When you ask a customer to take time to read an [advertising] alert, you should ask them to respond in some form or fashion as well,” explained Ron Cariker of 7 Media Group, who will be speaking at the 2011 ProfitX dealer conference and expo. “Ask them to call to make an appointment, click a link for more details or to see photos, follow your dealership on Facebook or Twitter, or show the message for a specific offer or discount in the dealership.”

8. Use email marketing.

Jim’s Harley-Davidson of St. Petersburg, Fla., emails weekly newsletters featuring two motorcycles with a link directed to additional photos on the dealership’s website. “The email platform is a really cool feature,” marketing manager Jeremy Coad said. “We can see the email addresses of the readers who click through to see more photos of a bike, allowing our sales staff to follow up with them.”

9. Coordinate online merchandising.

“Online merchandising should take the merchandising in your store and completely transfer it onto your website,” said Ben Borchert of 50 Below. “Whatever hangtags, factory promotions, inventory levels, sales, groups, colors, or placement appears in your store should be mirrored exactly on your website.”

10. Host family-friendly events.

Dealers need to focus on their demographic – which is usually 40-50-year-old men – understanding that men often have a hard time convincing their wives and families to visit a dealership, said Sam Dantzler of Sam Dantzler Powersport Consulting. Dantzler’s local dealership, Fay Myers Motorcycle World in Greenwood Village, Colo., targets events to families, so dads can spend guilt-free hours at the dealership.

11. Buy sponsored links on search engines.

“Sponsored links are a sure way of getting your name immediate, prominent exposure,” explained Jay Mason of Dealer Spike. “Phrases can be purchased to ensure [dealership] listings appear at the top of the page. Web-savvy dealers are willing to invest more of their marketing budget where customers shop first: the Internet.”

12. Know your market.

“Don’t waste impressions where there will be little or no return,” Mark Mooney of Mohala Motorsports Consulting said. “Know whom and what you are targeting. Have desired results in mind that can be measured.”

13. Measure your responses as often as possible.

Dealers need to measure the response to marketing messages, says Ron Cariker of 7 Media Group. “Don’t just assume because one person walked in and said they got the text alert that it was a success. Measure click-through rates, sales, phone calls and all other aspects of each alert you send.”

14. Post video of your vehicles.

“Don’t waste time shooting multiple pictures of your vehicles, when a video seals the deal,” said Heather Blessington of Duo Web Solutions. “Buy an affordable camera. Flip Cameras are highly rated and easy to use. Then ask a few staff members to get creative shooting quick 30-second walk-around videos of your vehicles.”

15. Add content to your website.

“Providing high-quality and meaningful content is an easy way to optimize any website,” said Ben Borchert of 50 Below. “Such content can be in the form of a blog, newsletter, video and more. Put content first, and it’s hard to go wrong — even if you know nothing else about SEO. Always remember to write for people, not for search engines.”

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