Today’s consumers are always on the go and constantly connected with their digital devices. A recent Forbes article predicts that by year end 2015, almost half of all Google searches will come from mobile form factors. (Olson, 2015) As Millennial and Gen Y consumers interface predominantly online, the smartphone has become an indispensable tool integrated into all aspects of their daily lives and interactions. If your dealership is not already thinking mobile first then you are missing out big time on this mobile revolution!
Untether your dealership and join the mobile masses by embracing these three key components of a compelling mobile strategy.
Tailor your Website for Mobile Users
On April 21, 2015 Google rolled out an update to their search ranking algorithm that dramatically lowers rankings for any website that isn’t found to be “mobile friendly.” Dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by many, websites that are not optimized for viewing on a smartphone now rank lower than websites that are tailored for mobile screen viewing and engagement. With the NCM Institute reporting that 40% of dealer websites receive traffic on mobile and Forbes stating that Google handles more than 88% of all global searches – your dealership is toast without a smartphone optimized landing site! With “Mobilegeddon” now in the rear view mirror, do you know where your dealership website ranks? Compare your web site traffic before April 21st to the most recent time period to understand what impact it has already had.
Responsive mobile design is nothing new. It has been a hot topic for website providers for more than two years but there are still digital marketing vendors in the automotive space that do not deliver mobile optimized, responsive design websites. Subtle differences in text size, link spacing, and fast loading media content can go a long way in improving your “mobile friendliness” ranking signal on Google. See how your dealership website rates today by test driving Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool (google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/).
But remember, just because your dealership website passes the Google Mobile Friendly test does not mean it really screams on the small screen and delivers the look, feel, and customer experience you want your brand to deliver. Be sure to have several digital media savvy team members at your dealership test your website on their own smartphones in the same way a consumer would search for vehicles and deals. Tweak the pages they find that aren’t responsive and focus redesign efforts on improving mobile showroom shopping. Consider developing a dealership branded mobile app or investing in a separate mobile site altogether if necessary to make sure your smartphone mobile user experience clicks with your customers and tops the local search rankings.
Creating a business page on Google will also allow mobile users to see your dealership’s phone number and location on Google maps when they search for you. Location based services can highlight your selection as the nearest dealership with their target vehicle in inventory. Smartphone prospects can then easily add your dealership address to their GPS or call you with the click of a button serving a hot fresh up directly to your sales team.
Invest in Mobile Advertising
Most dealerships have some portion of their advertising budget allocated for digital marketing, and in one way or another are already involved with CPC (cost-per-click) campaigns to bring traffic to their store. Beware of being lazy and using the same CPC approach for a smartphone platform as you do for a desktop device. To be in sync with a mobile first strategy, dealership CPC campaigns need to go after mobile users with advanced CPC targeting. Mobile savvy dealership digital agencies are setting up GeoFencing, Geo Retargeting, Registered Showroom Visits, and custom audience segments to capture attention and direct mobile car buying consumers to the lot. By using different strategies, collateral, and mobile site content, these agencies deliver more dealership ROI with their Social Ad campaigns.
Get your service department into the mobile game with geo-targeting too! Try leveraging mobile only coupons and target smartphone customers for time based deals on services such as oil changes, tire rotations, and tune ups when harsh weather approaches into both new and existing service customers.
Freedom from the Showroom Floor
News Flash – Customers do not want to be dragged back into the showroom for your salesperson to enter their information into your dealership CRM system. Car sales rock stars don’t want to be anchored to their desk when the real action is on the lot. Innovative CRM systems are leading with mobile first components to allow for more efficient data entry and enhanced customer contact on the lot.
Effective mobile CRM platforms should increase sales productivity by streamlining fresh up data entry and showcase available inventory via social media integration from a smartphone. The data entry process needs to be seamless and fast with features like driver’s license and VIN scanning. If these features are not part of your current dealership CRM system, explore your options to unleash your sales hunters back onto the asphalt jungle of the car lot.
General managers need to adopt a mobile first strategy. If you’re not leveraging mobile in multiple areas of your dealership, then you are not effectively interfacing with your customers to the fullest extent possible. Strive to embed mobile in your dealership customer experience and branding strategy.
If your dealership is having trouble adapting to this changing mobile landscape, consider a digital marketing consultant that can help you or hire a new team member with mobile marketing background. Mobile digital retailing is the way of the future and dealerships that don’t embrace mobility within their culture and marketing will be left standing still.