When Google announced its release of Panda – a search algorithm developed to generate quality search results and to help users find more relevant content – many dealerships were forced to overcome significant financial and operation hurdles by scrambling to design, develop and launch new websites that respond to, and display properly across, mobile devices.
Dealerships that failed to heed Google’s warning were – and still are – driven down in relevant search rankings, while stores with responsive sites and strategic digital marketing strategies are rewarded with higher positions and thus are more likely to be found by customers looking for a business like theirs. And while building an infrastructure that positions your dealership to attract customers and prospects to your site is a step in the right direction, preparing to maximize your opportunity when they do visit is equally important.
Enter data integration.
The value of leveraging big data to operate more efficiently and profitably has been well-documented in our industry and most others, but as the “typical” consumer continues to evolve into anything but typical, top-performing dealerships are shifting their collective focus to integrating the wealth of data available to them and using it to paint a more holistic picture of customer behavior and, ultimately, to shape more relevant and meaningful follow-up communications.
Here’s how it works:
With a fully integrated automotive technology platform that includes an information-sharing solution, like DealerSocket CrossFire, sellers are able to identify website users as previously known customers in their CRM platform and vice versa. When a match is confirmed, the technology is triggered, and the user or customer’s contact and device information is updated and logged across all solutions within your technology platform, creating a seamless flow of information that helps you drive profitability across departments.
This information sharing improves your ability to track customer and prospect behavior during website visits and to find out what products and services a particular customer is most interested in. Within the DealerSocket CRM, for example, dealers are able to view a customer summary that outlines several data points, including:
- Total number of website visits
- Number of leads submitted
- Source of visit(s)
- Pages viewed per visit; which pages were viewed
- Date and time of last visit
- Date and time of last lead submitted
- Vehicle interests
Sellers are also able to track how many pages users view, how much time is spent on each page and how the customer arrived at the website. Each visit is classified as open, sold or lost, categories that allow sellers and their technology partners to refine their follow-up processes for each.
For example, if a customer is in the “sold” category, it’s likely that he/she won’t be buying another vehicle from you anytime soon, but there may be an opportunity to engage him/her to refer your business to friends or family, or to offer up a service coupon to begin a long-term, lucrative service relationship. If the customer is in the “open” category and actively browsed your site for information about a particular make and model, there may be an opportunity to launch a targeted follow-up campaign that informs him or her about available inventory, incentives and trade-in opportunities.
As you look toward the future, it’s vital that you find new ways to sell to, service and retain your customers, and there’s no better guide than science. Use data to your advantage and be sure to lean on your technology partner to ensure you’re following current best practices and using technology holistically to drive profitability across all areas of your business. As a result, you’ll set your business up for short- and long-term financial success and develop meaningful long-term relationships with the customers who power it.
Aaron is DealerSocket’s director of product management and is one of the automotive retail industry’s go-to resources for strategic guidance pertaining to SEO and SEM, as well as digital analytics and dealership website design. In his current role, Aaron leads development and oversees implementation of the organization’s product strategy for all digital and web solution offerings; he also manages solution integrations across DealerSocket’s fully integrated automotive technology platform, helping dealers drive profitability across all aspects of their business. Aaron holds a degree in marketing and advertising from the University of Northern Iowa and holds Google AdWords and Google Analytics certifications.