From the showroom to your site: how to draw your automotive customers in

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2013 saw Mini win back its title as brand campaign master as it launched its national “Not Normal” campaign. Mini needed to remind the public why their brand was so special and thank all of its fans for their loyalty. Their strategy was to celebrate Mini’s originality by tying offline with online technology. How did they do this?

Mini’s “Not normal” campaign incorporated real-time personalized messaging to Mini drivers on road banners tailored according to the time of day, the driver’s gender and the color of the model. Mini employed “spotters” to locate the drivers and sent them messages on the next closest digital banner. What better way to lure the drivers in than with promises of treats at the next closest road stop? The campaign also incorporated real-time photos posted by fans on their social media platforms. This is the power of the personal, in action!

Minicampaign

For the automobile industry, making your marketing and sales strategy digital is not an easy task. Why? People are not prepared to buy a (new or used) car online. The cost and the consumer’s need to test drive the vehicle before purchase puts the brakes on simply ‘adding to the basket’. Only the likes of Volvo and Tesla have dared to sell online.

Yet it is not be neglected as according to an AutoTrader.com survey 75% of car buyers’ research was done online.

Mini’s campaign was successful because it created an experience and formed a community personalizing its online as well as offline tactics. Yet the campaign was not scalable. Realistically, Mini would have only affected a small percentage of its overall customer base as it was based in London's Cromwell Road on 7 digital banners.

How, then, does the automative industry  create a scalable yet personalized experience for its large customer base online?

Successfully introducing web personalization is not a smooth ride. Here are some top tips on how to attract the public and boost your online presence.

Collect customer feedback 

If you want people to trust the quality of your brand, let potential customers view feedback from their peers via third party widgets. Impress potential leads with positive reviews of each model by customers who have had a test drive, taking luxury brand Lexus as an example.

Qubit’s platform offers a visitor opinion service tailored to your needs. Qubit’s customer feedback is critical in improving brands websites and web personalization strategy to meet the demands of their customers.

VisitorOpinion

 Be clear and don’t hold back on the information 

According to Google, car buyers use around 7.8 digital sources when searching for a car. So make your site worthwhile.  Each customer is on your site for a different reason so the user journey needs to be identified with the appropriate information. 82% of car buyers take 3 months or less to decide on a new car purchase, leaving time for digital marketers to customize the content they project for each visitor segment.

Not all visitors on the site are experts in the automobile field, adding on extra information about engines or Entertainment will help customers engage in your site’s content rather than go elsewhere. Volkswagen has introduced videos explaining the finer details of their models as well as presenting a ‘quick view’ product information on the product page. Remain clear and transparent, be THE point of reference.

Qubit’s platform identifies user behavior to then personalize the content viewed by each visitor segment.
 
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Embrace social media

There is no better way to connect with the public and to spread the word than to get people viewing and sharing your campaigns.

Take for example Ford’s social marketing strategy, which uses different platforms, each with their own unique voice and character. Ford’s Vine account, which presents six second videos are light, playful and let room for creativity. On the other hand, the Facebook page is more a center for information on the latest models and technology.

A study by Auto Trader and BirdSong claimed that Toyota ranked first for customer satisfaction and CXM. The reason to their success: they make their brand human. Toyota’s twitter account is dedicated to retweeting and responding to its followers' queries and posts. Their tweets connect to the public and create a “Toyota community”, where people can share and promote their brand story in their own personal way (be that a picture of a Toyota cake or a tweet praising their latest model).

Next steps

The automotive sector is improving its eCommerce strategy in a bid to appeal to a digitally-oriented generation. Bring in the element of surprise to make people remember you.

What is the next step? Online customization of cars is yet another way to draw in customers and boost conversion but we aren’t yet able to able to buy without a try.

Best way to start? Drive tests live. With Qubit. Check our ebook, the 40 ways to personalize for more ideas on how to optimize your site. 

 

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