Converting web visitors is what all dealers are striving for; you know this is the gateway to increased sales. You are taught over and over again that getting consumers to your Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs) will increase your leads. You design those pages with offers, calls to actions, and dynamic content in an effort to decrease bounce rates and increase interest in your products which should in turn finally help them convert. These are all good things, but the real question is,
“How do we reach our audience when they are ready to buy?”
Isn’t that the easiest way to get a sale? I sell software and I know that it’s far easier to get a signed contract when someone comes to the table and says, “I’m ready.” So how do you do that in the automotive space? How do you find that golden customer?
The number one way to find these customers is follow the good advice described above. Number two is that you educate. Customers are looking for and they need your products. In Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study, April 2011” they found that the average number of sources used by all shoppers has almost doubled from 5.2 to 10.4 sources and that the number of sources that automotive shoppers visit is a staggering 18.2.
The more information you create online that educates consumers about your products and your brand, the more likely it will be that they find you and remember you when they decide to purchase.
Number three is that you get in front of them at that zero moment when they are inquisitively looking for products and dealers whose brand matches their needs. It’s not enough to have the content that educates a consumer about your brand and your product; you have to get it in front of them. You have to find many ways to touch your prospects and motivate them to purchase your products. It’s a complex path to conversion in this online world and your job as sales people, sales managers, marketers and owners is to let consumers know what you sell, why you sell it and why they should buy from you.
Google research suggests that this Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), that moment when consumers research products and begin acting on that desire to purchase, is the most influential phase in their purchase decision. But they also add that this moment is hardly a ‘moment’; instead it’s a period in time where buyers are researching and considering a myriad of sources (recall 18.2 for automotive). It comprises the largest portion of time that buyers research prior to their First Moment of Truth (FMOT), that is the time when they finally kick the tires, talk to a salesperson or take a test drive. The ZMOT is the longest and most influential part of the automotive purchase cycle. Approximately 55% of automotive buyers are in this research phase, this ZMOT, for over one month and about 22% of them are researching for 2-3 months.
These two to three months prior to purchase are the time when you are driving action and growing interest and loyalty to your products and your brand!
The varied ways that you communicate your brand are seemingly infinite. It can be as simple as the people that you hire that talk about their work with their friends, in person or on social media. It can also be as complex as tagging consumers with breadcrumbs that help identify when they are looking at competitor’s websites so that you can offer them a targeted advertisement on an advertising source like Facebook or the Google Ad Network. But at AutoSweet, we do like to focus on making the complex simple; so I’d simply like to describe how to acquire new eyes on your product using email marketing so that you can become one of the 18.2 automotive sources that your prospects are looking at when they are thinking about buying.
Email Gets a Buyer’s Interest at the Zero Moment of Truth
During the ZMOT, consumers are talking with friends and family about their product interest. They are researching on retailer and manufacturer websites. They are reading reviews, articles and comparison shopping. 2-3% of the driving population is in the ZMOT. So on any given day, that population is thinking about automotive purchases, and some are doing that for 2-3 months prior to purchase. Your goal in acquiring new customers is to reach this 2-3% with your product and your branding. This population uses many different channels for research, the most popular of which is digital, and certainly, email is at the forefront of digital media. There are many statistics that support this:
- 91% of consumers check their email daily
- 76% of email opens occur in the first two days after an email is sent
- 79% of time online is spent outside of search that is across websites, mobile, YouTube, and Gmail
(Source: go-gulf.com; “How People Spend Their Time Online”; February 2, 2012 Online Publishing Association; Nielsen,Comscoredatamine.com, Tnsdigitallife.com, Pewinternet.org)
- 78 percent of consumers that are researching their car purchases visit at least six websites or more prior to purchase
So shoppers are using digital mediums such as websites to research and familiarize themselves with various brands during the ZMOT. How do you get them to your website? If 91% of them check their email daily, wouldn’t it make sense to try and connect there? AutoSweet has access to approximately 200 million consumer email addresses and we can target them using varied means such as specific zip codes, household incomes, education level, brand ownership or brand interest. Our emails deliver results, we find that about 2% of all our consumers click through to your website, the place where you’ve optimized conversion. Email marketing gets consumers in front of your product and branding. But one visit isn’t enough. They are going to look for vehicles at six to eighteen different websites over two to three months. So we use email, something that they look at daily, to touch them multiple times, over time. Our typical email campaign lasts 90 days and our most successful dealers continually reach out to prospective customers with email all year long, much like regular TV commercials. They do this because they know that shoppers are at different stages of marketing awareness throughout the year and because they want to touch them during the zero moment of truth.
Over time and during the ZMOT for 2-3% of consumers, AutoSweet’s email campaigns are being delivered with your branding, your products, your specials and links to your website. These emails are specifically designed to get a consumer who is in the ZMOT to build awareness, build their intention and eventually deliver a sale.
At AutoSweet, we know that our email marketing works and we’d love the opportunity to show you how. If you would like us to help you find new customers that say, “I’m ready,” please click here or give us a call. We’d be happy to walk you through our process and help you find a better way to drive new customers to your dealership.
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