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3 Ways to Avoid Mobile Marketing Mayhem

By David Metter

The accelerating rate of mobile usage is not a trend. It’s certainly not going out of style. Mobile best practices need to be hard coded in the DNA of every brand, dealer, and marketer – guiding your digital strategy from this very micro-moment on. No longer is mobile marketing a segment or part of your approach, but rather it should dominate your approach, and that’s huge.

We’ve been watching consumer behavior in the retail segment for years. The Automotive industry is following in the tracks of larger retailers like Target, Home Depot, and of course, Amazon. This mobile-driven shopping behavior is rapidly translating from buying a T.V. at Best Buy to purchasing a vehicle at a dealership. “Showrooming,” or shopping on other dealer’s sites on a mobile device while physically at a dealership is an increasing problem that needs to be handled proactively. If consumers are going to compare prices on their smartphones for a $20 item or an $800 item, the probability is even stronger that they’ll do the same for a $40,000-$50,000 item while on a dealer’s lot.

We’ve been in the space long enough to know that with all up-and-coming technologies come growing pains. The following are the top three ways to own mobile and avoid the problems that other marketers have faced.

1. Ensure You Have Access to Accurate, Real-Time Attribution Reporting: According to AdRoll’s State of the Industry, 41% of U.S. marketers said the lack of attribution transparency was one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge of mobile advertising today. The ultimate goal for dealers and OEMs is to choose a vendor that has the ability to attribute every sale and every showroom visit to a single campaign at nearly 100% effectiveness, regardless of the device or media channel that led them to you.

Leverage technology that knows the exact coordinates of every franchise dealership in the country, so you can pinpoint the exact location of a customer at a nearby competitor. You can then target with highly specific and dynamic messaging, giving you the control to conquest other brands and more importantly, protect your own backyard. Dealers cannot possibly do this by themselves. Unite technology with intelligent data that executes well and has the attribution reporting to prove it.

2. Eliminate Extra Steps: Digital marketing can get complicated when you break down all the moving pieces that make up a comprehensive, synergetic strategy. With mobile, it’s actually quite simple. Think of a single goal your mobile campaign must accomplish. For most, it should be to get a buyer into your showroom. Then, map out the easiest, most straightforward route to get there. The less pages, forms, and steps your audience has to navigate through, the higher the chances of conversion.

According to eMarketer, over one-third of advertisers say users or consumers not converting on mobile is yet another challenge. Friction is the enemy here. If a customer gets “stuck” either waiting for a page to load or navigating through irrelevant content they will move on faster than you can say Ferrari. Always put both speed and simplicity into play when it comes to increasing conversion rates on mobile. Focus on one goal, one call to action, and one destination – your dealership.

3. Zero-In on Buyers: Through location and behavioral targeting, we can build a consumer profile that offers great insight into who is in-market and ready to make a purchase, and who is still in the research phase of buying a car. 90% of consumers leave their location services enabled. Google advises marketers to take advantage of these built-in GPS systems. In addition, “61% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from mobile sites and apps that customize information to their location.”

At the end of the day, great marketing is really about one thing; and that’s relating to people. With all the information, analytics and tools available to us, we’ve perhaps created an overly complicated, multi-faceted, omnichannel approach of simply trying to relate to people. The evolution of mobile is much more simplistic than that. It’s just about connecting with people on another level (that happens to be in their pocket, purse, or in their hands roughly 99% of the time).

Mobile usage rates have already exceeded desktop. Try not to blink, because before you know it, over 90% of showroom traffic will be attributable to a mobile device. So rather than being reactive, you better be there, and be ready.

Click here to read the new Mobile eBook, Auto Dealers and the State of Mobile Marketing 2016.

Identifying Customer Intent through Conversion & Incentives

Dealer websites today are filled with conversion widgets. In most cases, customers will choose only one form or call-to-action (CTA) to convert on. If the CTA that they chose was “value my trade,” then you can be pretty sure that the value of their trade-in is their hot button. Or perhaps they filled out a credit application. Those may be pretty low-funnel customers who, in most cases, will have some credit challenges that they may need help with. Most conversions, however, are from price-based CTAs. Whether the conversion happened because there was no price and they clicked “Get price.” Or, whether a price was present and they wanted more information, the majority of the leads any dealer gets will begin in this manner. That being said, we also know that many dealers have pop up specials or incentives they offer their website visitors. It could be a “$100 off coupon” towards a vehicle. Or it could be “Get a $25 gift card with test drive.” What does it tell you, however, when the same customer converts on both forms, one right after the other?

The customer’s intent when converting on your website is to move further down the funnel towards a new vehicle. Some may be simply pricing out vehicles and doing research. While others may be planning to go buy a car tomorrow… or even today. If your dealership has a special offer pop up on the website and you get a lead from a VDP, then immediately after get a conversion on the pop up, the sirens should go off. These customers want information and have taken the next mental step towards buying a car from you. Not only are they prepared to take you up on that $100 off or gift card offer, but they have, at the very least, narrowed your dealership down to one they plan to visit.

Most dealerships have canned templates for online inquiries - some better than others. I would suggest, however, that if you see conversion activity as described above, you should have a completely different process in place for handling these leads. Just think about what this consumer’s actions tell you about their intent. They came to your website, browsed your inventory, landed on a vehicle that interested them enough to give away the one thing that they control -- their information. Consumers don’t give this up easily. They understand that the moment they input their information and hit the submit button, someone at your dealership will be e-mailing and calling them. So, they decide to leave your website and are presented with an incentive. They’ve already filled out a form indicating interest. If they then stop and fill out a second form in order to claim an offer, they’ve just told you that they’re interested in the vehicle and doing business with your dealership AND, very likely, that they’re considering doing it SOON.

It is important to have concrete processes in place and consistent follow up with all of your internet leads - and I certainly don’t recommend cherry picking and ignoring any leads. However, the lead that comes in with a message that says “I want to buy a car from you tomorrow” will definitely perk up some ears and initiate some serious action by a dealership’s ISMs or managers. If you show offers and incentives to your customers and experience 2 conversions in a short period of time, one being your special offer, treat that lead exactly as if the customer had told you they were buying a car from you soon… because that’s exactly what their behavior told you, regardless of whether they typed it into the lead form.