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The 5 Successful Habits of Top Digital Dealers


I’ve had the great fortune of working with some of the top eCommerce directors and digital dealers across the country. I continue to see a trend in the qualities and habits these top performers share. Although each dealer possesses more than just five, I’ve decided to document these common threads and share them with you.

  1. Every top dealer has a “digital champion” at the dealership. This is an executive leadership position and responsible for overseeing all eCommerce programs; including the strategy, implementation, execution, and reporting. The compensation plan should not be measured solely on cars sold through the internet department (that is the function of your internet manager). He/She should be able to connect all the dots from your traditional to digital marketing budgets and be able to forecast based on the success and failure of each individual program. This individual should be providing a weekly marketing playbook and distributing it across all departments throughout the dealership, including the receptionist.
  2. Don’t rely on industry “Best Practices.” This might seem like a contradiction to everything that sounds logical or that you’ve heard prior to this passage. Consumer behavior is changing fast, and the challenges you’re facing today aren’t the same ones that “industry best practices” have documented and solved. The eCommerce universe has rapidly expanded to include an array of touch points and the center of that universe has shifted entirely. Today’s marketing needs to be agile. The top digital dealers monitor consumer behavior and react quickly using technology that is learning and optimizing the experience of each consumer in real time.
  3. Create Personalized Experiences. In my seminars and previous columns, I always stress how important the consumer landing page experience is. There’s no limit to the amount of landing pages a website can accommodate. The top digital dealers identify different buyers and segments and create landing pages that appeal to those different audiences’ interests and needs with more relevant and targeted offers. Dedicated landing pages also solve the “click fatigue” problem that occurs when consumers have to navigate through a website to find the information they were initially looking for. Landing pages also offer a great SEO value with the opportunity of being indexed in a search.
  4. Think Outside of Automotive. Many automotive marketing strategies could be the actual definition of insanity. Dealers keep using the same vendors that create the same campaigns, for every same brand dealer across the country. Top digital dealers tend to imitate the successful big box retailers such as Amazon, Forever21 or Nordstrom. They understand their shopper and provide customized shopping experiences based on marketing referral source, website pages visited and previous behavior. Have you ever received a targeted ad from a recently visited website offering you a discount and free shipping? Truth is, if you’re like thousands of consumers, you probably clicked on the ad and bought the product.
  5. Understand your analytics. Most dealers blast the same marketing message, to as many people as possible, with the hope of getting them to fill out a form or visit the dealer so they can blast them all again with the same message. The trait the best digital dealers seem to master is the use of their analytics to create more targeted and effective campaigns. Using a data-driven approach helps identify who is ready to buy before the form submission. A multi-dimensional predictive analysis will help you match your data and a combination of variables to determine an exact message to an exact target.

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