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How to Reach Customers at the End of the Car-Buying Journey

Let’s be real, there are a lot of digital marketing tools out there for dealers. But they’re basically worthless if you don’t know when to use them. You can have strategic SEO, carefully researched advertising campaigns, and a website that’s been optimized for conversion – but all that high-tech digital weaponry in your arsenal won’t amount to much if you can’t reach your potential buyers at the right time.

Google has identified five key moments in the car-buying journey that all customers go through. They call them micro-moments, and you’ve probably heard of them. The first two moments have a lot to do with research, but the end of the car-buying journey is where dealers should start paying attention. It’s where your leads begin to trickle into customers, and you need to know which tools to pull from your arsenal based on the moment.

Can-I-Afford-It Moments

This is the first step after consumers have passed through the first two micro moments: Which-Car-Is-Best and Is-It-Right-For-Me. At this point, the consumers know what kind of car they want, and now they want to know if they can stretch their wallets to make it happen. The best way to help them? Give them an easy-to-find and attractive price.

Your secret weapon for this stage is a solid SEM strategy that focuses on search queries with “purchase intent,” like “Toyota Camry Lease” or “Chevrolet Malibu Price.” These kinds of searches have higher conversion rates, drive more form submissions, and have a low cost-per-click. Sounds like a win-win. A majority of consumers also search for this info on their phones, so a website with a responsive design is a must.

Where-Should-I-Buy-It Moments

In this moment, having a Local SEO strategy is really going to pay off. After a consumer decides on the vehicle they want, they will look for a brick-and-mortar dealership in their area — and you want to be that dealership. This is your chance to put your inventory front and center and turn that virtual browser into a physical customer.

An SEO strategy that focuses on local relevancy is the best way to make sure your dealership is literally on the map for your area. Google wants to show people local results, and that means your dealership needs to be sending the right signals. Traditional SEO focuses on national or brand relevancy isn’t going to help those in-market buyers find your dealership as much as Local SEO will. You can also utilize tools like geo-fencing to target specific locations in your area, like universities or even competing dealerships, and serve up enticing offers to come visit your lot.

Am-I-Getting-A-Deal Moments

This is the very last “moment” in the buyer’s digital journey, and it’s another opportunity for your PPC efforts to shine. Your future customer is probably on your competitor’s lot and ready to buy, or they may be in the price negotiation process. The last thing they’ll do before signing on the dotted line is check their phone to ensure they’re truly getting the best deal. In fact, research from Google shows that 50% of customers at a dealership will check their smartphone, and the most performed action is…you guessed it: checking prices online. If you’re using a smart PPC strategy, you can target your competition’s showroom and serve ads to shoppers who are wondering if there’s a better price elsewhere.

In the coming weeks, we’ll talk more about these micro-moments and do a deep diver into SEO, PPC and website optimization strategies for each moment.

Author Amir Amirrezvani

Amir Co-founded DealerOn in 2004 with Ali and has been instrumental in its success and growth. He is similarly held in high regards as a Digital Marketing executive and thought leader in the industry with a vast rolodex of most influential players and game changers. He is a popular, sought after speaker presenting educational seminars on industry best practices at Google Headquarters, NADA, and NCM 20 groups. Amir is focused on setting the direction for marketing efforts and partnership strategies to offer the best suite of services to DealerOn customers. Prior to DealerOn, Amir held executive positions in Sales and Internet Services at large Auto Groups like Penske, Van Tuyl and DARCARS which empower him with a unique ability to identify best solutions for the challenges DealerOn customers face.

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