Change Your Marketing from Should to Must

The time to change your marketing strategy is now

The word “should” is always around. Even in your private thoughts, should always shows up, making statements and providing unsolicited advice. There’s one bad thing about a should, however—it rarely takes action.

Luckily, there is a word that keeps should away: “must.” You’ll always meet a must head on—no matter the consequences. So change any should that pops up to a must, and you’re nearly guaranteed success.

This is especially true for marketing. To be successful, you need to turn the following five potential shoulds into musts:

1. I must develop why-buy and added-value messages.

Most of the car-buying process is now completed before customer visits your store. Selling the dealership is now—and always will be—the most important part of your selling process.

“Late hours” and “free Wi-Fi” are not reasons to buy—they’re features today’s customers expect. Many consumers hate car shopping, so talk about how your dealership make it easier and what you’re willing to do to earn their business.

2. I must optimize my website.

You have the undivided attention of a potential customer who is on your site, so take advantage of this because you may not get another chance. Make your inventory easy to find and specials easy to understand. Feature your why-buy and added-value messages on every vehicle details and specials page.

It’s best not to rely on your website provider to know to do this. Driving the content, optimization and updating of the site are up to you.

3. I must get serious about search marketing.

If your customers can’t find you when using a search engine, you’re out of the game. The starter package from your website provider is no longer effective for top Google or other search engine results. It’s going to take a investment of funds and your dedication to an effective search strategy to be successful.

It’s best to leave this one to the pros, but be careful when hiring and working with search consultants. Constant supervision, updating, bid adjustments, and overall tweaking are a must. Watch and notice the maintenance charges and/or commissions paid so you know how far your money is going.

4. I must be active on social media.

Stop posting irrelevant, boring, or even worse, “spammy” content. Create posts that are relevant and engaging to your customers. For example, customers will appreciate a post featuring a link to an article with winter driving tips sent out before a forecast snowstorm arrives. Stick with content that is either informative or entertaining and you won’t go wrong.

5. I must take reviews seriously.

Potential customers will check your dealership’s reputation online before putting you on the short list of dealers to visit. Do the right thing by your customers and you’ll get great reviews—if you ask for them. Negative reviews are going to happen whether you’re soliciting feedback or not, but you’ll very rarely get any good ones unless you ask for them.

Once you get them, immediately respond publicly. Thanking customers for great reviews and publicly apologizing to customer complaints are equally important.

Over the past year or so, the comment I hear most often during new-client presentations is, “I should have changed my marketing years ago—I’d be much further ahead now.”

The time to change is now! Turn a should into must, and watch what happens.

Frank J. Lopes is Vice President of Forrest & Blake Marketing/Advertising. His nearly 20 years of marketing experience is focused on automotive dealership and retail marketing.

Frank J. Lopes


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