Using Lead Nurturing to Convert Internet Leads into Car-Buying Customers
Particularly with internet leads, it’s often assumed that every contact is ready to buy today, so many times, every communication with the lead after the online conversion is hyper-focused on the final stage of the buying cycle: the purchase.
In reality, most digital conversions are initiated by individuals in the process of vehicle research, comparison, and evaluation; these individuals require a much different approach than an email with the latest time-sensitive sales offer.
According to the J.D. Power 2014 New Autoshopper Study, new vehicle buyers are spending an average of nearly 14 hours on the internet shopping for vehicles prior to purchase. Surprisingly, those spending 12 hours or more shopping online are visiting 3.3 dealerships. Compare this to those spending 5 to 11 hours shopping online and visiting 2.5 dealers, as well as those spending 1 to 4 hours and visiting just 2. The study also found 34% of automotive internet users are using their smartphone or tablet while shopping at the dealership.
New car buyers continue to become savvier, conducting online vehicle research up until they complete a purchase, and even doing the legwork to visit and find the best dealership. Today, it’s no longer just about getting in front of car buyers sooner—it’s absolutely critical to stay in front of them throughout their shopping process through continuous engagement.
The most effective way to position your dealership as the obvious choice among the competition and stay in front of potential new car buyers after converting through your website is through segmented lead nurturing campaigns. Keep in mind, lead nurturing isn’t just email marketing—it’s establishing highly-targeted communication that is tailored to the buyers’ interests and needs, relevant to their level of buyer readiness.
To begin, break down your shoppers’ typical buying processes into main phases such as research, comparison and evaluation. For each phase, begin mapping out the key pains or problems your buyer experiences, and the most common questions they’re seeking answers to.
Next, start thinking about how you can respond to these questions or problems with content that they’ll find useful. For example, consider a lead in the early stages of the buying process who had just converted for the first time by requesting a quote. Chances are, they’re conducting their initial research, searching for vehicles in their price range and creating their vehicle shortlist. This is an opportunity for dealerships to establish themselves as the go-to source by building an education-focused lead nurturing campaign that offers information such as relevant vehicle comparisons, new car buying checklists, or even a piece of premium content like an informative eBook on the specific make and model of interest.
By designing lead nurturing campaigns for multiple types of buyers and providing them with helpful information specific their interests, you’ll not only establish trust with potential buyers sooner, but you’ll be able to more effectively control and guide the sales process while potentially reducing the buyer’s need to investigate the competition.
Sarah D’Andrea is the Inbound And Content Marketing Manager for Stream Companies, a full service integrated advertising agency.