Think about how many people visit your showroom on an average day. They walk around, look at a few cars, and leave without giving any personal details to one of your sales reps. Today there is no way to reach out to these folks, after they leave. They might be hot prospects, looking to buy a new car. But unless they decide to come back, they are a lost opportunity, full stop.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could “retarget” prospects after a showroom visit, even if you don’t have their email, phone number or address ? What if you could stay top of mind, send them personalized offers and invite them back in at the right time ?
“Retargeting” is a well-known concept on the internet, but until recently, it did not exist in the “real” world that we all live in. But all that is about to change, thanks to your own dealership mobile app.
A Mobile App for Your Dealership
OK, I hear you thinking: what has a mobile app to do with reaching out to showroom visitors ? Before I get into (hopefully not too boring) technical details, let me tell you this: when people install your mobile app on their smartphone, you can send them personal messages, even if you don’t have their phone number or email address.
Let me repeat that: for the first time in history, you can send messages to prospects, including personalized messages, without the need for any contact details.
These messages are called “push notifications”. You can send push notifications to anyone that installed your app, even if they don’t use your app or even forgot about it. Push notifications look like SMS messages, but again, they are sent without the need for a phone number.
You can send push notifications to announce special offers, events, or new arrivals for example. There’s one caveat: people can disable these messages when you spam. So the secret is to make your messages relevant to each user, and not overdoing it.
Promoting Your App in Your Showroom
Before you can start sending out push notifications, you have to do one thing: you need to publish a mobile app for your dealership, and get everyone to install it. Granted, there’s some work to be done here, but fortunately there are a few companies out there that specialize in affordable mobile apps for dealerships.
Side note, in case you wonder: a mobile app for your dealership typically includes practical information such as your location and opening hours, a list of available stock cars, a catalog of various car models, ability to book a test drive and much more. I won’t go into details here, that’s a topic for another blog post.
What’s important, is that you promote your app in your showroom. Think of it as your digital business card. The more compelling your app is, the more likely people will be to install it. You may include all your special offers in your app and use that as a tag line: “Install our app, and take all our special offers with you”. Or your app could help people in bookmarking cars they like, or even compare car features. Some apps are much more than just a digital business card, they really support prospects in every stage of their buying-decision process.
Sending Out Personalized Messages
So we have published a mobile app, and people are downloading it when they visit your showroom. Great ! Now is the time to start sending out push notifications. No panic, you don’t have to do that by hand, there are some advanced services out there, that will automate the process of sending push notifications to each individual. These service use your mobile app to sense the interests of each individual and to keep track of their location. All this information is combined to automatically send out personal messages at the right place and time.
For example, a user that looked at various cars of brand X, will be sent a message related to that brand. Even better, the message can be delivered when that user is close to your business during opening hours: “Special offer, only today, $300 off your favorite car X, only five minutes from here !” How’s that for the right message at the right place and time ? Basically you are inviting people back in, to close that deal. And even when they don’t show up, the app will make sure that you stay top of mind until they are ready to buy !
A mobile app is a permanent presence of your business on the smartphone of your prospects. Push notifications allow you to communicate in a personal manner to hundreds of prospects. All you have to do, is roll out the red carpet and close those deals ! What are you waiting for ?
Niko Nelissen is the CEO of TapCrowd. TapCrowd is a mobile marketing platform for car dealers and car brands, to publish mobile apps and to launch mobile campaigns with push notifications. Follow him on Twitter @nikonelissen or visit their website for more information, www.tapcrowd.com/automotive.