Involve Your Customers In Website Design and Marketing


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Your website is supposed to attract, engage, and convert consumer traffic into an eventual lead. If you agree, when was the last time you involved your customers in the design process? When was the last time you tested the impact on conversion with different website designs?

Car dealers see hundreds or thousands of consumers come through their doors each month depending on location. I challenge dealer principals and dealership equity holders to step back and ask how they are leveraging those connections.

There are many new ideas being presented at 20 Groups, Automotive Conferences, Boot Camps, and on blogs on how to better connect with consumers. Is it SEM, SEO, Social Media, Banner Advertising, Re-Marketing, or something new?

There is a scarcity of documented automotive white-papers on grass roots consumer surveys. When was the last time you read a dealer generated white paper that asked consumers to share their motivations, processes, or influences in the car buying process.

Yes, the largest companies in our industry have case studies, but what about the dealers on the front lines of automotive sales and service? I would love to read local survey data from a dealership group that sees 2,000 customers a month in their sales and service channels. Are you willing to share feedback from your store?

Industry experts, thought leaders, and peers are great motivators for change. Outside influences challenge dealers to consider looking at their businesses in a new way. But why have dealers not asked their own customers for advice? Dealers are asking consultants whether they should engage in Facebook. Did you ask you customers if they are regular Facebook users? Regular Twitter users? Foursquare?

I just wanted to remind dealers that their local customer behavior is unique in many ways. By conducting regular in-store surveys over the next 30-60 days, you will get some data that can be monetized. You just have to define a process and start collecting data.

Here are some simple questions that you can ask your customers when they are in the store. Of course, you don’t have to ask them all of the questions at one time or visit:

  1. Do you have a Google or YouTube Account?
  2. Do you use Facebook? If Yes, how many times a week are you on Facebook?
  3. Do you use Twitter? If Yes, how many times a week do you Tweet?
  4. Have you ever used Groupon?
  5. Do you use any of these mobile applications: FourSquare, Whrrl, or Google Places?
  6. Did you visit before coming in?
  7. Did you visit before coming in?
  8. Did you visit our main website before you came in to purchase a car?

If Yes, How could we improve our website?

Don’t rely solely on out of town experts like me! It’s your business so activate your local consumers to refine your marketing strategy.

Consider creating Point-Of-Sale (POS) materials to activate your customers to engage with your dealership online. Do you have any “Join Us on” Facebook, Twitter, or FourSquare desk cards, window stickers, or banners in the dealership?

Let’s get back to engaging our customers and collecting local marketing data that can be used to prioritize your digital marketing strategy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch is an 20+ year veteran of the direct marketing industry. His career has spanned both management and technology roles. He is known for his expertise in consumer data warehousing models as well as digital marketing strategy. He is the author of four books on marketing and his latest book is entitled "Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing."


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