With the outbreak of the Coronavirus – or Covid19 – pandemic, dealerships have found themselves in an unprecedented situation. While some dealers have been forced to close their physical doors, others are being required to limit the number of people who can be inside the dealership. Almost every dealer is left asking this question, “How can I continue to market and sell my inventory during this time of social distancing?”
It’s a tough situation, but with marketing and sales moving rapidly online as more people are at home and on their smartphones and computers, we are here to help you expand your dealership’s digital presence with a series of articles about scrappy marketing during Covid-19. Here we’re discussing how that success can be achieved when dealers develop provoking content.
Benefits of Providing Content
In marketing, content truly is king. In fact, inbound marketing company HubSpot reports that businesses that frequently post blog articles receive significantly more traffic and significantly more leads than businesses that post infrequently. Here’s a quick review of the benefits of content marketing:
Build Brand Awareness: Producing quality content, from blog articles to podcasts, is a clear way to set yourself apart from competitors during social distancing. While every business has a website, not everyone produces content, so being that \ source of exclusive information for consumers is just one more way to get your dealership’s name out into the community, helping you remain top-of-mind among prospects.
Reputation Management: The content of what you produce can be a powerful tool for crafting the public image of your dealership. Not only can your team use content marketing to provide important information about the dealership itself, but disseminating practical content also helps transform your reputation from a typical business into a beneficial authority and reliable industry leader during these uncertain times.
Builds Customer Relationships: According to Randall-Reilly, “The average prospects sees 300 – 3,000 marketing messages a day… Add in that 70 – 90% of purchase decisions are emotional, and the burden of marketing becomes even greater. That’s why content marketing allows you to cut through the barrages of ads and create an emotional connection.” The more consumers feel they know you through your content, the more they trust you.
Affordable & Easy: What’s also great about generating content is that it’s cheap and easy to get started. You are already in the industry, so you should already have a good idea of what you can talk about and what people may want to hear. Many content hosting websites are completely free to use and are incredibly user-friendly, and the process of writing down your thoughts (or recording some audio), putting the content on the host site, and then clicking “Publish” is relatively simple to accomplish with some basic computer ability. This all adds up to a great ROI, which is why content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
Increases SEO: 93% of all buying decisions start with an online search, and with social distancing our new reality, more people are doing their product researching and purchasing online than ever before. So when a consumer uses Google or Bing to search for something relevant to your business, are you showing up in the first few spots of the rankings? Good content can help heighten your organic search rankings, ultimately driving more traffic to your website.
Feed Social Strategy: The great thing about content is that it doesn’t have to live in just one place. Sharing content from your blog or website gives you something to share on social media, making you an active and constant presence on your followers’ feeds. And, if you’re creating content your followers really care about, they will be more likely to like, comment, and share your posts – getting even more eyes on your brand.
A great way to create and provide relevant content is through a blog, perhaps the most traditional channel for businesses looking to provide digital content. Standard blogs are often free, while website blogs can still be affordable. WordPress and Blogger are the most well-known standard blogs. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are solid examples of website blogs. Blogs are also easy to customize with images, widgets, and other features, so you’ll be able to clearly brand your blog and provide links to your dealership website and/or inventory listings.
Meanwhile, podcasts are an innovative content option that are not only free to produce, but also free for consumers to subscribe. Podcast audio is easily hosted on sites like SoundCloud or WordPress, while specific podcast sites like iTunes, Google Play Music, or Spotify can quickly pick up the RSS feed from the audio-hosting site and make your podcast more widely available to consumers. And again, setting up those accounts may take some time, but it’s all free! Of course, a podcast requires a microphone, but a solid introductory podcast mic is still less than $150, which shouldn’t put too big of a hole in your marketing budget.
What type of content should you provide? Ultimately, your specific content really isn’t for us to decide, but here are some quick questions to consider:
● What are you comfortable talking about?
● What do you know? What can you learn?
● Can you provide exclusive information or a unique perspective?
● Can industry pros or local business provide guest content?
● How does the content relate to the industry?
● How does the content relate to your customers businesses, or to them personally?
● Is the content timely? Does it match up with the current business cycle, time of year, or ongoing current events?
It’s important to note that your content doesn’t have to be hard-nosed industry-reporting 100% of the time. If you’re talking to people in the transportation industry, sure, it makes sense to describe the top-selling vehicles of the quarter. But it’s also interesting to discuss personal aspects of the trucking life, like keeping healthy or staying connected on the road. In fact, those lifestyle conversations will almost always perform better among your buyer audience than industry statistics ever will. It’s also okay to share content from other publications — just be sure to always cite where the information has come from. At the end of the day, you have to find the balance that works best for you, producing content in areas that you’re familiar with, while also meeting your audience where they are, with content that is engaging and helpful to them personally.
Well there you have it. During times of social distancing, the development of provoking content is a great way to successfully maximize exposure and grow sales. And if you’re looking for more ways to pursue Scrappy Marketing During Covid-19, stay tuned for more posts in this series!