Red bows, friends and family, falling snowflakes, jingle bells in every ad’s song – OH MY! End-of-year-holiday OEM campaigns have begun.
Draft Kings® might have owned the fall season, but we know automotive takes the trophy for the holidays. Lexus came up with the idea of giving a car as a present back in 1998 with its December to Remember event, and every single OEM has followed suit. According to JDPower, “last year, more than 16.5 million vehicles were sold, with nearly 30 percent of brands achieving new annual sales records.”
You’ve probably covered your traditional channel outreach to ensure you’re getting in front of these potential shoppers and dollars: radio ads, postcards, sandwich boards next to the road, loading your showroom with silver, gold, blue, green, and red balloons….
But, what about digital? According to Deloitte, “while more than 90 percent of retail sales occur in-store, nearly 80 percent of shoppers say they engage with brands and retailers through digital channels before they set foot inside a store.” This is where you need to be. Here’s how to get there:
Adjust your creative to align with your OEMs’ holiday message – Check in with your advertising provider and make sure your campaigns are updated to match what the OEM is pushing nationally. This automatically gives your paid search and display ads exponential power (this won’t be the first time the customer sees the offer or the imagery and that’s a great thing). Brand identity and recognition are crucial to converting shoppers. If someone in your market sees a great APR rate or lease deal on TV, you want to make sure you appear first when he or she searches for it online.
Here’s how to to optimize five key areas of your digital marketing during the holiday season:
1. Paid Search: Update ad copy to reflect the exact deals that are running. If someone searches for a truck that he or she saw a special for on TV and you have it on lot, connect your dealership directly to that offer.
2. Retargeting: Run ads with the creative from your OEM (red bows, friends and family, snowflakes, etc.). Again, consistent offer language and visual imagery encourage shoppers to legitimize your dealership.
3. Website: Create relevant landing pages that tie in with holiday offers. If shoppers see a specific offer in a paid search or display ad and then click, they should be brought to a relevant, customized page on your website.
4. Add Display: Your OEM is taking care of the national stage; be the star of your local market. Display generates interest in your inventory and offers within your local market. Having creative running in your local market that matches the commercials your local shoppers are seeing on TV increases your relevancy and engagement with your base.
5. Increase Your Budget: How is your impression share? Are you retargeting to 20 percent of your online visitors? Are you leveraging display to generate additional interest in your local market? Fortunately for automotive, December is not too late to get sales numbers up. Heavy up in digital advertising.
While it’s always a smart move to align your dealership’s campaigns with your OEMs’ national marketing efforts, it’s a must-do during the holiday and end-of-year sales seasons. OEMs want you to sell last year’s inventory, and shoppers are looking for deals. Set up your digital marketing with that in mind, and you’ll be making room for next year’s new cars and trucks in no time.
Annie Ode is Advertising Product Marketing Manager at Dealer.com