Winter Marketing Maintenance Tips for the Fixed Ops Department
The last few months of the year bring the holiday season and retail season. Dealerships usually see a big bump in vehicle sales during manufacturer-advertised end-of-year sales. But after this push, most customers in market won’t buy until spring.
Meanwhile, autumn and winter in the service drive should be bustling with work. Customers who don’t plan to buy a new vehicle prepare their vehicle for winter as colder temperatures and changing weather conditions cause wear and tear.
To drive demand for service at your dealership, and to prepare for the slump in sales that comes after the holidays, here are some tips to maintain your service marketing strategy for the coming season!
Measure your tread. Keep your results from spinning out of control when market demands start to change with the seasons. Review your strategy and KPIs often to make sure your investment keeps you on track and brings in business.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to keep an eye on:
- Click-through-rate on digital ads from search results, retargeting, and social media
- Conversions on your landing pages (services offered, schedule service, and others)
- Appointments kept from online lead submissions
- Website traffic including sessions, pages per session, time on page, and bounce rates across various service pages
- Social media traffic and conversions from ad content to a custom landing page
- Devices used to navigate your content for optimal user experience
- Delivery, unsubscribe, and click-through rates from targeted email campaigns
- Click-to-call or toll-free call leads from digital and printed mediums
Test Your Battery Life. Review your marketing budget often so you don’t run out of juice during the season. Maintaining and using your budget efficiently will impact your ROI and keep traffic consistent.
What to check to ensure your marketing budget is efficient:
- What types of ads are you running? You can create search ads (also called Search Engine Marketing, or SEM), display ads, social media ads, and video ads on sites like YouTube. These can be measured by cost per click (CPC), conversions, bounce rate, impressions, and other KPIs.
- Your content should echo different stages of awareness and readiness to service. That means you need content for customers who are familiar with your dealership and have potentially serviced with you before, or prospects in your target area without service history in your DMS.
- What searches cause your ads to appear, and how much are you paying when they do? Keywords like “dealership service” and “oil changes near me” will be expensive because you are competing with other dealerships and independent shops to appear in the top results.
- On the other hand, keywords can also trigger your ads when they aren’t actually relevant to the customer. Searches for a retailer’s customer service number may connect to your “service” keywords, so it’s important to set up negative keywords to avoid unnecessary spending.
- Are your ads running when you want, for the right amount of time? If you are confident that your keywords and your content are targeted to the right searches, but your ads stop showing during the day or after a week, you may need to evaluate your budget. Too low of a budget takes you out of the ad “auction” and away from customers searching for your services.
- On the other hand, if you are left with some of your ad budget at the end of the timeframe, you may have room to move into more competitive ad types and increase your ad mix.
Top off your fluids. Create robust campaigns for specials and promotions so you aren’t leaving customers stranded during their journey. A well-rounded strategy helps you reach your customers wherever they spend their time at any stage of their service cycle.
Ways to amplify your message:
- Create graphics and short videos for ads on social media and video sharing sites. (Extra points if you target customers from your already-segmented campaign lists!)
- Adjust keywords in search ads to your current campaigns for make, model, service needs, and more. Remember to check compliance from your OEM with any co-op funds!
- Run email offers and embed them in content your customers will want to read. Make it easy for them to claim offers with a tap or click.
As you prepare for the next season, take a close look at your results and review each platform’s performance. Marketing isn’t static. It requires constant adjustments to make sure it’s running at top efficiency and bringing you more profitable business.