Article

Target Your Customers

May 2013, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Paul Potratz - Also by this author

Paul Potratz is COO of Potratz Advertising
Paul Potratz is COO of Potratz Advertising
Traditional, “spray-and-pay” advertising has a major shortcoming: It’s a one-time effort that has no follow-up actions for conversion and no strategy to constantly produce opportunities for sales. In today’s digital age, we have the opportunity to create more targeted marketing campaigns. It just takes a basic understanding of psychology and human nature.   

Take Kathleen and Frank. They are a married couple in their mid-30s. They have a 15-year-old daughter and are expecting another child in six months. They also just moved to a new city and purchased a new home, but neither of them have any friends or family in the area. Frank is an active military reserve and just took a new job at Westinghouse, making twice his last salary. Kathleen has accepted a position as a nurse practitioner at Bassett Hospital.

Why should you care? Well, I have put together a marketing strategy that speaks to them in the following ways:

• Active and Retired Military Discounts on All Vehicles
• Don’t Take a Chance on Your Child’s Safety With Your First Car
• Expecting a Child? Then You Will Want to See This Feature-Packed Vehicle
• New Homeowner? Learn About Our Extended Service Hours and Free Loaners
• Westinghouse Employees Receive Special Discounts on New Vehicles
• Bassett Employees Receive Employee Pricing Rebates

Those headlines won’t appeal to everybody, but they will get Kathleen’s and Frank’s attention. And by geo-targeting the campaign, I know they’ll see them. This is the type of strategy you need to consider in today’s digital age.

Targeted Marketing
Now, when Kathleen and Frank click on one of my ads and visit my Facebook page or website, I will “retarget” them. That means they will see my ads on approximately 92 percent of all the websites they visit, including The Weather Channel, eBay and ESPN.

Better yet, I can include sites relevant to their situational needs. Kathleen and Frank might not be interested in gardening or decorating, but now that they’ve purchased a new home, I assure you they will be. And you can bet I’ll be on those pages to build my brand identity.

You see, it’s only a matter of time before Frank wants a new truck and Kathleen needs a new SUV to make room for the new baby. And let’s not forget about the couple’s daughter, who will likely be getting her first car for her 16th birthday. What will spur and justify the new purchase is they will require service on a vehicle, so my ad promoting those extended service hours and free loaner vehicles should appeal to their needs.

You can create a similar campaign with Facebook’s new Partner Categories. It’s a tool that sources data from Datalogix and Polk to help dealers pinpoint in-market buyers.

Facebook vs. Google
Facebook’s new tool allows for targeting so precise you can drill down to new homeowners, the type of dog or cat an individual owns, the college they attended, and much more. Heck, you can even target individuals based on what they type in their Timeline post, e.g., “My car just broke down,” or “I hit a deer.”

Facebook has created a virtual community that is filled with potential customers. But you don’t have to wait for the next Rotary Club meeting, Chamber of Commerce mixer, Little League game, Bible study or Sunday service to kick off your next campaign. With Facebook, individuals can do all of that in one location. Users can even shop and view recommendations from their friends.

Then there’s Google. It now recognizes the power of a social network. Yes, it has tried several times to launch its own social community. But it’s not a matter of if Google will become a serious player, it’s a matter of when.

So, what do you need to do to take advantage of all of this? Well, here are six things you can do now to get started:

1. Create a Marketing Strategy for Facebook: Do this based on customer lifecycles, as well as the information you collect on the individuals you want to target.

2. Watch and Listen: The key to Facebook is to study how individuals interact, especially people who seem to have a strong following on Facebook. And I’m not talking about your competitors; I’m talking about everyday people. This will allow you to spot patterns in how popular Facebook users engage real people as if they were standing in front of each other.

3. Own Your Social Community: Take ownership of the communities you build online and teach your staff how to be social online. And that goes for of all your employees, not just your sales team. Just think about how you interact with people at your kid’s soccer games or at Rotary club meetings, and mirror that interaction online.

4. Test, Test and Test: The goal here is to push for more conversion, which means you need to test what works and what doesn’t.

5. Create an Editorial Calendar: What this entails is creating a schedule for when ads go up and when posts need to happen. The key here is to stick with the plan.

6. Don’t Expect Immediate ROI: I always tell my clients they need to stop shooting for ROI so quickly when it comes to their social community. Heck, you wouldn’t go to your child’s recital expecting to convert customers, would you? So don’t expect that from your social media pages.

The takeaway here is to establish a presence in today’s digital communities. But to be part of one, you need to virtually get out and start networking. Remember, there is a difference between social advertising and social networking, and the terms can’t be merged together. If you try, you will become the cheesy sales guy everyone avoids.

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