Most B2B companies can benefit from some sort of inbound marketing.  Inbound marketing is the process of getting people to your website and digital properties using the wizardry of a lot of helpful and meaningful content.  You know, blogs, videos, webinars, ebooks and free popcorn for signing up for your email list (Ok, not the popcorn part).   Ultimately, with inbound marketing you’re looking to put a name to a digital visitor.


Why you need inbound marketing and automotive advertising

Here’s the 6 steps to any inbound marketing process:

1 – Define the people you want to reach

2 – Get those people to your site and digital platforms

3 – Get the names and email addresses of those people on your site…. and of course call them leads

4a) – Wow them with information so that they call you or your salespeople….OR

4b) – Have your salespeople ‘go rogue’ and call those leads

5 – Charm the socks off those leads so they become your customer

6 – Wash, rinse and repeat


Look, inbound marketing works.  I don’t need to show you numbers….you’re on this site because you popped in a search phrase in Google that brought you here.  Right? You’re not here because you like my sideburns (I think).  And, if you like what you see here (in this particular piece….not the side of my face), you’ll probably stay for a few more blog posts.

So let’s do a little test of how inbound marketing works in an off-the-wall and kind of fun industry.  Car dealerships.  Admit it…not many people like car dealerships (I know…we provide automotive digital marketing support for over 100 dealerships and they’ve told us).  Think about it, for the most part potential customers are afraid to go to a dealership because they’ll get pushed into buying a vehicle.  Can you imagine an environment where customers are afraid to visit your place of business?

At any rate….let’s break down the inbound marketing process for car dealerships:

1 – Define the people your car dealership wants to reach 

Duh! Car buyers…right? Well, yes, but also in reality we want car buyers in a specific community if possible.   If we’re in Boston we’d pay more for a website visit in Boston then we would for one in Bangkok.  People all over the world look for cars.  We want to reach people looking for cars in our town or primary market area.

2 – Get people to the dealership’s website 

Thankfully, there are TONS of ways dealerships can get people to their website.  A blog is a great way to do that.  A dealership can blog about vehicle reviews, when people should get their tires changed, how to keep your brake pads in good shape and how to change your oil on your own.   All these helpful hints help the dealership build trust with the perspective customer.

3 – Get the names of those people on your site 

Clearly, someone reading the dealership’s blog post or reviewing the latest vehicle in the lot is somewhat interested in the vehicle.  They wouldn’t be reading it if they weren’t.   Now that they are on the blog post you can invite them to get more information in exchange for their email address.  This is another chance for the dealership to build trust with the visitor.  Maybe put an invitation for them to download an ebook on how to buy a new car, or a better way to negotiate their next lease.  Usually it’s good to ask for 3 things:

-          Name
-          Email Address
-          1 business specific question to help you figure out what this person’s looking for (new/used car, truck, SUV etc;).

4a/b) – Wow them or call them 

Nice! We’ve built up some credibility with the customer.  Now let’s try to get more credibility from them by waiting a few days and then reaching out.  A sleazy car person would call right away! But remember, we’re doing inbound marketing for a car dealership here.  So there are two things we can do here after we give the person a few days to review that ebook they downloaded:

Go Rouge -  Call them up and offer to help.  Not a bad idea if you get the car buyer’s phone number….probably not good to ask for this when they give you their email address to download the ebook.

Wow them – Keep building trust by sending out automated emails every few days based on the business specific question they answered.  If they said they are interested in used cars then have an email sent out that has info on tips aimed at helping them buy the best used car they can.  Track the clicks in those emails and keep building that trust.

 In either case, going rogue or wowing them, you’re trying to get these people to chat with you on the phone about something or, even better, in person.  How you do that is up to you.

5 – Charm the socks off them 

At this point, inbound marketing has done its job.  They’ve transformed that unknown online visitor into someone having a discussion about vehicles with you.  Now, whether they buy from you or not depends on tons of other things – price, pushiness of the sales rep and comfort level being a few general ones.  This is your time to shine and prove you’re as great as your marketing material says you are!

6 – Wash, rinse, repeat 

Let’s be pessimistic and say that this person doesn’t become your customer.  No worries! Keep doing that process every day and track how many more sales conversations your dealership ends up having as a result.  It’s not an easy process and it does take time to perfect (give yourself a year to see results).  The great thing is inbound marketing tactics cost far less than most OEM co-op, or traditional automotive advertising programs! The more conversations you have the better off you’ll be. That's what you want your digital marketing agency to do isn't it? Create more conversations for your sales team. 

There are hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people or more looking for vehicles in your area every day.  Those are the people you need to market to.  Use inbound marketing tactics to find them faster and get more meaningful conversations going.  You're right, we’ve never sold a car before, but we do generate thousands of meaningful leads every month for businesses of all shapes and sizes doing this process outlined above. Inbound marketing for car dealerships? Absolutely!

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