3 Tips for Targeting Serious Auto Shoppers
There’s a sweet spot in time when people become serious about shopping for a new vehicle. The trick for automotive marketers is figuring out who these people are and quickly connecting with them. If you can do it, you can fast-track more qualified leads—both online and offline—for a more effective sales process with increased conversions. Here are three strategies for targeting your best, most responsive audience.
Get the right message to the right shopper
Start by performing a detailed financial propensity profile of your target consumers that includes their estimated financial capacity, as well as their propensity to purchase your brand, specific auto models, various auto features. Financial propensity profiles can help increase ROI by aligning the right messages to the shoppers who are more likely to be a financial match for your promoted vehicles and options.
For direct mail, try identifying consumers likely to be in-the-market and that likely have the financial ability and propensity to purchase or lease your specific brand. For example, you can identify households by ZIP+4 with an estimated income between $200K and $2 million, are in a designated age bracket such as “millennials” or “retired,” that may have an auto lease expiring in the next six months, and that are likely to be interested in a specific type of vehicle such as “domestic luxury.” If you wanted to target Gen X consumers, your segmentation could look like this:
Income Level Vehicle Preference
Low income (<$50K) Coupe (2-door sedan)
Moderate income ($50K – $100K) Truck (4-door)
High income ($100K – $200K) Van/Minivan
Elite income ($200K+) SUV
You can further segment by estimated income and preferred vehicle options. For example, the low income (<$50K) segment might prefer options that include CD player, custom speakers and custom wheels, whereas the elite income segment might prefer GPS navigation, DVD player and Bluetooth.
Use those same profiles created for direct mail when you think about targeting consumers online and through mobile devices. Always drive these segmented consumers to website destinations with inventory tailored to that shopper and offer online prompts to help them prequalify for their desired vehicles.
Offer easy online prequalification options
As your website traffic increases, use new online tools to identify exactly who is coming to your website and enable them to easily prequalify for their desired vehicles. These tools can help deepen engagement with prospects early in the sales process.
Be sure your website offers links to prequalification options on all pages a customer might visit, particularly on inventory pages as they look at specific models. This will help prequalify consumers to determine if they can afford a specific vehicle and allow you to disclose terms and conditions. Using this approach, allows you to also communicate to those that do not qualify.
Prequalification details can also help your sales and financing team more efficiently manage their processes. A Sales Manager, with access to financing specifics, can better align the right salesperson with the right consumer. The more insight you have, the better you can align the experience of your sales professionals with the needs of the consumer.
Continually test, refine and tweak
Last, evaluate how your offline and online processes are performing and use that information to help refine your marketing approach. Online reporting tools provide real-time insights on profiles of the consumers visiting and interacting with your website and ads, including estimated financial capacity and their auto buying propensities.
For example, you might find that households with estimated incomes of $100K to $125K did not respond well to your campaign. This could allow you to refocus your campaign based on income.
With these new tools, you can:
- Test and refine site content, online ads and widgets, and different offers on your web pages for your specific target audiences in real-time and assess your targeting on an ongoing basis
- Evaluate the likely financial profiles of audiences that perform a specific action on your site, such as those that used the payment calculator, clicked on the “Hours and Directions” page, or clicked on the “Prequalify” button
- Assess the estimated income of audiences who viewed your online ads to better understand what percent of your web traffic is driven by audiences within specific income segments to ensure your reaching the households you really want
Connecting with car buyers who are ready to buy and interested in your vehicles is the definition of success for many automotive marketers. To achieve it, consider incorporating financial propensity profiles into your offline and online demand generation process, coupled with enhanced back-end analytics, for a true a competitive edge in today’s automotive marketplace.
The content in this article was originally published by this author in the March edition of Dealer Marketing magazine.
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