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5 Ways Dealers Can Build Relationships with Customers During this Crisis

COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives. States are opening back up slowly, but the lack of foot traffic in dealerships threatens to harm livelihoods everywhere. Here are five things dealers can do today:

1. Shift your marketing messages

If you haven’t already, it’s a good time to rethink your marketing strategies. If you publish or send emails and ad messages that come across as tone-deaf, you run the risk of alienating your customers. Instead, use this time to build trust. Highlight what you’re doing to help your customers during this difficult time and make it clear that you’re taking it seriously with added precautions and operating procedures. This is especially necessary given that many dealerships are now being allowed to open back up to customers. Communication is key. 

It’s so important to be genuinely helpful right now. You can offer discounts and extended warranties, drop vehicles off for test drives, and start creating content that is relevant to your target consumers. 

Also, make sure to update your Google My Business page. It shows you’re a good neighbor and boosts your local SEO. Need a guide? Find one here.

2. Create helpful content

Answering questions will never go out of style. As more and more people flock online to gather information about vehicles they want to purchase, there will be more questions and concerns. This is your opportunity to be authentic and supportive of people going through the car-buying journey. In this difficult time, the best thing you can do is be there.

You should aim to create content that will be of value to your target audience. The great thing is that you don’t need a big marketing budget to get this done. All you need is a smartphone and a little bit of creativity. 

Here’s a hint: Produce vehicle walkaround videos of your most popular models and post them on your social media profiles. You can record yourself driving the car and explain the various features available. Extra points if you can do this during a Facebook Live. 

You can repurpose this content, too. Here’s what you can do with one walkaround video:

  • Write a blog post detailing everything you went over in the video. Add pictures!
  • Take a screenshot of the video and use it as a graphic to share on social media with a link to the whole video on YouTube.
  • Cut up the video to create a few shorter sneak peek videos. 

Imagine creating just three videos. You’d have at least nine pieces of content to share and repost on social media and your website.

Useful tools: Canva, Biteable, Lumen5, Hemingway Editor

3. Connect with customers online

Even though people are still physically distancing themselves from each other, they’re going online to discover new connections. There’s actually been a spike in online car purchase requests. Your goal should be to meet your customers where they are. We’ve seen people talking about wanting to buy vehicles on social media and online forums like Reddit. Artificial intelligence-powered tools like FunnelAI can help you find these purchase-ready customers online.

In these challenging times, people are looking to retailers for relevant and up-to-date information. The key is to join conversations organically. Stay away from pushy sales pitches. Instead, answer questions and offer recommendations on topics you’re familiar with. Being there for potential customers will go a long way in creating strong relationships.

Useful tools: FunnelAI, r/cars

4. Nurture existing customers

Along with acquiring new customers, be sure to give attention to your existing customers. Make sure they know you still have some services available for them to take advantage of. In this instance, it’s more beneficial to over communicate, even if you think a piece of information is obvious. 

Assure customers that your dealership has taken every precaution to make sure your location is clean and safe. Make it clear you’re available to answer any questions or concerns. 

Send helpful content, like a walkaround video, to customers who are asking about a certain model. Birthdays and anniversaries haven’t stopped. Be sure to reach out to customers during these types of special celebrations and offer a deal.

5. Understand that you can come out of this crisis stronger than before

This crisis won’t last forever. You can survive this. It’s going to take some tough decisions and some crafty thinking, but we’re all in this together. For more information on how AI tools can help you manage your day-to-day tasks, email hell0@funnelai.com.

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