Marketing Ideas for small rural areas

Lauren Moses
As the new internet manager for a very small rural area, I am trying to find new ways to market to our customers. We are located near a military base (Fort Polk, La), and are also within driving range of a larger town with lots of other dealerships. We have tons of repeat customers, but they are mostly older. I am trying to reach out to the new generation and get the dealership "new school" but am having a tough time finding the certain things that people around my own age (26) want. With just starting a facebook, twitter, and google+, the word is starting to spread but not near as much as I had hoped. Suggests on where else to get our name out there, ideas for what might catch younger customers attention?
Sam Kiesinger
I am interested in getting the thoughts from more experienced members as well since I'm in the same boat. Right now I'm working on ensuring we capture as much information as possible from people when they come through the door and add them to our email list with social media buttons. Once a month we'll be sending out emails regarding specials, offering discounts and linking to articles about vehicle maintenance. A more long term approach I'm working on is developing a series of short videos on the car buying process informing potential customers what to expect and how to be prepared to make the process(especially financing) easier. If your job isn't selling directly you might have the time and budget to build valuable content to keep potential customers aware of your brand so when the time comes they're ready you've positioned your brand at the forefront of their mind. I'm looking for any method of getting into potential customer's heads in a positive way and maintaining a presence there between purchase decisions.
Lauren Moses
we just did a contest on facebook, simply like the page then message with your email. It was a great way to get an email database built with a simple prize of an iPad mini. We didn't get as many emails as we had hoped but we still have people sending them in so that they can be added to our email database for future deals and giveaways. As it stands right now, I am working with no budget (like no money everything free). Why spend money when you don't have to. The only marketing that we really do as far as ads are in our newspaper and that is twice a week, and a third day for our gun store. I spend most of my time on facebook, twitter, google+, and just online in general finding new ways to branch out. This and MarketingProfs.com has been a huge helping in finding new ways without having to spend a ton of money if any at all. It's all in HOW and WHAT your content is on your social sites as to how much you get out of it. With Facebook, I have found asking lots of questions, posting pictures, and posting in groups is a huge help. From our recent contest we actually got a lead and went as far as trying to get financing (couldn't get it though). But none the less it was one more than we had before.
Shelby Loth
First and foremost congrats on your new job! Your brands (at least in Milwaukee where I am from) have the stereotype of being for an older clientele, so you have quite the challenge ahead of you. But, here are a couple of ideas I think could work for you: Low or no cost ideas: 1.) Find out if your town or neighboring larger city has a young professionals group. If so, get your GM to offer a discount to that group exclusively... i,e. maybe $100 more for your trade, or a $100 gift card to anyone that brings in a flyer with the promo on it. Have the group promote it on their sites too. 2.) If your dealer does advertising on radio and TV, contact all your account executives at the various stations. Ask them if they can provide you with "high-demand" entertainment or sporting event tickets. Then give away 2 tickets per winner each week on Facebook to a fan that has "liked" your page. Spend $100 each month and target 24-45 year olds within 25 miles of your dealership to promote it. I did this with Brewers tickets last month with a $100 budget and received 300 new likes. This won't necessarily bring more sales in the door right away, but it will create brand awareness in the community. 3.) Get your service manager on board for the long term by getting more service customers through the door. First create a campaign that helps your military neighbors by setting up a special oil change each day of the week. For example, on Mondays if your rank is a "Private or Private First Class" you get a conventional oil change for $14.99 or something like that. Then on Tuesday focus on "Corporals or Specialists," Wednesdays focus on the various levels of Sergeants, and so on for the various days. Promote it with the military base as well as all over your website and social media. Then when the service customers come in the door, work on an equity program. Figure out a process to get the vehicles appraised for a “no obligation trade-in offer" while they wait for their car in service. Make a template that attaches to the customer's RO that states "We want your trade! Trade in values have never been higher. Here's your no obligation trade in offer. Make the offer expire in 30 days of it being written to get some sort of urgency across to hopefully generate the sale. Higher Cost Idea: 4.) Start SEM campaigns for your inventory. Try partnering with PureCars. They have a SEM product that dynamically targets long-term keyword ads in searches based on your current inventory. I.e. targeting the prospects that are really low in the sale funnel and about ready to buy. I would recommend starting with $1,000 month depending on what your goals are.
Lauren Moses
Shelby, Thank you for in ideas. I will definitely be looking into them. We are a very small hometown and most of our residents born and raised here. We tons of local events that I have tried to get the dealership to provide "chauffeurs" for but the insurance is just to high if you are taxiing around people. To take it and leave it is one thing but add people and you open yourself up for a whole world of problems. I do like the military idea especially since with GM all military gets supplier price. It is just an added benefit to get them in the door to begin with. An added bonus is I have family that owns a major moving company that is contracted through the government for military transfers. I will definitely be getting in touch with him. As for sports teams, well it's either LSU or the Saints around here. Anything else is just blasphemy! Hopefully I can get something in the works for that. Also, if your in an area where you have lots of hunting, like we do. We do our annual Big Buck Contest. We have a youth and adult division, and do a giveaway for 1st thru 3rd price in both of those and then draw a random winner out of all the people entered. Of course this goes off the deer you kill and bring in to be scored. We are holding our 20th annual this year and plan to make it better than ever. We give away anything from game camera's to scopes, and 1st places get GUNS! This also helps promote our GBC guns and ammo den.
Shelby Loth
Yes insurance is tough with events. I like the hunting idea. One of my stores (I do marketing for 5 stores) is north of Milwaukee, so that might be interesting to try this fall. Best wishes to you Lauren!

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