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Grant Gooley

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Your Brand & The ONLINE Customer Life Cycle

We all know that Internet research has become a prerequisite for the vehicle shopping experience. While gaining knowledge to make an educated vehicle purchase, "In-Market" shoppers go through an ONLINE shopping “life cycle”:


To ensure a concrete strategy that converts phone calls and form fills;  consumer behaviours and how they react to your BRAND, should be taken into consideration while creating a digital strategy. Let's quickly talk about each stage:

1.    Awareness: JUST before someone is in the market, they perk up and take notice of car related conversations, commercials, and anything that might cross their browser.  (Display ads, videos, etc.)

2.    Consideration: The consumer has decided it is time to put the clunker to bed and buy a new car. Spouse is on board, so they begin talking to friends and family, asking for opinions. Most importantly they use their favourite search engine to dive into reviews, comparisons, all in while looking for a great deal.

3.    Intent: After three weeks and eleven hours of online digging, over 20 websites, 12 brands and five dealerships; the lion is very close to pouncing on its prey. Now it’s time to begin communicating with a few dealerships.

4.    Decision: The customer feels the communication between 2 of the five dealerships was professional, not too pushy, transparent and helpful. The budget makes sense, so it’s time for a test drive. After two appointments, they land on a shiny new car! 45 Days later from the awareness stage.


What does all this mean to your dealership?

It means that the shopping lifecycle can be adapted to your brand & marketing efforts, resulting in a higher conversion rate. I have designed a chart to match the behavioural phases of an "In-Market" vehicle shopper:

Awareness = Audience Aggregation
Consideration = Audience Engagement
Intent/Decision = Audience Acquisition

Now that we have nailed down the buyer life cycle and created three techniques to attract in-market buyers to your brand, (Aggregation, Engagement, Acquisition) how do we use this to generate more sales?

AGGREGATION: Aggregating an audience is all about grabbing the attention of the buyer who is in the awareness stage.

1.    Google AdWords - Display Network (Top Of Mind Awareness)

2.    Facebook Ad Exchange (Top Of Mind Awareness)

3.    YouTube TrueView (Top Of Mind Awareness)

4.    Rich Offers, Contests, Specials, campaigns.

5.    Segmented Landing Pages. These will compliment dealer offers, contests, specials, and campaigns.

ENGAGEMENT: Engaging an audience is a lot more than getting their attention! Engagement is your chance to make a positive impression; making the customer believe that you are the dealership they should be doing business with.

1.    Google AdWords Search Network & Remarketing (Sales Focused)

2.    Facebook Ad Exchange - Remarketing, low funnel buyers. (Sales Focused)

3.    Rich Content Development, Inbound Marketing Software (Sales Focused)

4.    Segmented Landing Pages, offers, contests, specials (Sales Focused)

5.    Dealer Website - Specials - Merchandising - Staff Page

ACQUISITION: This is what we are all here for, right!? The sale! The gravy! Acquiring a customer, (over time a database) is how a dealership grows and becomes a community staple.  The Dealers number one asset, next to staff, is the almighty database. Every time a vehicle is sold, another name is added to the database. That ONE NAME, is potentially worth 100's of thousands of dollars!  The acquisition stage is crucial. As marketers we need to gain well and consistantly be inovating to acquire new customers!

1.    Call To Action (CTA) Forms & Phone Calls.  (Appointment Focused)

2.    Tracking on Google Analytics. (Appointment Focused)

3.    Facebook Ad Exchange Claim Offers, Event Sign Ups. (Appointment Focused)

4.    Rich Content Development. (Inbound Software) (Appointment Focused)

5.    Segmented THANK YOU Pages & email triggers.

6.    Complimenting offers, contests, specials, and campaigns.

6.    Dealer Website – Directions to the Dealership - CTA's

Overwhelemed yet? There is a lot piled up within this post. The main focus is to know your customer and how they shop online. Use that information to capitalize on conversion.  I always say, if you serve rich content and helpful information that gives value to the shopper (audience), you have a better chance of building a trustful/transparent relationship, resulting in a conversion and possibly a customer for life!  

- Grant Gooley

“Leadership and innovation is my reason. Marketing is my platform.”


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