Automotive dealerships in small towns face different challenges than those that are in larger, more prominent, cities. In larger cities, sales are correspondent with the selling tactics and strategies to maximize the number of individuals making purchases. On the other hand, in small towns, successful sales correlate with comprehensive services and building long-lasting relationships between the dealership and their customer.
In these smaller town markets, strong relationships are the key to gaining more business, regardless of your industry. Many of the small-town dealerships are family enterprises. Some can even be three to five generations old. So, they’ve been in that specific town for generations. They’ve watched people come and go. Through that process, they’ve gained some incredible business acumens.
Through their business acumens, they have figured out four key characteristics to have for a successful small-town dealership. The first key to a successful small-town dealership is to know your customers. These small-town automotive dealers should know what their customer’s preference is in regards to vehicles. Service is another key aspect that can make or break your business. In addition to great sales and options, the service level of a dealership is also just as important. Small town dealerships often have a lot more honesty between the dealership and its customers – which is something that most are not accustomed to in the automotive industry.
For a local automotive dealership to succeed, they need to invest in their own community. In addition to the great marketing opportunities that this brings, it also funds many of the local talents. Through the support of activities and causes, local dealerships can add plenty of texture and grit to the community. Like other businessmen and women, local automotive dealers are also entrepreneurs. They will do their best to keep their business flourishing, whether that means adding to their inventory, staff, or their sales reach.
That all well and done but how can you, as a small-town dealer, develop a market strategy that will bring you the utmost benefits possible. Below, we’ll be going through a few of the top tips for small-town dealerships to bring the most out of their business reach.
- Engage with Your CustomersRather than solely engaging your customers at the dealership, as it happens in bigger cities, in small towns, dealers should go in the community and introduce themselves. It’s important to visit the local hot spots and sporting events. If the residents know who you are and like you, they’re more likely to buy from you.
- Community EventsThese events can truly be anything. In smaller towns, even hosting a football game or a movie night can increase your visibility among the residents. If you want to go all out, some automotive dealerships have down sales events in which if you buy a car during the sale event, you’ll receive an invite to a five-day cruise. Though it doesn’t have to be as big as that, there are endless opportunities and ideas for dealers to choose from.
- Follow Up with Your Customers Due to the customer pool being more condensed than what they are in larger city dealerships, it’s important to keep a line of communication open with your customers. This could mean anything from sending emails about specials that are happening to send out birthday cards. The most success comes out when your customers feel confident enough to recommend their friends and family to purchase a vehicle from you.
- Organic and Paid Facebook AdvertisingFacebook can be a great place to advertise your products regardless of your industry. Within Facebook, there are two main types of advertising, organic and paid. Organic reach is the total sum of unique visitors who saw your post through unpaid advertising. Paid reach is the total sum of visitors who saw your post through paid advertising. The best way to use this to its highest potential is to create purposeful content, engage with your customers, incorporate live videos, invest in paid advertisements, and target your audience.
- Keep A Consistent Price PolicyUnlike bigger cities where the conversation between buyers is quite limited, the small-town folks are likely to communicate with one another about certain ‘deals’ that they received. Hence, it’s important that small town dealers offer their customers similar deals when purchasing a vehicle. It’s also essential to go through the deals with your customers on the short-term and long-term benefits.
- Invest in Geo-TargetingGeo-targeting allows businesses to cater ads to their ideal customer base. It allows them to deliver content that is specifically based on their geographic location, whether that’s via device ID, IP address, GPS signals, zip code, or city levels. Small town dealerships should take advantage of their sale history so that they only invest in areas where their customer base is located. Since about 55% of vehicle sales happen around a five miles radius of the dealership, geo-targeting can help focus on that area for delivering ads. It’s also important to monitor your results that you garner from that geo-targeting strategy. Dealers can also choose to test out newer areas.
Though these strategies are specifically written for automotive dealerships, they can also be applied to any business in a small town. Regardless of the simplicity or complexity of these tips, the reason behind them remains the same. All ideas and tips that will improve your marketing strategy will require hard work, open-mindedness, and creative thinking. If you can do these, there’s nothing that your dealership won’t accomplish. Sometimes all you need is to break apart from the mold of a traditional dealership and do what works best for your town. Just remember that the community, and your part in helping them, can hold your success.