A recent Visa Back to Business Study took responses from business owners across various sectors about their optimism regarding their futures and the strategies they are taking to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the most impressive stats from the study revealed how vital local audiences have been to the small business owners in this study.
Globally, 71 percent of small business owners said they received support from local communities. For many, this came in the form of business referrals (33 percent), and favorable reviews (31 percent). As a result of the pandemic, many customers are looking to support the businesses in their community.
How can your dealership seek out and harness this support?
From offering gift cards to using Google’s free services, take a look at how your dealership can make it easy for your local audiences to buy from you.
Offer Incentives for Referrals
As the stats above indicated, referrals are critical for local businesses. Additionally, other statistics have shown that recommendations from peers and families significantly influence customers. So, you want to be sure you are utilizing these customer networks to take advantage of this.
If you don’t already offer incentives for your customers to refer you, you may want to add this to your marketing strategy. Additionally, if you do offer this, start promoting it to recent and past buyers through various marketing mediums. These incentives are easy for customers to forget, so don’t hesitate to advertise it as much as possible.
Ask for Reviews
Like personal referrals, your local customers care about what other car buyers have to say about your brand. According to data from BrightLocal, 91 percent of customers trust reviews. Additionally, on average, consumers require a business to have 40 reviews before they believe its average star rating. So, the more feedback you have from your customers, the better. Ultimately, reviews are an excellent way to harness your local audience’s power and give them the opportunity to speak for your brand.
Google offers an excellent suite of tools—many of them free—for small businesses who want to promote their brands locally. One of the best tools for small companies is Google My Business pages. These are local pages that you want to keep up-to-date with your contact information and web address.
Additionally, Google My Business pages allow businesses to share information about incentives, attach blog posts, and even connect the listing to Google Maps so customers can easily find business locations. Google My Business lets you put all the necessary information in their hands to support your business. This tool is excellent for making it easy for your customers to reach you.
Consider Gift Cards
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, gift cards have become a popular way for loyal customers to support their preferred businesses. Many customers are purchasing gift cards from companies that they cannot visit because of the pandemic, and some are even using them to promote their favorite brands to families and friends.
In a time where the COVID-19 pandemic is causing companies to have to partially or fully shut down in the short-term, it is easy for your dealership’s operations to be interrupted. Ensuring that you have a way to sell your services even if you are shut down is key, and gift cards can accomplish this.
Promote Delivery Services
Are you delivering vehicles within a 5 to 10-mile radius? Make sure that your customers in your immediate area know this. These are the individuals who are most going to benefit from this service, so highlight this when you are speaking to potential customers or facilitating test drives.
You may even want to include this service on your Google My Business page. Additionally, be sure to discuss this in any online ads, especially those on Facebook. You want to ensure your local audience knows they can still safely purchase vehicles, even if they prefer not to visit the showroom.
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