Business owners around the world find themselves in an unprecedented situation with the current outbreak of COVID-19. Maybe you have been forced to shut your dealership’s physical doors or are required to limit the number of people you have in your dealership.
Understand that this isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, especially for small businesses, but here are a few quick tips to help you get through these slower weeks ahead.
Don’t stop your advertising campaigns
It’s important to realize that many buyers are shopping year-round, trying to decide and research what unit they want in the coming months. In fact, we’ve seen that buyers are actually searching more during the current outbreak.
However, the reality is: If you stop advertising during these slower months, buyers may have already decided on another dealership by the time you restart your campaigns and open your business – solely because they didn’t know your dealership existed given that you weren’t present where they were searching.
Engage your current community
Now is the time to build brand awareness within your current community. Help fuel your potential buyer’s passion for the industry and your dealership while simultaneously capturing their attention.
Social media is a great place to do just that. Consumers are glued to social media at this time, so use this to your advantage. Regularly post updates and beneficial or interesting content and encourage your audience to engage with it. Make sure you are replying to comments and questions in a timely fashion to get the conversation going and to keep your dealership top of mind for consumers.
Think about hosting a virtual workshop or try going live on Facebook to hold a Q&A for interested buyers. Why not hold a webinar featuring a recent first-time buyer? This is a really powerful community for you to engage with because they chose to buy from you – instead of someone else – making them ideal candidates to be true brand advocates for your dealership.
With the technology we have access to, it’s now easier than ever to hold a virtual event that would normally be in-person.
Plan for busier months
Once things get back to the new normal, your dealership will be busy, and it will get harder and harder to continue with your engagement and marketing plans when you are focusing on sales. Take advantage of this quieter season to build out as many plans as you can, so when the busy season rolls around, you can just “pop them open”, so to speak, and they’re ready to go.
Think about creating evergreen content that you can easily use when the time is right. Or work on developing a content repository for your social media efforts so you have some of your posts already scheduled.
You also can take this time to evaluate your listings. Take a look at the pictures you’re using on your inventory. If most of your imagery is stock photography, take the time to update those with actual pictures of your units.
Then, as you receive new inventory, you can photograph those on the fly. You also could write a number of generic unit descriptions for popular makes and models you carry so that they can be adjusted slightly for a specific piece of inventory – taking some of the work out of putting up listings during the busy season. By doing this work ahead of time, it will alleviate some of the stress come high season, so you can focus on implementation and selling.
These slower months are your time to distinguish your dealership against the competition and get ready for the busy season to come (hopefully sooner rather than later). Use them to your advantage and as always, we are here to help you along the way.