Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that 2.31 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2019. That’s a fall of 2.4% on the previous 12 months.
This signals a drop for the third consecutive year of new car sales and sends a message to businesses in the motor trade industry: engage with your customers and stay ahead of the competition.
If you own a motor trade business, you’ll be aware of the competitive nature of the industry. With so many small companies trying to attract customers, the market is saturated.
But motor trade businesses that get it right are the ones that recognise the importance of marketing and engaging potential customers. In an industry faced with disruption – from the impact of Brexit to the never-ending technological advances – putting the customer at the centre of business strategy can take a small business a long way.
Here are five ways you can better engage with your customer base (without being annoying) and get your motor trade business on the road to success.
1 Ask questions, get answers (and valuable feedback)
The best way to form strong relationships with customers is to start a conversation with them. The best way to do that? Ask a question...
Questions essentially allow you to pick the brains of your customers. The answers you get in return are not just a way of engaging with customers, they also give you direct insight into which direction to take your business. It makes perfect sense: why rack your brains imagining what your customers might want when you can ask them directly?
The kinds of questions motor trade businesses can ask their customers include:· Products they value or wish existed:
What features in your current vehicle would you hate to lose?· Challenges they face:
Did you finance your last vehicle?· Light-hearted questions:
Can you describe your ideal vehicle in three words?
2 Use social media to connect
Social media is a great way to connect with your audience and engage new customers. According to data from Emarsys, last year there were 3.2 billion social media users around the world (that’s about 42% of the population) – and this number continues to grow.
Social media offers an attractive option for many of those users, with customers more likely to watch a bite-sized video about a product or service than read a lengthy blog post about it. (Although, written content does have a lot to offer your business, too).
There’s no need to sign up to multiple social media platforms if you’re not going to post anything, so choose wisely. Whether you are setting up an Instagram account for the first time or experimenting with live video on Facebook, there are lots of ways to showcase your business and engage with your customers. Social media allows your motor trade business to show a more personal side, so be genuine and respond to users’ feedback in a transparent and timely way. And talking of being genuine...
3 Be authentic in your marketing
In case you didn’t know, the faceless business is no more. Customers are looking to connect with businesses on a more personal level. A car showroom is a great person-to-person environment in which to engage with customers – but only if they come into the showroom in the first place.
Some great ways to move away from a product- or service-centric approach to a more authentic approach, include:
· Encouraging employees to share content that relates to their experiences.
· Publishing content that shows behind the scenes of the business: from the events you attend to what the team gets up to at the weekend.
· Publishing case studies, photos and feedback from happy customers: whatever message you have, rest assured, your customers can tell it ten times better.
The more authentic your marketing can be, the easier it is for customers to form a relationship with your motor trade business and start a meaningful (and potentially profitable) relationship.
4 Personalise the customer experience
Today’s customers are more likely to purchase from a business that offers them a personalised experience. So that means treating your customers as individuals and making them feel valued. This can be as simple as referring to customers by name, whether that’s face-to-face, on social or by email.
Customer data has become the lifeblood of business success, so storing customer information on a customer relationship management (CRM) system is also becoming a must-have. Be sure to comply with GDPR rules
about how you store and use customer data for marketing purposes.
5 Share exclusive promotions and offers with VIP customers
Who doesn’t like the feeling of getting something exclusive? VIP customers (those that have been with you for a long time) need to be looked after. These aren’t just one-off buyers. They have a long-term value and can help any business thrive from year to year. From loyal customers to brand advocates, it is important to treat your VIP customers well and offer them a little bit more.
Data from LinkedIn
shows that 68% of customers will stop doing business with a company because they believe that business doesn’t care about them.
Treat all customers like royalty, but always go the extra mile for the select few – inviting them to special preview events, offering special money-off for a limited time promotions and giving them the attention they deserve.
There are plenty of ways your business can engage with customers, so why not test drive some of the ideas in your business?
And while you’re taking care of your customers, make sure you take care of you and your business, too. An insurance broker such as Insurance Choice can take the hassle out of arranging motor trade insurance
At Insurance Choice we arrange motor trade insurance
policies to cover a wide range of trades. To find out more about our bespoke packages and get a quote on motor trade insurance, get in touch with the team today.