Name recognition is a currency
Brand dealers and independent car companies can bring in visitors to their digital website showroom through various avenues. Advertisements are the historical fallback position, but dealers also use Google Ads, portals, local media, and regional radio. All of these advertising channels have one thing in common: they cost money and the return on investment isn’t always there or easily calculated. What other opportunities does the dealer have to direct relevant and ready-to-buy visitors to their website?
Dealers should capitalize on consumer engagement that is available through content marketing. Content marketing means that you are digitally offering relevant and meaningful information (content) to your various target groups. The more relevant the information, the more people are drawn to your website. Dealers should incorporate content marketing in their blogs, videos, audio, or small updates – both in sales and fixed ops. You can use anything that is relevant, interesting or fun for the customer. For example, it could be an article about when to replace brakes, a testimonial from a recent buyer, or a virtual test drive of the newest model. Think about what consumers might Google.
I have been creating content myself since 2004, mainly in the form of blogs, articles and, increasingly in recent years, videos, podcasts and updates on various platforms. Is that a lot of work? Hell yes. You have to put a lot of energy and creativity into it. But you quickly become handy. #DCDW originated from content marketing and has grown exponentially, thanks to content marketing.
What Makes Good Content Marketing?
In the average dealership, there are plenty of topics about which you can write or shoot video. It’s about thinking from the customer’s point of view. Often companies assume that you can’t do anything interesting with the most common cars, and content only works with special vehicles. Based on three practical examples, I can show that every company can create attractive content that helps answer customers’ questions and attracts visitors on different platforms. This is effective tactic on your own website, on YouTube channels and on social media.
Opel dealer Liewes
Opel dealer Liewes in Roden has won the online dealer award for social media two years in a row. In my opinion, they certainly deserved that recognition. Hendrik Liewes understands better than anyone the importance of diversified and robust content. He uses video to explain how cruise control works, or how to pair a phone with the car via Bluetooth. This may not seem sexy, but it is relevant for the customer who is seeking answers. This content is useful for the customer who picks up his new Opel today, but also for the customer who comes to collect his used Opel in four years. The videos that Hendrik makes are fun and innovative. They do not immediately attract thousands of views, but they create customer satisfaction and over the long haul, they will garner a significant viewership. The videos last a long time, which means that Hendrik will soon become the best-known Opel seller in the Netherlands and ultimately be able to sell more Opel cars. The only thing Hendrik can do to get more out of his content is to convert the videos to written text, making it more visible on the website, and allowing search engines to find the content faster.
Name recognition is a currency, and who understands this better than Alexander Sterk and Louwman Exclusive? They are a great example of how a car company can use social media successfully. Videos, written content, competitions, dream internships, and a look behind the scenes at the dealership – the website and Facebook are utilized extensively to share insights with consumers. Indeed, there are more companies with cool sports cars, but the unique way Louwman Exclusive converts their passion into content attracts thousands of people. It is so unique that the youngest fans of Louwman Exclusive are selling their fathers’ McLarens instead of the third Porsche. Louwman Exclusive has a commitment to create new content daily and weekly, even without a direct ROI being visible. The result is a fan base of 91,000 people – a number that is growing steadily.
Sam van Dalen
A car entrepreneur, Sam van Dalen is also by far the most gifted filmmaker in the automotive industry. Sam fulfills his promise “Italy in the polder” in every possible way. He started with the ambition to overtake Alexander Sterk. From there, he has developed into a content maker creating videos with unprecedented high creativity and quality. If you calculate all the hours that Sam spends on his videos, the ROI might be negative. But, as entrepreneurs, we are busy with our hobby half the time in the hope that we will get paid the rest of the time. Sam’s videos are entertaining, well watched, and are so creative that many news channels make mention of them. As a result, “Italy in the polder” and Sam van Dalen have become famous names, making the sale of cars much easier. Content marketing increases the brand awareness of the maker, and people simply like to buy from other people they know.
Buy Your Next Car Online, or Bynco, is busy developing content marketing like we did with Nieuweautokopen.nl; writing dozens of blogs and incorporating relevant words to attract the consumer using search engines. There are dozens of long tail keywords which effectively direct people with an intention to buy to the appropriate Bynco article, and then they can scroll deeper into the website. Building content is a dedicated process, and you have to be creative. Bynco believes that their robust content and increased SEO plays a significant role in Google’s valuation of their website.
Four Diverse Examples
These four examples show how different car companies handle content marketing. Can anyone do this? Yes, of course! Everyone can do this in a way that works best for them. Maybe you can write compelling copy or you’re handy with audio or video. You can choose social media as your path and get really creative. There is always a way of developing content marketing that fits your company’s image. For large dealer holdings, there is no excuse for not answering online questions that customers are asking every day. With your own content, you show that you, as a car company, are the specialist. There is also no excuse for smaller car companies that are members of a formula. A formula can do excellent marketing and content marketing is just part of that in 2020.-
It’s important to remember that successful content marketing does not happen overnight. It takes time, consistency, and significant effort. The ROI is not direct, which means that the marketing KPI may be missed. Still, it pays to keep moving forward. I see that in my own company. Originally, I am not a gifted writer, podcaster, or video maker, but I just do it. I regularly receive invitations to work together or to give a presentation together, where customers or partners approach me about an article or a podcast from six months or a year ago. In the end, people remember your name and your message. And isn’t that exactly what marketing is all about?
With more than 20 years of experience, Paul de Vries, founder of Nieuweautokopen.nl and the #DCDW, has grown into an authority in online automotive. As a key automotive spokesperson and ambassador of Marktplaats.nl, 2dehands.be and as founder of #DCDW, Paul has a mission: to make the online automotive processes better. He does this by writing dozens of articles per year, making many instructional videos, and by posting a weekly podcast with interesting guests. His articles have since been bundled into the books: Lead The Way and Follow-Up. Paul not only shares his knowledge in print and online, he also likes to join companies to make them better in the follow-up of online and telephone leads, marketing, or any other aspect of the online car buying process.