The basics of digital marketing prioritized at the Used Truck Association convention
In today’s white-hot used truck market, it doesn’t take a lot of marketing to make a sale. But just because sales are good doesn’t mean used truck dealerships should overlook or neglect good marketing strategies.
In a presentation Thursday at the Used Truck Association (UTA) annual convention in Nashville, Charles Bowles of Commercial Truck Trader detailed several essential digital marketing tactics that used truck dealers should always prioritize to maximize potential. sale of their used truck inventory. Bowles told the public that if they quickly sell every truck they buy today, that’s great. But if they market well, he says they could sell these trucks even faster and for higher margins.
Bowles’ first digital tip was obvious. If a customer contacts you online, you must respond. Bowles cites a recent study that indicates that 50 percent of customer inquiries on motorcycle dealer websites go unanswered. He says the data is similar for some used truck dealers and that cannot happen. Commercial Truck Trader research indicates that over 90 percent of used truck buyers know which dealer they want to buy from when they first try to contact. A dealership that does not meet such demand, especially today, almost certainly misses the connection with a strong potential customer.
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Other essential digital tools that used truck dealers can leverage are retargeting and lead enrichment tools. Bowles defines retargeting as advertisements for products that “follow you online” even after you leave the website where they are sold. Bowles says these have become a primary online marketing tool in all consumer markets and he says the used truck market is no different. If a customer comes to your site and reviews your inventory, you can return those trucks with digital marketing to them for a month after leaving your page. “It’s an amazing way to extend the frequency of your message,” he says.
Lead enrichment tools work differently. At Commercial Truck Trader, Bowles says these tools are known as buyer information, but says other online ad sites offer similar resources. A lead enrichment report is created through customer engagement on a referral site. Bowles gives the example of a customer who goes to a dealership site, searches for product keywords, and then examines four or five trucks. He says reports can be created to compile this buyer’s activity and any personal information he has provided to the website for a seller to use. Bowles says dealership sales representatives can then use that information to strike up a conversation with the customer and answer any other questions they might have. Lead enrichment “gives you a sense of how they channeled the decision tree” on your site, he says.
Finally, there is the issue of list development. Bowles says that today’s used truck dealers understand the importance of adding vehicle information to their used truck listings, but sometimes they fail to prioritize this information properly.
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He gives the acronym PAID as a useful reminder: Price, Appearance, Images, Descriptions. When it comes to pricing, Bowles refers to the 90% of customers who know who they want to buy from before they call. He says if you don’t price your inventory, most customers probably won’t call you. People want to know where “the conversation is going to start,” he says. On the surface, Bowles says where you appear in Google search results can never be overlooked. Google indexes the first 300 characters, not words, on a web page during a search. He says that means dealerships who haven’t included relevant information about a truck at the absolute top of a list may be ignored by the search engine.
Customers also overlooked trucks without images (or do under normal market conditions). Bowles says a truck stock image is better than nothing, but the best way to attract online users to your listings and convert them from leads to engaged customers is to use good images of your trucks and of their characteristics. The description helps here too. Getting back to the appearance, Bowles says dealers need to put the right words in the right order. Customers aren’t looking for a 2019 Peterbilt or a 2018 Cascadia, he says, they’re looking for key application terms like “dump truck near me” or “sleeper cab, Houston”. Bowles says resellers who frame their ads with this information first are more likely to grab and hold the attention of customers.