Car dealership marketing: 4 quick wins to improve conversion rates

With UK sales of new cars nosediving to their lowest level since 1998, the recovery of the auto market still has a long way to go.

In April 2022, Car Dealer Magazine reported that fewer than 243,500 brand new ‘22’ plate cars were sold, down 14.3% from March 2021’s figures. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has described these numbers as ‘massively disappointing’.

Despite the doom and gloom, car dealership marketing teams have a job to do and must continue to prioritise lead generation and conversions. Consumer demand for new cars is higher than ever, and there’s still plenty of opportunity for dealers to ramp up conversion rates.

Car dealership marketing conversion rate quick wins

So, without further ado, here are four quick wins to help you improve your dealership conversion rates.

1. Enter all calls into your lead management system

Research shows that up to 45% of unique calls into dealerships don’t get entered into an LMS. This is a big issue because it means you won’t have reliable data for sales and marketing reporting. And when it comes to those monthly and quarterly performance reports, you need all the data you can muster to prove the value of your efforts.

Entering phone calls into your LMS doesn’t need to be a laborious, manual task. With call tracking software like Mediahawk, this process can be entirely automated – every time a phone lead comes in, their details will be automatically logged.

It means there’s no chance of phone leads being missed from your performance reports and your figures will always be accurate.

And if there’s any follow up required from your team, they’ll have all the information they need in a central system, right at their fingertips.

Customer success story

When FJ Chalke decided it needed to improve conversion rates, the dealership brought in Mediahawk – and quickly saw a return on its investment. By listening in to phone calls, the team found that the sales staff needed to handle their calls better. Intensive telephone training was subsequently provided to all sales staff, resulting in an instant improvement in call quality which has been maintained.

2. Respond to enquiries quickly

A speedy response to phone enquiries is going to increase your odds of a conversion. In fact, according to Vendasta, if you don’t follow up with new leads within five minutes of their initial enquiry, there’s an exponential risk of you losing them as a prospect.

If you’re finding that enquiries aren’t being responded to quickly enough, you can use Mediahawk to monitor call response times and make procedural changes to improve performance.

Ask yourself how many leads come into your dealership by phone each day. How long does your team take to respond? How many times is a further follow-up required?

Mediahawk will track all this data for you. And with its customisable reports and analysis tools, it can help you draw out the insights you need to improve conversion rates.

Customer success story

When FJ Chalke analysed its phone data using Mediahawk, they uncovered some intriguing insights. For example, of 4,500 tracked calls, 5.9% went unanswered because they rang out or the phone was engaged. Once a sales call was answered, on average 20% did not get to a salesperson first-time, resulting in a message taken by reception. With this insight, FJ Chalke was able to work on bringing this figure down to 10%, increasing the sales opportunity by getting an enquiry to a salesperson first-time.

3. Make sure your marketing is efficient

As with any aspect of business, your car dealership marketing activity needs to be as efficient as possible. Marketing budget is notoriously easy to waste – poorly targeted paid ads alone can rinse through vital funds very quickly.

If you want to set your campaigns up for success from the start – or rectify any poorly performing ones – Mediahawk can help.

Using our software, you can track and analyse every inch of your online and offline campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t. Simply by switching off ineffective campaigns and reinvesting budget, you’ll see improved conversion rates.

What’s more, with Mediahawk’s analytics tools, you can dig deeper into customer behaviour. Then you can use the insight to build campaigns that truly target the needs of your prospects.

Customer success story

As part of its analysis using Mediahawk, FJ Chalke gained a strong understanding of what channels generated sales calls for them. This information allowed the dealership to allocate their marketing spend more efficiently, by advertising on the valuable classified sites and driving more value from pay per click (PPC) advertising. However, the greatest benefit was the ability to focus on the areas where they have the most control and least cost – their own website and the manufacturers’ websites.

4. Get a holistic customer view

By linking up your systems and bringing together your marketing campaign data, you can build an ever-clearer picture of your customer base.

Everything from demographic data, customer preferences, current vehicle information, dealership visit history (both in-store and online via your website) and any marketing touchpoints can all be logged.

Over time, you’ll build a rich history of customer behaviour which you can use to better inform your car dealership marketing. You’ll also be able to develop more personalised marketing strategies – for example, providing targeted calls to action for every stage of the customer journey.

Customer success story

At FJ Chalke, dealer principal Steve Fowler has found great success using Mediahawk to strengthen his dealership’s marketing activities.

Steve says: “We have been using Mediahawk’s call tracking for over five years to help us make better marketing decisions in our business. The introduction of call scoring and listening to our recorded calls has raised the game even higher. The increased insight has put in place a series of changes that we would not necessarily have had the confidence to make. These changes are vital to the future of the business, to ensure FJ Chalke thrives for another 80 years.”

So there you have it. Four quick and easy ways to supercharge your dealership’s conversion rates.

With all four of these tactics in the bag, you’ll see a marked improvement in your marketing performance, with very little additional effort required.

About the author - Harry Bott

Harry Bott, Director at Mediahawk, has over 20 years of experience helping marketers generate a better response from their marketing. He has enabled businesses to improve their conversion rates through his consultative approach and deep understanding across various sectors, including automotive and care homes.

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