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Fact vs. Feeling: Letting Data Drive Your Business

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When you have to make decisions about your marketing strategy, it’s easy to let assumptions get in the way of facts and hard data. No matter what feels right, it is ultimately your site’s analytics that tell the real story about how people find you and what they’re searching for. Be mindful not to let intuition and bias get in the way of meaningful data that can help your business.

The Ad Sells the Click

When sales are down, it’s easy to assume that your advertising isn’t doing its job. However, the real problem could very easily be somewhere in the other 10 to 15 steps of the purchase cycle. Your paid search ads are designed to prompt shoppers to click and enter your website. The ad should bring them to a page that includes a clear call to action. This landing page could contain a special offer, a discount off the MSRP, or some other incentive.

If you’ve provided a way for your site’s visitors to leave their information, the next step is to follow up. A well-written email should make a welcoming first impression, connecting the prospective customer with a member of your sales team. If the landing page doesn’t keep a prospect’s attention, or if there’s no follow-up, then the sales dip can’t be blamed on the ads.

Don’t Rely on Instincts and Anecdotal Evidence

If we know something worked well once, we may try to do it again, potentially ignoring a better option. What works for one dealer may not be the best course of action for your business, though. It’s common to develop an unshakable belief in the first information we hear about a subject, even if what we learn later proves it wrong. We also make assumptions and imagine patterns where they don’t actually exist.

For example, a dealer may choose not to run Facebook ads because they personally don’t ever click on any ads when they log in. However, they’re ignoring the fact that the average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads each month.

Dealers should focus on their local data when developing a plan. National averages give an idea of how drivers shop, but they don’t necessarily reflect the conditions within your own market. That’s exactly why data science has become an essential tool for automotive marketers.

Stay Ahead with Data Science

Data science goes far deeper than simply mining your customer base and sending coupons their way. It allows you to collect insightful buyer details from multiple sources to organize it for use in a well-informed campaign. When data is properly utilized, you can identify buyer hotspots, use email matching to make buyer profiles, and use social media to build audiences based on relevant information.

Visuals Matter

While stock photos may look neat and clean, they don’t catch the eye of potential buyers like photos taken at your dealership. Kelly Blue Book reports that 90 percent of car shoppers favor photos of your actual inventory rather than stock images of the models you sell. Even a low-quality photo of the vehicle on your lot will draw more attention than a generic place-filler image. Stock photos garner an average of 1.6 views per day, while a low-quality lot shot yields 4.5 views per day. Post high-quality photos whenever possible, because crystal-clear images reap 12.5 views per day.

Stand Out with Social Science

Tight compliance regulations have caused dealerships and their websites to look nearly identical all across the country. To stand out, businesses must appeal to customers with valuable qualities like relatability, credibility, and memorability.

You and your team are part of a community, and you can strengthen your local ties by partnering with area businesses and causes. In the past, we’ve seen dealers partner with schools to give a graduating student a new car. The social media promotion led to a substantial increase in engagement and impressions, resulting in valuable exposure while establishing the business as an involved member of the community.

Partnering with other businesses can also help you establish credibility. Drivers want to know that they can rely on their dealer, not just the car they buy from you. Each sale you make is an opportunity to create a friend, and their public testimonial can be a valuable proof of quality. According to a 2018 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 91 percent of shoppers read online reviews during their research, and 84 percent trust them as highly as a friend’s recommendation.

Both of these qualities should enhance your company’s memorability. Making a lasting impression will help your name come to mind whenever someone starts thinking about a new vehicle. If they recognize your brand, they’re more likely to consider your business when comparing dealerships. Falling out of sight means falling out of mind, but you can maintain an active social media presence through partnerships, promotions, and a locally-focused blog.

From social media to paid search, Strong Automotive Merchandising offers a comprehensive range of digital services. Contact us to learn more about how we can leverage data to drive traffic to your dealership.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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