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From Content Mapping to Content Marketing: Part I

Content Mapping to Content Marketing: Defining Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is essential to squeezing the absolute most out of your dealership’s marketing content. It’s often even more important than the product or service you provide. Your content can easily get lost if you aren’t targeting the correct audience, or content mapping efficiently.

“Content mapping is the process and strategy of creating and publishing the right content, to the right people, at the right time.” -Ryan Edwards, Digital Strategist

Communication Is Key

Once you’ve defined a target audience, your dealership is able to make your content work for you efficiently. Your target audience, customers, and potential clients want to be the wants to be the hero of your brand story.  It’s your job to craft relatable, useful messaging and communicate it effectively where your consumers are.

The Basics

If you don’t know your audience, ask questions to strengthen your dealership messaging.  Your dealership will likely have multiple audiences or marketing personas. Defining them will enable you to more effectively craft messaging to reach each one.  Here are a few questions to answer when defining your audience:

Age. Age is only a number but can be used to gauge whether someone is, for example, in his or her early education years or retired. By knowing where your audience is in life, it becomes much easier to determine the best way of communicating with them.

Gender. Knowing who you’re identifying with is always helpful, even if you’re focusing on both genders. The more you know about your audience, and the more you’re able to include and appeal to them, the better.

Location. Having an idea of where your audience resides can be helpful on several levels: time zones, landmarks, local references, and events are all steadfast ways to connect with your audience via their personal location.

Ethnicity. Social demographics, culture differences, and language barriers are all reasons it’s important to know who you’re connecting with. For example, if the Hispanic market is a large portion of your target audience and Spanish is the primary language, it may be a smart idea for your dealership to look into translation options.

Pain Points. What problems does your dealership solve for this demographic?  How does the way you do business reach them more effectively than other dealerships? What do they want from a car buying experience?

Give the People What They Want

After you’ve got the basics down, the main question you need to ask yourself is, “What does your dealership have that your audience needs?”

Your consumers could be searching for a vehicle that’s family-oriented, a car that stores the maximum amount of cargo, something that’s economically sound, or all of the above. Once you’re aware of what your consumers are looking for, you’re able to group them into specific target audiences and market to each audience differently, efficiently, and correctly.

Going One Step Further

Know your dealership’s niche. You’ve focused on who, but take things one step further and find consumers within your target audience with whom you want to focus the majority of your marketing based on what specialized service you offer. Doing this can take your content and dealership even further. Honing in on not only who your target audience is, but also what you’re helping shoppers with, will add another level to your content.

Focus on these three primary characteristics when appealing to your target audience:

Customer personas. Create an image of your dealership’s ideal consumer for each audience you’re targeting. This will help you understand who’s being addressed and how you can specify your content so it appeals to them. Doing market research will help you develop your customer personas.

Customer lifecycles. Once you’re aware of who you’re targeting, find out what “customer lifecycle stage” they’re in. As Edwards puts it, there are three lifecycles: Blissful ignorance—when a potential customer is aware of a problem that needs to be solved or service they need, but doesn’t know you can solve or provide it. Straddling the line—the potential customer now knows you can help because your content targeting has delivered this message, and he or she has taken steps to inquire. Deciding—your consumer is waiting for the right time or is in the final steps of completing or reviewing the correct information to complete the purchasing process. Being able to correctly identify the potential customer’s lifecycle allows you the ability to create targeted content and increases your chances of gaining a customer and closing a deal.

Customer channels. Now that you know who your audience is and how to target them on a personal level, it’s beneficial to find out where your audience gets the majority of their information. 34% of new car buyers begin their search with mobile research, and 63% of consumers use their mobile devices for research while shopping on an auto lot. Find out what platforms are used most often by your target audience(s) and make sure your dealership is utilizing them.

Your target audience is key to successful marketing and knowing how to perfect and utilize your content. Not only is defining your target audience going to save you time and money, but it will grab the attention of the correct consumers in the most efficient way possible. Once you’re able to define your target audience, your dealership can take steps to further focus its content and perfect its marketing strategies.

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Tags: Content, digital, marketing

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