Bringing in prospects and leads should be the marketing team's top priority. So it's no wonder that a recent AM-Online article
stated that automotive advertisers spent more than £70 million on lead generation activities in 2013. The article goes on to state that, "The internet is without doubt the first starting point for consumers looking to buy a car and with the latest Google stats telling us that 94% of car buyers start their research online, it is imperative that manufacturers and dealers showcase their brand and offers very early on in the buying cycle, in order to capture the interest of early bird consideration buyers."
In a traditional marketing funnel, there are three main stages: lead generation, lead nurturing and lead conversion (purchase). Everyone talks about what to do for the first and third stages; getting new leads and closing more deals. Unfortunately, most dealers miss the mark when it comes to the middle stage; nurturing their leads.
Lead nurturing is about building relationships
Dealerships and manufactures are great at lead generation activities; activities that bring new prospects to the website or showroom. The problem is, most leads aren't ready to buy right away. Those lead generations efforts and resources are brought to a halt if there isn't a lead nurturing process in place. Too often, qualified leads become completely forgotten simply because there is no follow up or nurturing strategy. After allocating so many resources to generate the lead, it doesn't make sense to "give up" because they're not quite ready to buy yet.
Lead nurturing consists of building relationships with your preciously acquired leads with the goal of earning their business when they are ready to buy. Once a dealership has acquired a prospect's information through a website enquiry, phone call or showroom visit, the lead nurturing process should begin immediately.
What lead nurturing should look like
There isn't a direct science to lead nurturing, but there are several tools and technologies available to make the process easier and more automated. During the lead nurturing process, prospects are still in the research and evaluation phase and are more receptive to information that will help them make a better decision. At the very minimum, a dealer should promote their newsletters and educational materials. Other tools dealers can use include automated email marketing systems that automatically follow up with prospects at later times and lead-scoring software to help the sales team identify when the lead is ready for another conversation. With the ease of creating videos, personal video presentation tools like CitNOW
make lead nurturing that much more effective.
If automotive advertisers spend more than £70 million annually on lead generation, then it makes sense to allocate resources to to help nurture those expensive leads closer to a sale. Please let us know what your dealership does to nurture leads in the comments below.
photo credit: Dell's Official Flickr Page