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Lauren McClain

Editor’s Note: The following blog is authored by Lauren McLean, public relations manager for Dealer Spike, a company that provides websites as well as a suite of online advertising solutions designed to help dealers increase sales and service profitability.

Most marketing professionals would agree on three central avenues for effective digital marketing strategy: Social media, e-mail marketing, and blogging.

Social Media – Arguably the most effective online source to drive traffic to your dealership’s website. A way to connect with customers and potentials on a personal level and show your business’ personality.

E-mail Marketing – A cost-effective method to reach people who you know are interested in your products. Also provides you with the ability to integrate customer data, personalize communications, and track and analyze results.

Blogging – One of the best ways to demonstrate your dealership’s knowledge and industry expertise. Allows you to show your customers why you are the superior choice to buy from. You can also benefit from the search engine traffic driven by your keyword-rich content.

These three major digital marketing strategies each have their own purpose and deliver different results, but they also overlap. This makes it a bit tricky at times to decide what kind of content is best for each, and how to integrate the three methods for the best return on investment.

For instance, while e-mail marketing is likely the best strategy to generate leads, social media also brings in new followers who may be ready to buy. And while social media is a great avenue for spreading brand awareness, it could be argued that a dealership blog is more effective in achieving that goal.

Certain types of content may work well on both your Facebook page and in your weekly e-newsletter to customers, but other types may not. Determine goals for each of these channels and then, when producing content and assigning it piece by piece on your editorial calendar, make a clear distinction about which digital marketing avenue(s) the content should be assigned to in order to reach those goals.

If there are multiple team members helping to produce marketing content for your social media, email, and blogging efforts, it’s important to remain consistent in the message and voice you are delivering. It comes down to branding. If you take a casual and friendly approach to your audience in social media posts but a stern and serious tone in your blog posts, that will result in confusion for your potential customers. Consider your message too. Let’s say your dealership’s slogan is all about building a lifestyle for your customers around RVing – your digital marketing content should reflect that, just like your billboards and TV commercials do.

Look at how these three separate channels connect to each other. Are your social media accounts linked in the footer of your e-newsletters, and on the homepage of your blogs? Do you provide a call-to-action button to sign up for your dealership’s emails from your blog posts? These are natural ways to drive traffic from one channel to another. Perhaps your Facebook follower is an avid blog reader – he or she may never have known about your blog if you’d never shared links to the most popular posts on your page.

With individual strategies in place that all connect to the bigger picture – your business’ overall goals – each of these major drivers in digital marketing can have their own place. Establishing those strategies and goals, as well as planning ahead, will take your team far in reaching and capturing new audience members who may turn into new customers for your business.