Lauren Labunsky

Editor’s Note: The following blog is authored by Lauren Labunsky, 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 RV dealers would agree that the customer experience has changed in the last decade. It used to be that when a customer visited an RV dealership they had some idea of what they wanted to buy but likely didn’t know which units would be in stock, what pricing would be like, or if there were any specials running. Today, that has all changed with websites, social media, and online advertising. Customers can do their own research and find all the information they are interested in before visiting a store.

While advancements in digital marketing have certainly changed the buying process, it seems unlikely that RV customers will begin to make big purchases like this online anytime soon. An RV is a huge investment, and it warrants at least one in-person tour to see the layout and check out all the features it comes with.

In-person dealership visits and purchases are here to stay, but the build-up is happening online. How can you make sure that prospects are making the transition from online visitor to in-store customer? A growing solution is to implement one of the most efficient and effective digital tools — marketing automation.

This strategy tracks website visitors’ online actions, then delivers key messages to those visitors based on their actions. For example, if a visitor clicks on the “Sales & Promotions” page on your dealership website, marketing automation software could then add that person to an email list that receives a reminder email about the promotion one week before it ends. While that is just one example of how to implement marketing automation strategy, the options are endless when you can track visitor actions and set up corresponding follow-up tactics.

What is key about the effectiveness of marketing automation software is that it allows a dealership to get personal with online visitors in a way that would be impossible to do manually. Prospects and customers feel recognized and understood because they are receiving the type of follow-up that actually applies to their needs.

On top of that, this strategy can help connect the customer journey among different platforms – for example, it allows you to create automated workflows based on social media interactions. If a customer “likes” your Facebook post or mentions your brand on Twitter, you can automatically send them targeted emails and messages. There are multiple online channels where customers are spending time, but their overall experience with your brand should be smooth and seamless.

Marketing automation helps to improve the online experience of every visitor, while also encouraging them to follow through on their initial action. Instead of wondering why a lead didn’t convert, or why an online visitor didn’t submit a lead in the first place, marketing automation allows you to take the future of that prospect into your own hands. By supporting the needs of the prospect and offering them more information, you will be more likely to close the sale and your customer will be more likely to go home happy.