Ah, the new year. As the clock strikes midnight, we are all excited by the opportunities and possibilities awaiting us in the year to come. For some, that may mean a new job, relationship, or adventure. For your dealership, it could mean growth, success, and more sales. Maybe you are finally ready to take a chance and implement a new strategy or tactic– the opportunities are endless!

2018 is looking to be an exciting year of changes and progress in almost area. As technological advancements pick up steam and consumers become more and more savvy, your dealership’s digital marketing strategy is bound to shift in the next 12 months. It can be hard to keep up with all of the latest trends, so to make your life just a little easier, we’ve put together a handy list of some of the changes in digital marketing taking place, and how your dealership can take advantage of them in 2018.

  1. It’s all about data

    Over the past few years, data has played an increasingly important role the way dealerships conduct business, and especially in crafting their digital marketing strategies. In 2018, this is going to be taken to a new level. The sheer amount of quality data that is available to your dealership is staggering, and is only poised to grow. Use data to know who is in your target audience, and design your strategy to reach them. The data that is accessible to you should give you all of the information you need to reach precisely the right customers with the right content. Armed with all of the information available to your dealership, your digital marketing efforts can give customers the personalized attention they appreciate and expect. Learn from your internal data and leverage external data sources to get a full picture of the market.

  2. Video marketing and live video

    Video marketing shows no signs of slowing down. As customers increasingly rely on social media platforms to gain information, videos will continue to play a vital role in their buying process. According to Cisco Systems’ recent Visual Networking Index report, video streaming and viewing will increase fourfold by 2021. For car shoppers, the ability to see both the outside and inside of a vehicle, as well as hear about its specs, is a huge advantage. Customers feel that they can trust your dealership, and you in turn are able to promote your brand. In addition to classic video marketing, be sure to take advantage of the emergence of live videos to promote events and special contests. The same Cisco report found that live video will grow 15-fold by 2021. These videos encourage engagement and will transform your dealership into a friendly, recognizable, and people-oriented business.

  3. Personalization

    We could go on and on. Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning make it so much easier to target customers and provide them with a hyper-personalized and customized online experience. On the most basic level, your website should utilize AI to present customers with the right content at the right time, based on their browsing history and previous interactions with your dealership. Your BDC and sales team should then receive that information, so that they are able to go into each phone call and meeting with a complete picture of what the customer wants. The opportunities don’t end there– AI can help your dealership sell more cars at almost every step of the process. If you haven’t already, it is certainly time for your dealership to begin leveraging the power of AI on your website.

  4. Voice marketing

    Content marketing is not new. As a 21st century dealer, you know all about the importance of SEO and publishing helpful content on your website. Optimizing for plain old search is no longer enough, though. Google has published that 20% of its mobile searches are conducted through voice. As more Americans embrace Alexa, Siri, and other personal assistants, even more searches will be carried out by asking questions out loud. As such, your dealership website should be optimized for voice search. Best-practices for this type of optimization are still in their infancy, but will take a front seat in 2018. You can begin to implement changes by optimizing for more “conversational” keywords that people might be searching for. Think about the types of questions you are asked over the phone, and address them clearly on your website. FAQ pages are a great way to optimize for voice search– you can actually ask and answer the questions you think a shopper might ask their own device. Be sure to keep an eye on these changes, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

  5. Facebook Marketplace

    2017 saw a big change in online car sales– Facebook announced that it would be creating a dedicated area of its Marketplace to car sales, and would allow dealerships to upload their inventory to the site. As of now, Facebook is working with Auction123, Cars.com, CDK Global, and SOCIALDEALER as its inventory partners. In addition, dealerships can integrate their chat provider with Facebook Messenger, so that shoppers can interact with the dealership directly from Facebook. It’s not yet clear how much business will be driven on this new platform, but exploring and experimenting with advances in eCommerce will help your dealership stay ahead of the pack.

What are you most excited for in 2018? What changes do you plan to implement in your dealership? Make the most of the new year by embracing new innovations and technologies. Wishing you a successful and productive 2018!

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