How to Court Your Most Profitable Automotive Customers
Auto dealers, do you know your most profitable customers (MPCs)?
If so, are you leveraging your auto marketing dollars to nurture those customers?
If you don’t know who your MPCs are, you need to figure it out so you can “court” them, retain them, and continue to benefit financially from their customer loyalty.
This isn’t just about creating a good customer experience so that drivers come back to your dealership. (Although that’s very important, of course!)
The goal here is to dig into your data and use your dealership marketing dollars wisely on the right customers who will provide higher return on investment (ROI).
How to Define Your MPCs
I’ll start by giving an example of a dealership’s least profitable customer: myself.
I drive a 14-year-old used vehicle. While I had a good sales experience at the dealership where I purchased it, I’m not going back there until my vehicle is on its last leg. I bought a lower-priced vehicle with cash. I don’t return to the service department frequently, as there’s another service department I like much closer to my home. I’m certainly not looking to trade in for a better vehicle every few years. I’m not a very profitable customer for this dealership.
So what does an MPC look like? Conversely to the automotive buyer persona I represent, a dealership’s most profitable customer likely fits these three criteria:
- Brings in more average revenue per sale
- Trades in every two to three years for a newer vehicle
- Frequents the dealership’s service department
Do you know how to find these people in your customer relationship management (CRM) system? Do you know what percentage of gross profits the top 20% of customers contribute to your dealership?
You likely already know your MPCs’ contact information, where they live, which vehicles they own, and how frequently they purchase. But, in order to be strategic, you must create a defined buyer persona for your car dealership marketing. Here’s how.
Then, keep digging into some market analysis! Here are more questions to get you started:
- In which pockets of your city do your MPCs live?
- What’s the median income in those areas?
- What vehicle benefits or features does your ideal customer want?
- How do your MPCs prefer to communicate with you?
Once you have the answers to these questions and have created buyer personas, document what those personas look like and share them with your marketing team.
Next, use your CRM’s capabilities to create reports that provide lists of your most profitable customers. Each automotive CRM is vastly different, so you may need to play around a while or hop on the phone with the support team to figure out the best way to create these types of reports.
Also, utilize smart lists in your marketing automation software if you have one (like HubSpot or SharpSpring). You can add your MPCs from the CRM into these lists to keep them easy to reach with your email marketing efforts.
How Does a Customer Become an MPC?
Often, people become profitable customers simply because your sales team treated them well. They were already going to become an MPC — either at your dealership or another. Nice work!
Be careful that your sales team doesn’t try to convert someone into an MPC by pushing them to spend more on a vehicle they can’t afford or don’t really want. That’s not the point here, and the tactic only contributes to the unfortunate “greasy salesman” stigma.
Instead of trying to make the wrong types of customers more profitable, leverage your automotive marketing strategy to court the right MPCs. Woo them just like in the pre-Tinder days of dating.
How to Leverage Your Digital Marketing So Your MPCs Keep Falling for You
Do you know about smarketing (sales + marketing)?
Smarketing is the idea of aligning your sales and marketing teams to reach common goals through communication and collaboration. To court your MPCs is to put smarketing in action.
Once you have done your market research and created your buyer personas, you can utilize strategic marketing to maintain a healthy, long-lasting relationship between your dealership and its MPCs.
1. Market Vehicle Value, Not Discounts
Your most profitable customers return every few years not because they heard your commercial shouting the newest MSRP savings, but because they crave the benefits that the newest and best have to offer.
So when you market to your MPCs, don’t focus on the discount so much. Instead, highlight the ways in which your product will affect their lives and solve their pain points.
When you’re on a date, you don’t talk about yourself the whole time (hopefully). You want your partner to feel seen, heard, and cared about.
This is the same idea. Make your marketing message about the customer, not about your dealership.
2. Utilize Custom Audiences in Your Facebook Campaigns
When creating Facebook ads for your dealership, you have many targeting options to mix and match. One of those options is a Custom Audience.
With a Custom Audience, you can upload a list of customers from your CRM and target your ads directly to them. This is perfect if a new model year has just arrived on your lot, and you know which MPCs may be ready to buy again.
3. Be Smart with Email (No “Blasting”!)
You don’t ask everyone you’ve ever met out on a date. Hopefully, you stick to those who are available and also looking to date.
Likewise, don’t blast all of your CRM contacts with emails. Instead, craft relevant emails to prospective purchasers by segmenting them using the data you have.
Send an email about a new model to contacts who may be ready to buy again or who have indicated otherwise that they fit your buyer persona.
Additionally, you can use email automation to send relevant emails to contacts based on certain criteria. This will create a personalized, oh-so-flattering email experience at just the right time!
4. Keep Capturing and Improving Data
Good data management isn’t a one-time job.
Your buyer personas — like your MPCs — will change with time, the economy, your products, and your competition. You must always be working to improve your data so you can utilize it well.
Revisit your MPC definitions every year or two to see how they’ve changed and how you should adjust your marketing strategies to match.
Also, hit the sales floor. Chat with your sales team, asking questions such as:
- What conversations are you having with customers?
- What trends are you identifying?
- What problems are you helping customers solve?
When you’re wise with your data, you’ll identify which customers contribute most to your profits. You’ll continue to engage in dialogue with them. You’ll retain them. You’ll learn from them.
And then, you’ll attract even more like them.
Ready to Love on Some MPCs?
If you’re itching to know how to get started putting your data to work, download our free eBook, Lead Tracking for Auto Dealers.
You’ll learn how to use your CRM data strategically and how to best qualify contacts who are ready to purchase.
You can also request a free digital marketing assessment for your dealership to learn how you can improve your automotive digital marketing. We’re happy to help!Get Your Digital Marketing Assessment »