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Amidst the auto marketing data we compiled into our 2016 State of Automotive Marketing report, we saw dealers all over have difficulty getting consistent business out of millennials like me. For one thing, we seem to go outside only to catch Pokemon.
So if we’re all so lazy, how can you sell automotive service to millennials?
First off, stop calling us lazy. Second, you just need to beef up your automotive content marketing strategy.
Why Are Millennials Less Worried About Car Maintenance?
The short answer is that we aren’t. We’re often more worried about our cars breaking down than it seems, but that isn’t going to equal business for your service department.
There’s two problems you’re working against here. For one, millennials are skeptical. Check out this Tumblr post to get a quick sense of why we’re constantly on guard against convention and, most likely, your service staff.
On top of that, we’re better informed — when we want to be — than any generation has been able to be before now.
Sure, everybody has access to the Internet, but most generations don’t beeline to the web as fast as we do if we have a question. If you’re wondering why you can’t get millennials in for an oil change every 3,000 miles, see what happens when you search “How often do you need an oil change?”
So understand that you’re climbing uphill, but that’s what makes automotive content marketing so valuable to your company.
How Do Millennials Shop for Auto Service?
These 20-somethings aren’t looking for you to be perfect. But we will expect respect and honest information about your vehicles.
And that starts online — before we even know where your store is.
Here’s how millennials like me approach car service issues.
“Do I Really Need to Go in for This?”
Millennials are all about information.
Just as our auto marketing data suggests, more and more car shopping is happening on the web. Money-conscious millennials in need of parts or service will take to their smartphones to Google the problem they’re having, probably crossing their fingers that there’ll be a quick, DIY fix.
We’ll try to avoid taking a vehicle in for the same reason you keep skipping out on the doctor’s office: we’re worried you’ll say there’s more work that we need to pay for (whether it’s true or not).
To win over millennials like me, you need to open up. If I Google How to change my oil, write a good blog post that teaches me. It sounds counterintuitive, but it will build my faith in your company.
And when I decide that I don’t have time to (or don’t want to) do my own oil changes, guess where I’m going to place my trust?
Keep doing that with different aspects of service, and let young customers know that they can check out your blog to understand more about the work you’re recommending. If you’re giving us good, honest information, we won’t have to look anywhere else.
“Who Do You Go to?”
When millennials aren’t educated about something, we’ll seek out someone we trust to get their recommendation. A parent, sibling, friend, coworker . . . I’ve even seen people post on Facebook or Twitter for suggestions.
Words — and negative emojis — travel fast. On average, Facebook users have more than 300 friends.
That means every bad interaction with a customer could have a considerable impact on your future business.
Millennials will also check online reviews for red flags (or just default to whoever is touting the most gold stars).
Be sure you’re keeping an eye on your company’s online reviews. Your main focus, though, should be on delighting the customers you have a chance to impress each day.
“Should I Go Back There?”
That’s the other side of the coin here. If your service department rocks the inspection or repair, and the customer leaves happy, that person has an online megaphone to endorse you to their entire network.
Getting a solid base of young people to make you their go-to service department isn’t just good for the continued business; it can also help get the word out to more potential leads.
So make us want to come back. Does your waiting area have free WiFi? Is the coffee good?
More importantly, are you going to flood my inbox with emails about a bunch of services I don’t need? If I’m getting emails so often that I associate your dealership’s name with the “delete” button, that’s not an experience I’ll separate from a few deals on fluid checks and tires.
Instead, make sure you’re supplying me with only the best information through pertinent, tailored emails — in a reasonable volume that doesn’t encourage me to hit “unsubscribe.” If you’re really good, you’ll make sure you don’t email me promotions for services I’ve recently had done.
What Comes Next?
Millennials are more cautious and skeptical than other generations, especially when it comes to an industry with a reputation. In everything you do — whether posting on social media, working on your automotive content marketing, or telling friends about your business — convince us that you’re different.
Want to sell more than service to us? Check out our eBook on marketing to millennials.
But to really get ahead, check out the 2016 State of Automotive Marketing report! It’s an in-depth review of what you need to know to stay relevant in the industry, both today and down the road.