Tip No. 2: Market to the full funnel.
All customers go through a marketing funnel when purchasing something. The top (i.e. widest) part of the funnel involves gaining awareness of a product. The middle part involves researching a product. The narrowest part involves purchasing a product.
“We do this whether or not we’re buying a pack of gum at the grocery store or a specific auto part or a rocket launcher,” he said.
Winning businesses don’t fall into the trap of focusing solely on low-funnel customers, Mr. McKinley said. For one thing, low-funnel marketing is expensive. For another, customers are not locked into a single brand when they start researching and 60% discover a new brand when conducting a search online, Mr. McKinley said.
“If you are not introducing your brand to new customers, you simply will not grow,” he said.
High-funnel marketing includes paid search, display advertisements and content that simply educates customers. YouTube, in particular, is great for automotive marketing since automotive is the No. 1 category on the site.
“You need to experiment and test different options,” he said.
Tip No. 3: Adapt to your market.
“One of the most powerful parts of digital marketing is you can make changes quickly,” Mr. McKinley said.
The demand for tires, for instance, fluctuates throughout the year. Mr. McKinley’s company found that businesses don’t just sell more snow tires during the winter, they sell more at specific points of the winter: during and immediately after snowstorms.
So his clients adjusted their tire advertising — and their advertising copy — during those points and it resulted in higher sales.
The same flexibility has worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than talking about having the lowest price, businesses might advertise, say, having contactless payment.
“Digital marketing always changes and what your customer cares about also changes,” Mr. McKinley said. “What you need to do is engage with customers on the things they care about most.”