Digital advertising and marketing fundamentals prioritized at Used Truck Affiliation Conference

Charles Bowles speaks at UTA

Charles Bowles of Commercial Truck Trader speaks at the UTA Annual Convention in Nashville on Thursday.

In today’s scorching used car market, it doesn’t take a lot of marketing to make a sale. But just because sales are good doesn’t mean used car dealers should neglect or overlook good marketing strategies.

During a presentation Thursday at the Used Truck Association (UTA) annual conference in Nashville, Charles Bowles of Commercial Truck Trader outlined several basic digital marketing tactics that used vehicle dealers should always prioritize in order to maximize the sales potential of their used vehicle inventory. Bowles told the audience if they sell fast every truck they buy today, that’s great. But if they market well, they could sell these trucks even faster and at higher margins, he says.

Bowle’s first digital tip was obvious. When a customer contacts you online, you need to respond. Bowles cites a recent study that suggests that 50 percent of customer inquiries to motorcycle dealer websites go unanswered. He says the data is similar for some used car dealers and that can’t happen. According to a study by Commercial Truck Trader, more than 90 percent of used truck buyers know which dealer they want to buy from when they first come into contact with them. A dealer who does not respond to such a request today will almost certainly miss out on contact with a strong prospect.

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Other important digital tools that used car dealers can use are retargeting and lead enrichment tools. Bowles defines retargeting as promoting products that “follow you online” even after you’ve left the website that sold them. Bowles says these have become one of the most important online marketing tools in any hypermarket, and he says the used car market is no different. When a customer comes to your website and evaluates your inventory, you can use digital marketing to return those trucks to them for a month after they leave your site. “It’s an amazing way to increase the frequency of your message,” he says.

Lead enrichment tools work differently. At Commercial Truck Trader, Bowles says these tools are known as Buyer Insights, but he says other online listing sites offer similar resources. A lead enrichment report is generated through customer interaction on a listing site. Bowles gives the example of a customer who comes to a dealer website, searches for product keywords, and then looks at four or five trucks. He says reports can be made that compile this buyer’s activity and any personal information he has provided on the website for a seller. Bowles says the dealers’ sales reps can then use this information to start a conversation with the customer and answer any other questions they might have. Enrichment of leads “gives you an idea of ​​how they brought the decision tree down” on your website, he says.

Finally, there is the problem of listing development. Bowles says used car dealers today understand the importance of adding vehicle information to their used vehicle listings, but sometimes they fail to properly prioritize that information.

[RELATED: How to use online marketing in used truck sales]

As a helpful reminder, he gives the acronym PAID: Price, Appearance, Images, Descriptions. When it comes to price, Bowles points to the 90 percent of customers who know who to buy from before they call. He says most customers probably won’t call you if you don’t price your inventory. People want to know where “the conversation will start,” he says. When it pops up, Bowles says where you appear in Google search results can never be missed. When doing a search, Google indexes the first 300 characters, not words, on a web page. This means that dealers who do not have relevant information about a truck at the very top of a list could be overlooked by the search engine.

Listing pyramid for used trucksBowles recommends used car dealers to use a listing pyramid to help develop their offerings and maximize potential customer loyalty.

Customers have also missed trucks with no pictures (or do so under normal market conditions). Bowles says a stock image of a truck is better than nothing, but the best way to attract online users to your listings, and convert them from prospects to engaging customers, is with good pictures of your trucks and their features. The description helps here too. Back to looks, Bowles says traders need to put the right words in the right order. Customers are not looking for a 2019 Peterbilt or a 2018 Cascadia, but rather keywords like “dump truck near me” or “sleeping cabin, Houston”. Bowles says that merchants who tag their listings with this information first are more likely to attract and retain customers’ attention.