Thursday, July 25, 2019

Why Tracking the Customer Sales Journey Matters

Prior to the Internet, a consumer’s path to purchase was relatively linear. They relied heavily on local RV dealerships for knowledge and information about various units, coming directly to you – the dealer – at the beginning of their decision-making process. With the rise of online research, however, it is very rare for today’s customers to do their pre-purchase research in the store. This is particularly true for consumers looking to make major purchases – like an RV.
In fact, only 18% of big-item consumers do their research by talking with a representative in-store, while a massive 82% conduct research online before making a major purchase. It is also important to note that the research these buyers conduct is not simple or brief – most customers now complete between two-thirds to 90% of their sales journey before making contact with a dealer. The buyer’s path-to-purchase no longer starts and ends at a physical dealership, but instead twists and turns online as the customer comes into contact with an average of 30 “touchpoints” before making their purchase, from ads and search engine results to listings on RV Trader.
Most buyers are getting the majority of their pre-purchase research online from multiple sources.
When buyers rely on a number of channels – each providing various pieces of information about a product – you have to figure out which of those touchpoints has made the biggest difference for your dealership. Analyzing sales-influence is an important consideration, because it helps you understand not just which touchpoints are sending you the highest quantity of leads, but also which sources are providing you with the highest-quality leads. This knowledge allows you to make smart investments when allocating your marketing dollars in pursuit of ultimately selling more RVs.
Identifying the encounters that contribute to lead generation is called “attribution analysis” – or simply, “attribution” – and it is an essential element of lead intelligence that should guide a dealer’s advertising strategies.
At this point, almost every dealer conceptually understands that a basic online presence is important, but too many RV dealers still do not fully subscribe to the belief that consumers are significantly relying on the Internet to guide their choices and that the collective influence of those online touchpoints can be powerfully persuasive. If you truly understand your consumers and their shopping patterns, including which online channels consistently drive qualified buyers to your site, you’ll know which strategies are most effective and cost-efficient for extending your reach, establishing stronger connections, and selling more RVs. Additionally, you can use this valuable data to better inform your sales conversations by incorporating information from the consumer’s path to purchase into your nurture conversations.
In other words, attribution analysis can help you understand which of your marketing efforts are generating the most business and are worthy of further investment, and which services are not providing value and no longer deserve your attention. Attribution information also helps you get to know your customers and the paths they are taking to find your RV inventory, helping you to better connect, form relationships, and close sales.
That’s why attribution matters – because identifying how digital touchpoints contribute to lead generation and quality traffic for your dealership provides you with a goldmine of lead intelligence data that can inform and optimize your advertising and sales efforts.
Understanding and examining attribution data can be a true competitive advantage for RV dealerships. If your dealership is missing out on that valuable lead intelligence, stay tuned to the RV Trader blog, as future articles are going to break down the various attribution models, how to set up attribution at your dealership, and specific strategies for using lead intelligence data. Until then, we want to know what you think: Does your dealership use attribution analysis? How has attribution mattered for your dealership? Let us know in the comments below.
Trader Online Web Developer

How to Create Content That Will Have Consumers Coming Back For More

By now you know the importance of content marketing from our last post, but it’s time to dive a bit deeper on how to actually put this technique to good use. It’s important to give your content a purpose - that’s why building a content strategy is crucial and can help you determine how to manage all of the amazing content you create. Content can definitely just live on your site, but with a solid strategy in place, it can reach more consumers and can even help you generate leads. Let’s take a look at a few steps to build your content plan/strategy and how to get the most bang for your buck. 

Set Your Goals/Mission - Setting goals is an important part of any business strategy, and this is no different when building out a content plan. We often focus on the how, but it’s also crucial to look at the why. So, why are you investing in content marketing, what are your content goals, and how are you measuring them? Determine your goals and the KPIs you want to track right off the bat - some examples could be:
  • Increase in site traffic
  • Enhanced SEO
  • Increased Brand Awareness
  • Social Engagement
  • Clicks
  • Leads/Conversions
Setting this information right off the bat allows you to define your expectations and also allows you to determine what success looks like. If you’re not hitting these benchmarks down the road, it might be time to re-evaluate your strategy.

Determine Your Audience - Knowing who you are reaching is an important step in creating a content plan. Start off by conducting a bit of research on your consumers. Who is your average buyer and what do their demographics look like (age, gender, education, income, etc.)? If you have social platforms, take a look at your top-performing pieces of content to see what your audience is most receptive to. If you haven’t posted consistently on social before, you can always rely on other industry pubs for supplemental articles to get you started. Gathering this information on the forefront can help you determine who your buyers are and what content they will likely engage with in the future.

Determine Your Channels - There are multiple ways to distribute content and different types of content perform better on different channels. Once you determine your audience, you can also track “where they are hanging out” so you can better target them. Some of the more common channels for distribution include:
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Your website/blog
  • Email
  • Advertisements
Keep in mind, you can always adapt one piece of content to perform well on various channels. Say you have an article on “Top 5 Things to Look For When Buying an RV". You could turn that blog post into 5 different posts on social and add it into your email newsletter. Feel free to play with your content to see what your consumers like.

Think of Content Ideas and PRODUCE - Once you’ve determined your audience/channels and set your goals, it’s time to get to work. There are a variety of content types to choose from including blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, photos, social posts, and more - look for examples of each and see which types would best fit with your audience and goals. If you’re unsure, try out a variety of content types and see which mediums your consumers engage with; and keep in mind, consumers on different mediums may prefer different types of content - so it’s good to develop a wide variety. Once you’ve selected the types of content you want to run with - it’s time to produce. Some pieces of content are going to take longer than others, and that’s okay. Good content takes time, but if you need something to post in the meantime, share articles from industry resources and leaders and take a look at RV Trader’s blog for sharable content - just remember to give credit to the source. 

If you’re not sure how to create content, check out a few of our favorite free tools:
  • Canva - Canva allows you to easily create and edit images to share on social, blog posts, and more. The app also lets you create banners, brochures, presentations - you name it, Canva can do it. This is one of our favorite tools and we highly recommend checking it out.
  • Animaker - This tool lets you create high-quality animated videos. With this program, you can create multiple video types and can even create infographic videos.
  • iMovie - If you have an iOS device, iMovie is a great tool for creating and sharing videos. While this tool can seem intimidating, it’s actually very straight forward and there are a number of good training videos out there you can reference to get started.
  • Kapwing - Have a hilarious idea for an RV-themed meme? Kapwing allows you to easily create memes by simply uploading a photo and adding text - these are fun for social sharing.
  • Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator - It can be hard to think of blog ideas, but that’s where Hubspot’s Blog Generator comes in. This tool is full of unique topics and ideas that will pertain to your specific business.
  • Audacity - Curious about starting a podcast for your business? Make your vision a reality with Audacity. This tool is a free, open-source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. Remember - you’re an industry expert, so this is a great way to share your knowledge.
Create a Calendar - Once you’ve picked your distribution channels and built up your content library - it’s time to distribute what you’ve written. Creating a content calendar is a great way to ensure that you are posting consistently on a wide variety of topics and is an ideal way to get all of your content scheduled, and you can identify multiple writers within your organization that are passionate about a topic to break up the workload. This could be as simple as using an online calendar or spreadsheet to determine content due/scheduling dates, but if you are posting a lot of content you might want to look into a content management tool. CoSchedule is a content calendar for WordPress users that helps keeps you organized while saving you time. With this tool, you can collaborate, schedule, and even automate your posts.

Track Performance - Last but not least, after you post your content, it’s important to keep track of how it’s performing. To do this, you’ll want to take a look back at the original goals and KPIs you set in place for your content marketing strategy. Determine if you’re meeting those targets and if you’re not, feel free to tweak your strategy and test new methods - it’s all about finding what works best for your business.

Content is a powerful tool and we hope these tips encourage you to plan your very own content strategy. Have any content-related questions? Feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below. We’d love to help.
Trader Online Web Developer

Monday, July 15, 2019

What’s The Fuss About Content Marketing?

Consumer expectations have changed over the years, and now more than ever before, people are expecting more from brands. They don’t just want a discount on products - they are craving information, personalization, and relevant content that fits their specific needs. 

But what is content marketing, exactly? Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, social media posts, etc.) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.1 This approach is strategic, effective, and comes across in a more authentic way to consumers. Many top companies are using this style of marketing in order to reach new audiences and to show consumers they aren’t just a brand trying to sell them a product - they are also a useful resource. 

With all that being said, you might be wondering, “what exactly can content marketing do for my business?” Glad you asked. Let’s dive into 5 overall advantages of content marketing: 
  • Builds Brand Awareness - Now more than ever before, customers are researching extensively online before making purchases - both large and small. They crave information and by you creating relevant content, you’re not only meeting their needs, but elevating your brand to a higher level in the process, and who doesn’t want that? When creating content, you have the power to tell your brand’s story and showcase what makes your business unique. It also gives you the opportunity to position yourself, and your business, as an expert in the industry - subtly gaining trust with a consumer before they walk through your front doors to buy something.
  • Cost-Effective - There are all different kinds of marketing methods, but that fact is, consumers are becoming less receptive to in your face sales advertisements; with 71% of readers say they were turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch.2 Don’t get us wrong, those type of ads can still work, but they typically cost A LOT more than content marketing. In fact, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.3 Time is certainly the biggest investment of content marketing because creating high-quality content isn’t always quick and easy, but the rewards are worth it - trust us.
  • Increases SEO - “Just Google it” has become a common phrase we hear on a daily basis because we use search engines for just about everything these days. In fact, 93% of all buying decisions start with an online search.4 So when a consumer searches for something relevant to your business, are you showing up in the first few spots of the rankings? Good content (educational, relevant, unique, not overly self-promotional) can help heighten your organic search rankings, ultimately driving more traffic to your website. It is important to note, search engine algorithms are constantly changing but if you continue to produce new and relevant content, your website will rank higher than other dealerships that don’t invest in a content strategy. 
  • Feeds Your Social Strategy - If you’re not on social media, it’s time to join the bandwagon considering 90% of marketers consider social media marketing to be important to their overall marketing strategy.The great thing about content is that it doesn’t have to live in just one place (your website). Content can also help build and strengthen your social media strategy. If you’re not sharing engaging content on social, you’re not going to have an audience. On the other side of the coin, if you’re creating content your followers care about, they are more likely to like, comment, and share your posts - getting more eyes on your brand.
  • Builds Deeper Customer Relationships - You are already an authority in your field - there’s no doubting that. Why not share the knowledge and expertise you have with your visitors? Content marketing is a great tool that can help you build trust and loyalty with potential buyers. Even if a consumer is just starting their research, they are more likely to buy from a business they have built some kind of relationship with - even if it’s just online. This “relationship” can be as simple as reading your blog or watching the videos you produce over time. These customer relationships can result in leads, and when these consumers are ready to buy, your dealership will be top of mind.
Creating content is an essential component of any digital marketing strategy, and 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing.6 The time is now to leverage content marketing for your business and we’ll show you how to do it. In our next post, we will be covering how to create relevant content and how to build your content marketing strategy - stay tuned. 

1 Webster’s Dictionary

Trader Online Web Developer