blog_icon_art The Marchex Blog

Automotive agencies: the best defense is a good offense

The adage in the title is particularly true when it comes to keeping your clients satisfied, but what’s the formula for a satisfied client? You must keep adding value, and always tie your services back to what really matters: sales. The truth is that dealerships don’t care about clicks or impressions – they care about selling cars and booking service appointments. At Marchex, we help agencies prove that their services are resulting in more cars sold and more appointments booked.

Phone calls lead to conversions

In our publication, Why auto dealerships need to pay attention to phone calls, we studied the role phone calls play in the car buying process. Shoppers often use their mobile device to locate a car dealer, and when they find one they’ll be on the lot within the week. We also know that consumers who search on mobile have a much higher propensity to call a dealership. This means that more consumers are calling your dealership than ever, which is an opportunity you should capitalize on.

Are my campaigns driving more sales or service calls?

Traditionally, marketers had to rely on the dealership’s IVR to answer this question and indicate the caller’s intent (e.g. “press 1 for sales, 2 for service” etc.), but user behavior renders this model obsolete because most callers know that pressing 1 is the path of least resistance to a live person.

A more accurate way of assessing caller intent is to assess the content of each call, but how are you supposed to do that without listening to hundreds of call recordings? Consider that sales and service calls contain different patterns of speech that can be automatically recognized and bucketed. Does the caller ask about services like an oil change, or do they ask about a test drive?

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Imagine going from “my campaign generated 100 calls” to “my campaign generated 15 sales calls and 65 service calls” – this is a much more impactful conversation to have with your client.

What else can I do with this data?

Most dealerships don’t realize how many opportunities are lost simply because the phone doesn’t get answered. In fact, new research published by the Marchex Institute says that on average 1 in 5 calls to a dealership just doesn’t get picked up. By arming your client with detailed information about where they’re dropping the ball, they can pick up some low-hanging fruit and improve their conversion rates. Tactics like this can help position your agency as an auto industry expert and help you add value and build trust with your clients.

Another way your agency can add value is by retargeting the “offline audience” that is created when you collect call data. Segmenting that audience by caller intent enables you to retarget these prospects (and lookalikes!). For example, you could take an audience of callers that were interested in an oil change but didn’t schedule an appointment and go retarget them with service-specific ads on Facebook.

To learn more about how digital agencies can use call data to improve margins for their clients, download our eBook, Digital Agency Pioneers.