March 06, 2015

Getting More Customers to Test Drive Your Brand

Research shows that one in every six customers skip test driving a car before purchasing it. Specifically, the study of 2,000 automotive customers conducted by DMEautomotive (DMEa) found that:

  • Sixteen percent took no test-drive
  • One-third test-drove only one car
  • Sixty-eight percent visited two dealerships or fewer before buying
  • Forty percent visited only one dealership before buying

You may be thinking, “Why would consumers do so little research before making such a significant investment?” The answer is that they are actually doing their homework, just not onsite at the dealership. All of the research has been conducted online, well before consumers even step onto the lot.

Research shows that 80 percent of consumers use the Internet for purchasing a car—specifically, customers surveyed by DMEa visited 10 websites before buying.

“More people are stealthily comparison-shopping dealerships and inventory online, and then swooping in to buy when their minds are already made up,” said Dr. Mary Sheridan, Manager of Research and Analytics at DMEa.

These findings are indicative of the average consumer’s purchasing behaviors and patterns, signifying the dire need for organizations to invest in or strengthen their content marketing strategies. Those four of five consumers researching online are digesting content so that they can expedite the buying process while still making an informed decision. They’re looking at reviews from other buyers and watching YouTube clips of how the car runs in real-life (not in a hyped up commercial). And of course, they’re consuming the custom content the manufacturers share on their websites.

In other words, consumers are test driving the company’s brand. They’re looking to engage with the organization through multiple platforms to learn as much as possible about the product before buying. Conducting independent research helps customers feel more autonomous during the purchasing process and not like they will get swindled by an untrustworthy salesperson (21 percent say they perceive sales guys as such).

The numbers prove that organizations of all types and sizes can no longer rely on in-store sit visits or “test drives” to close sales. Rather, as Sheridan expresses, they need to have a powerful online presence to nurture the customer during his or her buying process.

So the key to getting more customers to buy after a brand test drive is simple: a sustainable content marketing strategy. Your strategy should be filled with engaging, custom content and a variety of marketing vehicles offering customers the resources they need to make an  informed purchasing decision—all before they pick up the phone to speak with a sales rep.

Want to learn more about what it takes to succeed at content marketing? Click here to learn five habits of the most highly-successful content marketers.

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