By Anne Fleming, President & CEO, Women-Drivers.com
Female buyers made up an estimated $445 billion of new car sales in 2017 alone. With women now buying 4.5 out of every 10 vehicles, the average dealership is selling 819 total new and used vehicles annually to this audience. The data doesn’t lie: women are making extraordinary differences in terms of gross margin dollars and sales achieved at car dealerships.
How can your dealership increase business with female buyers and referrals? One way is by leveraging new ideas in advertising and messaging.
Even in 2018, most dealer’s advertisements’ fail to speak directly to the female audience. There is an overemphasis on both gender neutrality and price point. This is because advertisements are focusing less on what she wants and more on what a dealership thinks she wants. Like price cuts. Does price matter? Yes, but only to the extent that it buys her more of what she wants: a positive pre- and post-sale experience.
One Size No Longer Fits All
Diversification isn’t just good for investment portfolios. It’s good for the car business. Consider this: University of California at Davis researchers found that women influence 85 percent of all car buying purchases. Advertising directly to women makes good financial sense.
Cast a Wider Net
Lawyers. Doctors. Financial Managers. Per the U.S. Dept. of Labor, women fill a wide range of professional roles. In addition, 38 percent—or more than one-third of them—are earning more than their male partners. It follows, then, that their overall purchase experience would reflect upon those achievements. Dealer ad campaigns can be more effective when they account for the diverse professional choices and delivers messages to this audience.
Use Your ‘Aha’ to Connect with Women
What’s your dealer’s DNA message and ‘aha message‘ that women will remember? Is it really through ads and campaigns such as:
- Get the Best Price Here at Our Dealership
- We Match Any Competitor’s Price
- Drive Here for the Best Results
For the most part, these gender-neutral, bland, catch-all statements don’t share what your compelling aha is, nor are they appealing to women.
Connect Dealership’s Message to Your OEMs
From Facebook to Pandora, zero in on your female audience and age group. Dedicate dollars to advance your market space by running monthly campaigns to reach a captive audience with sponsoring ads on mobile apps to women and family-oriented interests.
Be a Destination Dealer: Time to Progress
Understanding that female buyers are looking for a connection will help you and your creative team. Expand your message to be relationship-based with tangible value-adds. Think “What’s in it for her?” It’s not enough to have a female spokesperson or pitch woman.
1. Women use dealer reviews 50% more than men, and reviews influence women three times more than price, according to ReviewTracker. In addition to your current ads and promotions, include statistics about your reputation and reviews and show any Dealer of the Year awards.
2. Connect visually by including images of women and families’ car shopping at your dealership throughout your print and online marketing campaigns and website.
3. Communicate long-term service and maintenance care with a WiFi-enabled waiting lounge equipped with refreshments and desk stations for computer work. Loaner cars are the top concierge item requested by women, so if your dealership provides loaner cars, be sure to include this in your advertising. Other services that often appeal to women buyers include:
- Free car washes
- Free oil changes
- Free state inspections
- No-hassle return policy
- Non-commissioned sales advisors
4. Develop relationships with guests and shoppers before they walk through the door through social media and informative articles designed to to engage and build trust.
5. Host educational seminars and advertise them via social media/newsletters.
Applying any one of these strategies can instantly position a savvy dealership as an authority and a trusted advisor. Dealerships that don’t begin targeting advertisements to the female decision maker are losing out on her lifetime value, which is estimated at $517,000. That’s a big miss!