Who has time to do marketing? With all the other tasks you have to handle at the parts counter, it’s no surprise that most parts managers are too busy to promote their eCommerce store with marketing.
Except as more dealerships launch a parts website, the ability to stand out among competitors becomes more and more important. Some kind of marketing strategy is absolutely essential if you want a successful parts website.
In this article, discover some of the best set-and-forget marketing strategies for your parts website. Just spend the time on it once (or very infrequently), and you’ll continue to get benefit out of it!
A fair warning, though…
Set-and-forget strategies will rarely be as effective as some of the other things you could be doing. What you save in time and effort will cost you in quality! It’s better than nothing, but the most successful parts websites will either hire a marketing agency or put more time and effort into their marketing plans.
In short: Set-and-forget tactics are not the best marketing available, but having something is MUCH better than having nothing at all.
1. Hire a Marketing Agency
The BEST set-and-forget marketing strategy is to simply hire someone to do the work for you.
Marketing experts know how to make the most out of your budget and will almost always give you a positive return on investment. If you don’t get a positive return on investment, then something is wrong with the agency you hired! Partner with a group that has experience in marketing parts and accessories for best results.
2. Add Website Content
Adding content (whether it’s text, links, images, or videos), is a fantastic way to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). The better your SEO, the higher your parts website will appear in search results when a customer searches on Google, Bing, or any other search engine.
Once you add these pieces of content, your website will continue to benefit from it!
Videos and Images
Many manufacturers will offer free images and videos to dealerships, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of it. Consider adding a tab to your website along the lines of, “Why buy Ford?” On that page, you can add a manufacturer video and type up a paragraph or two about why car owners should buy genuine Ford parts for their vehicles.
The “About Us” page is another great place to add some content. In addition to a few paragraphs of why your parts website is the best place to buy, you can include images of your dealership, your parts counter, your parts team, your parts manager, and so on.
Not only will this boost your SEO, but it will also introduce shoppers to the real people behind the website. Having a human face to connect with will improve customer trust and make them more willing to shop with you!
If you’re feeling ambitious, creating a few How-To videos or guides is absolutely fantastic and can draw in lots of potential customers.
Adding dynamic SEO pages is a fantastic organic traffic boost that dealers often ignore. Basically, all you have to do is write a paragraph or two about some of your top selling parts.
For example, if you wanted to write one for brake pads, you might explain what brake pads do, why they’re important for driver safety, and how to know when it’s time to replace them. Then simply upload your content to your website, and you’re done.
With thousands of items in your inventory, it doesn’t make sense to write content for each and every part and accessory. Focus on your top-selling parts for maximum efficiency.
Since writing these paragraphs can be time-consuming, we strongly recommend working with a marketing agency or freelance writers to do it for you! Working with a marketing agency that has experience in marketing auto parts and accessories can give your dynamic SEO pages a huge advantage.
When other websites link to your parts eCommerce store, your store’s SEO improves. Since another website is “referring” you, essentially, Google sees that as a sign that your website is reliable and has high-quality content or services.
Surprisingly few dealerships are taking advantage of the best and easiest link available to them: their dealership website. Adding a link from the dealership website to the parts website is a fantastic way to improve SEO and give your website more traffic.
Other than that, you have other options for links. If your dealership is involved in any charities, those foundations will often link to your website as a sponsor. You can also get some links by sharing your parts website in relevant forums and social media, but make sure to follow forum etiquette when you do so. Spamming your link will negatively affect your SEO instead!
3. Create Printable Promotions
Once you design a coupon card, a flyer, or an advertisement, you only have to print it out to use it as marketing material. It’s a one-time investment that you can just keep reprinting to get more value out of it!
Flyers or Banners
When customers visit the dealership to have their car serviced, they often become a captive environment while they wait for the service team to finish up. It’s a perfect chance to introduce them to your parts eCommerce website and see if they’re interested in buying parts or accessories online.
Of course, this strategy can depend on how you’re running your parts website. If you’re worried about local customers getting upset to see lower online prices than what you offer at the counter, this might not be the best tactic for you.
If marketing to your local customers sounds appealing, then go for it! Tell customers how they can find you online and remind them about your local pick-up options.
Saving lost sales
Even if you don’t promote your parts website to every customer who walks into the dealership, promoting to a select few can often save you some sales.
If a customer refuses service at the service lane, stating that they’d rather buy the part online and do the task themselves, then it’s the perfect opportunity to give them a flyer or business card for your website.
The customer already knows they can find a better price online than at your parts counter. If you can convince them to buy from your parts website instead of a competitor, there’s a chance to save the sale!
The more times that customer buys from you, whether it’s online or at the dealership, the more likely they will be to think of your dealership first for all their automotive needs.
When a customer places an order on a parts website, most parts teams will ship out the order and forget all that customer. Likewise, the customer will forget about the parts website.
But if you can get that customer to remember who you are and encourage them to come back, you’ll continue to build up their customer loyalty until you’re the only place where they buy auto parts online.
How? By adding a coupon code to their shipment. (Although there are plenty of other creative shipping tricks you can implement to really make an impression!)
Simply open Microsoft Word or a Google Doc and write something along the lines of:
Thank you for choosing [Parts Website]!
Get 10% off your next order on [Your Parts Website Link] with this promo code:
We hope to see you again soon!
You can even use that as a template, if you’d like! Depending on your parts website goals, you might also ask the customer to leave a testimonial on your website or connect with you on social media.
Add your parts website logo for best results!
4. Create templates and automated emails
Email marketing is a great way to reach customers, especially when you usually don’t need to spend anything to do it. Set up an abandoned cart email to that will send out automatically, or set up promotional email templates ahead of time so you only need to change the promo code and click send.
Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails
A lot of customers will visit your website, fill their virtual cart with parts, and then leave without completing their purchase. Chances are, they DO want to buy. But something made them rethink buying in that moment.
Abandoned Cart Recovery emails will send to these people who left without finishing their purchase. Sometimes the email will include a coupon code to entice the customer back, and sometimes it will include dealership contact information so the customer can ask questions if they were unsure about fitment. It’s up to you what to include in the email!
In the RevolutionParts platform, dealers only need to turn on drift marketing to send out these emails. You can customize the emails based on your dealership goals.
- How to Write an Abandoned Cart Recovery Email in 4 Simple Steps
- 3 Perfect Examples of Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails
Promotional Email template
Using a promotional email to tell customers about your seasonal or holiday sales is a fantastic way to draw in repeat buyers. If they enjoyed buying from you the first time, getting them to come back should be much easier.
We have a step-by-step guide for building an email template in MailChimp. Once you’ve created the template, sending out emails is simple. Just change out the promo code for each promotion and sent it out to your list.
5. Set up Social Media Accounts
A lot of dealerships use Facebook and Twitter to promote their parts website. If you ask customers to follow you on social media, you can start building up a loyal base that stays up-to-date with your sales.
Ideally, you’ll post status updates on a fairly regular basis. But if you want to take more of a set-and-forget route, you just post when you launch a new promotion. Alternatively, you can use a free program like Buffer.com to schedule posts in advance so you don’t have to pay attention to it as often.
Even if you rarely share posts and pictures on social media, a platform like Facebook is another way for customers to interact with you. You can add contact information and store hours to the page, along with linking back to your web store and/or eBay store.
A lot of parts managers launch a parts website and never lift a finger to let shoppers know it exists. We can’t stress enough how important marketing is to the success of your parts website! The internet is simply too large for customers to consistently stumble on your site by chance.
More involved forms of marketing, like Google shopping and Google search campaigns, are more effective, but they also take a bit more time and know-how. And for content marketing like parts descriptions, not all content has the same effectiveness!
That’s why we strongly recommend working with a marketing agency if you or your dealership don’t intend to take the DIY marketing route. Agencies know the best way to write content, with all the necessary links and keywords to be highly successful.
(If you ARE taking the DIY marketing route, start here: The 4 Must-Have Elements for a Killer eCommerce Marketing Plan)
As long as you set a large enough marketing budget for the agency to properly advertise and optimize, marketing agencies WILL pay off!