The EV Wave is Coming: Is Your Marketing Ready?
More automakers each day seem to recognize the growing demand for and interest in electric vehicles (EVs) and are jumping in with new EVs or model concepts, especially as the climate continues to show signs of changing. From the Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona EV, to the new Ford Mustang Mach-E, electric car manufacturing is on the rise. Premium OEM brands are all jumping into the EV market to claw back customers from Tesla, the premium EV leader, or take share from Toyota Prius, the U.S. EV market maker.
It is not just automakers recognizing the important role EVs are taking. Consumer demand for electric vehicles across the United States is also increasing. Search interest for electric cars has never been higher.
EVs and the Biden Administration
The Biden Administration plans to expand federal tax credits for EV purchases and set an example by replacing the U.S. government’s fleet of 650,000 vehicles with electric models. His transportation strategy includes a dramatic increase in the number of EV charging stations across the nation, growing from 27,021 to 500,000. The vision is for Americans to be able to drive across the country in an EV by 2030. Biden has also pledged to invest $5 billion over five years to research battery and energy storage to boost the driving range and reduce the price of electric cars.
For many dealers, it is an exciting time of change to be in business, but for others it could mean costly shifts in their strategy, infrastructure, and customer targets. Dealership maintenance costs to showcase electric vehicles in their showroom and in their parts department could be very high. It is critical to have solid knowledge of your local market before making the commitment to sell EVs.
Planning for EV Sales
As demand shifts from traditional combustion engine to electric vehicles – does your business have a strategy to win? If not, here are some ideas to help start your EV planning.
STEP 1. Understand if your market is ready to buy and support electric vehicles. Ten states show the highest search interest for electric vehicles. Search interest is a score out of 100 from Google Trends, measuring the rate of interest in a certain keyword over time.
Nationally, the average monthly search volume for “electric cars” has grown from 110,000 to 135,000 year over year (source: Google Ads).
STEP 2. Implement the infrastructure in your dealership needed to support EV sales, i.e. charging stations, available parts, training for service technicians, etc. Note that shifting to EV sales could be an expensive move – ensure the shift does not have too much of a financial strain on your business. For example, many Cadillac dealerships are opting to accept a GM buyout and close rather than making the OEM-required investments to sell EVs. In addition, confirm your region and state has or will implement the civic infrastructure needed to transition to EVs.
Marketing to EV Shoppers
EV and luxury shoppers share some similarities. They tend to be male, have higher incomes, and are interested in the technological achievements of an EV more than being ’green’. Dealers should be aware of these factors and provide a shopping experience to target these customers.
If EVs become part of your model line-up, building a cross-channel promotion plan will be key. Consumers shopping for EVs are looking for efficiency, reliability, affordability, and advanced technology. When marketing your EVs, promote what makes a specific EV special compared to a traditional car. Use your digital marketing assets and investments to promote your EV models.
Bid on relevant keywords related to EVs and specific models in Paid Search. Creating a sitelink for branded searches can help promote EVs. Digital advertising can also promote EV models using social advertising to generate leads. Some vendor solutions can send ads directly to custom EV pages created on your website.
Create custom landing pages on your website to tout the advantages of owning an electric vehicle. Include a map to local and regional EV charging stations. Add a banner and hero images to your home page to showcase your EV inventory and to promote EVs and related tax incentives. As tax season approaches, it is a great time to promote EV rebates. Finally, when your OEM releases new EVs, include a link to the OEM’s Tier 1 website to enable pre-orders on your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Conduct keyword research to identify opportunities for your EVs and your business and build content to help your business rank in organic search for those keywords. Over time, this will be a very important effort towards building your EV digital marketing strategy. In addition, post EV content on your Google My Business profile / listing and promote it on and off your website.
Send an email blast targeting existing customers who do not own an EV but have a lease that will mature soon. Customers who leased or purchased a car from you a few years ago may be ready to trade in their existing vehicle for a new EV.
Align your EV digital marketing strategy with your traditional marketing initiatives and investments, such as TV and radio, to ensure your messaging and creative assets remain consistent across all channels. If your dealership is ready to sell EVs, we’re here to help!
Contact Sincro today if we can help your dealership prepare to grow from the wave of EVs coming to market in 2021 and beyond.
Allegra Rosenbaum has worked in digital marketing for over six years, mostly in automotive. She is a Senior SEO Analyst on the Earned Marketing team at Sincro, focusing on dealerships in the United States and Canada. For fun, Allegra likes to do origami and write letters to her friends around the world.