How to Seize the Power of Content Marketing & Generate Leads

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How can a dealer who’s had their laser sights on selling cars for fun and profit wrap their head around this new Social marketing?  People shop and learn in a whole new way from just 3 years ago.  It’s clear that automotive retail must adapt or risk extinction.  The shift requires a redux of your advertising model.  For years, dealers (and every other brand out there) have practiced the art of immediate gratification:  “If you broadcast, they will come.” This addiction to the crack pipe of broadcasting is not easy to overcome.  But knowing it’s impossible to buy reach anymore might compel you to at least consider new media.

Today’s customer has heard all of those old marketing messages and they’re not flocking into the showroom and service drive.  They want plain-spoken words designed to focus on their needs and desires.  They want to connect with brands who share their values and foster open communication.  I know it all seems strange but just think about how you shop and buy.  You’re much more likely to do business with someone you know and like than a stranger.

People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through brands and friends they know and trust.  When you deliver relevant content to hold the customer’s attention, you’re able to connect with them in a whole new way.  Your staff has always been your connection to your customer so integrating employees into Social Media is key.  More and more, businesses need to look at Social Media holistically within the operation. Content marketing–using Social Media and blogging–helps you speak to your customer on a local level.  It’s a community where each person talks to the other.

One of the ideal forms of content marketing is educational. You’re perceived as the likable expert with information that your customer can use to make their lives better or decide on their purchase. Focus on solving your potential clients’ problems, not on your features. Educational content lets you get the credit and the opportunity to do business with the reader.  It requires you to keep paying attention, keep tapping your creativity and keep showing up. This is the main reason why Social Media is not a part-time job for the “kid in the store who’s on Facebook all the time.” Your content needs to get people to identify themselves as someone you might be able to help.  Anything more dilutes the message.

You DO have to keep showing up.  You’re sending out messages that create a reaction.  You need someone who can respond to those reactions, knows how to spot a lead and nurture it down the sales funnel.  Choose a well-trained, Socially-savvy manager wisely.  If you do it right, your audience will tell you.  If you do it wrong, you’ll hear crickets.

It’s time to move away from hollering and hoping.  No more crossing your fingers that the audience will hear you to the point of relevance.  Instead, seize the power of content marketing and re-write your plans with this mindset: “As your local dealer, I’m going to give you incredibly useful information and be part of your life so that in the future, when you think of buying or servicing your car, I’ve given you such a great experience that you’ll think of no one except us.”

Social Media is your channel to reach out and connect with people.  When you incorporate content marketing as part of your overall digital marketing plan, you generate leads in ways that are impossible through any other medium.   You literally have to rewire how you think and how you spend your ad budget.  It’s not all about getting a screamer deal on a car anymore.  You need to make a difference in people’s lives.

Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Social Media Marketing Expert, Consultant, Blogger, Speaker, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”. Her Kruse Control Blog is the leading Automotive Social Media blog in the US.
Kathi Kruse


Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation. Consultant, Trainer, Blogger, Speaker, Author. Founder/CEO Kruse Control Inc. Yoga, horses, animal advocate.
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Kathi Kruse
  • The Content Marketeer

    Great post! We love the concept of the “likable expert” because users really feel like you’re adding value to their lives with the content you’re putting in front of them. In return, you get a stronger customer base of people who trust you.

    • Kathi Kruse

      Thanks James, couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Andy Warner

    Kathi – How does a business create content that makes them the likeable expert? Do they create certain blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.? And how frequent?

    • Kathi Kruse

      Hi Andy! Content is the hardest part of Social Media marketing. Most dealers I see share things about them and their brand and many don’t really know what their brand stands for. Social Media marketing is all about the audience (customer). So, create and share content that communicates who you are…what makes your store unique. It’s ok to share service specials and vehicles, but that’s a small portion of your overall content strategy. Every store is different because every brand, demographic and location is different. Staff participation is a huge component. I would definitely blog (written or video) so you can establish yourself as the “likeable expert”. (I blog twice a week and share it on all my Social networks). How-to videos from service generally work well. Customer testimonial videos are golden. Identify the questions your customer is asking and each one of those can be a blog post. Frequency is relative to the audience as well. I find 2-3 posts on Facebook per day to be the average. Twitter–post or participate in conversations at least every couple of hours. Content strategy is marketing. Curate it, try it, measure it and tweak as needed. The more you do it the better you know your audience and it starts to flow.