The automotive industry in the UAE has undergone plenty of hardship in recent years, which was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis that struck the world in 2020. However, the market is experiencing a boom due to an uptick in consumer demand as the world restarts post-pandemic.
So how are automotive businesses in the UAE adapting to the digital world we live in? With the help of inbound marketing! Keep reading to find out how inbound marketing is assisting in the boom of the UAE automotive industry.
State of Automotive Industry in UAE
As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the UAE automotive industry sunk to unforeseen lows. In the years following from 2010-2015 the industry performed with unprecedented growth. However, according to an article published by Focus2Move, in the latter half of 2015, this growth pattern was broken as a result of a decline in oil revenue and restrictive fiscal policies that were introduced. The market continued between 2016-2018 but began a slow road to recovery in 2019, as the market grew 6.2% from the previous year.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused sales to plummet again in 2020, declining a whopping 34.9% when compared to 2019. In 2021, the UAE automotive market remains down, but experts predict hope for growth as we end the year and look towards a brighter future as the global pandemic eases. The UAE and the region have managed the pandemic with grace. Regional government initiatives are responsible for keeping the economy afloat, along with a world-class vaccination effort that has allowed the region to remain relatively open throughout the pandemic.
An article in the Gulf News discussing the state of the automotive industry in UAE in 2021 quotes Vishal Pandey from Glasgow Consulting Group. Pandey refers to eCommerce and the digitalization of new service models as driving factors that could offset the damaging effects of the pandemic on the automotive industry in the UAE. He says, “Digitally-enabled experiences and access to services that evolve the customer’s expectations have helped rebuild confidence in the industry and generate sales. This means the passenger car market is on track to reach pre-COVID levels by 2025.”
It’s clear that digital dealership platforms are the way forward in the aftermath of the pandemic. This concept was discussed at the Automechanika Dubai Network, a one-day hybrid event focused on the theme of “Let’s Talk Business: Adaptation & Innovation During Covid-19”. At the event, Harmeet Singh, After Sales Director at Al Masaood Automobiles, pointed to customer preferences concerning digital dealership platforms and the results of a recent survey. He’s quoted by Trade Arabia:
“Like the rest of the industries, the automotive market has adapted to the new changes to ensure business continuity. We focused on rolling out our innovative digital solutions and digitizing our operational processes.
[The survey] uncovered that 95% of respondents expected both real-time availability of vehicles and prices of cars and services to be displayed, 73% expect real-time communication and 63% wanted the option to pay for services through the digital platform…
We further leveraged our digital channels to provide sales and after-sales services and added further simplicity and convenience to our customers’ experience. Our aim was to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of our services without comprising the health, safety, or convenience of everyone,”
We can expect the automotive market to get back on track in the next few years. Increased digitization of automotive dealerships has given new meaning to the role of inbound marketing in the industry. Next, we take a look at how inbound marketing is aiding the increase of car sales in the UAE.
How inbound marketing has helped in the increase of car sales in the UAE
Buying a car is a big purchase decision for anyone. Investing in a car or other type of vehicle will affect lifestyle and expenses for years, so it’s important for buyers to carefully consider the dealership they choose.
For this reason, the automotive industry retains a unique market position that requires dedicated automotive marketing practices to achieve business success. In today’s digital world, automotive sales have shifted online thus requiring companies to adapt their marketing practices to cater to digital consumers. The digital experience should involve inbound marketing practices that speak directly to a defined target audience.
So what is inbound marketing and how has it helped increase car sales in the UAE?
Inbound marketing is a business methodology geared towards attracting, converting, and nurturing customers with content and experiences tailored to their needs.
Previously, the automotive industry, like many others, relied on outbound marketing tactics to promote new models and services. However, in a world where consumers are increasingly empowered to choose from a wide variety of products and services, outbound tactics are rendered less and less effective.
A quick Google search of the top automotive companies in the UAE reveals some big names. According to a report by Statista, in 2020 global automotive companies like Toyota (34.1%), Nissan (21.3%), and Mitsubishi (8.7%) held the majority of the market share in the UAE.
These big names have huge marketing teams behind their advertising strategies. However, automotive companies are turning to inbound marketing techniques to help them communicate with their audience on a more personalized level. This involves using a variety of inbound marketing techniques to show audiences how they can serve their needs.
Companies operating in the automotive industry are increasingly putting their marketing in the hands of marketing agencies specialized in automotive marketing practices. The goal is to position an automotive business to generate long-term ROI with digital marketing campaigns that reflect dynamic shifts in the automotive industry and consumer behavior.
This involves using content marketing to share valuable information with leads and customers, establishing a social media presence, implementing SEO best practices, optimizing a company’s website, and more. All of these techniques work to establish a trusting relationship with customers built on credibility and tailored marketing efforts, leading to increased sales.
The best inbound marketing strategies for car dealers in the UAE
So how can car dealers in the UAE implement inbound marketing strategies to increase sales and boost their business in a competitive market?
Here are some actionable automotive marketing strategies that can help.
1. Get to know your target audience
The first point of call for any inbound marketing strategy is to know your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? What market sector does your automotive company cater to? Are you selling luxury or used cars? Consider who makes up your audience.
Create buyer personas by answering questions about your target audience. These questions might relate to their financial status, demographics, and needs. You might carry out market research to better understand your audience.
Once you know exactly who your automotive market is, you’ll be able to target your inbound marketing campaigns to provide the right message to the right audience. This way, you increase the chance of conversion by providing the best answers to their needs, desires, and problems.
While doing this, you might realize that your automotive audience is made up of different types of buyers. If you provide a wide range of vehicles you might find that different models attract different consumers. If this is the case, you can segment your audience and target them with specific campaigns. This way, you ensure you’re always sending a targeted message that speaks to their specific needs.
2. Improve your position in SERPs with SEO
Although 95% of automobile purchases are made at a car dealership, 70% of consumers turn to search engines to research their options and begin their buyer’s journey.
It’s common knowledge that people don’t spend their precious time sifting through search results. The majority of people only look at the first page. For this reason, marketers need to focus their strategies on using SEO to improve their position in search engine results pages (SERPs).
So how can you do this without blowing your entire marketing budget? Here are some tips:
- Ensure your Google Ads profile is structured and features tight-knit keyword groups related to your industry and business.
- Add relevant keywords to your website/content to improve visibility in search engines.
- Ensure your Google My Business listing is regularly updated and features the correct business information so local consumers can find you.
- Don’t discount the impact of other search engines like Bing. Although people use it much less often than Google, Bing is still a popular search engine that attracts an older and typically more financially stable audience. This means they’re more likely to be ready to invest in luxury cars!
3. Optimize your website for online buyers
As we mentioned before, most consumers head online to research their options when looking to invest in an automobile.
Your website must be fully optimized to offer an exceptional customer experience that tells consumers what they need to know in as little time as possible. Here are some tips to ensure your website is optimized to attract and convert leads (without them bouncing!):
- Improve page load times: The longer people have to wait for a page to load, the more likely they are to leave before getting the chance to actually explore what you have to offer. Consider hiring a web developer to ensure your page load speeds are up-to-par.
- Use images and video: Consumers are more likely to be attracted by websites that feature plenty of images and video. Humans are visual creatures, so it’s important to cater to this need with plenty of relevant visual content. Video is particularly effective in the automotive industry, as it allows you to show off different elements of vehicle models in a visually appealing manner.
- Ensure your website is mobile optimized: 52.2% of all internet traffic is generated with mobile. Moreover, an incredible 9.06 million UAE citizens are active mobile internet users. With so many people pulling out their phones to research products and services, it makes sense that your website must be fully optimized to ensure a great user experience, no matter which screen they’re using.
4. Content marketing
Content marketing refers to increasing brand visibility and traffic by creating high-quality content that caters to the interests of your target audience. Many different types of content can be used to market your automotive company, including blogs, infographics, videos, white papers, or even podcasts. Your content strategy should include content that keeps your audience interested and improves your search engine visibility.
Create an editorial calendar filled with content relevant to your audience. Ensuring your content strategy is consistent and establishes your business as an authority in its field is vital for building organic SEO that enhances your visibility and gets you more leads. The more people engage with your content, the more it’ll show up in search results. That’s why you should ensure your content includes relevant keywords and questions that your audience might be searching for. This will continue to attract valuable leads without additional investment, which is why content marketing works.
5. Build relationships with social media marketing
Another inbound marketing strategy that’ll help you to attract and convert leads is establishing your social media presence. People spend a lot of time (too much time, some would argue) browsing social media. Nowadays, it’s one of the first tools consumers use to discover information about brands and even communicate with them.
Take a look at your buyer personas and think about which types of social media they’re most likely to engage with. It’s a good idea to create business profiles on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even TikTok. You can use paid ads to target your audience with new models or offers, as well as sharing content, engaging directly with people, and ensuring your social media profiles provide contact information for your automotive business.
Build relationships with social media marketing
Inbound marketing practices can be applied to most, if not all, online businesses. With the help of inbound, automotive businesses can increase visibility, attract leads, and increase sales by targeting an interested audience.
If you’re ready to start your inbound marketing journey, we can help! Get in touch with us today and book a free consultation.