When you rest, you rust. This could also apply to the strategy of getting members into new vehicles. The needs of members during their vehicle buying journey continues to change. What worked a few years ago to get members to obtain auto loans, is most likely not doing the job today. The same tired old approach is rusty at best. It’s time to put a fresh face on engagement efforts. Being part of the solution for members to purchase a new vehicle from start to finish, will require the credit union to be there, for the member, at each step.

Over 97% of car buyers arrive at dealerships having conducted online research. A quick Google search on any variation of vehicle buying will yield more results of pages than a person could ever visit in a lifetime. It’s overwhelming and that is going to work in your favor. At GrooveCar, we spend a lot of time researching the heavily traveled road of the member’s quest for a vehicle, and we have found the online buying process takes over 4 months. Members are looking at what their needs are; safety features, monthly costs, trade-in values, what others are paying, make and model. Most often they go in with one idea and come out with another. The point is: there’s a great deal of time to be spent online, why not with you?

When a member starts the process, studies show they are undecided and many fall back to earlier auto decisions. They most often repeat the purchase with an updated version of the same make and model, they are looking to replace. At the beginning stages, studies find buyers are undecided on whether to pursue a new or pre-owned vehicle. Less than 40% of buyers start knowing exactly what they want. This is where the research phase comes in, buyers love to read about, and envision themselves in the vehicle. Their next ride needs to check a lot of boxes off but there is great hesitation to obtain that information directly from the dealership.

Where are members heading to research and shop? Over 78% of shoppers trust 3rd party sites. Not a dealership site. GrooveCar is a third-party platform specifically designed to match the branding of credit unions. The resource performs as a full auto buying website, complete with lead generation built into all the feature-rich tools needed to conduct auto buying. This includes:

  • Car search and save features / Price research tool / CarFax / Auto loan calculator / Industry articles / over 3 million in new & pre-owned inventory / Build a vehicle / Locate a dealer / Finance and refinance on line

The GrooveCar resource is continually being updated to provide that next generation online experience. We seek out new best practices to make the process run smoother, faster, educational or more entertaining. Members want their needs met, if not they will move on. We understand seconds’ count. So, when members land on your website, it’s critical to get their attention right away, and direct them to where they need to go.

Here are a few tips to get members to your resource and build engagement:

  1. Exposure. Can your auto resource be easily found? Ask members if they have visited and was it hard for them to find. The number of clicks to get there should be under 3 once a member arrives on your website. If they must go looking, you have lost them.
  2. Promotion. Do you promote your auto buying resource? Some answer this question with a yes. How often is often? Consistent messaging from many different angles, email, digital, video marketing, social media, print, in branch exposure all must be deployed. Get personal.
  3. Graphics. How fresh and appealing are the graphics you are using to send that message? Make sure you can grab their attention.
  4. Staff Training. Are staff encouraging visitors to visit your resource. This is your front line and its powerful, use it. Are you authentic in your approach?
  5. Preferred Dealer Relationships. Is your credit union working with your dealerships to build relationships to get business?

These are just some of the ways successful engagement can be built around your resource. And the good news, we are there every step of the way with support and materials to make it a success. As the industry continues to move forward, credit unions are encouraged to engage members at each stage, not just at the end promoting rate. This year be part of the entire journey, serve the member as a guide and partner, ready to offer information and support. This is how solid relationships are built, and that’s what members are looking for. Meet their needs and you will close more loans.

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