Answer Man

South Carolina dealer mines advantages of digital-only marketing
by Dan Nied
Sept/Oct 2018
Answer Man
A Little Help
If you’re a Toyota dealer, it helps to have a classic Land Cruiser as a backdrop for your internet ads, as Toyota of Easley’s Ryan Norris found during a recent filming.
The term Ryan Norris uses is “leap of faith.”

See, when you run a business traditionally anchored to television and radio advertising, you might need divine guidance to shift all your marketing to the internet.

Norris, dealer principal at South Carolina’s Toyota of Easley, took his leap in April. He and his sales team have since been rewarded.

“We were having such success with our digital marketing, and we were seeing more bang for our buck there,” Norris says. “We decided to take a leap of faith, and see what kind of success we would have with a totally digital strategy. We’ve seen an increase in internet leads, phone calls and live traffic. The way that people consume their media now has changed so much that we decided to make that change with them.”

Gone are the television and radio spots featuring Norris. In their place are social media ad buys that target specific customers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. and ads replaced print media. And “Ask Ryan” maintains Norris’ persona in the community.

The Answer

In View
In pulling advertising from radio and television, Ryan Norris was able to stay visible in the community with his Ask Ryan internet segments.The series came about with the marketing shift, filling the need to put forward a familiar face to represent the dealership.

So, what’s "Ask Ryan?"

Good question. It’s a new web series in which Norris answers questions from the public.

“I get asked questions all the time, so we just sort of came up with the idea that maybe in our community, this would give us a chance to answer those questions about the car business, help us get our name out there and show what kind of dealership we are.”

The response to “Ask Ryan” has been encouraging, with each weekly video scoring a few thousand views. But it’s the topics that intrigued Norris.

“We were expecting a lot of questions about the best way to shop for a car or myths about the business,” he says. “We’ve gotten those, but we’ve also gotten a lot of questions about day-to-day operations of the dealership. Leadership questions. We weren’t expecting that.”

That’s allowed Norris to use the series to showcase Toyota of Easley’s commitment to its customers, its employees and the community. So far, he’s discussed topics like keeping his team motivated, the dealership’s core cultures, car-shopping mistakes and successful leadership.

The Effect

Toyota of Easley combined its marketing shift with an “Express Car Buying” Web tool to help customers figure out exactly what they want before they even set foot in the store.

“They can select a vehicle, get a price, enter credit information and get a rate,” Norris says. “That’s an advantage for everyone. You get someone who is closer to actually buying a vehicle, that saves time on our part and the customer’s part.”

The bottom line isn’t just saving time or simplifying the experience. It’s about giving customers more power and control to buy a car the way they want.

And one unexpected benefit of going all digital? A chance to show the customers what Toyota of Easley truly stands for.

“What it’s done is take the guard down, pull the curtain back and show customers what we do here and what our culture is,” Norris says. “I think that’s attracted people to us. Not just customers, but we’ve also attracted some really good associates to come work here since we went all digital. It’s really helping us show our culture.”
<< Back