Customer Personas

When marketing an automotive product or service, it’s important to know who you are targeting before you create a campaign.  I’ve broken down the seven popular personas that I have personally encountered over the years being a part of  European car community.

The Newbie

  • Ages 16-25
  • New to  modding cars
  • Just joined a FB car group
  • Uneducated on parts and cars in general
  • Doesn’t know how to search for information
  • Generally seeking cheaper parts (price sensitive)
  • Goes with what they read on the internet

 

The Seasoned Veteran

A post shared by Volkswagen USA (@vw) on

  • Ages 25-35+
  • Brand loyal
  • Jaded, has seen it all
  • DIY or die
  • Still posting on forums regularly
  • Willing to purchase quality parts the first time around
  • Younger people in “the scene” seek their approval and guidance

The Scene Kid

  • Ages 18-25
  • Bags/Stance Yo
  • Brand loyal
  • Visual mods over performance “ruins cars”
  • Spreads the word of whatever they see/hear on the internet w/o firsthand experience
  • Spends $1500 on wheels outfitted with the cheapest tire they can find.
  • Into audible and visual mods – i.e. exhaust, CAI, Splitters, etc
  • Seek approval and attention from other enthusiasts

The Scene Kid That Wants To Go Fast

A post shared by Robbie Price (@obbierice) on

  • Ages 18-25
  • Lives at home and has a low paying hourly job or student
  • Has very little bills or responsibilities
  • Willing to throw large sums money at projects
  • Wrenches at home with buddies
  • Has a never-ending project car
  • Image and reputation in the scene are important
  • Goes cheap at first then realizes go big or go home

 

The Grown-Up Enthusiast

  • Ages 25+
  • Grown out of or not interested in “The Scene”
  • Wants do things right the first time
  • Can afford to pay for quality parts
  • Has established career and good income
  • Value performance over scene points
  • Reliability is key
  • Knowledgeable about cars and parts
  • Passionate about cars but other hobbies/family/career take precedence
  • Heavily researches products and brands before purchase
  • Will DIY smaller jobs and pay shops for larger ones

 

The “Semi-Enthusiast”

A post shared by Rik (@riksingh23) on

  • Ages 30+
  • Enjoys and appreciates cars
  • Willing to do mild mods such as a tune, wheels, exhaust
  • Professional who doesn’t have time to research parts
  • Not on FB Groups or Forums
  • Has disposable income
  • Takes advice from media and their shop

The Playboy

A post shared by Jonny Fiction (@jonnyfiction) on

  • Ages 20+
  • Has or portrays to have endless supply of money
  • Seeks attention and wants to be seen
  • Wants the only the best for their vehicles

 

 

Facebook advertising is an excellent way to target your niche automotive enthusiasts. However, many marketers are simply not getting creative with their targeting their audiences. In the following post, I go over 8 ideas for targeting your niche automotive enthusiasts on Facebook.

First Steps

You will want to go into FB ad manager to get started.

On the campaign page, you want to start with choosing an objective.

 

Detailed Targeting

The next step is to create an audience and look for detailed targeting. At this point, you should be familiar with setting up basic FB ads.  You will see I have highlighted the detailed targeting box.

Just like Google, the detailed targeting box has predictive text and words will appear as you start typing.

Now to get started with detailed targeting.  Below are 7 ideas.

1. Vehicle Ownership Type
I like to choose ownership based on what vehicles your parts fit on, or who you are targeting.


2. Model Specific
If you are offering vehicle specific products, this is the place to start. Having knowledge of the vehicle code is essential here, as it’s the terminology that enthusiasts use.

 

3. Competitors
Targeting people who like your competitors is an easy way to get in front of your customers.  Start with the larger retailers, when items are shown in the drop down, you’ll have to filter out other retailers.


4. Niche Magazines/Online Publications
This is a great way to target people who are following niche sites and magazines.


5. General Enthusiast Magazines

This is an option to choose for the top of the funnel brand awareness campaigns.

6. Complimentary Products

Don’t forget about complementary product sales. If you sell car exhausts, for example, your buyers are often interested in other products such as custom wheels.

 

7. YouTube/TV Shows
If your potential customer likes youtube channels, they would be considered an enthusiast and potential customer.  Here you want to pick channels that align with your brand, that can be top of the funnel, or more bottom of the funnel.

When targeting automotive enthusiasts on Facebook, get creative by focusing on the targeting options available to you.  Feel free to comment or email with any questions.

Tips your business can follow while being an exhibitor or sponsor at car show.

Preparation
Preparation is key here. I like to use a Google Doc and have a checklist of items and somebody assigned to each task.

Essentials to Pack

  • Water
  • Cooler
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Business cards
  • Nice branded tent
  • Anchors for tent
  • Folding chairs
  • Brochures
  • Swag
  • Folding table
  • Tools/Zip ties
  • Branded tablecloth is a nice touch
  • Product to display
  • Beers for after the show

Cars


Having the appropriate car is key and to make sure it matches the demographic.  Recently at Wuste European Car Festival in Las Vegas, there was a local VW dealer displaying there. At this show, all the cars were custom cars on lowered suspension, air ride, custom wheels, etc.  The VW dealership had a nicely wrapped car on display however, it was on still on stock suspension and wheels!  Seriously total fail. Some lowering springs and custom wheels would have made the car fit in much better.

  • Have your cars properly detailed beforehand- dirty cars don’t fly at a car show
  • Bring an assortment of microfiber towels- both new and rags
  • ONR or waterless wash– great for last minute touch ups
  • Glass cleaner- you will get fingerprints from prying eyes.

Appropriate Staff
Nothing is worse than having a deadbeat staff sitting under a tent talking to nobody. It’s a waste of time and money, yet it’s something I see quite often.

  • Mr./Mrs. Personality- This person can help draw people in w/o being a pushy salesman at the same time. You need somebody that can strike up a conversation with strangers naturally.
  • The Organizer- It helps to have one person who is good at coordinating. An office manager is great at making sure making sure an event comes together smoothly.
  • The Techie- It’s inevitable that you will have customers that want to know the ins/outs of your product, so it’s important to have someone on hand to answer the technical questions.
  • Founders/Owners-It may seem petty, however, it adds a real brand connection when the customers meet the owners.
  • Warehouse or hourly employees- If the show is local, it’s great to have these people come, as it makes them feel part of something and builds comradery. Often times these people feel left out since they are in the back of the house.  While they might not be active in talking to customers, the added presence to the booth is beneficial.

Attire
I like to use the saying “When in Rome…”  There’s nothing worse than a group of corporate stiffs at a car show wearing matching polos and Khakis.  You want to be able to relate to your customers, so dress like them.  Company branded T-shirts, hats, and even a name tag is a must so you stand out.

Team Up With Local Influencers
It adds validation to your brand when you team up with local influencers and/or brand ambassadors. I like to have cars owned by local enthusiasts or customers at the booth, as it brings in their friends as well. It also makes the customer feel appreciated.

Interaction:
Some games or challenges can help get the conversation going and add some excitement.  It can be as easy as bringing a corn hole set, to renting a prize spin wheel.

Swag and Product To Bring
Free stuff to give away is essential. I like to have different levels of product to give out. It’s good to have something for everybody that passes such as stickers, keychains, lanyards, etc.  For larger items such as t-shirts or hats, these are reserved for people that potential customers, current customers, and those who spend time talking to you at the booth.

Goals
While it might be awesome to walk away with a slew of email address or cash in hand, that’s not the point.  The phone will not miraculously start ringing on Monday morning after a show. The goal of going to an event is simply one tactic in an effective marketing mix. The point to is to converse with consumers, show off your products, and to build your brand.  Events are part of a long-term strategy, that when executed properly, can have positive effects on the bottom line.

 

 

Marketing to car enthusiasts the right way can be very tricky.   For many enthusiasts, cars are are not only a hobby but a way of life.   These enthusiasts spend countless hours online discussing their cars.

Where Do You Find These Car Enthusiasts and How Do You Connect With Them?

We’ll start with the most popular place first, forums.   Forums can be very tricky, as these are communities of tight knit enthusiasts.  They spend hours on forums sharing pictures, discussing modifications, products and repairs.  The first thing you need to do is identify which forums your potential customers are on.  For every car make and model there is a forum or community- Look for a future post on finding the right forum for your products.

For this post we’ll talk about Audi owners. 
The major forums for Audi are:
Audizine
Audiworld
Quattroworld

Now once you have identified the appropriate forums, how do you interact?  Well it’s not easy! Since these forums are so tight knit there are two approaches- Paid or earn your way in by participating in the forums by providing helpful information and being part of conversations. If you simply spam your product on the forum you will get banned and shunned very fast, and I see this quite often.

I recommend the paid approach.   One example of a company doing a great job of forum marketing is an Audi/VW performance tuning company called Integrated Engineering.

They have dedicated staff members whose job is to soley monitor the forums, answer technical questions and promote their products. An example of a paid promotion is below.  You can see by the user name they are a forum sponsor so that is acceptable.   Depending on the forum  expect to pay anywhere from $200 a month to $1000+ a month  be a sponsored advertiser.

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If you are not already part of the forum community another approach is to find an influencer to introduce your product to the community.  Most all  forums show a join date & number of post next to user names. Also by spending time on the forums you will quickly identify who these people are.

Alternatively Create Your Own Forums.

One example is the forum and community created by 034 Motorsports called Motorgeek.  They have over 700,000 posts, 54,000 topics and nearly 9,000 members. The forum is a community of  Audi owners who are focused on performance.  The forum allows 034 Motorsport to be a part of the community while providing resources and product showcasing.  They let their customers do the speaking for their product as well as provide technical support.  If you’d like to see more examples of this, reach out.

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Facebook Groups for Auto Enthusiasts

Facebook groups are quickly becoming hangouts for enthusiasts in addition to the forums.  In this case for Audi we will show some examples.  Many times enthusiasts refer to their cars by factory codes, for example the Audi S4 made from 1997-2002 is known as the B5S4.  So in the Facebook search you want to put in the search B5S4 Owners to find groups.  There are actually quite a few different groups for the B5S4, most are closed and require approval to join.  Facebook groups operate the way as forums where etiquette is essential as well as no spamming.

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In addition to make and model specific there are regional Facebook pages for cars to drill down ever further to reach enthusiasts.  An example here is Utah Association of EurosScreen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.38.02 AM

 

Instagram For Automotive Enthusiasts

Instagram is another hot spot where enthusiasts hang out.  There are various approaches to this. For example Ford is using Ken Block, a globally recognized icon in automotive, to promote the new Ford Focus RS. In only a couple of  hours there are over 50,000+ likes and comments (it will be higher by the time you see this)!

 

Tag Motorsports , a premier performance shop,  does a great job here utilizing great imagery to showcase their work while using appropriate hashtags.  Using words with appropriate hash tags is key to getting found.  Finding the appropriate hash tags can be challenging as many of the terms used are only known to die hard enthusiasts. We can assist with finding the appropriate terms.

 

Another example here is a user called Carswithoutlimits, which has over 2 Million followers.  In this post they are doing a paid promotion for a keychain company targeting enthusiasts.

Youtube For Marketing to Automotive Enthusiasts

One of my personal favorites is the marketing done by Ammo NYC.  Ammo NYC sells high end detail products and the owner is one of the best detailers in the country.    They create very informative videos  appealing to enthusiasts many times working on exotic cars.

Below is an example video that has earned nearly 140,000 views in 4 days. Also on their site they have a list of products used while detailing this car.  They never actively sell the products as the the videos speak for themselves.

Another great example is done by Fonzie at DipYourCar.com  They have revolutionized an industrial product called Plastidip which is a rubberized non permanent paint which has created a new industry within itself.  Enthusiasts are able to change the colors of their vehicles at the fraction of the price of a paint job and the product is non permanent.

DipYourCar has produced hundreds of videos showing how to apply their product while showcasing their products. in addition they have their own forums with fanatical fan base as well as a huge presence on FB, Instagram and Twitter.  Many of their videos have hundreds of thousands of views and some even approaching 2 Million.

 

Features In Blogs To Reach Enthusiasts.

Another way to reach enthusiasts to to reach out to media. Here ST Suspensions and aftermarket part manufacturer Fifteen52  have built a Ford Fiesta ST, one of the hottest tuner cars out there to showcase their products.  They did an amazing job documenting the build process using professional imagery.   The build process was then shown to millions of views on the site Speedhunters.com.  Here is a link to the article.
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Final Words

We have gone over the lowest hanging fruit to find your niche market.  You may have noticed we didn’t mention Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler, Reddit, Etc.  While they all have a strong presence among enthusiasts we feel the ones mentioned in our post are the most beneficial.

Just to recap on major points.

  • Forums- Don’t SPAM!  You will find yourself banned and shunned quickly
  • Reach out to influencers- If you have a great product or service they will help spread teh word.
  • Have a great product-  If your product is cheesy or sub-par you will find out real quick.
  • Be prepared to pay-It may seem like it’s fishing in a barrel with a shotgun but it’s not cheap and tactic must be used while approaching forum owners and Facebook page owners.
  • Dig Deep-There are many genres of cars enthusiasts out there from trucks, muscle cars, Japanese cars, etc.  The list goes very deep and in each category there are many many sub categories.
  • Be authentic and use the voice of your customer.  If you can’t find out or reach out to somebody that can, like us 😉

If you have any questions about niche marketing or finding your target audience let us know. Also if you have any input we’d love to heard in the comments below.