The automotive industry is becoming increasingly competitive. There are over 18,000 auto dealerships currently operating in the U.S., so chances are your dealership is not the only one in your community. If you want to attract new customers and gain a competitive edge, you must be willing to invest in marketing.
In the past, auto dealers relied on traditional marketing channels such as billboards and newspapers to reach their target audience. But now, there are better ways to promote your dealership, connect with your target audience, and generate more sales.
If you want to stand out, try implementing one or more of these auto dealership marketing ideas:
CREATE YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Three-fourths of auto consumers say that online videos have influenced their shopping habits in addition to their purchase decisions. Watching online videos can also motivate consumers to visit dealerships. Sixty percent of auto consumers said they either visited a dealership or a dealership’s website after watching videos online. Based on this data, it’s clear that creating online videos is an effective way to market your auto dealership.
Try creating videos aimed at consumers in all four stages of the buying cycle: awareness, consideration, decision, and post-purchase.
In the awareness stage, consumers are just discovering their unique problem or need. The videos you create for this stage of the buying cycle should be similar in nature to TV commercials.
In the consideration stage, consumers are exploring their options. To appeal to these consumers, create videos that let them explore and test drive different models. Add in a voiceover to highlight popular features and describe the pros and cons of each model.
Auto consumers who are in the decision stage are ready to decide which vehicle is right for them and where they should purchase it from. Create videos that introduce consumers to your dealership and help them understand how you are different from your competitors.
The buying cycle isn’t over once the consumer has made a purchase. Continue to engage with consumers post-purchase by creating videos that teach them how to properly care for and maintain their vehicle.
HOST EVENTS ALL YEAR LONG
Hosting events at your dealership is a great way to attract new customers from your community. Some dealerships host annual or semi-annual events, but if you want to increase foot traffic, it’s far more effective to host events all year long rather than once or twice a year.
Some examples of events you could host at your dealership include:
- Free car washes. Offer a free car wash to auto consumers who bring their vehicle in for servicing.
- Test drive incentives. Reward consumers who visit your dealership to take a test drive with a low-value gift card. You could also reward them by entering their name in a sweepstakes for the chance to win a high-value prize.
- Free gas. Reward consumers who bring their vehicle in for servicing by giving them a few gallons of free gas.
- Car seat safety classes. Invite new parents to your dealership to learn the proper way to install car seats. Have an expert demonstrate how to install a car seat in a family-friendly vehicle that is available at your dealership.
- Run special deals and discounts at certain times of the year, including the holidays and at the end of tax season.
Ask your team to come up with their own ideas for events, too. Then, create a calendar of events so you can ensure there’s something exciting going on at your dealership all year long.
UPDATE YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PAGE
Many auto consumers start their car buying journey by conducting Google searches. Google will present a list of local results whenever a consumer searches for auto dealerships. If you want to convert these consumers, it’s important to secure one of the top spots in these local search results.
Updating your Google My Business page is one of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO. The first step is creating an account so you can set up your Google My Business page if you haven’t done so already. Before you can update your page, Google will need to verify you are the business owner by sending you a postcard or contacting you via phone or email.
After your account has been verified, optimize your Google My Business page by completing these steps:
- Choose a category that is relevant to your business.
- Fill out as many fields as possible on your profile.
- Add your phone number, address, and operating hours. If your operating hours change in the future, make sure you update them on your page.
- Upload high quality, professional photos of your dealership.
- Use targeted keywords when describing your business. Include terms such as “car dealer,” “car dealership,” and “auto dealer” along with the city you are located in.
Following these simple steps can help you climb to the top of the local search results and attract more customers.
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
Every car dealer can benefit from optimizing their website. Similar to updating your Google My Business page, optimizing your website can help you secure one of the top spots in the Google search results. This will make it easier for local consumers to find you when they are looking for an auto dealership near them.
There are countless ways to optimize your website. Start with these tips:
- Use relevant keywords. Incorporate your keywords into your content, page titles, meta descriptions, headers, image alt text descriptions, and URLs.
- Organize the structure of your site. Make sure your site is easy for visitors to navigate and find the information they are looking for.
- Publish content on a regular basis. Start a blog and publish informative, relevant content that includes targeted keywords one or two times per week.
- Focus on page speed. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to test your website’s loading time and identify issues that could be slowing your site down.
These strategies are simple and straightforward, so you don’t need any SEO knowledge to implement them.
MANAGE YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
Your online reputation can make or break your dealership. It’s estimated that 93% of consumers read online reviews when researching products or services. Furthermore, nearly 60% of auto consumers say that the dealer’s reputation is the most important factor they consider when deciding which auto dealer to visit. You could miss out on the chance to win these consumers over if you fail to manage your online reputation.
Auto consumers can leave reviews on a number of different websites, including:
Create a verified business account for your dealership on each of these websites. Then, monitor your reviews. The best way to stay in control of your online reputation is responding to every review regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
If someone leaves a positive review, take the time to respond and thank them for their comments. If someone leaves a negative review, respond and thank them for bringing their complaints to your attention. You should apologize if they had a negative experience at your dealership and offer a solution to their problem.
For example, if they are complaining about a bad experience with a sales representative, ask them to give your dealership a second chance by scheduling another visit. Promise them that they will not be treated the same way when they return.
You may not be able to win over the person who left the negative comment. However, responding in a polite, professional, and helpful manner may help you win over potential customers who are reading your reviews.