For dealerships, standing out from the competition can be the greatest challenge. So how do dealerships get noticed? Here are some of the best car dealership marketing ideas via YouTube, Facebook and across the internet as well as details on what dealerships need to know about digital marketing.
CAR DEALERSHIP DIGITAL MARKETING
Some car dealerships might be particularly digitally savvy about navigating different social media platforms or implementing digital campaigns. Digital marketing can encompass many different online channels and tools; social media accounts, company blogs/websites, and even online advertisements are just a few examples of digital marketing.
One of the easiest ways for dealerships to become more familiar with digital marketing is by starting a few social media accounts for their dealership. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok. Dealerships can establish accounts with all of these platforms or just pick a few (or maybe just one) to begin their online marketing endeavors.
However, social media channels aren’t just used to promote sales, new car models or other company news. Social media is ‘social’ for a reason; these platforms are a great opportunity for businesses to interact with followers and potential customers.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO ENCOURAGE INTERACTIONS
Social media can be used to generate excitement about upcoming events, of course, but online interactions can be a conduit for engagement. Post surveys asking followers about their favorite car, wish followers a great Fri-Yay and provide updates about the dealership and its staff.
Most dealerships also have an established online presence via a website. The dealership website also is a digital marketing tool. This is where dealerships can include photos of their inventory, including new models that have recently rolled into the showroom. Some dealerships also might include a page for a blog; content and articles for blogs can include updates on new models (another way to market new vehicles!), new hires, staff promotions, and maybe even some helpful tips. Dealerships also could write articles about events or other happenings.
What about advertising online? Many dealerships now include online advertisements to better reach a specific customer base. Facebook and Google Ads could be an opportunity to promote inventory to potential customers. These digital ads also can be extremely specific in their outreach. And digital ad campaigns can be changed or updated to improve their effectiveness.
Print advertisements of the days of yore obviously couldn’t be this targeted. In the past, dealerships placed an ad via a newspaper, magazine or other publication. Old ads usually included pricing for vehicles or special promotion information. However, the reach was perhaps limited to those who read the publication. While the ad could be tailored to appeal to a certain audience, online or digital advertisements allow businesses to be much more specific in their messaging and their outreach.
THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL CAR DEALERSHIP MARKETING CAMPAIGN
Dealerships who want to hold the key to a successful car dealership marketing campaign might want to know a specific formula for this success. How do dealerships create a splash online? While it’s true that some campaigns have been known to go viral, there really isn’t a recipe for the spread of success. Sometimes it’s random. Other times, perhaps ad agencies understand when they’ve stumbled across a memorable idea.
There have been many memorable and unique ad campaigns throughout the years. Some local dealerships also have created campaigns that left quite an impression. One salesperson at a Florida dealership wrote a Facebook car ad that went viral…it was bluntly honest. Multiple outlets picked up the story, and the ad is still out there. The car sold, by the way.
Dealerships on the lookout for splashy ideas, though, also might look back at other successful marketing strategies…not just from car dealerships but other businesses, too.
THE BEST CAR DEALERSHIP MARKETING CAMPAIGN
Dealerships might be curious, however, to know what has been the best car dealership marketing campaign. Searching via Google brings up no results. So what’s the deal? Isn’t there a campaign from a dealership that has been ranked as the best?
Marketing campaigns might be tailored to each dealership’s goals and specificities. And marketing campaigns can include multiple digital channels. So pinpointing the best car dealership marketing campaign isn’t really feasible. Think about how many dealerships exist throughout the U.S. Some are massive and owned by a larger company, but others are small.
Trying to find the best campaign also might lead dealerships to believe that only one type of campaign works for every dealership. A successful marketing campaign should be one that meets the outreach needs of the dealership. What are the goals of the campaign? Who is the audience? Every dealership could have different considerations, and one answer likely wouldn’t work for each business.
And, again, some dealerships might be new to the digital realm. They may just be dipping a toe into digital marketing. Maybe they’ve hired an agency to create a digital campaign, or perhaps they are simply just establishing a few social media accounts.
SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
There are, however, broader examples of successful digital marketing campaigns. Some have been incredibly subtle. Marketing Week (out of London…thus the focus on U.K. campaigns) rounded up the best campaigns of 2020; check out how a few of these businesses did digital marketing right:
Ranked as the top spot, the Automobile Association’s campaign featured its puppet dog mascot Tukker. The campaign focused on freedom (driving!) and came after Boris Johnson lifted restrictions in the U.K. (freedom indeed!). The AA also released drive-in events.
Whassup! Yes, the Whassup guys were back…but, like so many, they were in quarantine.
The fried chicken chain only follows 11 accounts on Twitter—all five Spice Girls and six men named Herb. Why is this significant? The KFC secret recipe features 11 herbs and spices! One sharp-eyed Twitter user figured out the meaning of those accounts and received the ultimate prize: a custom painting of the Colonel carrying him piggyback while eating chicken. The painting is truly one of a kind.
HIGH-TECH AUTOMOTIVE CAMPAIGNS
Many auto manufacturers—including Porsche and Lamborghini—have embraced augmented reality as part of marketing. The power of augmented reality lets users drop models of vehicles into their own environment using their phone or another device. Consumers can walk around the car, look inside or maybe even change the physical features of the automobile (like the color). Technology has allowed the automotive industry to get creative with outreach to consumers.
VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES
Car dealerships might offer virtual test drives; typically this means that shoppers can schedule a test drive via a web site. The car is then delivered to them. However, some manufacturers have created other types of test drives. Using a phone or another type of device, consumers can drive the car virtually (kind of like a race game).
STOCK PHOTOS CAN ENHANCE DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Dealerships new to digital marketing might want to find ways to incorporate eye-catching details into their campaigns. Dealership websites often feature photos or photo slideshows of the inventory or new vehicle models. While some dealerships hire a professional to take the photos of their inventory, others might snap those pictures without a pro.
However, there is another way to include professional photos without hiring a photographer. Stock photo libraries offer high-quality images that include detailed and up-close shots of both the vehicle’s interior and exterior features. Dealerships can include one or multiple images of the vehicle. There also are images that can be rotated so shoppers can see different vantage points of a particular model. These images provide a professional appeal to websites and other digital platforms. Dealerships also could include stock videos that allow consumers to take a virtual tour of the vehicle of their choice.
The quality of photos featured via a dealership’s website could affect the consumer’s perception of the professionalism of the site. While DIY photos could be an option, if those snapshots are taken in poor lighting or feature a dull backdrop, the car’s appeal could falter. While pre-owned vehicles might require that dealerships hire their own photographer or snap their own photos, newer model vehicles could be captured via professional stock photos.
While photos aren’t the only key to a successful marketing campaign, professional photos could contribute to successful digital marketing. While consumers might read posts and other online content via social media sites or the dealership website, ads or online content often feature photos. Shoppers on the hunt for a new car will want to see photos of these vehicles. A successful dealership marketing campaign might feature the following equation: original content + quality images = success! While the originality and creativity of content could vary, quality images might always be a tried and true component of great marketing.