How to Create Unique Car Dealership Marketing Materials to Stand Out from the Competition

Depending on the area, the competition between car dealerships can be fierce. Some regions are packed with dealerships, while small towns might only have one or two dealerships vying for customers.

Marketing can help create a personality for a dealership and make the business memorable. Car dealership marketing materials should support the brand and the dealership’s culture, but unique materials and messaging also can be impactful. Here’s how to create unique car dealership marketing materials to stand out from the competition.

Impactful Email Marketing

Marketing materials don’t need to be physically tangible to be impactful. Email communications are preferred by some consumers, and the success of the message might be impacted by a few factors:

  • Subject line
  • Content
  • Offers

Consumers might not engage with every email they receive from businesses, but a powerful subject line can entice them to open up that email. Choose an attention-grabbing subject line that highlights a promotion, a deal or that’s just simply clever.

The content of the email should be written clearly and concisely and get to the point quickly. Consumers don’t want to read a marketing manifesto. Make sure there are no typos in the content, too, as this looks unprofessional.

Dealerships also need to know the purpose of the messaging. If the email is to promote a deal, keep the message focused. If the email includes a coupon, the message can be brief. Explain the coupon offer and how it can be used.

For email marketing that’s tied to a VIP club or a rewards program and that includes a special coupon or free service, make sure the subject line conveys the ‘free’ offer.

Standard Marketing Materials in the Dealership

At the dealership, marketing materials can provide customers with information related to VIP clubs, rewards programs, new car models and more. These in-store materials can be designed as a simple one-sheet handout or a detailed brochure. Some dealerships include brochures or materials related to financing.

If a dealership has a service department, consider materials that help customers understand the services offered and their prices. Again, these materials can be formatted as a brochure.

Car Dealership Marketing Materials

Unique Marketing Materials in the Dealership

Standard marketing materials might always be a necessity for communicating services, new vehicle models, etc. However, dealerships can also think beyond standard materials and include unique marketing tools that create a memorable experience for the customer.

Many dealerships include a branded key ring that’s given to a buyer when they purchase their new vehicle. Think beyond the traditional key ring and instead give buyers a branded tire gauge, a small flashlight, a branded blanket (to keep in the car) or even a branded ice scraper. The idea behind these items is to brand something that the dealership knows the car owner will keep in the car. Key rings are toss away items, but a flashlight, tire gauge or an ice-scraper are useful tools that the owner can keep in the glove compartment or even the trunk. When they use the item, the brand will be in front of them.

Support the Team and Market the Dealership

Marketing materials can include third-party items like a team jersey that includes the dealership’s logo. Sponsoring a local team can be a marketing opportunity for a business, but it’s also a great way to support the community (and the team).

Some businesses place an ad on their high school’s football stadium or soccer field. Consider advertising via a local school athletic program to increase the visibility of the dealership in the community.

Go Mobile with Marketing

Marketing materials can be large and mobile! The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile is a unique and mobile marketing tool. When consumers see the Wienermobile, they know it’s Oscar Meyer. Car dealerships could create their own moving marketing campaign; choose to wrap a vehicle with the dealership’s branding.

Dealerships also can float their marketing down a street via a local parade. Many communities host parades for events and invite businesses to participate. Create a unique float to promote the dealership; pass out candy or branded swag to patrons.

Interactive Car Dealership Internet Marketing Materials

Marketing materials can offer a virtual and futuristic twist. Dealerships might create an augmented reality or virtual reality experience online that lets customers explore a new car model or a few different cars in the dealership’s inventory.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are very different technologies, though. Augmented reality is the more accessible option, as anyone with a smartphone or tablet can typically explore the experience. 

Augmented reality requires access to a camera via a mobile device. The experience lets the user capture their environment with the camera and see a graphic depiction of a car (or another product) in the captured environment. Cosmetic brands use augmented reality to let customers try on products from home; the camera shows the individual’s face and the makeup appears via digital graphics.

To enjoy virtual reality experiences, users must have access to a headset. This means that the experience is more limited in its reach. However, some dealerships could create a virtual reality experience that can be enjoyed in the showroom (with a provided headset).

Dealerships also could provide interactive photos on their website that help customers explore their car options. For example, EVOX Images offers spin photos that are fully interactive. These images are navigated using a fingertip (for a mobile device) or a mouse; an exterior spin image can be rotated in a full 360 degrees to let customers see the car from different viewpoints. Panorama spin photos show the interior of the vehicle and are navigated in the same way as an exterior spin photo.

Car Dealership Marketing Materials

The Most Important Marketing Material for a Car Dealership

There is one type of marketing material that every car dealership needs: a website. In today’s internet age, the digital realm reigns supreme. If a business doesn’t have a web presence via an official website, customers might simply overlook them.

Many car buyers research car options online. Eventually, they might begin to search for local dealerships. What will they find? If a dealership isn’t online, the competition might land the customer.

An internet presence is crucial to stay in front of consumers who are shopping and researching online. Dealerships should ensure that their site is updated and looks professional. Websites also need to include high-resolution photography. Blurry photos or low-quality DIY snapshots look sloppy and straight out of the 20th century.

Dealerships also should optimize their website. What does this mean? Search engine optimization (SEO) integrates key phrases into site content to help the business rank high on search engines (particularly Google). SEO experts can help dealerships understand which phrases are pertinent to their business and how to organically include these phrases into on-page content.

Dealerships also should focus on another online marketing material: their Google Business Profile. Claim this profile and keep it updated. The Business Profile will be one of the first items that a user sees if they search for the business by name. On a PC search, the Business Profile appears on the right of the page. When searching on a mobile device, the profile is shown at the top of the search results.

Optimizing the profile is important, too. The contact information on the profile needs to match the website and other sources.

Dealerships can ask customers to leave reviews via the profile. However, dealerships should respond to these reviews. Even if a review isn’t great, businesses should post a positive and proactive response.

Car Dealership Marketing Materials

All About Dealership Swag

Marketing materials include dealership swag. Again, dealerships might choose to offer branded items to car buyers. Branded swag also can be given out via contests, in-store events or at community events, too.

The type of swag each dealership chooses might depend on their budget. Some dealerships create fun t-shirts, others offer branded balloons to kids, keychains, rubber bracelets or even a standard koozie. iPromo lists the top swag for dealerships, and while the list included the standard items like keychains and snow scrapers, it also included car organizers, sun shades and even a cell phone charger.

Some dealerships have a well-known mascot. They might order customized plushies depicting their mascot and give these out to kids (or a car buyer).

Create a Marketing Plan

Marketing materials can include online resources and experiences, traditional brochures and handouts or even swag. The most important marketing material for many businesses, though, is their website. This serves as the online hub for consumers, and, without an impactful website, dealerships could be invisible to online shoppers.

When considering different marketing messages and campaigns, dealerships should first create a comprehensive marketing plan. This plan is designed to map out all communications and marketing strategies that will be used throughout the year to promote and elevate the dealership and its brand to consumers. This plan also can estimate costs associated with any campaigns or materials (including swag) to help the business better understand if these marketing ideas fit into the budget.