The internet has made it incredibly easy for car buyers to find new cars without ever having to leave their home. It is not likely that they will go around from dealership to dealership to find the right car anymore, so marketing your car dealership is more important than ever.
2x the amount of people start their car research online instead of at a dealership. With an effective marketing strategy, you can make sure that you are at the top of your customer’s search results.
Car Dealership Marketing Methods
Take a look at some of these proven dealership marketing methods to put yourself ahead of your competition and drive more sales to your business.
Understand Your Dealership’s Target Audience
To effectively market your car dealership, it’s important to understand who you are trying to market to. For example, you don’t want to market to people who are too young to drive and have no need for a car.
Consider what type of demographic you want to sell your cars to. If you sell high-end cars, you want to market to people with a certain level of income.
It’s also helpful to know what your audience wants to see from a dealership. Research your largest competitors and see what their advertisements look like. This will give you a solid idea of what your advertising should look like.
Utilize Email Marketing
Email marketing is often referred to as one of the best marketing methods for a car dealership to utilize. This method makes it easy to connect with potential new buyers and previous buyers who have already done business with you.
The best thing about email marketing is you can customize it. You can send out emails based on the season, you can segment your customer base and send them relevant emails, and you can send mass communication with the click of a button.
Some ideas for email marketing as a car dealer include:
- Seasonal emails. You can send your email list informational emails about car maintenance that needs to be done for each season. For example, if you live somewhere with snow, share tips for driving in the snow, tire maintenance, and how to protect the car in freezing temperatures.
- Service reminders. For customers who have previously purchased a car from you, you can send them emails reminding them of maintenance that needs done. This can include tire rotations, oil changes, etc.
- New car alerts. If a potential customer has made you aware of the type of car they are looking for, you can set up new car alerts that get sent out to them.
- New blog posts. If you run a blog on your dealership’s website, you can send out emails that contain links to your new blog post.
One thing to remember with email marketing is always keep your email list up to date. Most email marketing platforms will give you the ability to track who opens your emails and who clicks on links. You can weed out customers who aren’t interacting with your emails anymore to prevent unnecessary emails being sent.
You can also take advantage of segmentation through your email marketing platform. This allows you to section off your customer base so everyone gets the most relevant emails possible.
Establish Trust and Authority with a Blog
Another great marketing method is building trust and authority that your customers have in you by sharing information and educational content on a blog on your website. You can share your knowledge about different topics in a way that draws customers to you and your dealership.
Some examples of topics for blog posts include:
- Q&A about the car buying process
- Regular maintenance requirements for different cars
- How to choose the right car
- Special features about new cars
- What the leasing process looks like
Always make sure you use relevant and up-to-date information in your blog posts. Potential customers can, and will, check this information to make sure it is true and accurate. By using proper information, your customers will quickly learn to trust you and your dealership for their car buying needs.
Learn and Use SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is by far one of the best ways to market yourself as a car dealership. SEO is a way of implementing keywords into your website, social media, and blog posts. When customers search these keywords, your business will come up.
You can also use SEO when setting up your Google Business Profile. This is the business information that comes up in Google when someone searches your business name directly, or in the case of SEO, when someone searches keywords used in your profile.
Keyword research is a huge part of effective and successful use of SEO. You need to know which keywords people are searching for to be able to implement them into your content. Keywords can easily be found by searching Google for trends. There are also websites that can be used for free to research popular keywords.
Make Social Media Work for You
Using social media is another form of dealership marketing. Building a social media presence for your dealership brings new customers to you without you really having to try with the help of SEO and keywords.
Set up social media accounts on some of the most popular platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. Create unique, informative, and entertaining content to post that you know customers will love.
For example, some topics you can post about on social media include:
- Car lot walkthrough videos
- All about a specific car (including unknown and neat features)
- Things customers might not know about maintenance
- Deals and specials you are running
- Interactive content (quizzes, polls, car payment calculators)
- New cars on your lot
As you start building your presence on social media, you can start interacting with your customers. They might reach out to you through messaging or comments on your posts. Make them remember you by responding in a timely fashion with an accurate and polite answer.
If you have a blog on your website, you can also use those posts in your social media content. For example, you can post small excerpts from the blog post or you can link the whole blog post for your customers to read. Doing so will also direct customers to your website, increasing your traffic there as well.
The majority of business is spread simply by word of mouth. If someone hears about another person having a great experience at your dealership, they are more likely to check you out themselves.
As a form of word of mouth marketing, you can recruit reviews from your customers. Ask them to post on your social media, your Google business page, Yelp, or email them in for you to post on your website.
Use your email marketing to send out polls to past customers to answer about their experience using a rating system. You can then ask them if you can share their answers for others to see. This way they don’t have to put anything together in words, but you still get the reviews.
In addition to all these methods above, you can also consider paid advertising as a way to market your car dealership. Social media offers paid advertising, but you can also pay for ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
With paid advertising, you can choose who you want to market to. This can be a certain location, age, income level, and many more indicators. You can choose exactly who you want to market your dealership to, and the platform will send your ads to the right people.
Car Dealership Marketing Strategies
None of the above marketing methods will work if you don’t have an efficient marketing strategy in place. Some effective marketing strategies include:
- Promoting special financing. If you have in-house financing or partner with someone that offers financing deals, promote these on a regular basis.
- Promote buying as much as selling. When people buy a new car, they generally have a car they are replacing. Advertise that you also buy cars to make their buying process easier.
- Local directories. Most people are only willing to travel up to 50 miles to buy a car. Put your dealership into any local directories so people in your area can find you.
- Don’t overcomplicate the use of SEO. Most people find SEO intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Insert your keywords in a conversational way and don’t overdo it. Using too many keywords is called keyword stuffing and is ineffective.
Create and track your goals. Creating marketing goals helps ensure that you know your marketing is working. Track your progress to ensure you are on the right track.