Covid changed the rules of the car-shopping process. In the days or years before Covid, buyers visited car dealerships, sat in car models, took a test drive and completed the deal in person. While online sites were useful for researching and shopping for the best prices, car buying was typically a physical transaction.
When dealerships shuttered, more steps of the process might have jumped online. Now business is fairly back to normal, but dealerships might be looking for ways to jumpstart sales numbers and increase buyer traffic. Use these sales and marketing tips to help boost traffic online and in-person:
- Make sales and incentives accessible online
- Use social media for marketing
- Show new models
- Offer interactive resources and tools
- Host events at the dealership
- Offer coupons for basic services
- Interact online
- Respond to reviews
- Start a dealership blog
- Optimize online content
Are Sales Easy to Find On the Website?
Make sales and promotions easily accessible online. Car shoppers are looking for the best prices, and they also might be on the hunt for a specific model. However, price might be the most important consideration for some buyers.
If the dealership is offering a low APR promotion or a lease deal, make sure car shoppers can easily find these incentives and deals on the website. Dealerships also could mark down vehicles on their lot, but moving those vehicles quickly requires promoting the deals.
On the dealership’s homepage, consider adding a link or vertical specifically for incentives. Again, car shoppers shouldn’t have to hunt to find this information.
In addition, dealerships can (and should) promote any incentives, deals, sales, etc. across all company social media channels. Dedicate a blog article to sales, too.
When customers discover that the dealership is offering something that other dealerships might not offer, they might be more likely to pay a visit to the dealership or the website (if they found the sales info via social media). Promoting sales could help increase foot traffic in the dealership and on the website, too.
However, dealerships might need to understand that some customers might not want to visit the dealership until they are near the end of their buying stage; for these customers, dealerships could offer chat functions online to help them reach out to the sales team with any questions and inquire about sales or promotions, too.
Use Social Media for Marketing
Social media can be used by dealerships to engage with current customers, past customers and even new (or potentially new) customers. Businesses use social media to market products to their customers, keep the public updated about any change in hours and to provide news and information about the business, too.
With social media platforms like Facebook, dealerships can create polls to learn more about their customers’ interests, needs and what they like/dislike about the business, too. Car dealerships can use social media accounts to post pictures of new inventory, promote harder to move vehicles, and even to boost excitement over events and upcoming models.
If the dealership isn’t active on social media platforms, they could miss out on an effective marketing channel. In addition, businesses that don’t have a strong social media presence could seem outdated or not current on communications trends. In addition, businesses that don’t embrace social media also are absent to the audiences that use these platforms daily.
Dealerships might focus on the more popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (for video content). However, TikTok is popular with younger audiences; in fact, more than half of users are young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.
Show New Models
More buyers are researching and shopping for a car online; according to the 2021 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study, new and used car buyers spent six hours and 51 minutes on online research and shopping related to their car purchase. The more information that car dealerships could provide online, the happier these car buyers might be when visiting the dealership website.
Show new models. Use high-resolution professional car stock photos to create comprehensive car slideshows that enable buyers to understand both the interior and exterior features. Dealerships also could include a slideshow focused on the base trim details to help budget buyers know what the lowest-priced model looks like and includes.
Car photos also can be eye-catching to capture the site visitor’s attention. EVOX Image offers animated photos that show models driving into the photo, rotating and some animated photos change the vantage point to show different angles, too. These photos also show the vehicle’s exterior paint trim changing to a new hue as the car rotates, drives or moves. This color-changing detail helps buyers understand all their paint options.
Offer Interactive Resources and Tools
Photos can provide visual data that aids the buyer when they are shopping online. Unfortunately, car images are not able to simulate the in-person car dealership experience. However, interactive resources like spin photos and augmented reality experiences elevate the user experience and provide context about the vehicle’s interior and exterior details.
EVOX Images offers exterior spin photos of models that let car shoppers interact with a 3D depiction of the vehicle using either a fingertip (for mobile devices) or their mouse. They can turn the car around and see it from all angles.
In addition, panorama photos are spin photos that let shoppers explore the interior. With these photos, shoppers feel as though they are sitting in the front seat. Using the mouse or their finger, they can look all around the vehicle.
EVOX Images also offers a library of digital assets that are compatible with augmented reality and virtual reality experiences. Dealerships can use these images to create their own unique resources for buyers online.
Host Events at the Dealership
Dealerships that are wondering how to boost foot traffic in the physical dealership could consider hosting an event. Work with the marketing team to create a family-focused event that offers balloons or face-painting for kids. Customer appreciation events could include contests or special promotions related to basic car maintenance (like a tire rotation or an oil change).
Some dealerships think outside the box when creating events. They might theme an event for a holiday or transform part of their lot into a beach. Events also could celebrate the dealership’s birthday/anniversary.
Promote the event in advance and send reminders via social media. The dealership also could promote the event on their blog and include a banner announcement on the homepage of the website, too.
Offer Coupons for Basic Services
Dealerships might offer customers the opportunity to sign up for a mailing list to receive news, announcements on events and details on sales, too. For customers who have signed up for the mailing list, dealerships also could consider sending coupons to customers to celebrate the anniversary of their car purchase or even as part of a customer appreciation event.
Again, dealerships should try to stay active on social media accounts. While it can be tough to post updates regularly, dealerships should try to create an editorial calendar that helps map out social media content.
In addition, the dealership should strive to answer any questions that customers might post via social media and dealerships should respond to comments. Some comments could be critical, and it’s important for businesses to respond in the most customer-focused manner. Other customers will read the response, and snarky or negative undertones could come off poorly.
Respond to Reviews
Interacting online also means responding to reviews left on the dealership’s Google Business Profile and other review sites, too. Again, keep responses positive and customer-focused. Aim to solve the problem.
Businesses that offer customer-focused responses show that they value their customers. Always remember that many people could be reading those responses to online reviews and comments.
Start a Dealership Blog
A blog let’s dealerships create content that can be useful to their customers and to the general public. Car dealerships might include car care tips on their blog or post a how-to video related to a common problem.
Blogs also can be used to introduce new team members and announce a sale or event. Articles also can focus on fun local content like recommending great restaurants or ranking the best Halloween candy.
Optimize Online Content
Blogs and online content will gain the most attention and traffic when it’s optimized. SEO focuses on incorporating keywords and phrases that help search engines like Google understand that the content is beneficial and relevant to a user’s search. However, Google rewards well-written and useful content. Keywords should be used organically, not stuffed into articles.
There are many options when dealerships want to increase traffic online and at their location. Try different sales and marketing strategies to boost visibility and encourage car shoppers to visit the website and the showroom, too.