5 Strategies for Successful Car Dealership Marketing

Beth Walsh

Beth Walsh About The Author

November 19, 2020 at 7:15 AM

5 Strategies for Successful Car Dealership Marketing

Every day, people encounter car dealership commercials and other types of ads, but how many can you actually recall seeing? Car dealership ads are often very similar, to the point where they can seem to blend together. This is why if you want to stand out in the auto industry with your advertising, you need to be creative and have an effective marketing strategy in place.

Consider how the industry has changed due to factors such as the recent pandemic, which has led to a growing trend of virtual shopping. Implementing a good digital campaign can move prospects from thinking to researching and purchasing a vehicle, without the need to leave their homes.

If you want to learn more about how to strategically advertise your dealership, the following car dealership marketing tips can give you some ideas.

1. Incorporate a Targeted Approach

One of the keys to standing apart with your car dealership marketing is to develop highly targeted strategies. A study found that only one in every three prospective car buyers knows precisely what they want. You can help them make their decision with targeted ads that the right customer encounters at the right time.

While TV ads are great for reaching many people, over-the-top (OTT) advertising is best for hyper-targeting your demographic. As more people add streaming services to the mix of how they receive their entertainment, , OTT ads become increasingly more valuable to reach prospects. 

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Some of the demographics you can target with OTT ads and others may include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Families
  • Geographical area
  • Behavioral, e.g. intent to purchase and auto enthusiasts who are most likely to buy a vehicle

Using a targeted ad campaign to reach local audiences who may benefit from your inventory or services is a great way to obtain a competitive edge over competing nearby dealers.

2. Utilize Digital Ads

Consider the fact that automotive consumers visit around 4 websites throughout the buying process. This makes it necessary to effectively utilize ads on multiple platforms to gain and hold audiences' attention. When launching your digital ad campaigns, you should make sure your ads appear in the right places to better reach prospects in the market for a vehicle. You can use many types of ads to connect with your audience, including:

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  • Banner ads — Ads that appear on the top banner of a webpage, grabbing users' attention as soon as they load the page.
  • Social media ads — Static sidebar ads and video ads that appear in users' news feeds on Facebook and other platforms, which can easily engage the right audiences.
  • Paid search ads — Ads that appear in search engines, potentially above all organic search results to instantly grab users' attention.
  • Internet behavior tracking — Using a tracking cookie, ads can actually follow a person from website to website based on their internet usage behavior.
  • Look-a-like deployment — Delivers ads to users who are likely to exhibit the behavior of those with buyer intent based on how they fit a predetermined profile.

Using a combination of these ads can help you maximize coverage and stand apart from the myriad competitors out there vying for attention. 

3. Deploy Customized Email Campaigns

Email marketing can also be invaluable in connecting with prospects and existing customers alike. 

Consider sending out offers that could bring people back to your dealership even if they aren't car shopping. Using a comprehensive email campaign, you can promote the service department and provide on-site leads for salespeople to encourage trade-ins or upgrades. Ultimately, email marketing can be a great way to meet your audience in the middle, once you've gotten their attention and want to carry them down the sales funnel.

To speak more directly to your audience, you can also personalize your emails to tailor the messaging to them. For example, a customer may have made a recent purchase. Based on that purchase, you can send emails that advertise certain upgrades that they would be interested in based on specific features they wanted when buying that vehicle. You can also encourage them to come in for service when it makes sense to do so.

You also have the ability to track email campaigns to gauge their performance. Depending on what works and what doesn't, you can use the data to optimize and streamline your campaigns.

4. Be Creative with Your Marketing Materials

Many car dealership marketing materials and ads tend to look similar, so it's important to invest the time and budget into a commercial or ad that stands apart. 

Consider what your goals are and how they play into your ad campaigns. While branding ads can be great for increasing awareness and attracting attention from new buyers, you should also implement call-to-action ads that help carry people toward a sale. The right combination of ads can help successfully move people along the customer journey from initial research to the decision stage.

Keep in mind that focusing on the vehicle price in your creative isn't always the best play when developing ad campaigns. Instead, consider highlighting other aspects that resonate with audiences, such as:

  • Low-cost financing options
  • Virtual buying options for customers staying at home
  • Ease of purchase and service
  • The safety and cleanliness of your dealership
  • Connection to the community

5. Retarget Existing Customers

Retargeting to existing customers is absolutely necessary if you want to convince prospects to come back to you when they are again in a place to make a buying decision. Once a customer makes a purchase at your dealership, increased retention can help you maximize their customer lifetime value (CLV). Consider ways to keep those customers coming back long after they buy a vehicle and drive off the lot. 

By using a combination of clever, well targeted digital tactics, you can promote services and more to existing customers as they visit other websites, and you can send personalized emails that ask them to return to you when it’s time to upgrade features (e.g. updating GPS maps, tire rotation and change, cosmetic additions). For instance, an email could remind customers when it's time to service their vehicle for an inspection or oil change. At the same time, retargeting ads can push other features that might interest customers based on previous purchases.

Experience Success with an Effective Car Dealership Marketing Strategy

With these car dealership marketing tips in mind, you can develop a good strategy that helps you get the best possible results from your campaigns. With creative that stands out and a wide range of ads that maximizes your reach, you can attract new and existing customers. To supercharge your campaigns and better target your audience, consider working with a media partner that can lend additional experience and insight.

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