The internet has changed the way people shop for cars, making marketing in the automotive industry more vital than ever. Though it can be a tricky road to navigate, proper marketing is essential in getting your dealership's name out to the public and differentiating your brand from the competition. Further, taking advantage of the shift to online shopping can help you advertise your car dealership more effectively, increase your sales, and win over loyal customers. Let's discuss four essential marketing tips for car dealerships that you can start implementing today.
1. Incorporate SEO Best Practices
Most modern automotive consumers take to the internet to start their research so using SEO is imperative in helping your dealership’s posts rise to the top of the list. That combined with printed mediums or local TV can help you grow your sales.
For now, let’s take a look at how to implement some basic SEO best practices to make your brand more visible online.
- Utilize local SEO: Put listings for your dealership in all major online search platforms, like Google My Business, Yelp, and any local directories. Ensure that all information is up to date.
- Optimize your website's content around specific keywords: Building a blog lets your content rank online. Build each article around a focus keyword designed to attract web traffic (e.g., "minivan," "best gas mileage," "sports car," and so forth).
- Leverage LSI to increase the impact of your SEO strategy: LSI stands for "latent semantic indexing,’ and is how search engines interpret searcher intent when typically unrelated words are grouped together. Words like "new," "deals," and "minivan" are usually unrelated to one another. When combined into a phrase like "best deals on a new minivan," the search engine directs the user to automotive websites. Make sure that your SEO content isn't only keyword-driven but focuses on topics.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
The best form of advertising is still word of mouth and in the digital era, customer reviews are synonymous with word of mouth advertising. How critical are they for increasing sales? Consider just a few statistics:
- Approximately 95% of customers read a review before buying a product.
- 93% of customers read reviews on a local business to determine its quality and reputation.
- 72% of consumers will not take any purchase actions until they've read reviews.
Positive customer reviews are a massive driver for increased sales at your dealership. Incentivize customers to leave reviews by offering them content or discounts. Here are a few suggestions:
- Offer a discounted or free oil change if they leave a review on your website.
- Give a car cleaning kit to any customer who writes a review on Google (or your directory of choice).
- Offer a $5 gift card to consumers willing to leave a review of at least 80 words.
The simplest way to get more reviews is to ask your customers directly. Seventy-percent of customers have left a review for a local business after being asked to do so. You can convince them to leave reviews through quality service and making it simple for them to do so.
3. Utilize Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are a specific, beneficial element in SEO. They are keywords that prevent your ads or pages from being displayed when searching for particular words or phrases. Negative keywords are an excellent solution for filtering out search traffic from people with no intent to buy.
For example, if your car dealership only sells Ford trucks, you can set "Dodge Ram" as a negative keyword to filter out that traffic. Or, if your inventory falls within a specific price range, you can use negative keywords to sort out consumers looking for a car below that range. Negative keywords have more specific uses, where if you have a deal on Ford trucks, setting “Dodge” as a negative keyword drives extra traffic to your promotions.
4. Fix Your Budget According to Buying Trends
It only makes sense to increase your ad spend during times of increased demand. Leverage historical data from your dealership's records, as well as industry trends and develop your plan based on that. Having years of sales data and trends is massively beneficial to your marketing plans. Increase your budget accordingly with times of heavy influx.
You may want to invest more heavily in marketing when people get their tax refunds or during the end-of-year shopping season. Capitalize on the times when people are most likely to buy your cars and drive people to your store.
Increasing Sales with Superior Marketing Tactics
Adjusting your advertising strategies helps you boost your sales. Adopting an SEO strategy or encouraging customer reviews helps you reach them online early in their buying research process. That way you reach your audience early and help them quickly with their search.
If you don't have the bandwidth or expertise to set these tactics into motion, consider working with an experienced media partner who can guide you through the process and ensure that your brand enjoys sustainable growth.