It's no secret, the auto industry is saturated with competition. There are so many car dealerships that it can be challenging to make yours stand out from the rest. Automotive News reports that in 2020 alone, there were as many as 18,195 auto dealerships in the U.S. On top of that, 41% of car buyers only visit one dealership when shopping for a new car.
That means most dealerships only have one shot at making an impression and persuading buyers to make a purchase. The key is to know how to advertise auto dealerships. Fortunately, with a good amount of creativity and a targeted local marketing approach, increasing your sales and customer engagement can be easier than ever before.
Check out our best car dealership marketing tips for helping you stand out and get the sale.
Target Ads to Your Key Audience
Knowing and understanding your target audience is crucial to successfully advertising to them. You can better reach your target demographic using TV advertising on local stations and combining it with digital advertising to reach a specific audience.
Investing in TV can increase advertising effectiveness by 40%. When you combine it with digital tactics — you increase your odds of reaching second screen users looking up related content while they’re watching TV.
The best way to go about this is to segment your target audience by location, age, gender, income, and lifestyles (i.e., if they have families or not) to adjust your marketing approach accordingly.
Wondering where to find your audience? You can conduct competitor research to find people to draw to your dealership.
Use Digital Ads to Encourage Action
Digital ads can be highly targeted geographically and by interest, allowing you to reach people who are actively researching cars online and get their attention early in the process. This is vital because nearly 86% of car shoppers conduct online research before deciding to visit a local dealership.
Some popular strategies for reaching your customers online include:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) — with more shoppers running to the internet for search engine and website research before buying, SEM has become increasingly important. Not only does 53% of all trackable website traffic come from organic search, but another 27% of website traffic comes from paid search.
- Social media — social media is a great place not only to increase brand awareness but connect with previous buyers who may be interested in another purchase.
- Keywords — keywords are essential to brand visibility on the internet, and strategies can include targeting related keywords, using negative keywords, bidding on your competitors as keywords. The average top-ranking page also ranks in the top 10 search results for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords.
Make Customers Feel Valued with Email Marketing
The great thing about this dealership marketing strategy is you can use a personalized email marketing campaign to send messages to your customers about new deals you're offering. This will make customers feel much more valued by your company and strengthen their relationship with your brand.
Personalized email marketing is said to generate a median ROI of 122%, and email subject lines that are personalized generate an average of 50% higher open rates.
You can also share industry insights through blogging about car safety or offering advice for changing trends. Blogging combined with emails that share your expertise, promote current and new content, and stay specific to that buyer's journey stage — often see a rise in sales and customer satisfaction.
Putting a creative spin on your advertising goes a long way in making your ads stand out, especially since so many other dealerships are using very similar advertising. On the other hand, creativity is unique to you and your team and can't be as easily imitated by the competition.
Instead of only focusing on pricing as a differentiator, consider establishing yourself as part of your community to build stronger bonds with the buyers in your neighborhood.
This can be done through:
- Local targeting
- Presenting virtual buying options
- Sponsoring local events
- Offering online expertise
Retarget Previous and Interested Customers
Advertising to customers who've purchased from you previously or have visited your site will keep them interested and more likely to return to your dealership. This is because it makes the customer feel more valued and increases the chances they'll be lifelong customers. The truth is, showing your appreciation for your customers goes a long way in the auto industry.
Thirty percent of consumers have a 'positive' or 'very positive' opinion of retargeted ads and 25% of consumers appreciate being reminded of products they've previously pursued.
These car dealership marketing ideas combined with expertise and experience provided by a media partner will help you establish the community connection to make your brand stand out.