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6 dealership marketing strategies you should use

As dramatic changes come to the automotive industry, proactive car dealers can benefit significantly from these six dealership marketing strategies.

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Car dealership marketing is changing.

Third-party websites like Autotrader and CarGurus are allowing customers to make product comparisons easier. This means it’s a lot harder to influence potential customers’ decisions.

On top of this, Americans are driving less. A lot of this is down to the fact that Millennials–those born between the 1980s and 1990s–own fewer cars.

That’s the bad news for automotive marketers. 

The good news is that you can still make your dealership stand out from the crowd and show potential customers why they should buy from you.

To do this, you need to keep these six automotive marketing strategies in mind. 

1. Start using the new dealership panels on Google My Business

In a bid that some call a play against other auto marketplaces, Google is now testing out a new Google My Dealership panel that lists out all of a dealership’s inventory.

It allows you to include your inventory on Google through your Business Profile. By activating live inventory, Google users can search, filter, and easily learn more about cars for sale, giving your dealership extra visibility. 

While it’s still in its infancy, it’s not a development to ignore. Here’s an example of what it looks like.

Google My Business being used as a dealership marketing strategy

2. Invest in video marketing to level up your automotive marketing strategies

We’re a huge fan of employee bio videos. Proctor Honda does a great job of it here.

It builds a personal connection between the consumer and the salesperson (which is highly underrated). Plus, it also breaks down that "intimidation" factor when someone comes in for a test drive if they feel like they already know you.

Dealers can link this to their staff pages, include it in outgoing email signatures, and promote it on social media. It helps to build trust and likability between prospects and your staff.

You can also use videos as a branding tool. Here’s an example from Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear.

3. Focus on generating online reviews for your dealership

Dealership reviews play a huge part in any automotive marketing strategy. Ask any dealership what hasn’t changed in the last 20-plus years, and they’ll tell you that reputation still matters.

With this in mind, a steady stream of good reviews provides your prospects with the context and confidence that your dealership is the best choice for them today.

Plus, these reviews are key to your search engine optimization strategy.

You should consider sending review requests via SMS. People ignore email marketing, turn off push notifications, and throw away paper forms, but they almost always read their texts.

You can send a client a quick text after you’ve resolved a problem, gone above and beyond to accommodate them, or shown them real value. 

We were able to get the alpine interior at no extra cost.
Amazing! You've been great to work with.
Delighted to hear that! Would you mind leaving a review for us here and sharing your experience?

4. Engage your audience and promote car sales with contests

People are inherently competitive and motivated to win prizes. It’s why landing pages with a contest generated 700% more contacts than those without a contest option. 

You could consider giving away a free power wash, free car cleaning, or $500 off a down payment. The best part is that you’re building an email and/or text marketing list with a contest.

The contest can be run from a landing page on your website, advertised in your showroom, or on social media.

Another option is to run a Text to Win sweepstakes–this video explains how it works. 

5. Use the free extension GMB Crush to help your car dealership stand out

Your Google My Business (GMB) page, if optimized, helps your dealership show up for important terms in the search results as well as the local map pack results. A huge part of this is ensuring that you have the correct categories selected for your dealership.

GMB Crush is a Google My Business Audit Tool that can help you do this. It reverse engineers your Google My Business competitors’ success in a couple of clicks by analyzing their: 

  • GMB categories
  • Number of reviews
  • Keywords
  • Descriptions of their listings
  • GMB post frequency

You can then compare it to your listing to see what to add to outrank your competition.

6. Text-enable your automotive dealership’s phone number

150 million texts are sent daily to business U.S. landline numbers. That’s a lot of missed business. 

That’s why we recommend text-enabling your landline. You can make and receive phone calls and send and receive SMS.

That way, your customers have the option to call or text your number, just like they can with their friends and family. Here’s how to do it.

We also see a lot of automotive marketers investing in car dealership text marketing. They use text messages to:

  • Promote sales offers
  • Advertise service promotions
  • Communicate with sales leads

Car dealership marketing strategies that work

Selling cars certainly hasn’t gotten easier. But the six automotive marketing strategies we outlined can attract car shoppers to your dealership.

With 1,000+ integrations to some of the most popular apps and custom integration add-on services, SimpleTexting easily integrates with your existing marketing stack.

Remember though, “set it and forget it” doesn’t exist in modern marketing. Continue to test new ideas. See how customers react to different types of promotions. Add new touchpoints.

In other words: never stop trying to innovate.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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