With around 18,000 car dealerships across the country, the auto industry faces some of the fiercest competition when it comes to sales.
To add to the challenge, the trends around consumer behavior are rapidly changing thanks to: updates in technology and manufacturing, sustainability advances, and a recent increase in dealership alternatives like Carvana and VR test drives.
Nevertheless, dealerships aren’t a “dying” industry. They just need to keep ahead of the changes.
To help you stand out, we’ve pulled together specific marketing strategies to drive sales, foot traffic, and media attention.
Your attraction marketing strategies don’t always have to be expensive or time-consuming.
Too often dealerships fall into a “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of marketing strategy—commercials, print ads, and radio spots that become part of the all too easy to ignore marketing noise.
Instead, we propose that dealerships focus their marketing efforts on enhancing the weak points in the traditional dealership experience—which, according to a study by Cox Auto, revolve around the initial customer research process.
Taking this approach into account, here are five marketing ideas that help you reach customers in the research process of their car buying experience. From early awareness to selecting a dealership to visit.
What better way to convince someone they want to buy a new car, before they’ve even thought of it themselves, than putting them in the front (or back) seat of your latest and greatest model.
With every driver requiring their own vehicle, there’s a huge opportunity to offer a limited amount of complementary leases to Uber drivers in your area for the ideal “free” marketing campaign.
As part of the agreement, adorn your vehicle with a branded license plate cover, plenty of business cards, and complete it with an exclusive discount for riders who visit your dealership!
Over time, a few cars from your fleet can create a word of mouth explosion that pays for itself ten times over in referrals!
Photo Credit: Automotive News
Positive reviews reflect well on any business. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make when asking customers to leave you a review is to make your ask too general.
To drive more customers to your dealership, you’ll want to create an online narrative that speaks to why the in-person shopping/service experience is unmissable. A great way to do this is to encourage customers to leave a review while they’re present in your showroom!
For example, set up an iPad in the middle of your showroom or service-area waiting room. Keep the iPad pinned on your Google review page, and encourage customers to leave a review about their experience at the dealership while they’re still shopping around. Provide any specific cues that would encourage them to write specifically about the experiences that made their trip into the showroom worthwhile.
Odds are folks might need a little push to leave their feedback. So offer something like a free refreshment after the review is complete!
Another trend gaining popularity across dealerships is to work texting into your lead follow-up strategy. When you consider the stats on SMS, you can see why it’s so appealing.
When you add a ‘text us” button to your online listings, you give customers the power to connect to your dealership quickly and easily. You can even generate a resource-rich autoresponse that engages the customer within seconds while buying a real salesperson enough time to respond personally.
At SimpleTexting, you can even go as far as to set up each salesperson at your dealership with their own text-enabled number, which can lead to conversations like the one below!
Beyond a general click-to-text button, SMS makes a phenomenal sales tool as well thanks to its mass and one-on-one messaging abilities. Check out this guide to text marketing for car dealerships to learn more about how to utilize SMS at your location.
Waze, a popular map app developed by Google, is used by thousands of drivers across the country. Their GPS experience is interactive, which allows users to report traffic accidents, police officers, and other obstacles to help you develop the most effective route possible to your destination.
Since the app requires location services to be enabled, geo-based advertising is possible and something Waze offers for as low as $10 a day! For example, pay to place an advertisement that pops up at the stoplight outside your dealership to provide a quick, in-the-moment advertisement.
You can also pay to have your dealership appear higher on the search results when someone generally inquires about “X dealership near me”!
Photo Credit: Dealer E-Process
It doesn’t take much to pull ahead of the pack when it comes to dealership marketing. And while we can’t set up your Facebook ads or coordinate a rideshare partnership for you, we can assist you with all things text marketing. From text-enabling your dealership’s landline to helping you create a keyword and advertise it!
Give it all a try for free for 14-days and see just how quickly it changes your relationships with new and existing customers alike!