Gone are the days when consumers could start their car buying process in the dealership down their street. Today, 95% of customers start their journey online before heading to a physical store. As an automotive marketer, you must leverage digital advertising to generate leads and bring prospects through the door.
However, creating the best digital marketing strategy that could help you connect with buyers, decimate the competition, and position yourself as the go-to brand in your industry is a challenging task. You must find the best strategies and techniques that cater to your clients’ needs. And the first step in achieving that fit is creating an automotive marketing strategy around emerging industry trends.
In this article, we will share five statistics to help you craft your automotive marketing strategy with 7 ideas you should implement to generate more leads and boost sales.
7 Automotive Marketing Strategies for 2023
To attract, engage, and convert customers, you need a strategy that helps you connect with your audience. The digital marketing space is cutthroat. For the survival of your business, you must adopt strategies that give you a competitive advantage. Without it, your business will stall, and you’ll be invisible to customers.
The main reason you need a digital marketing strategy is simple: your customers are already online searching for you, and you need to make it easy to be found.
According to a report by Think With Google, 2x as many automotive consumers start their research online versus at a dealer. With this in mind, you must position your brand online to engage clients, answer their questions, and guide their buying process.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you craft your 2023 automotive marketing strategy.
1. Create Organic and Relevant Content to Market Your Brand
Customers spend fourteen hours on average researching and consuming content on the Internet before visiting a store or dealership. They spend most of this time reading reviews, comparing prices, and learning about the product. Most of these prospects begin their auto searches on search engines like Google and then move on to car aggregate sites.
At this juncture in their buying journey, your prospects favor organic content. As a marketer, it’s imperative that you insert yourself this early in the process. This will help you foster relationships and allow you to start guiding them down your sales funnel.
How can you achieve this?
1. Ensure you are everywhere your customers are: Create an online presence at all major car aggregate sites, social media platforms, auto forums, directories, etc. By positioning your brand on these sites, customers can identify you early in their journey.
Additionally, consumers are doing extensive research. Automotive consumers visit an average of 4.2 websites during their purchasing process. You need to establish a web presence to gain credibility and attract customers. Start by ensuring your business and products are listed on your website and the websites your clients visit most.
2. Create Content: Online presence is essential, but consumers can quickly skim through your brand if it isn’t accompanied by up-to-date content. You need to create content that can answer prospects’ questions and educate them. Your content should also include your unique value proposition (UVP) that sets you apart from competitors. Your UVP should be strong enough to pull the client into your sales funnel.
3. Invest in SEO: While paid ads have their place in automotive marketing, the CTR is still high as most users click on organic search results. You should therefore ensure that you create content that helps you rank higher on search engine results pages and car aggregate sites. Your content should contain relevant keywords and rich text snippets that adhere to all good SEO practices.
4. Educate Clients: Create authoritative content that can help clients make better decisions. If you sell European vehicles, you can create content that compares different models and brands.
5. Video is Important: Customers want to watch test drive videos and visually learn about the car before visiting your dealership. Create short-form video content to show prospects the top features and separate long-form videos to give full reviews.
2. Invest in Search Engine Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Ads
According to research compiled by Lion Tree Group, the average cost of an automotive lead is $250. The figure is on an upswing as industry ad spending continues to increase and is set to increase by 11.7% in 2023. (use a quote box)
This means that competitors in your industry will spend money to get your customers’ attention. You must have a budget and invest in digital advertisements too.
To attract customers, compete with other brands, and position your business at the top of search results, you have to invest in search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
Search engine marketing involves promoting your automotive website and content on search engines. Depending on your business goals, SEM can help you increase online visibility, generate leads by having customers call you or visit your store, pull more prospects in your sales funnel for future remarketing, and increase sales.
Pay-per-click campaigns can be combined with SEM to increase traffic to your website for better results. PPC allows you to increase brand visibility while only paying when someone clicks on your ad. When done correctly, PPC campaigns will feature on top of Google’s SERP. This will ensure clients notice you before they do competitors.
A well-executed PPC/SEM campaign should:
- Utilize geo-targeting and combine it with other relevant keywords for maximum reach
- Contain your business’s unique selling point
- Include emotional triggers that help you build trust with customers
- Contain numbers to look more authoritative and attract attention
- Have a call to action button that encourages customers to book a call or visit your physical store
- Avoid scammy ad copies that can push customers away. E.g., highlighting too-good-to-be-true offers
- Target keywords that competitors are ranking for
3. Use Reviews to Instill Trust in Prospective Customers
Buying a vehicle is one of the biggest financial decisions people make. Therefore, before they spend their hard-earned cash, they’d want to confirm your trustworthiness. A rich car selection and competitive price might attract customers. But it’s only after your brand has proved to be trustworthy that you’ll be able to convert clients.
The Internet is the Main Source of Information. Most (95%) of vehicle shoppers use online resources to find answers to their questions and educate themselves. In fact, 76% of new and used car buyers use search engines to access that information.
The best way to build customer trust is to leverage your positive reviews and incorporate them into your dealership marketing strategy.
Considering that over 90% of car buyers will read online reviews before they choose a dealership, you must ensure you collect as many reviews from previous customers as possible and use them to earn potential customers’ trust.
Put your reviews on Google my Business, social media platforms like Facebook, car directories, and your website. You should collect customer testimonials and post them on your site.
Your business must also adhere to the best review policies. This includes avoiding perfect review scores, not deleting negative reviews, and promptly replying to customers’ feedback. This will show clients they can count on you whenever they encounter problems after buying from you.
4. Leverage Social Media Marketing to Enhance Brand Awareness
The power that social media marketing yields are too strong to measure. It can promote your brand, reach potential customers, communicate with customers, and keep your business relevant.
The conversations are happening online. In fact, 22% of new vehicle buyers use social media websites to interact with brands, read unbiased reviews, get affirmation and opinions from other vehicle owners, and access automotive-related content.
They are multiple ways you can leverage Social Media and enhance your brand awareness.
- Use Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to tell your Story: Most people, especially millennials, spend most of their time on these platforms. Post content like images to engage customers, tell stories, and stay in touch with them.
- Use Twitter to Communicate and Promote Sales: Twitter is one of the biggest platforms where car conversions happen, and industry experts and enthusiasts congregate to exchange ideas. Join the conversation and start promoting your brand while building your own community.
- Video Marketing: Many consumers turn to YouTube to watch car reviews and get more information before they make final decisions. Create video content and embed it in your social media content. Additionally, embrace short-form video and behind-the-scenes content to engage with Gen-Z on TikTok.
- Direct Traffic to Your Website: Create evergreen and valuable content to persuade your prospects to visit your website and start their buyer journey. The content should also be educative and entertaining so your followers can share/retweet and increase your reach.
- Show Expertise: Social media allows you to convince prospects that you are an expert in your industry. Share your stories and videos, offer expert guidance to existing customers, and differentiate yourself from competitors. Customers are more likely to trust you after establishing yourself as an authority or market leader. You can even share your customer’s positive experiences on your social media channels to gain credibility.
5. Provide a Seamless Customer Experience to Increase Foot Traffic
Tens of thousands of website visits and more on social media will keep your online platforms active, but your main aim should be to increase the number of people visiting your dealership. Without that, your digital marketing strategy is wasted.
How do you increase foot traffic to your store?
The first option is communicating with the buyer throughout their journey and offering top-notch customer care service which includes:
1. Answering the phone every time they call
2. Replying to their emails and DMs
3. Offering them guidance
4. Building rapport
5. Avoiding robocalls
6. Building long-term trust with them
Purchasing a vehicle is a daunting experience, and before someone commits to making such an investment, they will want all their questions answered and anxieties alleviated.
Second, make it easy for customers to find all the relevant information they need. Include all the important details, such as inventory, prices, financing options so they don’t have to rely on a credit card, to help the customers make faster decisions. When you are straightforward, you build trust and credibility that makes the customers comfortable and encourages them to visit your store.
Finally, you should incorporate strong call to action messages in your marketing copies. Give a customer a reason to visit your store. For instance, you could offer to conduct free vehicle reports, fill their tanks, or take them for a test drive at their chosen time.
6. Remarketing and Retargeting Your Prospects
This form of online advertising allows automotive brands to show targeted ads to users who have previously visited their website or interacted with their brand. It offers an opportunity to re-engage with potential customers who may have shown interest but didn’t take action.
Using LeadSquared’s Automotive CRM, you can leverage this marketing strategy to increase sales and attract and retain customers. Get in touch with our team to align your sales and automotive marketing strategy and boost your bottom line:
Retargeting and remarketing are important for three main reasons:
- You can increase your sales: Since you will be showing ads to people already familiar with your brand, your chances of converting them are higher.
- You stay in the mind of potential customers: If your prospects haven’t chosen a competitor yet, this marketing strategy allows you to remind them of your brand and keeps them engaged constantly.
- Build Trust: Retargeting and remarketing allow you to provide a more tailored and relevant customer experience that can establish positive relationships with potential customers. You can offer a more personalized experience based on their previous interactions.
7. Keep up With Automotive Marketing Trends
As an automotive business owner, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest automotive marketing trends for the survival of your business. This allows you to stay ahead of the competition and ensures that your marketing efforts are effective and relevant. Some significant trends that will shape the industry in 2023 include:
- The shift towards digital marketing: With more consumers turning to the internet to research and purchase cars, it is crucial that you have and maintain a strong online presence. Here’s how you do it:
- Having a professional website
- Active social media accounts
- Comprehensive digital marketing strategy
- Video content: This has become an increasingly popular format for sharing marketing messages. Automotive businesses can use video to showcase their products and services, highlight customer testimonials, and offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into their operations.
- Personalized and targeted marketing: Businesses can now create customized marketing messages and campaigns tailored to specific audience segments. This can help increase customer experience, engagement, and conversion rates and improve sales. You should also leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence to create a more personalized experience and a data-driven marketing process that can help you automate sales.
- Mobile Optimization: To search for their favorite cars, locate dealerships, compare prices, or read reviews, customers are using mobile devices. According to research published by Google, 60% of all automotive searches come from a mobile device.
With this in mind, automotive brands must invest in building immersive mobile experiences for their prospects. This includes making their websites interactive and modern, leveraging voice search SEO, and creating short-form vertical videos using the 9:16 aspect ratio.
How to Keep up with the Automotive Industry Marketing Trends?
As an automotive business owner, you must stay up-to-date on the latest marketing trends in the industry to stay competitive and attract customers. Here are a few tips on how to keep up with the latest automotive industry marketing trends:
- Research! Research! Research!: Read industry-specific literature, listen to expert podcasts, conduct independent surveys, solicit customer feedback, etc. This will help you understand what customers expect and what industry leaders recommend. Ultimately, it will help you craft a marketing strategy that works for the industry and your customers.
- Get involved: Attend conferences and trade shows to learn about the latest marketing trends and network with other automotive business owners. Additionally, you should join industry-specific associations and organizations.
- Get Active in Automotive Forums: There are many online communities dedicated to the automotive industry where you can engage with other business owners and learn about emerging marketing trends. Some popular ones to join are the automotive marketing professionals group on LinkedIn and Reddit.
- Observe Competitors: What are your competitors doing? Check out their websites and social media accounts to see what marketing techniques they are using. Perfect what’s working for them and avoid the mistakes that they’re making. Observing competitors can help you discover trending keywords and emerging industry trends that might have slipped you.
Hire a Digital Marketing Professional: To stay ahead of the game and keep up with the latest marketing trends, you should hire a professional marketer with experience in the automotive industry. They can provide valuable insights and help you implement effective marketing strategies that will ensure you meet your business objectives.
I hope this guide helps you curate an effective automotive marketing strategy for your team. And if you wish to step it up with marketing automation (for higher ROIs from your campaigns!), you can get in touch with our team.