Today, customers are better informed and more cautious about spending their hard-earned money. This is especially true for big-ticket items like cars.

So, how do you bring in clients in such a competitive market?

Simple. Through smart dealership marketing tactics.

Marketing is, in general, important for any business. But it can be a make or break in the automotive industry.

In this dealership marketing guide, we’ll look at seven strategies to help you attract more clients and increase sales:

>> 7 Proven dealership marketing strategies
1. Choose the right marketing campaign
2. Use paid advertising for dealership marketing
3. Reach out to existing customers
4. Give customers an omnichannel experience
5. List your business in online directories
6. Optimize your website for search engines
7. Create business cards and flyers

>> The next step in your dealership marketing plan

1. Choose the right marketing campaign

What’s the best way to bring in customers?

Marketing.

There are many marketing campaigns to choose from—from email to affiliate marketing. To help you choose the right strategy for your business, let’s take a look at some options:

Email marketing

Email marketing is a long-standing staple in all areas of commerce. Done well, email marketing can deliver as much as $36 for every $1 spent. So, it’s a sound investment.

There are many types of emails you can send, including:

  • Surveys: 70% of businesses collect customer feedback using surveys. Why? You can use the information to deliver personalized service and a better car buying experience. This will encourage customers to keep coming back to you.
  • Promotions: Sending exclusive offers to customers is a great way to guarantee their loyalty for years to come. You can also tempt prospective customers with time-limited deals and discounts.
  • Service reminders: Sending out service reminders is a great way to show customers you care. It’s also an extra marketing opportunity.

For the best results, track an email campaign to see which types of emails work best for your clients.

Here are some car sales email templates you can refer to.

Content marketing

Content marketing is another popular choice, with 82% of companies using it in 2021. You can create content to educate customers like videos, blog posts, white papers, infographics, and podcasts. 

By creating helpful content, you can win your customers’ trust. So, content marketing can help you become the go-to place for info about the automotive industry. You can use content marketing for:

  • Boosting brand awareness.
  • Increasing customer engagement.
  • Building brand loyalty.
  • Launching a new product or service.
  • Increasing organic traffic.
  • Generating and nurturing leads.
Source

Telemarketing

Despite almost everything being online, phone calls are still a firm favorite with customers.

Why?

Many customers prefer interactions with real people. It has a more personal feel, and it’s easier to ask questions and go into detail.

This means telemarketing is still a valuable business tool. Benefits of telemarketing include:

  • Building a relationship with clients
  • Generating leads
  • Following up with leads
  • Learning about your customers

With a cloud-based phone system, it’s simple to set up auto-dialers and other advanced features. Plus, you can outsource to a telemarketing agency that can generate tangible leads for you.

You can refer to these car sales scripts to interact with your clients.

Social media marketing

85% of customers research companies on social media, so it’s no surprise that 8 in 10 companies invested in social media marketing in 2021. Social media is a great place for dealerships to advertise to potential customers. You can also engage existing customers with hashtag contests and other content (more on this later).

As part of any social media marketing plan, you need to think about what works best for your customers. For instance, videos exploded in popularity in 2020; minutes watched increased by 85%. In addition, you need to optimize content for each platform. For example, Twitter’s character limit is 280, so you’ll need to adjust content from other channels to fit within it.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is another great way to attract customers and generate sales. 

In affiliate marketing, a customer or influencer promotes your product in exchange for a commission. Often, commissions are a percentage of the sale, so you only have to pay for results. This could be why affiliate marketing spending reached $8.2 billion in the US in 2022.

Building an effective sales funnel for affiliate marketing takes time. But there are many affiliate marketing platforms online to help you find and manage affiliates. Plus, by including links on popular blogs and social media, affiliate marketing can:

  • Boost awareness of your dealership.
  • Improve your SEO ranking.
  • Give your business the social proof to succeed.
Statistics - affiliate marketing spend - united states
Data from Statista.com

SMS marketing

In 2021, 85% of Americans owned a smartphone. The average American spends 4.1 hours a day on their mobile, which is one hour longer than they spend watching TV.

This makes SMS marketing an ideal way to reach customers and gain an advantage over your competitors. In fact, with SMS marketing, you could see a 10to 20% increase in ROI. You can send SMS messages for:

  • Service and appointment reminders.
  • Requesting feedback.
  • Promotions like part exchange deals.
  • Thanking customers for their business.

2. Use paid advertising for dealership marketing

Building your online presence and gaining ranks on search engines takes time. So, meanwhile you can invest in paid advertising. Two of the most popular paid advertising platforms for car dealerships are Google and Facebook.

Google Ads

In 2021, Google accounted for over 85% of global desktop search traffic, so it’s a great way to reach new and existing customers. Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. Ads can appear on SERPs, apps, Google Shopping, partner websites, and more. This makes Google Ads ideal for awareness campaigns like product launches.

With Google Ads, you can target keywords like car makes and models, which ensures you reach relevant customers. Also, you can use Google’s Display ads to target recent customers, site visitors, or first-time car buyers.

Facebook ads

Marketers spent 50% more on Facebook and Instagram ads in 2021 compared to 2020. This is because, like Google Ads, you can use Facebook Ads to reach and engage customers. You can target your ideal clients using criteria like age, location, and interests. Plus, with Facebook’s look-alike feature, you can target customers who only partially fit your criteria.

Facebook ads appear in several places, including a user’s mobile feed, video stream, and news feed. Where is the best Facebook ad placement? In 2021, Instream Video ads had the best click-through rate (CTR) at 0.33%. Ads in the Facebook News Feed came in second with a CTR of 0.29%.

3. Reach out to existing customers

Your customers can be powerful allies when it comes to bringing in new clients. Often, this involves them recommending you to friends and family. But many customers will go one step further and leave an online review or even post about you on social media. Let’s take a look at how reaching out to existing customers can benefit your business.

Customer reviews

76% of customers have bought a product due to someone else’s recommendation. People trust people, so good customer reviews make your business seem trustworthy. For instance, 72% of customers say customer reviews are more credible than brands talking about their products. To prompt customers to leave reviews, you can:

  • Ask them to review their experience when they visit your dealership.
  • Include a request on your landing page and other channels.
  • Send an email or text after you service their car or sell them a product.
  • Request a review at the end of an online conferencing call.

You can include reviews on your website and marketing materials to build social proof and improve SEO.

User-generated content

Like customer reviews, customers trust user-generated content (UGC) since it uses social proof. If someone shares a photo of the new car they bought at your dealership, that’s UGC. There are several ways you can encourage customers to create UGC, such as:

  • Ask them: After all, 60% of customers want more brands to tell them what kind of content to create. You could create a page of tips and branding material and share a link on your website and other channels.
  • Create a hashtag contest: These are great for engaging your customers. For instance, 64% of customers have used a hashtag or tagged a brand on social media before. You could ask customers to use your hashtag to post a picture and give the winner a free service check or other prizes.
  • Share customer posts: 64% of customers agree that when a brand likes and re-shares customer content, they’re more likely to share a brand’s content. So, like and share customer posts about you and see if they do the same.

4. Give customers an omnichannel experience

Two-thirds of companies say the growth of omnichannel and online shopping has the biggest impact on the retail industry. It’s no longer enough to simply give customers their choice of channels.

Customers want a consistent, personalized experience across online and offline channels. What’s the benefit to you? Omnichannel personalization could give you a 10-15% uplift in revenue potential.

You can connect with your customers on the channel of their choice through CRM solutions.

Take for instance, LeadSquared.

It allows you to capture inquiries from several channels like website, social media, ads, and more and communicate with customers through email, SMS, WhatsApp, and phone calls.

marketing automation - omni channel engagement

5. List your business in online directories

Another way to bring in customers is listing your dealership in popular online directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Google+ Local. You should include information like your address, website, and opening hours. Listing your business can improve your SEO and make you more visible to people looking for a car or dealership.

As well as general directories, you should search for automotive business directories. Ideally, you want ones that let you list your business for free. You could also use an online reputation management company to manage your listings and update them as needed.

6. Optimize your website for search engines

For your dealership to rank on search engines, you need to use search engine optimization (SEO). After all, 75% of companies say SEO is very effective for achieving their marketing goals. You should use a keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords relevant to your target audience.

Long-tail keywords can be particularly effective for SEO. Shorter keywords like “car dealership” have more competition since lots of businesses use them. Long-tail keywords like “Audi car dealerships in London” are more specific and easier to rank on search engines. So, people are more likely to find you.

Statistics - SEO tactics

7. Create business cards and flyers

Physical media like business cards and flyers are still important business marketing tools. If you haven’t already, it’s worth investing in some business cards to display in your dealership. You could also hand them out in your local area or at car shows and other networking events. When you create a flyer or business card, make sure it contains information like:

  • The name of your dealership.
  • The products and services you offer.
  • Your website, address, and contact information.

The next step in your dealership marketing plan

To compete in the digital age, you need to market your dealership both online and offline. Strategies like paid advertising, SEO, and business cards can boost people’s awareness of your dealership. Once people know about you, you can increase customer engagement with emails, SMS messages, and social media posts.

Customer reviews and UGC help you tap into social proof and establish yourself as a credible business. Plus, by integrating your channels into a seamless omnichannel experience, you can give customers a personalized, consistent experience. In other words, you should use a mixture of marketing strategies to raise awareness, increase engagement, and build trust. You can then enjoy loyal customers and more sales.

If you’re looking for software to streamline your dealership marketing and sales, check out LeadSquared’s Automotive CRM software. Trusted by several dealerships and car marketplaces like DSR Leasing and Cars24, it can help you with:

  • Lead capture through multiple marketing channels
  • Automated Lead distribution
  • List segmentation and creating lead engagement campaigns
  • Sending upselling and cross-selling signals to reps based on your customers’ activities on the website, ad clicks, etc.
  • Access to real-time sales and marketing reports

Book a demo to know more about LeadSquared’s Automotive CRM capabilities.

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