You may be wondering, “How accurate is audience targeting?” Well, it can be very accurate if you support it with the right audience targeting strategy and audience targeting tactics. While those sounds like they’re probably circling around the same thing, the strategy will inform the specific tactics.


Strategy can be defined as an overall plan of action to achieve an aim or goal. The basic strategic question is a simple one – what do you want to achieve? This can be a pretty demanding starting point for most of us, however, because we all face a unique range of challenges, constraints, and priorities that don’t lend themselves to straightforward answers. What’s more, you run the risk of shooting for the wrong goal when you rack your brain for a one-sentence goal, or you don’t start with data insights.  

Here are some practical steps to pin down an audience targeting strategy: 

Identify “your ideal customer.” 

Unless you do no business at all, someone has already chosen your dealership over someone else’s. Therefore, an excellent place to start is with the customers you already have.  Maybe the answer is your inventory. Maybe you’re the only dealership in a 50-mile radius. Maybe you have a retired NFL quarterback’s name on the marquee. The key is to conduct a little target audience analysis, figure out what buyers you already resonate with, and draw some conclusions as to why. 

Identify customer types based on who you already do business with.  

Once you’ve identified your existing ideal customer, you can start isolating a customer type or profile. It’s possible that your customer fits within a demographic or lifestyle frame, like high-income retirees or Dallas Cowboys fans. It’s also possible that the type has less to do with personal qualities and more to do with something you have or do (e.g. a top-notch service department, a strategic location in a city). 

From here, you can focus your marketing efforts on bringing in more customers of the same type, seek to expand your base, or do both. 

Use consumer data and national trends to look for ways to grow. 

 At this point you can start thinking through a growth strategy; be it to corner your current demographic market, build up a new and different customer base, or something else. 

At this point you’ll want to know what’s available to you. You can use zip code-based data insights to identify different customer types in your area, review industry sales trends in markets comparable to yours, and so on. 

By this point, your audience targeting strategy should have evolved from “I want to be the best used car dealership in town” or “I want to stay in business” to something like “I want to be the luxury car dealer of choice for affluent buyers in…”

Think that’s interesting? Layer in some in-depth market share, competitive and opportunity analysis with our Dealer Scorecard. Contact us to request a free analysis.


Strategy is the big, long-term answer. Tactics are the smaller, short-term answers. Chances are your tactics will vary based on your goal, but here are some general ones that will apply to most dealerships. 

Get your local listing straight. 

It’s such a simple thing, but making sure your basic online information (address, phone number, when the lot closes) is correct on all the major platforms is essential. If they can’t trust you to be open when they show up, can they trust you to sell them a car? 

Another advantage of keeping up with your local listings – you can keep tabs on your online reviews.  

Change up your website content if it’s not working. 

83% of car buyers visit dealer websites on their path to purchase. It makes sense to have clear, appealing product descriptions and eye-catching imagery.  Some dealerships are lucky enough to have talented writers and designers on the payroll. If you don’t and your website is under performing, it may be time to call in the pros. 

Step up your email game. 

As with your website, you’ll want to use appealing graphics and on-target messaging. Ideally, you want to target niche segments within your customer base with buying opportunities that speak to their unique needs, rather than trying to get the job done with generic messaging. You’ll also want to keep up with email best practices. 

Find a lead management solution.  

Lead management is important on two fronts. First, it helps you understand how the individual pieces of your marketing strategy are performing, which can open up a whole range of conclusions about creative decisions, message timing, whether or not you’re chasing the right target market, and so on. It also makes handling the customer relationship side of things easier.  

Use retargeted display ads. 

Your customer is probably looking in a lot of different places online – consumer websites, blogs, social media, news articles, YouTube videos, etc. – as he or she researches cars. Retargeted display ads are useful for keeping your dealership on their radar, so when it’s time to take the next step your customer will know where to go. 

Test out your website. 

As we mentioned, most of your prospects will spend some time on your website during the buying process. Don’t let them get snagged there. Make sure that your customer can navigate through typical scenarios like selecting through makes and models, zooming in on images, and using email and chat widgets. You wouldn’t want a sales team member who freezes up and refuses to answer a customer question, right? Think of your website as part of your sales team.  

Make sure you’re mobile friendly. 

While every dealership is unique, car shopping with mobile devices can be considered a constant. You’ll want to make sure that your website, your emails, and everything else you put out there is compatible with the device your customer is using.  

Don’t get overwhelmed. 

Piecing together an audience targeting strategy for your dealership and making the tactical moves to pull it off can be a tremendous amount of work.

Let LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE help. We’ve worked with dealerships of all shapes and sizes from coast to coast, and we have a toolkit of complete automotive marketing solutions to help you out wherever you need it.  


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