When it comes to barbecue, everyone’s got an opinion. Even on how to spell it – there’s barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-que, bar-B-Q and BBQ.* And if you Google “how many types of barbeque are there,” you’ll find the answer is 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 or even 21, depending on the source. The point is, there’s no shortage of sauce on the subject.  

What’s cooked meat have to do with automotive marketing? They’re more alike than you’d think. Dealers are the pitmasters of digital marketing; opinionated champions who get fired up about beating the competition. Even if it means taking on new ways of wielding tools and techniques. So, let’s grill into the subjects of: 

  • Optimizing SEO 

  • Driving awareness and leads 

  • Connecting with customers 

  • Managing reviews 


The First Bite: Optimizing SEO  

Think of SEO as a neon sign on a dusty highway – it’s what brings customers in and gives owners the chance to make their first impression. And that first bite is the most important one a customer will ever take.  

A strong SEO strategy guarantees car shoppers will find your dealership, website and content when they’re doing online searches – and see you on the sites that matter. It’s your opportunity to make that first impression and get customers to bite. 

Complete search engine optimization is a hearty mix of ingredients, kind of like the iconic burgoo of Owensboro, Kentucky, a spicy stew filled with roasted meats and vegetables – and always mutton. It takes a bit of everything to make SEO work: the right keywords, topics and tactics to reach your dealership marketing goals. Plus, technical website enhancements, content optimization and local listings management to boost your website’s visibility. 

Let’s get to the meat of the matter. You want to rule search results? Optimize your website and update your local listings.  


A Lot on Your Plate: Driving Awareness and Leads 


SEO gets your dealership found, but then you need it to stay top-of-mind with customers – and drive the right leads to your showroom. There’s a technology for that, one that gets your dealership the conversions it’s looking for and optimizes automotive marketing campaigns based on your budget and objectives. 

But like Memphis style barbecue – with some recipes calling for 40+ spices, according to Smoked BBQ Source – automotive marketing isn’t simple. It also takes time and careful monitoring. Think Texas beef brisket, slowly smoked for 12-15 hours. A strategic dealership marketing campaign features many elements that build awareness and attract in-market buyers, including: 

  • Search marketing 

  • Social media ads  

  • Display ads  

  • Targeted email marketing   

  • Video ads  


Optimization technology can generate a strong ROI because it automatically adjusts to the keywords that get the most results. Your dealership gets a lower cost-per-lead – and spend on poorly performing keywords is eliminated. 

Keep ’Em Hungry for More: Connecting with Customers   


Connect and reconnect with car shoppers who have visited you online, and in the showroom, to build brand awareness and loyalty. And to keep target audiences engaged with your dealership, serve up a steady supply of relevant branded content that educates, entertains and inspires –product walkthroughs, infographics, quizzes, videos and “tips and tricks” are a good start. And all content should motivate car shoppers to take action.  

Keep in mind, customers might not even know they’re interested in something, until you introduce them to it. And then you might have a difficult time keeping up with demand. That’s the story behind Kansas City and its legendary “burnt ends.” A barbecue joint used to cut off the dried-up edges of brisket points and offer them to customers while they waited in line. Soon, the “burnt ends” became so popular diners wanted to order them. But the restaurant couldn’t produce enough to put them on the menu. Then the owners came up with an idea – cook the points separately; cube them; add more rub and sauce; and return them to the smoker. (Smoked BBQ Source) That’s what we call branded burnt content and satisfied customers.   

Yelp! Managing Reviews 


Always remember your target audience. Florida squeaked onto a few barbecue lists with their smoked mullet. But Ron Swanson quickly dismissed the Sunshine State’s inclusion: “Fish, for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable.”  

Online reviews are critical – 90% of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by them. And reviews are everywhere, with customers waiting to have their comments addressed. Yesterday. The good news is that, today, your dealership can turn to services that take on the overwhelming task of local listings and review management. An experienced partner can: 

  • Monitor review sites 

  • Alert you of new reviews 

  • Respond to Google and Facebook reviews 

  • Help control your online reputation  

We can’t promise people will line up at your dealership doors five hours before you open, like they do outside Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX. (Smoked BBQ Source) But customers will feel your hospitality and appreciate you taking the time to respond to their reviews, whether they’re good, bad or in-between.    

Wanna Go Whole Hog? 


Optimizing SEO. Driving awareness and leads. Connecting with customers. Managing reviews. All that is just the beginning of an automotive marketing strategy.  

Think South Carolina, where sources say barbecue is often served all-you-can-eat, so you don’t miss out on anything. Let’s work together and develop a strategic end-to-end digital marketing campaign for your dealership.  

Contact us to learn more about automotive marketing (and our favorite barbecue joints). 


*There are other versions of the spelling on signs across America, plus or minus a few letters or hyphens, but they haven’t made the dictionary yet. 


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