Fierce competition among car dealerships, economic pressures and market trends have left many dealers working harder for the same profit. With Borrell forecasting a flat year for new vehicle sales and a second year of decreased used vehicle sales in 2019, it’s more important than ever to be more efficient and effective with your dealership marketing and advertising. 


Here are three tips from our automotive marketing experts to help you get ahead of the competition and break-through in 2019. 


1. Don’t Neglect Your Online Presence 

You might think online review sites, such as Yelp or Google My Business, are just for bars and restaurants, but there is an opportunity you may be overlooking. The fact is Yelp and other popular review sites continue to drive the lion’s share of traffic from consumers, especially on mobile. 


Furthermore, consumers increasingly look to conduct more of their car buying process online—from researching vehicle segments and browsing inventory to completing paperwork and negotiating price. It may be nerve-racking to empower consumers though digital channels, but the fact is, if you don’t actively manage and invest in your digital presence, prospective customers move on quickly to find your competitors who are. Luckily, with a comprehensive listings and review management strategy you can smoothly navigate the process and have a buttoned up automotive marketing plan.  


This is critical, because the majority of auto shoppers (56%!) visit consumer review sites on their path to purchase. The same study points to a sizable 34% of auto shoppers who look at consumer generated reviews on their mobile device while on the dealer lot. You want to have positive online reviews tied to your local listings so your dealership reviews can be easily found when auto shoppers are searching and comparing. Doing so will fuel your dealership online presence, which is key to being found when it counts. 


2. Invest in Mobile Advertising 

Mobile is an ever-expanding and evolving platform. But, that’s no reason to shy away from it. Navigating mobile is mandatory for automotive marketing because consumers are connected every minute of their waking hours and being absent from this always-on platform is a missed opportunity of epic proportions. Consider these facts from Google, Millward Brown, and Ipsos

  • One in four purchasers use mobile every day to research vehicles 

  • 27% of people do most of their vehicle research on a mobile device 

  • 45% of millennials and 41% of affluent buyers (HHI $200k+) are mobile-first auto researchers 

What is the best way to invest in mobile? Some of the most effective and efficient channels on mobile are search marketing and social ads. And, of course, managing your online presence through listings and review management is table-stakes. Display advertising can also be targeted specifically to mobile audiences direct with publishers, via ad network or even with geofencing. 


3. Market All Your Services 

Every car dealership has vehicles of interest in stock—what do you offer that differentiates you from your competition? Do you have a top-notch service center with automatic loaner vehicles and extended hours on weeknights and weekends? Perhaps you have express lanes for daily maintenance or an online system that messages owners to help them track their service needs? Maybe your financing is in-house and outstanding. Whatever it may be, don’t shy away from messaging all of your services. 


Consumers are looking to do more of their automotive shopping online, but the fact is, vehicles are major purchases and tangible goods that benefit from an in-person touch and shopping experience. Investing in a car has many steps, some of which can be digitized, but others are prime to message and focus on to drive consideration for your dealership’s personalized customer service. 


Consider going beyond traditional direct mail or email marketing when promoting your service business. According to Think With Google, of people who took their vehicle in for service, 65% first heard about the service center they visited through video. Creating video content doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with the basics and use video content to promote your full array of services through your social media channels and YouTube. From there, leverage your video content for digital video ads.  


Having a strong dealership video content plan is a cornerstone of an effective automotive marketing strategy. 


Auto Marketing Experts On Call 

If you’re looking for ways to build a more efficient dealership marketing or advertising plan, we can help. We offer complete automotive marketing solutions and access to supercharged auto insights and customer intelligence to inform a smarter automotive marketing strategy.  


Contact us today to request a Dealer Scorecard analysis. 


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