Spring, the auto industry’s biggest buying season, is just around the corner. Shoppers typically start their research up to 3 months before purchase – so there’s no time like the present to polish your online presence and button up your automotive marketing strategy.  

Auto shoppers typically only visit two dealerships while shopping for a new vehicle – so it’s key that you stand out from the competition in your local area. In order to stand out, you need to make sure your dealership is where those shoppers are looking. 

Many auto buyers will start with online research – so your challenge is to convince a shopper browsing online that your dealership is worth a visit in the first instance, and then once they get to your showroom, make sure their experience is a positive one. Luckily, we have five effective automotive marketing hacks to try for your car dealership in 2019. We’re here to help you get your customers from A to B to C: a brand new car. 

1. Location , Location, Location: Make Your Dealership Easy to Find 

Let’s start with the low hanging fruit – are your dealership details up to date across the web? Your automotive marketing strategy starts with your dealership online presence. From traditional web search like google to voice search like Alexa and Siri, if a customer is looking for your details, you’d better be sure they are up to date on all platforms, for all devices. 

If maintaining your address, opening times, and contact details across different directories is something you just don’t have time to do, consider working with a local search marketing expert (and yes, LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE is one), who’ll take care of the problem for you. 


2. Interaction is Key: Make Your Dealership Easy to Talk To 

If in-market auto shoppers have questions during the research phase, can they contact you easily? One simple way of fielding basic queries from auto shoppers is to implement live chat or a chatbot on your website. Chatbots are easy to implement and can be very effective in answering simple questions – like your opening hours – that would otherwise take time away from other important tasks, while live chat with a sales agent can handle more sophisticated enquiries like whether you can source a specific trim level and nurture leads in real time. 

Can a shopper see your live inventory on your dealership site? If not, consider adding that function as a priority for 2019. If an auto shopper is looking for a certain model and they can see you have it available at your dealership, they are much more likely to make the journey to come and see you.  


3. Harness the Power of Social Media 

Auto shoppers are increasingly looking to social media for inspiration and information too. Social media is ideal for developing the brand voice of your dealership and is another cornerstone of a successful automotive marketing strategy. One simple way to engage with your customers is via Instagram stories, where you can post both short video clips and still images, which can link through to product pages. Create excitement among prospective shoppers by share video clips of the newest cars as they arrive, or post time-limited offers to create FOMO (fear of missing out) among your followers.  

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be used as both outbound and inbound marketing tools. Outbound marketing would be posting information about new models, special offers or weekend deals for your customers to see, while inbound marketing would be answering questions via direct message and nurturing leads to convert them into visits to your brick and mortar dealership.  

Beyond offers and information, social media is ideal for developing the brand voice of your dealership. One simple way to engage with your customers is via Instagram stories, where you can post both short video clips and still images, which can link through to product pages. Create excitement among prospective shoppers by posting video clips of the newest cars as they arrive 


4. Keep the Conversation Going via Email 

If you’ve got a great sales offer to share, then of course social media is a great place to share it, but don’t forget about good old fashioned email marketing. Maintaining a database of former satisfied customers that you can contact with enticing offers is a great way to bolster your bottom line and support automotive marketing campaigns, as well as ongoing communication. 

Using a CRM (customer relationship management tool) is invaluable – you can use it to segment your customers into different buckets. For example, you can create a segments for brand new purchasers, customers who bought a car several years ago, long-term brand-loyal shoppers, and auto buyers who were interested but didn’t end up signing on the dotted line.  

Each one of these segments can be contacted with different offers. Brand new customers might be interested in purchasing accessories or lining up service, while those who purchased from you several years ago might be thinking of shopping for a new vehicle. If you respond to the individual needs of your different segments with customized messages you’ll soon reap the benefits.  


5. Understand the Importance of Reviews 

Remember how I said at the start that auto shoppers only visit two dealerships on average before making a purchase? Well here’s another fact: According to Bright Local, 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad. Add the two together and you’ll quickly see that your online reputation matters and careful management can boost your overall automotive marketing efforts. Use a local listings tool to check your reviews regularly and make sure you respond quickly to any negative feedback to keep your star rating looking healthy. 

Contact us to find out more about LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE marketing solutions and how we can help.