If you’ve ever shopped for a new car, you’ve probably seen the signs along with the highway advertising “new car specials” or “low prices on select models.” These signs are designed to get drivers into the dealership, where salespeople can try to sell them a car. But what if I told you there was a way to get the same results without paying for expensive, high-pressure sales tactics? What if I told you you could increase sales without having to interrupt your workflow?
In this guide, I’ll share the most effective automotive digital marketing strategies that car dealers use to generate new business. These strategies will help you increase your profits, generate more awareness for your dealership, and build a larger car-buying community. No matter your experience level as a car dealer, I’m confident that one of these strategies will help you improve your bottom line. But first, let’s take a moment to discuss what a successful automotive marketing strategy looks like.
1. Use customer testimonials to establish trust
The days of simply showing up at a car dealership with a box of flyers and a handful of coupons are long gone. Today, car dealerships rely on a wide variety of marketing strategies to build relationships with prospective customers and turn them into buyers as quickly as possible. One of the most effective marketing strategies a car dealership can leverage is customer testimonials. Customer testimonials are written accounts of past experiences with a car dealership shared by past customers.
Whether you sell cars from the dealership lot or online, you’ve probably heard that you need good reviews on sites like Yelp and Google to be successful. But did you know that there are other, less obvious ways to get positive feedback from customers that can be valuable when marketing your business? For example, if a customer leaves a positive review on a site like Yelp, you should share it with your prospects or put it up in your showroom.
Why are customer testimonials effective?
- Customer reviews bridge the trust gap as you’re a stranger to them.
- 92% of customers check online reviews before making a purchase.
- It allows you to interact with your customer, even if they’ve given a bad review.
2. Leverage SEO to get top of the Google search page results
One of the best ways to get customers into your showroom is to build a positive online presence. This starts with solid SEO strategies that help you improve your search engine rankings and reach more prospective customers. These strategies will help you build a larger online presence, which will increase the number of people who can learn about your dealership and your inventory.
Few strategies are more effective than good SEO (search engine optimization) when it comes to online visibility. This refers to the technical aspects of your website, such as the content and metadata, that make it easy for search engines to understand and find your site when people search. This helps your website appear higher in search results, increasing the number of visitors to your website. When visitors arrive at your website, they’re more likely to become customers.
Why is SEO a must for automotive digital marketing?
- Search engines are a great source of inbound leads, which have 30 times the lead conversion rate compared to outbound marketing.
- 90 per cent of car buyers conduct an online search before making a purchase decision.
- Visibility on Google Search results establishes an element of trust in a customer’s mind.
- Most people searching for car dealerships are looking at local dealers, allowing you to capitalize by employing local SEO strategies.
I want to tell you that everything is not rosy when SEO. You’ll be competing against businesses that might have been doing SEO for years. Thus, dethroning them from the top of Google’s search engine ranking will be a task that will require a lot of effort and patience. On top of that, Google’s constant algorithm changes make it even more difficult. Having said that, it is achievable but will take around 6 months to begin witnessing the results.
3. Use Google Ads
The automotive industry has been one of the most highly lucrative industries for online advertising. Three of the major auto manufacturers globally, Toyota, General Motors, and Volkswagen, have all heavily relied on Google’s AdWords platform to help them reach new customers. With the high volume of searches that occur daily for auto parts and auto services, it’s no surprise that Google’s AdWords has been one of the most effective ways for auto manufacturers to reach their target market.
With just a few hundred dollars a month, you can create ads that appear when prospective buyers want to buy their first car or their twenty-ninth. And because your ads appear when prospective buyers are searching for vehicles, they have a higher chance of being noticed by a potential customer. That means higher click-through rates, which leads to more leads and eventually more sales.
Why can Google Ads be an effective strategy for car dealerships?
- Unlike SEO, you don’t need to wait for six months to see the results. It can give you results in the short term as well.
- 65% of people visit ads while researching before making a purchase.
- It’s a great way of increasing your brand visibility.
- You can target competitor keywords.
4. Use automation for nurturing leads
Automating interactions with new customers is vital to the automotive industry. Automating the process of nurturing leads can help automotive dealers increase the volume and quality of their sales leads, which is critical to a successful business. By automating the process of nurturing leads, dealers can free up their salespeople to focus on cultivating new customers, increasing a dealership’s revenue.
Automotive dealers use sales automation software (CRMs) to nurture the leads they already have in their database. These tools allow you to segment your prospects at various stages of the buyer’s journey. For instance, if you send your newsletter and a customer opens it, it’ll show in the CRM, and you can create a list of all such people.
Such features allow you to build a database of warm leads actively looking to buy a car, rather than just collecting names and contact information. This strategy has two important benefits for dealers: it improves the quality of their database, makes it easier to qualify leads, lowers their marketing costs, and helps them build a brand. The more people know about your dealership, the more likely they will buy from you.
Why automate your sales efforts?
- Increased accuracy as you no longer have to rely on human efforts.
- To channel your sales teams’ efforts more productively.
- 61% of businesses using sales automation increased their revenues
- Nurturing leads through relevant content helps generate more leads.
5. Start a referral marketing campaign
As a car dealer, one of your most important assets is your network of customers who have bought cars from you in the past. Referred customers are a great way of building your business, as they are more likely to become loyal customers than customers who haven’t been to your dealership before. You must develop a referral marketing strategy for your car dealership.
Referral marketing is a strategy businesses use to acquire new customers by offering incentives to existing customers who send their friends and family to the business. Referred customers are often incentivized with discounts, free items, or gifts from the company. Referred customers are often more loyal than customers who discover a business through a traditional marketing channel.
Why is referral marketing so effective?
- The Voice of customers is trusted more than any advertising campaign by businesses.
- Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate.
- It has low customer acquisition costs.
6. Employ a multi-channel strategy to refine your customer service
Multi-channel marketing is the process of distributing a marketing message through multiple channels. This can include traditional channels, such as television and radio, and digital channels, such as online advertising and social media. Multi-channel marketing aims to deliver a consistent message to the customer, regardless of where they are in the buying cycle. This message should be tailored to the customer’s specific needs in the buying cycle.
Multi-channel marketing is an effective way for car dealerships to build their brand and generate new business. Instead of just relying on a few mediums such as print advertising and television commercials, the best car dealers use multiple channels to reach consumers who are already spending time and money. This can include social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. The beauty of multi-channel marketing is that it can be used by any small business and is not limited to large corporations.
A report by DealRater exemplifies the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing in the rapidly changing industry. The leading car dealership agencies prioritized giving a top-class digital experience before the customers stepped into their showrooms.
Why take the multi-channel approach?
- You can achieve results in the short and long term both.
- You don’t have to rely and over-invest on one or two marketing channels to generate business.
- Allows you to interact with customers at various points in the buying cycle.
LeanSummits: Premier Automotive Growth Marketing Agency
LeanSummits is a leading automotive growth marketing agency focused on helping automotive companies build their brand, grow their business, and scale their marketing. Our approach is unique because we’re not just another advertising agency. We’re a growth marketing company that understands the unique challenges and opportunities of the automotive industry. We’re here to help companies build a strong marketing foundation that will enable them to achieve their growth goals.
We’re excited to partner with you on your automotive growth marketing needs. From strategy to execution, we’ll help you achieve your goals. Our team is made up of award-winning marketing professionals with decades of experience. We’ll bring that expertise to your digital and traditional marketing needs so you can focus on what’s most important – growing your business.
Schedule a free consultation today!