What is Automotive Marketing?

“If you are not online, you do not exist.”

This phrase has been thrown around a lot over the last decade or so and, while it may already be a cliché, the implication it has for retail businesses is clear: without an online presence, you are missing out on a critical piece of business and potential sales because your clientele doesn’t know you exist.

In all honesty, today a basic web presence is no longer enough. Dealerships need a comprehensive, holistic digital marketing strategy to ensure they are reaching their audience by meeting them where they are: online.

When properly executed, an automotive digital marketing strategy is a powerful tool, providing dealerships with opportunities to increase brand awareness, improve community engagement, and generate new, valuable leads to drive sales on a larger scale.

Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the tools and methods for creating a digital marketing strategy for car dealerships.

The Automotive Digital Transformation

Whereas in the past dealerships could count on their brick and mortar establishment alone to bring in customers, recent research shows that car buyers are spending more time on research and less time visiting dealerships. Just a few years ago, a prospective customer would visit an average of five dealerships before making a purchase. That number has dropped significantly to just two, with 83% of car buyers arriving at a dealership’s doorstep primed to buy having spent up to three months researching their options.

Your buyers are more decisive and better educated by the time they hit the dealership floor than they used to be. A well executed automotive marketing strategy can help position your dealership at the center of customer research, increasing the likelihood that the buyer will end up in your dealership to make their final purchase.

Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships

When developing your automotive digital marketing strategy, there are several platforms and methods to consider:

Create a winning SEO strategy

It is the goal of every marketer to be at the top of the page for a Google search result. What good is your website if your customers cannot find it buried under hundreds of pages of search results? While you can attain the top spot with Google ads, a good SEO strategy can bring your website organic traffic that you did not have to pay for.

Getting to the top of a Google search results page takes content. SEO optimized web pages, blog posts, and more can help improve the visibility of your website.

Master the art of Google ads

Google is the place to be when it comes to reaching the top of your marketing funnel. You want your dealership to be the one that appears at the top when a shopper in your area searches for car dealerships or car related queries. Google search ads can help put you there.

Appearing at the top of a shoppers search result page can help you reach customers who are in the research phase of their car buying journey. Your Google search ads should target specific search phrases that relate to your inventory and your dealerships services. You can target keywords that relate to your brand, the cars you sell and the services your dealership offers.

Get seen on social with Facebook ads

Nearly 75% of American adults spend at least 50 minutes per day on Facebook apps, making it an essential advertising source that your dealership cannot afford to overlook.

Facebook provides different ad types that can be helpful to your dealership’s marketing goals including dynamic inventory ads to promote your dealership’s inventory, lead form ads to gather information from shoppers, and video/image ads which can help you promote a specific aspect or service offered by your dealership using a video clip or a static image accompanied by text.

A little bit can go a long way to reaching new leads on Facebook. Click here to read more about adding Facebook to your dealership digital marketing strategy.

Integrate and clean your data sources

Having one set of data that can act as a source of truth for your salespeople is a critical piece in a successful marketing strategy.

Between your dealership’s CRM, website lead forms, Google analytics, and Facebook ads account, your data is spread across different platforms making it difficult to create a holistic view of your customers. Utilizing a customer data and experience platform (CDXP) can transform your dealership digital marketing strategy. Eliminating data silos and cleaning your data will help your dealership get a clear view of your shopper behavior allowing you to create ad campaigns for specific targeted audiences and get more out of your marketing dollars.

Land in their inbox with email campaigns

Email marketing is based on your first party data making it one of the most cost effective marketing channels for your dealership to utilize. Email also provides a level of certainty that you are reaching your audience as your email will land directly in their inbox.

Because your email marketing campaigns rely on your first party data, you have an opportunity to create a personalized campaign based on the user’s previous interactions with your dealership. For example, if you know a lead is interested in a specific vehicle, you can send them a hyper-personalized email with available deals on that vehicle to increase the likelihood the lead will convert to a sale.

Build a user friendly and mobile optimized website

Your website is your online storefront. Regular maintenance and website updates are an important piece in making sure your dealership is discoverable online. Before you begin spending money to promote your website, you want to ensure that the customers you are targeting will have a positive experience when they visit your site.

On a global scale, nearly 60% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. With over 230 million smartphone owners in America today, a mobile friendly website is an important tool in reaching your target market. A website that is not mobile friendly will likely lose users and potential customers with 52% of users stating that a poor mobile experience would make them less likely to purchase from that company.

Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? Try pulling it up on your phone – if your content looks small or out of place, or, if you need to zoom in to read the content or press on buttons, it may be time to contact your website designer for an overhaul.

Automotive Brand Marketing Strategies

In addition to the strategic options listed above, a well rounded automotive marketing strategy will include activities that specifically focus on your brand, helping you share your dealership’s identity, personality, and values. Brand marketing helps your customers understand what they can expect from your dealership, what their shopping experience will be like, and what your dealership stands for.

Consider trying a few of the following to build your brand identity:

  • Create brand specific google ads to encourage brand recognition
  • Host online or digital events with an attractive giveaway to engage your audience
  • Develop joint campaigns with other local businesses to support the community
  • Create video content to share your dealership’s story
  • Use organic (unpaid) social media posts to connect with your audience and show the faces behind your dealership

Creating campaigns that specifically focus on your dealership’s brand identity and positioning helps create brand recognition, setting your dealership up for future sales.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Car Dealerships

A well rounded, data driven automotive marketing strategy can drive your dealership to real growth. Engaging your audiences on multiple platforms allows your dealership to reach different markets based on where they spend their time.

The rise of CDXP technology in automotive is critical here: it provides automotive dealerships with the technology to consolidate and clean all customer data and leverage it to create seamless omni-channel marketing journeys.

Email get.started@autoleadstar.com to learn more about how AutoLeadStar’s CDXP can transform your automotive dealership’s marketing strategy.