Digital Marketing Tips for Auto Dealerships

Marketing for the automotive industry has dramatically evolved. Not long ago, car buyers would need to go around town and visit a brick and mortar dealership to inquire about a...

John Berida
John Berida September 30, 2019

Marketing for the automotive industry has dramatically evolved. Not long ago, car buyers would need to go around town and visit a brick and mortar dealership to inquire about a specific model for their budget and needs. Today, searching for the perfect ride takes a few taps of a button or swipes of the screen.  

The customer journey these days happens online. Inquiries regarding a car’s price, specs, ranking, and other info can be answered on the internet. If buyers wanted an idea of vehicle’s fuel efficiency and safety features, they can simply pull up a search engine. Comparisons are even made easier thanks to review sites. 

What this all means is that car shoppers are spending more time online to find the best deals in their area. Simply put, if you own a car dealership, embracing an automotive digital marketing strategy should be your top priority. 

To make sure you yield the best results for your dealership, here are ten digital marketing tips that you can use:

1. Build Your Online Presence with Local SEO

We know that search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of acquiring traffic from the free or organic results on search engines. When car buyers use these search engines, your dealership should be visible to them. To achieve this, you need a solid SEO strategy.

Local SEO, on the other hand, involves search terms that include specific locations. For customers looking for car repairs, their search query would look something like “Car Repair near me”. A search engine’s algorithm will make sure the results that appear are accurate and relevant for the searcher. 

Putting up your dealership on Google My Business is how you jumpstart your Local SEO efforts. This makes your business visible on the search engine and Google Maps. With GMB, you can manage relevant business information (location and store hours) and present important details from the get-go. 

Google has stated that 46 percent of searches include a local search reason. For dealerships who want to reach out to an audience within their community, Local SEO should be an essential part of your automotive digital marketing plan.

2. Develop a Solid Google Ads Strategy 

Because Google is the top search engine, you’d want to rank number one on this platform. The listings that are ranked higher have better chances of getting more clicks. So being on top increases your chances of driving qualified traffic to your website. 

Google Ads is a paid advertising service that lets you place search results for your website on a search engine results page (SERP). These results are the first things people see on the SERPs, which means they’re prime real estate. Since it’s a paid service, you have to find ways to be cost-effective if you don’t want to spend a fortune. Below are a few strategies that you can do to gain higher positions without breaking the bank:

  • Structure your Google Ads account accordingly with proper ad groups (preferably 15-20 keywords per ad group).
  • Make sure to have keywords that are related to the ad text, while including two to three ads per ad group or keyword list.
  • Bid higher on your highest sellers and ad that your audience would most likely search for to manage your budget properly.
  • Use ad extensions to get more ad real estate and better chances of lead interaction.

3. Look into Your Negative Keyword List

If you’re using Google Ads, take note that your ads can show up for searches that aren’t relevant to your brand. This can be a problem because if anyone clicks on these ads, it’s still going to cost you. So it’s important to manage your negative keyword list as well because bidding on phrase match or broad keywords can show up on irrelevant searches.

If you see your ads appearing in search terms unrelated to your business, add those to your negative keyword list immediately. Weeding out negative keywords may be a tedious task but it’s necessary if you don’t want to lose credibility or money in the long run.

4. Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices

Nowadays, it’s not enough that you have a website published. Websites, marketing messages, and content online must all be mobile-optimized. Consumers today have no patience for channels that aren’t designed for mobile devices. Not only that, Google has made it a point to index the mobile version of a site first before the desktop one. So for dealerships, mobile-responsiveness of websites is very crucial for success.

5. Create an Engaged Community with Social Media

In order to connect with new car buyers, you will need to leverage social media. This channel allows you to develop brand loyalty, enhance the customer experience, and influence purchase decisions more effectively. Creating engaging content on various social platforms channels is one of the keys to building a meaningful relationship with your audience.

Facebook is a valuable tool that you can use for engagement. You can publish original content or share articles to attract leads and get reactions from existing fans. But don’t just take our word for it. Facebook reveals that 77 percent of auto-related posts would influence their purchase.

Social media is also the perfect platform for your customers to leave reviews, both good or bad. Letting your customers provide feedback allows them to have a voice. What’s important is that you interact or respond to positive or negative reviews on a regular basis. 

6. Offer Special Sales Promos

Social media is great for getting creative with your campaigns. But offering special sales promotions and contests are still some of the most effective ways to engage your customers. Many of them wouldn’t even mind jumping ship from other brands to yours if you have special promos to offer.

Leverage social media’s enormous user base to create buzz around your contests and promos, and let your audience keep the momentum. It’s a great way to catch the attention of potential buyers and returning customers.

7. Create a Survey to Gather Feedback

After launching any marketing campaign, it’s important to track its performance and analyze results. This way, you’ll know if you’re going the right track or if you need to finetune or overhaul your strategy. 

Acquiring customer feedback via online surveys is also a great way to gather customer insights. Give out surveys to customers after they visit your dealership and pay attention to what they have to say. There are also many automated survey tools that you can use to distribute surveys and view the data in one dashboard.

Just make sure that your questions are easy to understand and straightforward so that the customers won’t have a hard time answering them.

8. Monitor Your Reviews

With vast amounts of information available online, customers seek reliability and demand authenticity. Expect your audience to be more cautious than ever. Every review of your dealership online will matter. Customers want to make sure that they read positive feedback of your company before making any contact.

Customer reviews are the most effective form of marketing for the automotive industry. So when your audience raves about your brand, make sure that their word can be seen everywhere. Publish them on Yelp, Google, social media pages, and your own website. 

If you’re faced with negative reviews, respond to complaints immediately and provide support if you can. Having lower than three and a half stars puts your search rankings and direct inquiries at risk. But more importantly, not managing these negative reviews may hurt your reputation and relationship with your customers in the long run.

9. Nurture Leads with Email Marketing

Successfully marketing an automotive dealership requires proper management of email contacts. Using this channel allows you to use sophisticated data sets that target specific audiences. From the make they prefer to the average income of your buyers, you get a glimpse of demographics that you can reach out to.

For email campaigns to convert, personalization is crucial. Readers tend to be more inclined to open emails from businesses when they’re tailored to their interests. Sending impersonal ones may simply turn off your leads and lead them to block your emails or report them as spam. You can read our article about successful email open rates to learn more about creating interest to your campaigns.

Email marketing requires lead management and not simply abandoning cold leads or customers who don’t immediately purchase. Consistent follow-ups would eventually pique their interest, increasing the chances of reconsideration.

10. Establish Authority with Video Content

Showing expertise in your field is important in developing your brand and gaining trust from your audience. Providing information about the make, model, price, and year is the bare minimum. You need to offer them advice regarding features, pain points, and other factors that would influence their purchase.

Establishing your authority can be done by making video content for lead generation. Produce videos that would offer insights into the industry.  Reviews can be turned into customer feedback videos of top customers to be posted on paid ads, newsletters, or your website.

What’s important is that all of these should provide clear and accurate information to let your audience know that you are a reliable and authoritative source. If your audience knows you’re providing quality content, there’s no doubt that they can vouch for you as an authority and thought leader in the automotive industry.

Boost your car sales and booth traffic with a proven, long-term strategy from Growth Rocket. Get in touch with us today!

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