Remember the days when customers appeared at your car dealership every morning with heaps of cash, waiting eagerly to spend their money with you, even though you hardly marketed to them? Can’t recall? That’s because it never happened.
When you get down to the core of any business, sales revenue is more or less a reflection of sustained and creative marketing. The car business is no exception. Automotive internet marketing should be on the top of every dealership’s priority list. If you can reach your audience on multiple outlets and target their specific needs with your products, you’ve got a winning system. But to market effectively, especially online, think outside of the box
In this post, we’ve outlined ten automotive internet marketing tips to drive more leads and help you convert potential buyers. A few of these are tried and true ways, and possibly a couple you haven’t considered before. Either way, the message is in the point: sharpen up your internet marketing!
Promote your dealership and sell more cars using these 10 digital ideas that will bring your automotive internet marketing to the next level.
1. Feature an “employee pick” of the week
If you want to sell a product, you have to sell its benefits first. Having your salespeople feature a specific car via social media, blog post, or a specials page on your site will add perceived value to the purchase.
Animal shelters have perfected the art of getting animals adopted by posts featuring just one dog or cat, talking about their personality and background. On your blog or in social media, feature a “car of the week.” Snap a quality photo of one of your sales reps in the car, (or next to it) and ask them why it’s their favorite on the lot this week. It adds character to a salesperson that they haven’t met yet, and gives creates urgency because customers see the car as a hot ticket on display. It could be sold at any minute. You want to get people to pick up the phone and say “HOLD THAT CAR FOR ME!”
2. Start an auto blog that will attract customers looking to buy
Create content focusing that establishes you as the local resource and expert on cars. Use your blog to educate your customers, while also soft selling your dealership and maintenance services. The formula is simple: bring up a problem, write about the solution, and softly promote yourself as the answer.
At JDByrider, they write about topics like good credit, how to protect your car’s paint, and how to maintain a healthy engine. Figure out what your customers are searching for online and target those searches with content that will bring them onto your site and give you a chance web traffic into foot traffic.
3. Consider PPC advertising on Google, Bing and social media
Forget the yellow pages. Think beyond banner ads, directory advertising and listings on sites like AutoTrader (although certainly keep spending money there). You can get website traffic for free with a business blog, but most dealerships get traffic and customers faster by paying for highly-targeted PPC ads.
With Pay-per-click advertising you can choose who you want to target, depending on where they live and what they’re searching for (such as “Jeep dealership in Providence” or “Used Grand Cherokee for sale in Ithaca”), or pages they’re following in social media. You pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad.
4. Take advantage of recycling video content over different platforms
If you’re paying a videographer to film local TV spots, ask them to create versions for the web, too. Those videos can be extended with added content without the cost of paying per fifteen second slot to be viewed on television. You can post those videos on YouTube, your website, business blog, or landing pages.
If you do monthly spots, ask your videographer to help you create a series where you review different types of cars. A good example is the Community Chrysler YouTube Channel, an Indiana dealership who who has a whole YouTube channel with how-to videos, test drives and video reviews of cars on their lot.
5. Become the local auto resource via social media
Communicating over social media is a great way to build relationships and a good reputation. Talking to customers one to one on Twitter or through a weekly Q&A on your Facebook page gives you the chance to ask questions, answer questions, and sell without being overt. Use Facebook’s new video feature, which currently has higher post visibility than any other type of post on Facebook, to do car reviews when new ones hit the lot.
- 6. Start a contest
Create a contest where people can win a $200 gas card if they like you, Tweet you, follow you on Instagram, or subscribe to your email newsletter. This is a small cost when compared to the huge benefit of having a list of potential car buyers that you can load into your CRM and add to your promotional email list. You can also set milestones. $200 when you reach 2000 likes, $300 when you hit 3000 likes, $400 when you hit 4000 likes, and so on.
- 7. Gather testimonials that get shared
How often do you see a photo of your friend and their new car on Facebook? Every time a sale is made, ask to snap a photo or take a video for Facebook and Instagram that they can share and tag themselves in (and do it right away, so they can share your photo when they get home). Ask them how they felt about the dealership after buying their new car and ask them to review you online. You can send out a follow-up rating request and use those testimonials on your website.
- 8. Partner with local auto vloggers to test drive a car
What’s a better technique for automotive internet marketing than getting local experts to review your cars? There are tons of vloggers (video bloggers) on YouTube who have partnerships with local dealerships and will take your car out for a spin, review the features and do test drives. These vloggers will benefit from the fresh content while spreading free promotional material across the web and leveraging their own audience. Invite them in to test any cars they want, as long as they list you as the dealership and promote your partnership.
- 9. Create a local road trip guide
Plot out a series of road trips (possibly sponsored by local businesses) in your local area. Drive one of your vehicles around, taking photos of the car in each place. Use this content on your blog and in social media. You don’t want to put too many miles on the cars, but a series of short road trips would lend to social media posts. You can offer downloadable road trip Ebooks as free downloads when people sign up for your email list.
- 10. Invest in a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager)
Sales don’t often close on first-time emails. But setting up a series of autoresponders to the people who did sign up for your newsletter, which offer them deals at just the right moment, can have a huge impact on your conversion rates. And the best part–after you had set up the system to work automatically through your CRM, there’s very little management needed.
You can also use a CRM to organize your leads, keep track of where your customers are viewing content on your website, and clearly see who responds to your marketing efforts.
Don’t wait for the next automotive internet marketing trend–start one!
If there’s one thing you can count on with automotive internet marketing, it’s the playing field always changing. That’s the nature of technology, so you can’t wait for the next big thing to come around (or for the day social media goes away forever). You need to jump on it and start implementing these strategies now. If you actually want customers to show up at your dealership eager to buy, modern marketing efforts like the ones we’ve just listed, are the first step to getting there.
Are you looking for a CRM system to support your internet marketing projects? AutoRaptor is a one of a kind CRM specifically made for car dealerships, featuring top notch lead management tools, email marketing templates, and sales tracking. Download a free copy of our CRM Guide to find out more or give us a call today!