13 Automotive Marketing Strategies To Drive More Sales (Guide for 2024)

Mia Jensen | January 9, 2024 | 24 min read
13 Automotive Marketing Strategies for More Sales in 2024

The automotive industry is always evolving, so your marketing strategy needs to evolve too. While you might have been doing things one way for years now, there’s no guarantee that it will work for your dealership in the future.

To succeed in this competitive market, you must change with the times and keep up with new trends and tech.

Whether you’re just looking for some inspiration or need a complete overhaul of your current marketing plan, here are 13 automotive marketing strategies to get started.

But first, why do you need a strategy for automotive marketing?

Why Do You Need a Strategy for Automotive Marketing?

Did you know 97% of customers looking to buy, repair, or customize a car start their journey online?

Automotive marketing is one of the most important aspects of your dealership. It’s a tough market, too, with much competition for your customer’s attention and money.

That’s why you need an automotive marketing strategy. It helps you effectively reach and engage with your target audience, generate leads, and ultimately increase sales using the right mix of techniques and tactics.

Without a strategy, a business may waste resources on ineffective marketing campaigns and miss opportunities to connect with potential customers.

A well-designed automotive marketing strategy can help an auto business to differentiate itself from its competitors and stand out in a crowded market.

It will also help you create better advertising campaigns and increase sales by:

Increasing brand awareness

A good strategy will help you create more effective advertising campaigns to drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness among potential customers.

Boosting sales leads

If you want to sell cars online or offline, use your website as the hub of all your marketing efforts. This way, you can collect potential customers’ information and contact them later with offers tailored specifically to their needs and interests.

Getting more shares on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter

Social media is a great place for automotive businesses to connect with customers. It allows them to interact directly with their target audience without paying for expensive ads or SEO services.

The more shares your content gets on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, the higher ranking it will get in search results — which means more people will see what you have to offer!

Getting more reviews on your website

If you want to boost the credibility of your business in search results, you need to make sure that you have plenty of positive reviews on your site.

People tend to trust sites with lots of positive feedback from other customers. So if yours is barebones (or nonexistent), it’s time to start soliciting reviews from your happy clients!

13 Successful Marketing Strategies in the Automotive Industry

  1. Build trust with customer reviews
  2. Bid on Competitor keywords
  3. Achieve the top spot on Google SERP
  4. Build a Strong Brand to attract more customers
  5. Unlock the Power of Word of Mouth with Referral Marketing
  6. Don’t Forget About SEO
  7. Offer a Trade-in Credit on Vehicle Purchases
  8. Give Them Something to Talk About!
  9. Be Social! (Social Media Marketing)
  10. Implement Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns
  11. Track Your Efforts and Measure ROI
  12. Fine-Tune your Campaign Budgets According to Car-Buying Trends
  13. Don’t Forget About Traditional Advertising Methods

1. Build trust with customer reviews

Building trust with your customers is crucial for improving sales and customer retention. One powerful way to achieve this is through leveraging customer reviews.

Reviews offer valuable insights for potential buyers, providing them with real feedback from other customers who have already bought your product or service.

Online review platforms such as Google, Yelp, and other auto-review directories are growing. Consumers are increasingly turning to these for information when making purchasing decisions.

This trend is not likely to slow down anytime soon, as research by Bright Local indicates that an overwhelming 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

So how do you get more positive reviews? Here are some tips:

Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews

After a customer has had a positive experience with your business, ask them to leave a review on a platform of their choice. Encourage your happy customers with something small like free coffee or dessert during their visit. You can also provide them with a link to a specific review site, such as Google or Yelp. Just remember not to ask for positive reviews only, as this is against most website policies.

Ask for reviews regularly and respond promptly

Regularly seeking and responding to customer feedback is essential for building trust and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Timely and thoughtful responses to reviews show customers that you take their feedback seriously. It also allows you to address issues and improve the overall customer experience.

On the other hand, failure to respond promptly can lead customers to believe that their feedback is unimportant and discourage them from leaving future reviews.

If a customer leaves a negative review, respond promptly in a professional and empathetic manner and address their concerns. This shows that you care about their experience and are willing to make things right.

45% of consumers are more likely to visit a business that responds to their negative reviews. So, never ignore a negative review.

Even if you can’t change the situation that led to the negative review, you can build a rapport with the customers and turn them into happy clients.

Offer incentives

When customers leave positive feedback for your dealership on auto review platforms, offer them incentives. These can be exclusive benefits such as discounts or coupons on future purchases.

This shows your appreciation for their feedback and encourages them to continue doing business with you. By offering these rewards, you can simultaneously boost customer loyalty and improve your dealership’s online reputation.

Provide easy ways for customers to leave reviews

Make the process of leaving a review simple and hassle-free, so customers can readily leave feedback for your dealership. It will lead to more positive reviews and higher visibility for your business.

Put links to the review sites prominently on your website or in your email signature, so customers can easily find them.

Here are a few ways to make it easy for customers to leave reviews:

  • Provide clear instructions: Provide customers with clear and concise instructions on leaving a review, including the link to the review site and the steps to follow on your website or other review sites. For your ease, we have compiled a list of car sales text message templates.
  • Use automated tools: Automated tools such as automated text marketing can remind customers to leave a review after a purchase or service. Send the review link via text message as SMS open rates are 98% compared to email, which is only 20%.
  • Keep it mobile-friendly: Many customers will likely leave reviews on their mobile devices. So, make sure the review process is mobile-friendly and easy to use on smaller screens.
  • Make it timely: Request reviews at the right time, when the customer is most likely to be satisfied, and leave a review.
  • Use reputation management software: Reputation management software.
  • Create a review generation campaign: Create a marketing campaign to encourage customers to leave reviews for your dealership. This can be done through email, SMS, or even social media.
  • Use social proof: Show off your positive reviews on your website, emails, and social media platforms. This can attract new customers and increase trust in your dealership.

It’s important to remember that getting reviews takes time and effort, so be patient and consistent in your approach.

Making it easy for customers to leave feedback increases the number of positive reviews. It also provides valuable feedback on areas of your business that needs improvement, boosting your visibility and credibility in the market.

2. Bid on Competitor Keywords

In the cut-throat world of car dealerships, standing out is key to capturing customers’ attention. And how do you do that, you ask?

By having the best possible automotive marketing, extensive research, eye-catching digital ads, and an unbeatable sales team!

Bid on keywords that your competitors are using to attract online car shoppers. Google has lifted its ban on bidding on competitor keywords, so the sky’s the limit — except, of course, for using your rival’s brand name in your ads.

So, make your move and get ahead of the competition today!

3. Achieve he Top Spot on Google SERPs

Step into the driver’s seat of online visibility with a top-notch presence on Google’s SERP! A quick, effortless search experience is what today’s car shoppers crave. Don’t let endless scrolling and ads leave them lost in a sea of sameness.

Stand out with a polished and strong website and sparkling customer reviews that shine brighter than the rest.

Where do you want to be when car buyers start their online journey? Obviously on page 1, not buried on page 8 or 10.

Most consumers don’t go beyond the first page of search results. The top position is crucial in attracting 33% of all search traffic for a specific term. Being one of the first dealerships seen by car shoppers increases your chances of attracting new business.

Ensure your dealership is seen first by partnering with automotive marketers who know how to put you on the map.

4. Build a Strong Brand to Attract More Customers

Branding is important to your dealership’s marketing strategy and should be a priority. A strong brand strategy will help you attract customers, build loyalty, and increase sales.

Some examples of brands that have built a strong presence in their industry:

  • McDonald’s: The Golden Arches has become synonymous with fast food worldwide. Moreover, they were the first to use branding for marketing purposes (think Ronald McDonald).
  • Nike: The swoosh logo has become synonymous with quality athletic gear, even though many other brands manufacture similar products.
  • Volvo: It is a car brand that has been around since 1927. It didn’t become well-known until the 1980s when they began to focus on safety and quality in their vehicles. As a result, they have a reputation for being one of the safest cars in the world.

How to build a strong brand strategy?

A strong brand strategy is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business. It helps you stand out from competitors, build customer trust, and increase sales.

Here are some tips for building a solid brand strategy:
  • Identify yourself, your values, and where you wish to go (goals).
  • Identify your target audience and their needs and problems.
  • Analyze your competition and how they market themselves.
  • Focus on a few key areas (such as quality or price) that set your business apart from competitors.
  • Decide on a name, logo, and brand colors representing your business, and be consistent.
  • Create a mission statement for your company that defines its purpose in the marketplace.
  • Determine how you will market your products or services (for example, social media advertising and text marketing).
  • Get the word out about your products or services with marketing materials (such as a website, Email or Text marketing, and social media accounts).

5. Unlock the Power of Word of Mouth with Referral Marketing

Referral marketing is a powerful tool for car dealerships to reach new customers, promote their brand and build a loyal customer base. It harnesses the power of word-of-mouth marketing and can help dealerships unlock new business.

Most people who enter a dealership are wary of salespeople, who they suspect has a vested interest in keeping prices high. By establishing trust and good faith with customers, dealerships can overcome this skepticism and win over new customers through referral marketing.

To boost the impact of referral marketing, you can incentivize buyers to refer potential customers with rewards programs, such as discount bonuses or other incentives. Both parties benefit when someone refers a new customer, and a purchase occurs.

Suppose a customer refers someone and that person buys a product within 30 days. In that case, the original customer will get a discount (such as $100 off their next oil change).

6. Don’t Forget About SEO

SEO is a great way to drive more traffic to your website. It’s important for any business. But it’s especially important for automotive businesses because they sell products people search for online.

If you’re not at the top of the Google SERP (search engine result page), you’re missing out on many potential leads, sales, and customers!

Automotive businesses can use SEO to increase their online visibility and attract more customers to their websites.

The main components of great SEO for auto businesses include the following:

  • Keyword research and optimization: Finding the right keywords that customers are searching for and incorporating them into your website’s content and meta tags.
  • Content creation: Developing high-quality, relevant, and engaging content optimized for search engines and providing value to the user.
  • Technical SEO: Ensuring your website is technically sound, with a fast loading speed, a responsive and user-friendly design, and a proper and easy-to-navigate structure.
  • Link building: Acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable sources to show search engines that your website has authority and reliability.
  • Local SEO: Optimizing your website for local searches, including your business’s address, phone number, and city/state information on your website or Google Business Profile. You can also target local keywords such as “Car dealership near me” or “Auto repair shop in Newark NJ.”

By focusing on these key components, auto businesses can improve their search engine rankings and drive more traffic and sales to their website.

7. Offer a Trade-in Credit on Vehicle Purchases

Selling a car can be complex, but offering a trade-in credit can help simplify things for your customers. This valuable option allows them to trade in their old vehicle and use the credit towards financing their new car.

This is particularly helpful for customers who may not have a lot of savings or want to reduce their monthly car payments.

One of the keys to making trade-in credits a successful part of your car sales process is having strong relationships with local banks and insurance agents.

By partnering with trusted financial institutions, you can ensure that your customers receive the best financing options and insurance coverage for their new vehicles. Not only does this help streamline the car-buying experience, but it also helps establish your dealership as a trusted, reliable resource for all things automotive.

If you haven’t already, consider making trade-in credits part of your car sales process today!

8. Give Them Something to Talk About!

It’s not enough to meet your customer’s expectations. You need to exceed them and give them a reason to discuss their experience.

Going above and beyond for your customers can make all the difference in creating a memorable and positive experience. There are many simple and effective ways to do this, such as:

  • offering a complimentary car wash or detailing,
  • providing snacks and refreshments in your waiting area,
  • Give each customer a small token of appreciation upon purchase, like a customized keychain or water bottle.

By creating a memorable experience, you encourage customers to spread the word about your dealership to their friends and family, resulting in valuable word-of-mouth advertising.

For example, if a customer comes into your dealership for routine maintenance, provide them with a thorough car wash and vacuuming as a courtesy. These little gestures can greatly impact customer loyalty and ultimately drive more business to your dealership. They will feel valued, appreciated and respected.

9. Be Social! (Social Media Marketing)

Social media marketing is a powerful marketing strategy for automotive businesses to reach their target audience, local or nationwide. Through social media platforms, businesses can reach people who might not be aware of their brand or products otherwise.

According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index: Above and Beyond, 90% of consumers will be more likely to buy products from a brand they follow on social media. This shows that a strong presence on social media can significantly impact purchasing decisions and increase dealership sales.

You can use social media in multiple ways to drive business objectives, such as:

  • raising brand awareness,
  • capturing leads,
  • boosting sales and ROI.

Engaging with customers where they are most active and engaged is essential. This allows businesses to cater to the unique needs of their target audience, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

One of the most significant advantages of social media marketing is the ability to build relationships with customers on a personal level. This kind of connection was never possible before social media became prevalent.

With social media, businesses can connect with customers directly, creating opportunities for personalization and customization. By doing this, businesses can turn their customers into brand ambassadors, spreading the word about their products and services and attracting new customers.

10. Implement Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing is an excellent way to build customer relationships and drive sales. It can also be used for brand awareness, customer loyalty, or other purposes.

Email marketing has been around for years to get messages to people who have already expressed interest in your products or services.

A well-designed email campaign will help you connect with your audience personally by providing useful information they want to read about. It allows you to access their inboxes to send them additional offers when they’re ready!

11. Track Your Efforts and Measure ROI

Measuring ROI is essential for the success of your automotive business. You can’t know whether or not your marketing efforts are working unless you track them. So make sure to set up some system for tracking the performance of each campaign.

There are many ways to measure ROI, such as:

Cost per lead (CPL)

Cost per Lead (CPL) is a metric used to measure the cost of acquiring a new lead for a business. It represents the total cost of a marketing campaign divided by the number of leads you get from that campaign.

For example, if an auto dealership spends $5,000 on a marketing campaign and generates 100 leads, the CPL would be $50 ($5,000/100 leads). The lower this number goes over time, the better!

A high CPL indicates that the cost of acquiring each lead is high, whereas a low CPL indicates that the cost of acquiring each lead is low. By tracking CPL, businesses can identify areas for improvement and optimize their marketing efforts to generate leads at a lower cost.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the measure of the percentage of visitors to a website who take a specific desired action, such as booking a test drive, purchasing some product or service, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter.

To calculate the conversion rate, divide the number of conversions by the number of total visitors and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, if a website had 100 visitors and 2 made a purchase, the conversion rate would be 2% (2/100 x 100).

Improving the conversion rate is a common goal for businesses as it directly affects their bottom line by increasing the number of conversions and sales.

The automotive marketing landscape has changed with digital technology and the internet. Today, car buyers rely heavily on online research and reviews to make informed purchasing decisions.

To reach these tech-savvy consumers, automotive marketers must adjust their campaigns and budgets to take advantage of the new digital marketing channels.

This includes leveraging video marketing, mobile ads, and other forms of media that weren’t previously accessible to automotive marketers. These channels are highly effective at engaging potential customers and guiding them through the car-buying journey toward your dealership.

In the past two years, the amount of time spent watching “test drive” videos on YouTube has increased by over 65%. Car buyers are researching and delving deeper into the purchasing process before contacting dealerships.

However, note that the cost of these digital marketing techniques can vary based on current keyword bids and market trends.

To maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and budget, stay up-to-date with the latest car-buying trends and adjust your campaigns accordingly. By leveraging data and trends, automotive marketers can effectively target their audience and drive more sales for their dealerships.

13. Don’t Forget About Traditional Advertising Methods

Traditional and digital marketing both have their benefits for automotive businesses.

While digital marketing can reach a wider audience, traditional marketing, such as print advertisements and television commercials, still play a role in reaching those who are not as active online.

Understanding your target audience is crucial in determining the right mix of digital and traditional marketing strategies for maximum impact.

For example, suppose your target audience is older and not tech-savvy. In that case, traditional print ads in local newspapers and magazines may be more effective.

On the other hand, if your target audience is primarily young and tech-savvy, a digital-focused strategy with targeted social media ads and online video content may be more impactful.

Some examples of traditional advertising methods are:

  • Print Ads (Newspapers, Magazines)
  • Billboards
  • Radio Ads
  • TV Commercials
  • Direct Mail
  • Telemarketing
  • Sponsorships
  • Public Relations

Not sure what’s right for you?

Not every dealership is the same, so it’s important to tailor your marketing strategy based on these three factors:

  • Your target audience (who do we want to reach?)
  • Your location (where do they work?)
  • How much money can you afford to spend?

There are plenty of different ways to market your dealership and drive sales. You can use social media, SEO, email marketing campaigns, and traditional advertising methods like radio or TV ads if they fit your budget and target audience.

Figure out which strategies work best for your dealership so you can spend less time on things that don’t work and more time on what to do!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Automotive Marketing Strategies

What is an automotive marketing strategy?

An automotive marketing strategy is the plans and tactics an automobile business uses to promote and sell its products. This includes traditional methods like TV and radio ads, as well as digital methods such as social media marketing, SEO, and email marketing.

How can digital marketing benefit the automotive industry?

Digital marketing can significantly benefit the automotive industry. It helps in expanding the audience reach, providing personalized marketing, and measuring marketing performance accurately. Tools like social media platforms, email marketing, and search engine optimization play a key role in a successful automotive marketing strategy.

How can automotive businesses leverage social media for marketing?

Automotive businesses can use social media to showcase new models, share customer testimonials, run promotional campaigns, and engage with their audience. They can also use these platforms to provide customer service, better understand their customers’ needs, and improve their overall customer experience.

What role does SEO play in automotive marketing?

SEO is crucial in automotive marketing by improving a business’s visibility on search engine results. This means when potential customers search for car-related keywords or the automotive industry, an SEO-optimized website is more likely to appear in top search results. This increases the chances of attracting more customers to your website.

The latest trends in automotive marketing include using Artificial Intelligence for data analysis and customer targeting, more digital advertising focusing on personalized video content, and hyper-personalization in marketing messages.

Other trends include virtual showrooms, influencer marketing, service-level loyalty programs, and leveraging customer reviews. Additionally, there’s a growing investment in digital technologies to enhance customer experiences and streamline processes.

Key Takeaways

The Importance of Evolving Marketing Strategies: The automotive industry is rapidly changing, necessitating adaptive and innovative marketing strategies to remain competitive and successful.

The Necessity of an Automotive Marketing Strategy: With 97% of automotive customers beginning their journey online, having a comprehensive marketing strategy is essential to effectively reach and engage potential customers, generate leads, and increase sales.

Strategies for Increasing Brand Awareness and Sales: Effective strategies include leveraging customer reviews, bidding on competitor keywords, achieving high visibility on Google SERPs, building a strong brand, utilizing referral and SEO marketing, offering trade-in credits, exceeding customer expectations, engaging in social media marketing, implementing targeted email marketing campaigns, tracking marketing ROI, adjusting campaign budgets according to car-buying trends, and integrating traditional advertising methods.

Building Trust Through Customer Reviews: Customer reviews are crucial for building trust and improving sales. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and responding promptly to feedback can significantly enhance a dealership’s reputation.

Competitive Advantage through SEO and Digital Marketing: SEO is vital for increasing online visibility. Digital marketing efforts should focus on creating high-quality content, optimizing for local and specific keywords, and ensuring the website is mobile-friendly and user-friendly.

The Power of Social Media and Email Marketing: Social media marketing can help raise brand awareness, capture leads, and boost sales by engaging with customers on platforms they frequently use. Targeted email marketing campaigns allow for personal connections with potential buyers, offering relevant information and promotions.

Monitoring and Adjusting Marketing Efforts: It’s essential to track the performance of marketing campaigns and measure ROI to identify effective strategies and areas for improvement. Adjusting marketing budgets according to the latest car-buying trends ensures that efforts remain relevant and impactful.

Blending Traditional and Digital Marketing: A mix of traditional (e.g., print ads, billboards, TV commercials) and digital marketing strategies can maximize reach and appeal to a broader audience, depending on their preferences and behaviors.

Customizing Strategies Based on Dealership Needs: Marketing strategies should be tailored to the dealership’s target audience, location, and budget to ensure the most efficient and effective use of resources.

Utilizing Tools and Technologies: Incorporating advanced tools like DemandHub for automating review generation and improving online visibility can significantly enhance a dealership’s marketing efforts and customer impression.

Trends and Innovations in Automotive Marketing: Staying abreast of trends such as AI, digital advertising, virtual showrooms, influencer marketing, and leveraging customer reviews is key to staying ahead in the competitive automotive market.

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