Car dealer advertising isn’t anything like it was 20 or 30 years ago. Before the advent and overwhelming popularity of the internet, dealers relied on a few traditional means to market their dealership. Those days are in the past.
It’s no longer sufficient to place ads on television, radio, newspapers and the Yellow Pages. Forward-thinking dealers now understand the importance of adapting to technology for their marketing success. Beyond that, they understand how to leverage peak buying seasons that put their salespeople in a position to succeed.
If you want to learn the best car dealer advertising practices in 2020, keep reading. One of these tips could be the key to advertising success this year.
1. Plan for Peak Buying Months
First, it’s important to understand that a customer’s purchase journey is heavily influenced by mobile technology. As recently as ten years ago, a car buyer visited a dealership five times to research the vehicle they were looking to buy. In today’s market, they only come back twice.
The major reason this has changed is that customers do their own research on smart devices. They no longer need to research their options in person.
The Most Foot Traffic
When do most customers make their purchase decisions? It’s not surprising that the majority of showroom foot traffic happens during summer and the holiday season. During these peak buying times, boost your mobile marketing budget so your advertisements appear when the most consumers in your area are searching for vehicles.
Keep in mind that during these periods, shoppers are more likely to look at vehicles during mid-day work breaks rather than in the evening. Have your marketing team adjust your mobile ads to account for this. Customers search for dealerships to visit before they leave for their lunch breaks. That’s when your mobile ads are most effective.
In-Person Customers Use Mobile
When a customer arrives on your lot, they rely on their mobile device for information and buying advice. The number one action they’ll perform is to confirm you have your vehicles listed at a fair price. While on the lot, there’s a good chance they’ll research other area lots to see if your price beats theirs. They’ll also browse your site.
Because of this, ensure that you keep your website information up-to-date. List all your incentives and inventory updates in a format that works well on mobile devices. This helps build the confidence of a shopper that’s already at your lot and ready to make a purchase.
2. Build Your Digital Advertising Footprint
The fastest way to digital advertising success is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Investing in SEM keeps your dealership in front of buyers by showing up at the top of search engine results. This strategy applies to mobile and desktop devices.
SEM is an inexpensive and effective form of advertising. This digital marketing method allows you to bid on specific dealership-related terms and geographical locations. Google structures your search engine view results around their existing algorithms. Search terms like “Mark Motors used cars” are more relevant in Google’s algorithms than terms like “Chicago cars for sale.”
Put your focus on dealer-centric search terms to create a lower cost-per-click bid rate and more click-throughs to your site.
Bid on Your Store Name
Keep in mind that it’s important to bid on your specific dealership name. If you don’t, your competitors could bid on it and drive traffic to their sites. For example, they might bid on a term such as “dealers similar to Mark Motors” and pull business away from you.
Once you perfect your SEM campaigns, you’ll notice an immediate increase in the traffic showing up on your website. But traffic isn’t enough. You need to give new users a customer-centric online atmosphere.
An Engaging Website
Think of your website as a virtual showroom. You wouldn’t leave the same three vehicles sitting in the showroom for months on end. Your website is no different. Keep the site updated and clean so that it gives shoppers a positive experience. Make sure the site is mobile-friendly and doesn’t contain old information.
Power your site with instant chat functionality and finance pre-approval applications. When consumers start flooding to your site, you want to give them the best experience possible.
3. Leverage the Power of Your Sales People
If you’re like nearly every other dealership, you employ a sales staff. Even if your staff is small, you can still leverage them in your digital advertising strategy.
Think of your salespeople as the most under-used marketing asset you have. Every one of them connects with family and friends through social media. Give your staff the responsibility of taking ownership of their area of the dealership. Have them treat it like their own small business.
When your workers take ownership of their area of the business, they’ll feel like more than just an employee. They’ll feel like business owners. Encourage them to connect with family and friends about vehicle needs. Have sales staff create a referral system that rewards the people they know with a cash incentive when they refer other people.
When you allow your sales team to conduct business with their own ideas, you’ll reduce turnover, increase customer loyalty and lower PUR.
4. The Service Department
People are keeping vehicles for longer periods of time than in the past. Because of this, there’s an increased demand for parts and service. Often, drivers don’t plan ahead for their repairs. Statistics show that over 40% of service department shoppers ignore routine maintenance.
When it comes time for repairs, research reveals that they turn to a search engine.
In today’s digital market, almost 25% of automotive-related searches are for maintenance, vehicle service and parts. A quick Google search gives consumers all the information they need to take immediate action. When a customer conducts a mobile search, more than 50% call the first service provider that results from that search.
This means that you need to perfect the SEM for your service department as you did for the sales department. Treat it like a completely independent part of your dealership. Work with your service department staff to determine the most popular search terms to bid on.
Successful Automotive Advertising in 2020
Digital advertising for car dealers isn’t intimidating. You also don’t need to spend your entire marketing budget to do it the right way. With these four keys to automotive advertising in 2020, you’ll be well on your way to success.