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How To Market A Car Dealership: 7 Proven Strategies

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Published on September 28, 2023

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In today's evolving landscape, consumers are taking a more active role in the car-buying process. They conduct extensive online research, seek recommendations, and conduct multiple test drives before making a decision. This shift in consumer behavior underscores the increasing importance of robust car dealership marketing and sales strategies. 

To remain relevant, dealerships must adapt to changing purchasing trends. Building a strong brand presence across various channels is essential, especially as consumers rely heavily on online research. Notably, a recent study reveals that in 2023, the institutional retail used-car market in the United States and Europe is expected to generate approximately $1.2 trillion in revenue. It's worth noting that this market is characterized by fragmentation in both regions, with the top 20 used-car retailers holding less than 20 percent of the market share in the United States and less than 10 percent in Europe.

Transformations and challenges of the automotive industry in 2023

The automotive industry in 2023 has weathered the impact of the subsequent economic downturn, which initially slowed national auto sales. However, several overarching trends have continued to reshape the automotive landscape, even as consumer intent to buy has rebounded.

Navigating challenges

In the first half of 2023, the effects on car buyers did not see an immediate transformation. Consequently, dealership marketing finds itself compelled to swiftly adapt to new sales and promotional models, including a heightened focus on pre-owned vehicle sales and substantial investments in digital marketing dealerships. Moreover, a new generation of car buyers has emerged, bringing with them a fresh set of expectations that the automotive industry must address.

How to launch a car dealership marketing campaign

When developing a branding strategy for your dealership marketing strategies, maintaining consistency is crucial. Begin by convening upper-level members of your organization to define your dealership's desired image. 

Defining your core identity is crucial for your dealership's branding efforts. Are you known for honesty and pursuing the best deals, or do you prioritize delivering an exceptional customer experience that makes car buying enjoyable? This identity forms the foundation of your marketing campaign.

To effectively market your dealership, ensure you have the necessary tools to measure progress accurately. Dealerships need the capability to collect data and assess the effectiveness of their branding initiatives across both online and offline channels. How to market a car dealership successfully and how to market my specific dealership hinge on these essential insights.

 This data analysis is critical for crafting future branding strategies that resonate with consumers. Additionally, these tools should provide insights and recommendations on the most effective channels for engaging your target audience. By ensuring that your team is utilizing the right channels and messaging, your dealership will be well-positioned for ongoing success.

Effective dealership marketing strategies for your car 

  1. Utilize the SEO 

More car buyers initiate their research online than at physical dealerships, emphasizing the importance of enhancing your auto dealership's visibility on search engines. This is where the power of SEO comes into play, a widely adopted digital marketing strategy by businesses of all sizes. Implementing SEO best practices is the key to driving traffic to your website and increasing the chances of appearing on the first page of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Securing a spot on the first page of Google's Search Engine Results Page (SERP) significantly amplifies your potential to connect with potential buyers. Studies indicate that the top five organic results on Google account for a substantial 70 percent of all clicks.

To achieve the highest reach to the target audience, we need to follow the best SEO practices;

  • Craft high-quality content that targets relevant keywords commonly searched by buyers.

  • Create unique content that distinguishes your dealership; avoid duplicating content.

  • Optimize your content title and title tag by incorporating your chosen keyword.

  • Enhance your website's loading speed for a smoother user experience.

  • Include captions for all images and provide descriptive alternative text for accessibility.

  • Overall, achieving a higher rank necessitates a robust content planning strategy, exceptional content quality, and a user-friendly website.

Also read: Step up your local SEO game with Google My Business: a comprehensive guide

  1. Building your salespeople's brand

Building your dealership's brand extends beyond the digital realm to the in-person experience. Many car dealership commercials emphasize the expertise and friendliness of their staff, but often, these claims lack substance as the staff themselves are notably absent from these ads, making them somewhat hollow.

 Additionally, terms like "knowledgeable" and "friendly" have become so overused that they risk making your sales team seem indistinguishable from competitors. Encouraging your sales representatives to establish their identities within the dealership by showcasing their unique personalities, perhaps through work-sponsored Instagram accounts featuring favorite cars and happy customers, can breathe life into your brand, strengthen customer relationships, and instill a sense of recognition and appreciation among your sales team.

  1. Event marketing and brand activation 

Although offline events may not seem logical, it is important to focus on online efforts. However, this enables you to reach out to new and potential customers outside of your venue. For example, you can collaborate with local businesses to host an event that will expose your brand to potential local customers. You can also sponsor a team or a festival for brand exposure. You can promote by using offers and special services on certain occasions.

Provide basic service: Offering simple services like car washes or minor check-ups can solidify your presence in the local market as a valuable resource for car owners.

Host car parades: Organizing car parades, especially when aligned with a community cause, can be attention-grabbing and engage your local community even more effectively.

  1. Boost your online reputation with customer reviews

It's a fact that reviews hold considerable sway over customer behavior. Studies indicate that positive customer reviews can make car shoppers five times more likely to visit your dealership. Therefore, a smart marketing tactic is to actively prompt contented customers to share their experiences. Gathering reviews not only enhances your online reputation but also bolsters your overall brand image.

One of the most effective methods to encourage reviews is as simple as asking for them! Whether in person, over the phone, or through text messages post-purchase, reaching out to customers and requesting their feedback can be highly impactful.

Let us give you an example of a text message you could send to a customer to encourage them to leave a review. 

"Hi [customer's name], we hope you're enjoying your new car from [dealership name]. Your feedback means a lot to us. Could you take a moment to share your experience with us? Just click the link below to leave a review: [Review Link]. Thank you for choosing us!

Also read: Positive reviews responses examples for your potential customers 

  1. Optimize your keyword strategy: say no to irrelevant clicks

Have you ever thought about the possibility that your ads might be showing up for completely unrelated searches? Even worse, you're footing the bill for these clicks. It's a real concern, especially when you're bidding on broad or phrase-match keywords, as they leave the door open for irrelevant searches to sneak in.

While opting for exact-match keywords might seem like a safe bet, it can severely limit your reach. That's why actively managing your negative keyword list is a must in your automotive marketing playbook. It might sound a bit time-consuming, but it's a critical task, especially in the automotive industry. Showing up for irrelevant search terms not only hurts your credibility but also drains your budget.

Imagine this scenario: You're bidding on the keyword "affordable cars," but your ad pops up for the search "toy cars." Then, a busy parent accidentally clicks on it. It's a waste of their time and your money. Don't let this happen; keep a close eye on your negative keywords to filter out these costly and irrelevant clicks.

  1. Enhance the customer experience at your car dealership

Monitoring and improving the customer experience at your car dealership is crucial for success. To achieve this, you need to measure customer satisfaction and visitor feedback consistently. The most effective way to do this is by utilizing a customer experience management platform like Cloodot, which allows you to systematically and efficiently track and enhance this vital metric.

  1. Drive more customers with paid search and digital ads

The car-buying journey frequently begins online. Therefore, auto dealers must invest in paid search and other digital marketing dealerships to reach a wider audience.

Customers often use straightforward search phrases like "cars for sale in San Diego" or "top dealerships near me." A localized paid search advertising strategy enables you to target these keywords, ensuring that your website or ad appears at the top of search engine results pages. This strategic approach puts your digital marketing dealerships in front of individuals actively searching for a new car, increasing your chances of attracting potential customers.


How Cloodot can help you in dealership marketing 

Cloodot offers a comprehensive solution to elevate your dealership marketing efforts. With our platform, you can effortlessly gather essential data to assess your business's strengths and weaknesses. We facilitate the collection of customer reviews and feedback from various channels, providing insights into potential trends and areas for improvement.

Additionally, Cloodot simplifies the management of multi-channel customer chats by centralizing them in one convenient location. Our AI-driven responses ensure quicker interactions, resulting in a potential 10X increase in customer engagement.

Furthermore, our platform empowers you to visualize data attractively and take meaningful actions based on these insights. 

We invite you to schedule a meeting with one of our experts and embark on a journey to offer impactful experiences that positively influence your potential clients' perceptions.

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