With more and more customers flocking to online car sales, what does successful marketing look like for a car dealership? If your dealership is lagging behind with its digital marketing efforts, there are some important bases to cover. These essential tips will shed some light on where to focus your efforts.
A study by Google states that 71% of a customer’s buying journey happens online. In a post-COVID-19 world that number is sure to be even higher. How a car dealership represents itself online and how they utilize available marketing tools is key to spreading awareness, winning leads, and maximizing revenue.
Today, you need to ensure that your business is easy to locate online and that it’s regularly competing for customer mindshare.
We assembled a few essential tips your dealership should leverage to boost your online presence and reach.
1. Build a responsive website
If you already have a website, and we’re guessing the majority of you do, you need to make sure it’s optimized for mobile. A responsive website restructures content in a simplified format for effortless viewing and navigation on a mobile device.
If your website isn’t responsive, a new customer might find it clunky and hard to use. That’s not good. This bad experience usually results in a lost customer.
The speed and simplicity of being able to tap on your smartphone to find all of the information you need to make a purchasing decision is what customers want these days. Remember, you need to reach millennials, so that means building an online presence that appeals to mobile users.
2. Optimize for search engines (locally)
Search engine optimization (SEO) ensures your dealership’s website can be found and ranked by search engines. By boosting your ranking in search engine results pages, SEO (done the right way) will organically increase traffic to your website.
With the right local SEO strategy, your dealership website will rank higher than your local competitors, which will improve your online presence, boost brand recognition, and ultimately generate leads.
Ensuring that your business is easily discoverable through local searches will give you a serious advantage in acquiring organic leads. Make sure to register your dealership’s details with key directory sites like Google My Business, but also Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, and more. For local searches, websites listed on multiple key directory sites are more likely to rank well organically with Google.
If your car dealership isn’t already registered on Google My Business, it’s a good place to start. Google My Business reveals your location, contact details, and hours of operation in search results along with a link to your website.
Google My Business also lets previous customers leave reviews about your company. This capability is crucial since 90% of customers check the reviews of a company before visiting your site.
Without genuine reviews, it’s harder for a customer to know how reliable your service is. Since 2010, Canada Drives has been receiving online reviews from customers all across the nation. This social proof has helped us win the trust of potential car buyers and build an ever-growing customer base across Canada.
3. Plan for paid advertisements
Billboards and newspaper spreads are all well and good, but it’s time to digitalize your adverts and put them right where your target market can’t miss them; on search engine results pages and other relevant websites.
Unlike traditional advertising, online advertising lets you be more selective about who can see your ads. Through platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook, you can plan your advertising campaign to target consumers by location, age, and other demographics.
Unlike SEO which can sometimes take months to see results, paid search, paid social, native, and display advertisements let you extend your reach and generate more traffic and leads almost immediately. For the right price, you can place ads where chances are highest that they’ll be seen and clicked on.
If you really want to stand out, you can promote your dealership with video ads for platforms like YouTube. We’ll cover video more in Tip 5.
4. Get savvy with social media
As far as your business is concerned, social media builds familiarity and trust.
Setting up social media accounts on channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can help potential customers get to know your business before they even set foot inside your dealership.
But which social platform works best for your audience? And what kind of content will connect with them?
Facebook has over two billion active monthly users and is ideal for building and maintaining relationships with new and existing customers. Twitter is great for posting time-sensitive information like special offers and other announcements. Instagram is perfect for showcasing your vehicle inventory and offering an inside look at day-to-day life and special events at your dealership.
Check out Canada Drives’ Instagram to see how we use the social platform to showcase our culture and brand personality!
With so many channels to build a presence, it’s a good idea to maintain a content calendar to ensure your output is consistent.
And once you’ve posted relevant content, it’s important to engage. That means commenting on posts, participating in discussions, answering questions, and addressing complaints. Regular communication and interaction will help build relationships with customers in your area and beyond.
5. Stand out with video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much a video can communicate to your audience.
Considering 1/3 of the time that people spend online is dedicated to watching videos, using the power of video at your car dealership is an inexpensive and easy way to market your business.
Test drives, car feature videos, customer testimonial videos, or meet-the-team videos are great examples of how a car dealership can utilize video to increase ROI. Many consumers today gravitate towards watching rather than reading when making a purchasing decision.
Take a look at how Canada Drives leverages video to showcase customer testimonials:
According to Biteable (and HubSpot), 85% of consumers want to see more video content from brands, and 97% of marketers say video has helped users gain a better understanding of their products and services.
Whether you invest in a camera, hire a videographer, or decide to film on your smartphone, it’s important to know that consumers often care about content over quality. If you can deliver video content that effectively communicates your brand personality, spreads awareness, and builds trust, it’ll drive traffic and revenue.
6. Invest in newsletters and blogging
Blogging continues to be one of the most profitable content-marketing activities. A blog for your dealership helps generate interest in your business and educate readers about all car-related things. A blog helps you build authority in your area of expertise as it gives you a platform to answer questions and deliver solutions to your readers.
An e-mail newsletter is ideal for showcasing your best blog posts and staying in touch with your target audience. Done right, email newsletters can be a very effective form of customer acquisition. Remember, it’s important to opt for quality over quantity with your e-mail strategy. While consistency is key, spammy content will start to annoy your recipients and you’ll see subscription numbers take a nosedive.
Be mindful about the value your content delivers to your readership. If they appreciate your content, it’ll drive traffic to your website and bring customers through your doors.
7. Partner with a premium lead provider
The key to reaching more customers these days is a tech-savvy strategy. But for dealerships that are more focused on sales, it makes sense to outsource online marketing efforts and leverage the digital strengths of a third-party provider.
At Canada Drives, our advertising reaches more Canadians than any other lead provider across the nation. With low set-up fees and the ability to track your advertising dollar to the penny, we’re partnered with hundreds of car dealerships to attract and deliver quality leads across Canada.
Interested in getting more online leads for your dealership? Connect with our Dealer Service team today to learn more!