Everyone is reaching for that next awesome car marketing idea, but let’s be honest, sometimes you’re just too busy and too rushed to sit down and brainstorm it up. That’s life in the car business. If you have a second to spare, there are fifteen other things you could be spending it on. So we’ve put together some of the most innovative, rewarding, and surprisingly simple car marketing examples to give you some ideas. Go forth and be inspired.
Difficultly Level: 2 – Easy(ish)
There are several ways to leverage your happy customer base to market your cars, and Galpin in Los Angeles, CA has picked this up and run with it. They tweet pictures and congratulations for new happy customers. It’s a testimonial, and ad, and a customer experience win all wrapped into one.
At the end of a sale, ask customers if you can take their picture with their new car and post a congratulations tweet. Let them pose with their new car however they like, snap a few photos, let them pick their favorite, and tweet that. Add a hashtag like #FriendlyFordCongratulations, tag the people in the photo, and post it! Inspired and easy car marketing that any dealership can do.
Difficulty Level: 3 – Middle of the Road
Another Twitter campaign? Yes. Because it’s a winner. Suburban Auto Collection in Troy, MI took a fresh approach to making Twitter work for them. The campaign involved loaning a new car to a customer with a ton of Twitter followers, then asking him to document his experiences on Twitter. This campaign is brilliant in it’s simplicity. From only one person, thousands are exposed to dealership brand, quality, creativity, and trustworthiness.
Find a customer, particularly a service customer, with a large number of twitter followers, and offer to loan them a car in exchange for their Twitter commentary. The rule Suburban Auto Collection imposed: You can be critical, but if you are, be constructive. This car marketing program can also be easily adapted for Instagram or Snapchat, and gain your dealership even more attention.
Difficulty Level: 5 – Big Changes and Big Rewards
One of the coolest car marketing programs we’ve heard of is Rice’s Toyota ‘house calls’. Rice’s Toyota in Greensboro, NC connected with a local hospital and offer to add a little convenience to the lives of its employees by picking up cars at the beginning of a shift, servicing them, and dropping them off before the end of the day. The program started off making $2000 its first month – but in 7 months was brining in $25,000.
Offer a pick-up and drop-off service. Pick up the car from the place of work, complete the service, and drop it back off before the customer’s shift ends. Simple rules like contacting the customer before any work that might take overnight is done and having a few dedicated employees to look after customers will help the program run smoothly. The benefits? Tons of referrals from your customers’ coworkers, more service appointments, and fatter service profit margins.
Difficulty Level: 3 – Middle of the Road
Thompson’s Toyota in Placerville, CA is in a town of 9,000, so like many dealers, they need customers from outside of their PMA. One of the ways they are tackling this issue is through a car marketing campaign that we aren’t afraid to call brilliant. They send out Google Cardboards with QR codes that link to 360 degree videos that introduce the prospect to the showroom, dealership culture, and some of the cars. Thompson’s inspired car marketing program extends the dealership experience to people far outside their PMA, building an emotional connection and ultimately attracting out-of-market customers into the store.
The hardest part of this program is making the video. It can’t just be a slapdash tour of the dealership filmed on a camcorder. This is a marketing strategy that revolves around new technology, so the video should be polished and professional. After that, it’s just a matter of sending out Google Cardboards and letting prospects watch your video. Mail out Google Cardboards (with the QR code link to your video) to targeted demographic groups outside your PMA, and see the results of innovative marketing roll in.
Difficulty Level: 2 – Easy(ish)
South Towne Volkswagen in Sandy, UT had the same problems with reviews and testimonials that everyone else does. Notice we said ‘had’. They don’t anymore. They realized that getting in-store happy customers to write handwritten (with an iPad and stylus) reviews was much easier than waiting for them to maybe write a Google review some time after they’d left. The result of this innovative and yet old-school car marketing program: A huge jump in clicks to their reviews page.
Got a happy customer? Hand them an iPad and stylus and ask them to write about their experience at your dealership. Take their picture to go along with it if they say it’s okay, and then post the handwritten review to your testimonial page. The handwriting speaks to prospects and feels more real, trustworthy, and convincing
Inspiration can come in many forms, but tried and tested proven examples are powerful muses. The amount of possibilities in these dealership and car marketing ideas is intoxicating. We’d say don’t be afraid to take one of these ideas and shape it to fit your dealership, but the car business doesn’t breed cowards. You’ve got the basics, you have the inspiration, now go and make it work for you.