2018 hasn’t been the most fruitful year for automotive sales (at least on a national level), and that means competition is that much fiercer. And as we know, when competition is getting tough, getting the edge can make all the difference.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely looking for some car dealership marketing inspiration. Well, we want to offer that. To help do that, we’ve put together five of our favorite car dealership marketing tips from across the spectrum of strategies and tactics.
Do you have an awesome idea that belongs on this list? Let us know! Reach out anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Getting Generous — Take a (Web) Page From Jack Kain Ford
Many dealerships are major contributors to their communities in one way or another. Via donations and good-works, it’s common for dealers to become backbones of their communities. However, not very many dealerships are so generous they actually have a donation application form directly on their website.
Yes, that’s correct. Jack Kain Ford, in Versailles, Kentucky allocates a specific page on their site for helping organizations request fundraising help.
An easy yet thorough questionnaire covers all the important information about the organization and the event or initiative to be sponsored.
Naturally, the last question is about Partner Promotion. The directions are:
“Please share how your organization would promote our partnership (website, social media, newsletters, banners, cars at an event, etc.)”
This makes Jack Kain’s donation form not only a wonderful display of their commitment to their community but a savvy marketing technique for driving partnerships with nonprofits and charities. This question allows for an up-front evaluation of the intentions of the organization and the value of the proposed partnership.
Pretty brilliant, we gotta say.
2. 5+ Steps for Acing Local SEO
SEO is a pillar of successful marketing for almost any business, and for dealerships, local-specific SEO is an increasingly powerful automotive marketing tool. Google, in particular, has reported major growth in the use of local “near me” searches.
In fact, this trend has been even more impactful for car dealerships. Google’s research reveals a recent exciting boost to car dealership-related “near me” searches:
Here are a few quick (yet essential) steps to make sure your local SEO matches up with or exceeds industry standards:
- Get your dealership info exactly correct across all channels — your websites, review sites, business directories, social media listings, etc.
- Your site info and content should reflect your location, both in terms of actual accuracy and in the “vibe” of your site.
- Optimize your meta description tags — what is your page helping shoppers find? Tell them exactly.
- Create a healthy ecosystem of links — do all that you can to make sure your website has a wide variety of links from other reputable and legitimate sites (local online business directories, chamber of commerce sites, news stations, any charities you are involved with, etc).
- Use your social media to your advantage — metrics like your social media followers and traffic from social media platforms are important to ranking well in search engines, particularly when it comes to local SEO.
- Get your Google My Business page on point. This is actually such a big deal for local SEO, and local dealership marketing success in general, that we made Google My Business its own section. Read more about this below.
3. Utilizing and Optimizing Google My Business
We all use Google My Business. It’s incredibly helpful as we go about our daily lives and look for businesses or services to meet our wants and needs. It’s so helpful and simple, it’s easy to forget that GMB is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Most importantly, GMB helps bring your dealership to your shoppers attention during crucial decision making moments.
When it comes to showing up on GMB results, like SEO, GMB relied on ranking factors.
These three ranking factors are relevance, distance, and prominence, which we’ve defined below:
- Relevance: how well your dealership fits the shoppers needs
- Distance: how far your dealership is from the query location
- Prominence: how important and popular your dealership is in the community
Each of these are important factors to get right in order for your page to rank well within Google My Business search results on Google SRPs and Google Maps.
There are also loads of useful features that you can use in connection with your GMB page to help your shoppers achieve their goals more easily. These include appointment booking, chat, question and answers, posts, menu, and more. Each of these can be used to help connect your shoppers more quickly to the information and services they are trying to reach.
Common features used by dealerships are chat (also called Messaging) and Google Posts, though it’s up to your dealership to pick what will work for you.
Want the full details on Google My Business — check out our guide “Here’s How to Use Google My Business as an Auto Marketing Solution”
Watch the recording of our webinar: The Dealer’s Ultimate Guide To Google My Business
Our next car dealership marketing idea is a perfect compliment to local SEO, and actually involves another example from Kain Ford.
4. Getting Your Name Out There — Harnessing Local Media (and More)
It isn’t every time that a dealer gets two mentions in one article, but Jack Kain Ford is just that good. This time, it’s not about offering to fundraise, but delivering quality information to their audience about all things automotive. Their TV and radio marketing is some of the best we’ve seen.
The Bob and Dave Used Car Show airs on local television and is posted to Youtube, adding to a large and impressive backlog of Bob and Dave’s shows that dates back for years.
In addition to this, Bob and Dave broadcast their radio show, The Bob & Dave Show, every Friday from one local station, and do a quick “Car Talk Experts” radio segment every other Thursday with another station.
We can also confirm that Bob and Dave do all their own stunts:
We admit it: this is one of our all-time favorite car dealership marketing strategies. And it should be one of yours as well.
Let’s count the ways this strategy rocks:
- Presents the hosts as local, trusted experts (which they are).
- Shows dealership dedication to providing shoppers with useful information.
- SEO Benefits:
- Links from each episode published on television news sites — or from a permalink on that site.
- Robust YouTube library helps grow the ecosystem of links
- Generates organic search traffic from within YouTube and Google Video search
- Shopper Information and CX:
- Delivers useful information to an
- Local TV
- Local Radio
- Youtube — backlog of all episodes
- Multi-channel marketing reaches multiple car-buying audiences and keeps content relevant
I can tell you one thing — if you recall our quick conversation about ranking factors in GMB, with this kind of marketing, Kain Ford is getting prominence pretty much spot on.
5. Bring Your Dealership Experience to Your Community
You may have noticed that we talk all the time about how important CX is to real dealership success — both online and on the lot. But it is.
Dealers are awakening to the need to improve their CX, but customers are still wary of dealers and somewhat uncomfortable during their experiences with dealership staff, particularly salespeople.
That’s why it makes us so happy to see dealerships willing to shake up the car-buying experience for their customers. That’s where Thompson Toyota’s Red Carpet Delivery comes in.
Here’s how it works:
- Purchase a vehicle with Thompson’s.
- Decide when and where you want your vehicle delivered.
- Receive your new vehicle via the Red Carpet Delivery trailer.
Thompson’s brags that they can often handle every detail of a purchase online or over the phone, then deliver the vehicle without the shopper ever having to step foot on the lot. Their exceptional dealership website helps by delivering detailed inventory, making it easy for shoppers to purchase their vehicle with confidence.
Their web page features a couple comments from customers who have used the service — and loved it! The reviews give a fantastic customer view of how the Red Carpet Delivery works and just how awesome (and convenient) it truly is.
As we mentioned, 2018 isn’t a year of increasing stability for the automotive industry, but solid local marketing can help you weather the storm and take market share from your competition. Each of these car dealership marketing tips are intended to help inspire your own awesome automotive marketing efforts, or at least give you a solid foundation to begin optimizing your local marketing. The rest is up to you. Good luck!