Is Your Dealership Marketing Doing Your Vehicle Specials Justice?

By Jazel Auto Marketing

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Specials. After your inventory, specials are what draw the most shopper interest. And yet dealership vehicle specials really don’t get the love that they deserve. So this is our ode to vehicle specials. Here are the details on what makes a good special, how to market them, and the power of successfully showcasing specials on your site.

Get set, and we’ll get started on this special post:  


Zooming in on Specials

OEM-imposed or dreamed-up by your dealership, specials are usually a win-win. Shoppers get good deals on their vehicles, and dealers move metal faster, particularly when it comes to cars that are outstaying their welcome (and getting costly). Here are the main types of vehicle specials:

Types of specials:

Cash Rebates: 

Cash rebates are a classic dealership sales incentive. Immediately easy to understand, cash rebate offers mean that shoppers can get some amount of money back if they buy their car before a certain date – often phrased “take delivery of.” These are typically rolled over one month to the next, and can naturally, change in amount.


Financing specials are a newer type of special. Often featured alongside cash rebates, these are offers for low car financing rates (sometimes as low as 0%), for up to 72. Shoppers naturally have to qualify if they determine this deal is the best for them. Financing specials have had several years of pretty significant success, which is partially attributable to low interest rates. Those interest rates are rising again, yet these specials are still popular.


The third main type of special, as we know, are leasing specials. Over 25% (29.83% in Q1 of 2018) of vehicles on the market are leased, so naturally leasing specials can be a great way to bring in drivers looking to lease rather than buy. Often, this is accomplished by adding the cash rebate or finance incentive to the lease, rather than the purchase.

Naturally, there are other types of specials, it really depends on the creativity of the dealer and what the OEM will allow. Sometimes they’re even presented alongside events or campaigns. The advice and suggestions in this post extend to these alternative specials too. We love them all – and so do shoppers.


The Anatomy of a Special

So we can all agree that specials are a helpful selling tool – but not all specials are created equal. So what makes a good special on your dealership website? The answer: what shoppers are looking for.

Here’s the anatomy of an awesome special:

1. Special Deal Info

  • This section answers what kind of special is this, and what amount it is for.

2. Vehicle Photo

  • Show the shopper the exact car they can expect to see a special on – if this is an individual model, use that picture instead of a sock image.

3. Call-To-Action

  • Multiple call-to-action (CTAs) give shoppers a choice in their next course of action, and helps dealers understand shopper motivations.

4. Offer Details

  • The exact details of an offer have to be present (or linked to) in a special. Failing to provide this information means that the special both looks less legitimate, and provides less of the information people will need.

good dealership marketing hinges on good-looking specials.

Specials can come in many different designs, but these elements, combined with being clean and attractive, are what make up a truly attractive offer.


Marketing Specials

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, it’s time to talk about marketing specials. Shoppers find out about specials in a variety of ways – searching online for nearby or regional vehicle specials, hearing about the special in your marketing, or learning about the special while at your lot.

While the first is often incredible helpful for informing shoppers and bringing in foot traffic, it can often mean that dealership-specific specials are left behind – unless the shopper goes to your dealership website (more on that in our next section). So let’s focus on marketing these specials, and getting the word out about your most enticing deals.

Social media is an excellent place to begin specials marketing. How can you best share your specials information with your social media audience? Consider doing daily deals – in which you select your hottest (or most important) specials to showcase on social media. You can also try “weekly specials announcements” – in which you present the new deals you’re offering that week. Don’t only focus on your new and used inventory specials. If applicable, let your technicians speak up and present their “Mechanic-Picked Service Specials.”

Note: As always, with social, be aware of spamming your audience with specials – specials are pretty sales-y, and since they are model-specific, they can turn off prospects if their newsfeed is flooded by something they’re not interested in.

Now, all your social media specials should be incredibly shareable. Making this social content highly share-able means that users will be more likely to send appealing offers to friends and family they know are in the market for a good deal. Shareable social media content is:

  • Simple and attractive
  • Easily and immediately understood
  • Engaging, entertaining, or too good to miss

These social specials are intended for shoppers scrolling through their newsfeeds to be able to immediately identify something that would be useful for themselves, or for a friend – your design should reflect that.

There’s also your search engine optimization (SEO) to consider for your specials marketing. Car shoppers searching for vehicle specials and deals are likely to turn to search engines to find regional and manufacturer specials, which means that, first and foremost, your specials page needs to rank well.

Ranking is based on many different factors – some of which we know (like page weight, pagespeed, domain age, links, etc.). To make your page rank well, you’ll have to focus on optimizing these – particularly when it comes to things like page speed and weight – these are two areas in which the automotive industry often lags behind.

Additionally, it pays to be aware that new trends in SEO are becoming incredibly important for dealership SEO. “Near me” searches, which are performed at much higher rates on mobile, are a particularly popular tool for shoppers who want results near their specific physical location.

“New car specials near me,” “Car dealership specials near me,” and “Best [vehicle type] deals near me” are all “near me” type searches that car dealers should expect to see – and rank for.

Now, it’s obviously important that shoppers are seeing your specials marketing, but how you showcase those deals on your site is what will most likely make or break the deal.


Showcasing Specials on Your Site

Finally, let’s go over specials on your dealership website. Your site is the most important location (apart from maybe your dealership) for shoppers to find information on specials. Even if they find out about the special from a third party or manufacturer site, your website is where they will go for the details and confirmation.

Let’s run through a scenario: A shopper sees a good-looking leasing special on a third party site, notes that the special should be available at local dealerships of that brand, and goes looking at different dealer sites to see if that special is available and looks good.

This is where your special showcasing comes into play.

First up: Specials on the homepage. These are almost as important as your new and used inventory – they deserve their own place in the homepage shopping module:

In addition to an independent Specials page, your shoppers should be able to look at your hottest specials immediately, whether they arrive on your specials page, or your homepage.

Finding the right deal on your specials page should also be as easy as pie (or, ideally, easier than pie).

If you’ve got these two things sorted out to your satisfaction, you can focus on really bringing your specials to life – using website technology like machine learning and dynamic content.

Behavior-Based Targeting, our exclusive dealership website technology, can help you do this. Using areas of your homepage and SRP specifically designed to attract attention, BBT automatically displays the vehicle specials your shopper is most likely to be interested in (based on their website behavior).

The vehicle special highlighted on a home page.
The vehicle special highlighted on an inventory page.

Jazel websites also let you build your own dealership specials, and if these are a better deal than what your OEM provides, BBT automatically shifts your unique dealership special to have priority. Not only does this take a ton of work off your plate, it means your shoppers are always seeing the best deal.

The beauty of BBT is in its machine-learning capabilities. BBT is built to learn from what shoppers do on your site, and adapt to that behavior – whether individually, or on a mass scale.

Here’s how BBT scales up from the individual experience:

Naturally, it’s possible to have multiple dealership specials for the same model running at the same time. In this instance, BBT will select whichever special is more popular – based on aggregate shopper behavior trends from your dealership’s own specials page.

The Mustang lease deal featured above is the most popular and gets center stage in the homepage shopping module. Let’s say, however, that you wanted to push a cash deal:

BTT backend settings allow you to override popularity and set your preferred vehicle special to take the #1 spot.

We gotta say, that’s how you showcase a special.

Want more information about automotive website specials? Want to see BBT technology in action? We’d love to help. Reach out to us any time at marketing@jazel.com.