Most car shoppers today start their journey online, searching and browsing through inventory and various car features before then heading into a dealership. In fact, according to Cox Automotive, 89% of car shoppers use the internet as a resource during the car-buying process.
Car shoppers use a variety of other online channels as well in their decision-making process:
- 70% of car buyers who used YouTube as part of their car-shopping process said it influenced their purchase decision. (Google – The Drive to Decide)
- 54% of car shoppers say that reading reviews is the most helpful part of their car research. (Cox Automotive)
- 46% of car shoppers use social media platforms to research and gather information on cars. (Digital Air Strike)
- 39% of car buyers are willing to travel up to 50 miles to visit a dealership they found online. (Cox Automotive)
- 60% of car shoppers prefer to browse inventory online before visiting a dealership. (DealerSocket)
- 63% of car buyers are open to considering multiple vehicle options when starting their research. (Cox Automotive)
Top 4 Marketing Channels for Auto Dealerships
With so much of the decision processes happening before a consumer even sets foot into the dealership, marketing across multiple channels is key to capturing interest during these crucial stages.
1. Email Marketing: Rev Up Customer Engagement
Email marketing is a vital marketing channel for dealerships. By leveraging customer data and personalization, your dealership can create targeted email campaigns that provide relevant offers, maintenance reminders, and vehicle recommendations.
Email Marketing Tips for Auto Dealerships
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:
- Personalization: Personalize your emails to each recipient, addressing them by name and customizing content based on their vehicle preferences and purchase history. Personalization creates a stronger connection and boosts engagement.
- Showcasing Inventory: Highlight your latest models, feature pre-owned vehicles, and use captivating visuals to showcase your inventory. Grab attention, generate leads, and create a desire to explore further.
- Building Trust: Incorporate customer testimonials and success stories to build trust and credibility. Share real-life experiences to validate your dealership’s offerings and establish confidence in potential buyers.
- Nurturing Customer Relationships: Stay in touch with your customers through regular newsletters, exclusive offers, and maintenance reminders. Keep your dealership top-of-mind and foster long-term loyalty.
- Interactive Content: Engage recipients with interactive elements like car configurators, quizzes, and virtual test drives. Create an immersive experience that sparks excitement and prompts action.
2. Connected TV (CTV): Shift Gears in Advertising
Connected TV offers immense opportunities for automotive dealership marketing, reaching audiences who consume content through streaming services.
CTV allows dealerships to target specific demographics, deliver engaging ad experiences, and measure campaign performance accurately. By incorporating CTV into your marketing strategy, dealerships can capture the attention of potential buyers in a high-engagement environment.
Here are some noteworthy CTV advertising statistics:
- 70% of automotive shoppers who saw a CTV ad took some action as a result, such as visiting a dealership or conducting further research. (Roku – Automotive Purchase Intent Study)
- CTV advertising offers precise targeting capabilities, with 82% of automotive marketers using demographic targeting, 78% using geographic targeting, and 71% using behavioral targeting. (eMarketer – Automotive Digital Ad Spending)
CTV Marketing Tips for Auto Dealerships
- Define Your Objective: Determine specific goals for your CTV campaigns. Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive showroom visits, or boost online vehicle inquiries?
- Identify Your Target Audience: Understand your target audience’s demographics, interests, and media consumption habits. Leverage data and insights to ensure your CTV campaigns reach the right people at the right time, maximizing their effectiveness.
- Craft Compelling Creative: Develop engaging and visually appealing CTV ads that align with your brand identity. Showcase the unique features of your vehicles, highlight promotions, and create emotional connections with viewers to drive engagement and interest.
3. Social Media: Accelerate Brand Reach and Engagement
Social media platforms have become a cornerstone of automotive dealership marketing, providing a means to engage with customers, showcase vehicles, and drive brand awareness.
According to research by Deloitte, 68% of automotive shoppers are more likely to use social media to decide on a vehicle brand or model.
Through visually appealing content, influencer collaborations, and targeted advertising, dealerships can leverage social media to create an emotional connection with potential buyers, enhance brand loyalty, and drive website traffic.
Social Media Marketing Tips for Auto Dealerships
- Prioritize Video Content: Video continues to dominate social media platforms, with increasing popularity and engagement. You can leverage this trend by creating engaging and visually appealing videos to showcase inventory, share customer testimonials, provide virtual vehicle tours, and even live-stream events or vehicle unveilings.
- Establish Influencer Partnerships: Collaborating with influencers in the automotive space or local micro-influencers can amplify your dealership’s reach and credibility. Influencers can create sponsored content, review vehicles, and share their experiences with their engaged audience, driving brand awareness and attracting potential buyers.
- Provide Personalized and Interactive Experiences: Customers expect personalized experiences, and social media platforms provide opportunities to deliver just that. Dealerships can leverage interactive content formats like polls, quizzes, and contests to engage with their audience. Additionally, personalized messaging, such as responding to comments and messages promptly, helps build relationships and enhance customer satisfaction.
4. Direct Mail: Ignite Personalized Communication
Direct mail marketing may be a traditional marketing method, but it still holds significant value in the automotive dealership industry. Let’s explore a couple of statistics on the power of direct mail:
- 57% of car buyers said that direct mail had the most influence on their decision to visit a dealership. (Compu-Mail – Direct Mail Automotive Marketing Report)
- 76% of car buyers said they trust direct mail when searching for automotive information, ranking it higher than search engine ads (64%) or social media ads (56%). (USPS – The Mail Moment, 2022)
- Direct mail has a longer shelf life compared to digital marketing, with 17 days on average for automotive direct mail pieces. (USPS – The Mail Moment, 2022)
- 84% of car buyers reviewed automotive direct mail pieces, making it one of the most frequently reviewed forms of marketing collateral. (Source: USPS – The Mail Moment)
Direct Mail Marketing Tips for Auto Dealerships
Direct mail campaigns can be highly effective when personalized with targeted offers, service reminders, or special promotions. Combining eye-catching design, compelling messaging, and strategic targeting, direct mail can help dealerships stand out in a cluttered digital landscape.
- Leverage Personalization: Personalize your direct mail pieces to make them more relevant and engaging. Use variable data printing to include the recipient’s name, specific vehicle interests, or personalized offers.
- Integrate Direct Mail with Digital: Integrate your direct mail campaigns with digital channels to create a cohesive and multi-channel experience. Include QR codes or personalized URLs (PURLs) in your direct mail pieces, leading recipients to a landing page or special offer on your website. This integration allows for tracking and measurement of campaign effectiveness.
- Use Creative Design and Formats: Stand out from the mailbox clutter by using creative and eye-catching designs. Consider using unique formats like dimensional mailers, pop-ups, or interactive elements to surprise and engage recipients. Innovative designs increase the likelihood of your direct mail piece being opened and remembered.
Automotive dealership marketing should be a multi-channel strategy, leveraging the power of email, CTV, social media, and direct mail to engage with potential buyers effectively. By utilizing these channels, dealerships can create personalized and engaging experiences, drive brand awareness, nurture customer relationships, and boost sales.
Remember, a strategic and integrated approach is key to revving up your marketing engine and staying ahead of the competition.
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