Marketing Basics for Car Dealers
Marketing is a crucial aspect of running a successful car dealership. It's not enough to simply have a wide selection of vehicles and competitive prices – you also need to actively promote your dealership and reach potential customers through various channels. Let's explore some key considerations for developing a marketing strategy for your car dealership as we move into 2023.
- Define your target audience: The first step in any marketing campaign is to identify your target audience. This could include demographics such as age, gender, and income, as well as geographic location and interests. Understanding your target audience will help you tailor your marketing efforts to reach the right people. We call this "buyer persona generation" and it's wildly important - and no, not everyone is your ideal buyer persona. Sorry!
- Develop a brand identity: Your brand identity is the unique personality and character of your dealership. This is affectionately called your USP, or unique selling proposition. It should be reflected in everything from your logo and signage to your website and social media presence. Developing a strong brand identity will help you stand out from the competition and create a memorable impression on potential customers.
- Utilize social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are powerful tools for reaching potential customers. Use these platforms to showcase your inventory, share special deals and promotions, and interact with your followers. Social media is also a great way to get customer feedback and reviews, which can be valuable for improving your dealership's reputation.
- Have a functional and relevant website: A website is a key component of any modern marketing strategy. It should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and informative. Use your website to showcase your inventory, highlight your dealership's unique selling points, and provide information about financing and other services. You can also use your website to collect customer contact information and track website traffic through tools like Google Analytics (which we install at FlexDealer for you while making sure you own it - unlike the other brands!)
- Use email marketing: Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach potential customers and keep them informed about your dealership. You can use email marketing to announce new inventory, share special deals, and promote events and other activities. Be sure to follow best practices for email marketing, such as obtaining explicit consent from recipients and providing an easy way for them to unsubscribe.
- Invest in search engine optimization (SEO): SEO refers to the practice of optimizing your website and online content to rank higher in search engine results. This is important because people are more likely to click on websites that appear at the top of search results. There are many factors that contribute to a website's ranking, including the use of keywords, the quality of content, and the number of inbound links. Investing in SEO can help you attract more organic traffic to your website and increase your visibility online. Because SEO is a "slow game" few dealers care about it and those dealers are sorely missing out. We have some stores that even do better than their brand's national website on relevant queries!
- Consider paid advertising: While organic methods of marketing can be effective, paid advertising can also be a powerful tool for reaching potential customers. Options include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, display advertising, and social media advertising. Choose the advertising channels that make the most sense for your dealership and budget, and be sure to track the results of your campaigns to see what's working and what isn't.
- Focus on customer service: Finally, don't forget that excellent customer service is a key component of any successful marketing strategy. Treat your customers with respect, listen to their needs and concerns, and go above and beyond to ensure they have a positive experience at your dealership. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your dealership to their friends and family. If you have a process for making the customer experience amazing, it will mean more than you think.
As we move into the new year, I encourage you to think about the intangibles in your marketing strategy. A marketing strategy for your dealership involves a combination of online and offline tactics - neither will win in isolation. By defining your target audience, creating a strong brand identity, utilizing social media and other digital channels, and focusing on customer service, you can effectively promote your dealership and attract more customers. Mic drop.