A study suggests that 95% of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information, making it a substantial source to market their products. This makes them research their preferred vehicle before heading to a physical store.
Hence, digital marketing for car dealerships aka the automotive industry may help set their offerings apart.
Check out this ultimate guide on car dealership digital marketing to attract and retain your target customers.
Table of Contents
- Top 9 Car Dealership Digital Marketing Strategies
- Why Is Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships So Important?
- How is it Different From Traditional Marketing?
- Top Four Digital Marketing Strategies for Car Dealerships
- Upcoming Digital Marketing Trends for Car Dealerships
- Digital Marketing Agencies That Will Kick Your Business into Gear
- Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships FAQ
- Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships – Key Takeaways
Top 9 Car Dealership Digital Marketing Strategies
There are multiple digital marketing verticals that car dealers can tap into for effective performance.
Here are some of the most prominent ones:
1. Pay-per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising, also known as PPC, is an essential aspect of marketing a vehicle.
A dealership may pay a search engine to showcase their website or page on the top of the search results with the most searched keywords.
PPC also offers a higher website rank on the SERPs. It takes the form of sponsored listings on search engines, banners, or other ads on websites, apps, videos, and social media.
Ads can also be highly comprehensive to include videos, images, and logos, or they can just be text-based.
Brands should also note to properly structure their PPC campaigns, which means that different campaigns should be run for each vertical.
Another aspect of PPC is “programmatic display,” which shows the ad to a specific target audience only based on what they read on another website. This makes it vital to block negative words for refined results.
2. An SEO-Centric Website
Automotive consumers visit an average of 4.2 websites in their purchasing process, making a comprehensive SEO strategy implementation essential.
A well-designed SEO-centric website helps brands to be found. The key reasons for its importance include serving as an online catalog and an authentic point of contact.
Other automotive digital marketing strategies include pay-per-click campaigns, link building, keyword optimization, quality content, and online reputation management, which help search engines and potential customers to find you. Implement SEO strategies efficiently rather than mindlessly stuffing keywords.
Since a website is a primary tool for customers to reach out to you, a high ranking makes the business trustworthy and credible.
Along with being SEO-centric, your website should be what car enthusiasts are looking for. This can be done by adding relevant content to read.
Finding everything in one place builds authority and retains the visitor longer. Optimize the content to answer simple and conversational questions so that it’s easy for them to find it on voice search as well.
Besides, you may also optimize it for local SEO, which makes sure that people in the nearby locality can find you. This can be done by setting up an account with relevant business and geographic information in Google My Business.
Add relevant calls to action (CTA) and interactive components, with the brand’s name and contact info.
Ensure adding CTAs strategically rather than spamming them which may cause the visitors to turn away.
3. Social Media
Your target audiences may spend hours on social media every day.
Social media has a low barrier to entry and reduced costs and is incredible for connecting with audiences. Not taking advantage of the same may cause businesses to be left behind.
Moreover, social media helps build brand loyalty and awareness, improve customer experience and positively influence purchase decisions. Brands should make sure to share engaging content such as inventory pictures, boost conversations, and monitor reviews, while also making the contact information visible.
While creating social media ads is a wise decision, it should be based on demographics such as age, gender, caste, income, geographic location, and more. This highlights another key aspect of a social media strategy.
Firstly, set up an account or a business page and add the required information along with the business logo.
Another crucial step is to link your website to the account while also constantly sharing business updates. This seamlessly helps direct traffic to the website.
Social media platforms also help target audiences near and relevant to you. Further, metrics allow for assessing performance, returns, and insights on what works best.
4. Third-party Websites
Data offers targeted and insightful decisions, making it indispensable to a car dealership’s digital marketing. Current and potential customers may reach out to third-party websites to gain information about their preferred vehicle.
Listing the inventories on such third-party websites can highlight those offerings efficiently.
5. Online Videos
Videos are an excellent tool to engage with audiences, leading to an amplified rate of engagement. Hence, video content lets brands stand out compared to those that stick to traditional strategies.
This helps brands connect with audiences to efficiently showcase their offerings and their edge over competitors.
A study reveals that the watch time of ”test drive” videos on YouTube has grown to more than 65% in the past two years. Studies like these showcase the potential of video content in helping businesses gain recognition in the community.
Besides the wider known digital marketing benefits, videos are available round-the-clock and don’t require high-end and expensive equipment to create them. They can also be transformed into YouTube videos and short bumper video ads once they are created.
Ensure keeping the videos short, as they are more likely to be shared compared to lengthy ones.
Relevant video content may include:
- Test drives
- Testimonials from happy customers
- Highlighting features of a new vehicle
- New arrivals
- Tips on maintaining and upgrading your vehicle
- Other walk-through videos
Furthermore, videos attract more clicks and invite viewers to the website. Videos can also rank higher on search engines.
YouTube brands may upload a written transcript, which is generally not visible to viewers but helps the Google rankings.
6. Email Marketing
Despite being an old trick in the book, it is a highly effective method to communicate with prospects. Emails can also educate customers, especially after their last purchase or when their vehicle is serviced at a specific dealership.
Contrary to popular belief, gathering an email marketing list isn’t as difficult. Emails can be collected by setting up a website that collects visitors’ emails. However, it is imperative to streamline a targeted list, so that brands are not communicating with uninterested customers.
These emails can be short informational pieces that offer value rather than force buying. Counterproductive emails may drive visitors away and make the website look less credible. An in-depth study helps to know more about customers’ preferences.
Varied benefits can be highlighted via emails, such as the benefits of associating with the brand. Such subjects can be highly beneficial as these emails can be sent to old, current, and prospective customers.
Emails can also be sent to those who have taken their dealership or who have purchased from you, leading them to make repeat purchases.
Communicate with them with relevant and personalized information while also including links to your website. A common example is to personalize the email subject line. This calls for the need to adjust the emails’ length and tone.
Brands should also maintain a consistent frequency for emails and newsletters to balance out healthy communication.
7. SMS Texts
As everyone has a mobile phone, sending texts is a quick way to communicate with audiences.
Texts are quicker and more efficient than emails. They are also effective because people may also use mobile phones to check out websites.
Brands should ensure the creation of a mobile-friendly website for seamless and easy-to-view access.
8. Online Reviews and Directories
Brands should create their listings with online business directories. These could be global directories such as Yelp along with its localized versions. Ensure having a comprehensive website and add links to the business site and social media pages.
Online reviews are also crucial as they highly influence audiences’ purchase decisions.
Brands should offer an easier way for customers to give reviews on platforms such as Google, social media, and Yelp. Be sure to monitor positive and negative reviews and respond to them well, which can be done through an online response management platform.
Blogs help build authority and provide basic to detailed information about a particular business.
While visitors may look for a vehicle, they may also want to know more about its other aspects or other alternatives.
There might be those who look for general knowledge and those who look for details. Some examples include comparisons and pros and cons. Brands may check for the most frequently asked questions online to evaluate the key interest areas of the target audience.
Why Is Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships So Important?
Car dealer marketing helps engage with customers, answer their questions and move them ahead through the sales funnel.
All these processes occur online, including email, website, social media and mobile strategies, to offer comprehensive information and superior customer experience.
Here are some of the most notable advantages of digital marketing for car dealerships:
1. Increased Online Visibility
People spend more and more time in the digital world. 85% of Americans visit the Internet daily, of which 48% go online several times a day, while 31% are online almost constantly.
If you relied on traditional marketing channels, like TV and radio commercials, billboards and newspaper ads, it’s time to make some changes. While all the mentioned advertising channels can be effective, digital marketing will complement them and make your overall marketing strategy more successful. You need to be where your target audience is — in this case, online!
The digital marketing strategy that combines SEO and SMM will help your website achieve good rankings, which will, in return, increase online visibility, attract more traffic, generate more leads and increase your profit.
2. Precise Audience Targeting
Whether you opt for SEO, PPC or SMM (or a combination of these strategies), keyword optimization and demographic targeting features will help you reach your desired audience. With personalized and high-converting targeted advertisements, digital marketing lets you discover and engage a highly-specific audience.
For example, you can use social media targeting to show advertisements to a specific audience based on demographics like age, gender, location, interests, networks or behaviors.
3. Personalized UX
Digital marketing tools allow you to monitor users’ online behavior and adjust your website, to provide a personalized user experience that will suit their needs.
For example, when customers visit your website, you can collect data about the car models they looked for and show them the next time when he comes back. You can also target him with specific car model ads appearing on websites they frequently visit.
You can improve their UX by providing a chatbot that answers frequently asked questions or publishing relevant content on your blog that resolves common customer issues.
4. Direct Interaction with Your Customers
Social media platforms, which can be a valuable part of your digital marketing strategy, are a great place for creating an online community. Communities connect people with the same interest; they are places where conversations flow — people confess their concerns, ask questions and help each other.
As a car dealership that connects them all under one social media account or group, you are instantly positioned as an authority or expert in your niche. To develop a relationship of trust and gain credibility, answer your followers' questions and show them you care.
Once they are about to buy a new car, big chances are that you’ll be the one they will reach for since they already know you and trust you.
Digital marketing is cost-effective compared to traditional.
Although print, TV and radio advertising can reach a wider audience, they provide limited space and their advertising placements are frequently overpriced.
On the other hand, digital marketing allows you to target an audience likelier to convert to customers. While running PPC or social media campaigns on Instagram or Facebook can be pricey, the budget you’ll need is just a fraction of the cost of a TV ad.
How is it Different From Traditional Marketing?
In digital marketing, car dealership takes a more modernized route of marketing rather than the traditional. As it focuses more on potential customers, it is also highly interactive.
This marketing format doesn’t necessarily focus on television commercials as capturing a particular demographic might be difficult. This is because TV ads aren’t interactive and neither can the brand gauge their performance.
Digital marketing specifically helps target diverse demographics and other product categories easily.
Top Four Digital Marketing Strategies for Car Dealerships
Having a robust strategy is essential to make the digital marketing efforts count and produce tangible results:
1. Finding the Target Audience
Your customers may use multiple resources to find and research their preferred vehicle. These sources could be third-party websites, local dealers, and brand/manufacturer websites.
Present and active dealers in these areas can easily grab their audiences’ attention.
2. Ensuring the Right Content
Customers’ goals and responses may differ based on the device used, making it important to circulate relevant content for specific devices.
Considering customer behavior, patterns, and preferences can considerably help make the right decision.
3. A/B Testing
Check how digital marketing channels function and test each one to see their performance.
Weighing two versions of content can help brands evaluate which one works better.
Specific tools can help track and monitor results and ways to improve those verticals.
4. Getting Professional Help
Enterprises may hire agencies for marketing and advertising with automobiles as their specialization.
Consider hiring a full-time expert or outsourcing the tasks to a digital marketing agency. The return on investment may be higher as the chances for trial and error and losses in revenue are less.
Such experienced professionals create a robust groundwork for digital marketing plans to make efforts and strategies’ effectiveness apparent.
Upcoming Digital Marketing Trends for Car Dealerships
While some trends may have worked previously, they won’t be as effective now.
Check out the latest trends in digital marketing for car dealerships.
1. Virtual Reality
Customers can view virtual reality videos of a showroom, experience sitting inside the vehicle, and may even take a test drive.
This helps them get a closer look than simply with pictures or reading texts.
Chatbots help resolve queries promptly round-the-clock while engaging with prospects.
Chatbots can answer questions, offer information, and help with additional aspects based on visitors' actions on the website. This can move them one step ahead in the purchasing cycle by connecting them with a dealership sales agent or setting up a visit to the dealership.
As AI grows, its ability to engage with customers more efficiently continues to develop.
4. Other Artificial Intelligence Tools
Integrating AI into websites helps marketers reach customers in a human and personalized manner.
This further helps dealerships strengthen their marketing with the right collaterals and the right channels to the target audience.
Digital Marketing Agencies That Will Kick Your Business into Gear
Tailoring digital marketing strategies to meet your business needs and help it grow can be challenging, especially considering ever-evolving marketing trends and niche-specific requirements.
Hiring one of the top professionals in car dealership marketing will take the advertising burden off your back and allow you to dedicate your time to what you do best — selling cars.
We prepared the list of top digital marketing experts you should consider:
- Location: Rua Nova de Sao Pedro, No. 54, 2nd Floor, Office D 9000-048, Funchal, Portugal.
- Average Hourly Rate: Inquire.
- Expertise: Blockchain PR, Community Management, Influencer Marketing, Paid Ads, Social Media Management, Public Relations.
If there’s one thing you can be sure of when opting to have Lunar Strategy take the reins of your car dealership's digital marketing, it’s that they will guide you to the path of success with every step.
- Step 1: Schedule a free 15-minute call so Lunar Strategy can get to know you, your business and your needs.
- Step 2: Receive your tailor-made marketing strategy encompassing everything your brand needs to build a robust online presence (I.e., SEO, Google AdWords, social media content).
- Step 3: Onboarding. Let the Lunar Strategy team investigate your online goings-on from the inside out and make alterations (where needed) to boost engagement, visibility and sales.
It really is as simple and efficient as that!
- Location: 37 Main St, Belchertown, Massachusetts 01007, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $50/hr
- Expertise: Digital Strategy, Web Design, Web Development, WordPress Website Design, WordPress Development, Digital Marketing, etc.
Xheigt studios understand that without an excellent digital marketing strategy, even the most prominent brands could lose to their competitors.
Specializing in ranking businesses on Google’s first page, Xheight Studios works hard to drive sales, customer reach, online traffic and engagement to their clients. And with their focus solely on what each of their individual clients needs, you can rest assured that your custom digital marketing strategy will propel your brand to the forefront of your industry.
Xheight Studio’s most notable clients include the Swiss Army, Energy Monster, Samsung and Keurig.
- Location: 1012 Old Northern Blvd, Roslyn, New York 11576, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $100/hr
- Expertise: SEO, Advertising, Digital Marketing, Web Design
Kore Media prides itself on its ability to unify brands with its customer base via solid digital marketing strategies.
By combining their expert skills in everything from SEO optimization to web development, and eCommerce marketing to social media marketing, there are no limits to what you can achieve when choosing Kore Media as your go-to digital marketing agency.
In a nutshell, Kore Media showcases your products and services to your industry’s targeted audience, thereby garnering more extensive online foot traffic to your site.
- Location: Dwarka, New Delhi, 110078, India
- Average Hourly Rate: Inquire.
- Expertise: Website Development, Digital Marketing, SEO, SEO Consultants
Yield Interactive aims to deliver value to its clients. The agency is a team of entrepreneurs who understand the pain of founders and business owners and help them make the right decisions.
The agency first consults and understands the client's business, their challenges, their competitors, their target audience and, most importantly, what problem are they trying to solve. And on basis of that they work on the solution, may it be technical or marketing.
They can work just on the execution side of the arrangement if their clients have figured out everything themselves. But they prefer to dive into your thought process and sail through the journey together.
- Location: bahnhofstrasse zürich, Zurich, 8001, Switzerland
- Average Hourly Rate: $60/hr
- Expertise: Digital Strategy, Branding, Graphic Design, Digital Marketing, Direct Marketing, Package Design, etc.
Highway 61 boasts a team of highly skilled, accredited experts with over ten years of experience in marketing, branding and design under their belts.
With its sole focus on fast-tracking clients to its audience, Highway 61 uses its ability to combine diversity in both its creativity and daily work life to achieve stellar results.
Whether you’re looking for an agency to help you define your brand voice, social media strategy, storytelling, ads or campaigns, Highway 61 has got you covered.
- Location: 5354 Denny Ave, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 91601, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $25/hr
- Expertise: WordPress Development, SEO, Small Business Digital Marketing, Digital Marketing for startups, UI/UX Design, etc.
From law to dental, and from big to small business web design and digital marketing, WebyKing offers a fantastic list of services to get your online presence on the digital map.
Based out of Los Angeles, WebyKing’s talents in SEO, web development, branding, and design have helped many clients reach their full potential – and at affordable prices, too! Allow WebyKing to take the reins on all things business for your startup or organization, while you take care of the rest of your business.
Some of WebyKing’s clients include Quix Stix, Deco Printers and Babies Nutrition.
- Location: 1750 Tysons Blvd, #1500 Tysons Corner, Arlington, VA 22102, Washington DC, Washington DC 22102, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $50/hr
- Expertise: Web Design, eCommerce Web Development, Website Development, UI/UX Design, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing
First founded in 2021 and based out of Washington DC, JanBask Digital Design takes your digital design projects from A to B, without you having to lift so much as a finger. And one only needs to look at their stellar client list to know their work is of an excellent standard.
With decades of experience in the industry, you can rely on JanBask Digital Design to produce top-notch, globally recognized results. Whether you need help with your eCommerce site, social media management or SEO & PPC, JanBask Digital Design has you covered.
Some of JanBask Digital Design’s most notable clients include PayPal, Facebook and Salesforce.
- Location: 1990 North California Boulevard, Walnut Creek, California 94596, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $75
- Expertise: Graphic Design, Digital Strategy, Website Development, Digital Marketing, Instagram Marketing, etc.
MG Media Creative works with brands and professionals from around the globe to develop engaging photo and video content and integrate that content into an effective digital marketing strategy.
Over the past 5 years, they have watched their client reach, traffic, and business transformation through their direct efforts. The agency is a small collaborative team that prides itself in its highly personal approach to projects and the incredible results they see because of it.
Clients include Elite Scaffold, Platinum Pipeline, LMS Brandz, Funterra, etc.
- Location: 353-3 Jalan C Y Choy, 10300 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia., Penang, 10300, Malaysia
- Average Hourly Rate: $40/hr
- Expertise: Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media Marketing, 360° Digital Services, Web Design…
Established in 2018, Kode Digital is a globally acclaimed digital marketing agency that brings out-of-the-box content and design solutions.
The agency tailor-makes a "cocktail" of digital strategy that combines digital marketing, web development, design, and production according to every business's challenges and goals. It's worth mentioning that they have a broad range of creative services, which include branding, animation, 3D video, photography, and videography.
Their clients include Kah Motor (Honda Dealer), Hitachi, INCEIF, Lam Soon Group, and Penang Hill Corporation.
- Location: 8580 Ventura blvd Unit D, Los Angeles, California 91356, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $30
- Expertise: Website Development, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing
As an all-around digital marketing agency, Made Online is dedicated to making sure any business thrives in the online world. Made Online is here to give businesses that fighting chance.
The agency's methodology aims to extract real business value from digital marketing for their clients and ensure the best return on investment for their SEO campaigns.
Clients include Go Hollywood Grooming, LUSH Remodeling and Cross Country Movers.
Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships FAQ
How is car dealership digital marketing different from traditional marketing?
The main difference between car dealership digital and traditional marketing is the advertising channel it uses. While conventional marketing mainly uses print, billboards, radio and TV commercials, digital marketing occurs on Internet-based platforms — websites and social media.
How to ensure your car dealership's digital marketing strategy is successful?
To ensure your car dealership's digital marketing strategy will achieve the desired results, combine its best practices:
- Optimize your website for search engines.
- Create a blog and consistently publish relevant and helpful content.
- Create social media accounts, post regularly and interact with your audience.
- Enhance your marketing efforts with the email marketing campaign.
- Use a referral program to encourage customers to recommend you to their connections.
- Be consistent and patient.
Digital Marketing for Car Dealerships – Key Takeaways
A mix of the right car dealer digital marketing verticals and strategies may work wonders if they are effectively and consistently implemented.
Since the results highly exceed the traditional marketing methods, it is high time for brands to make the transition with resources and tools that fit their offerings.