Marketing challenges are especially prevalent in the auto industry. Dealerships often struggle with consumers being overwhelmed with options, new products launching, the need to liquidate products that aren't moving from the car lot, misusing marketing tactics, and ad sales reps pitching buzzwords to get a quick sale (ex: geofencing when they need display retargeting).
There's also the struggle of breaking through the noise as a dealership. Not only are there 18,195 auto dealerships in the U.S., but Autotrader names at least 151 dealers in a 50-mile radius of Nashville, TN.
Fortunately, automotive digital marketing strategies can set your dealership apart from the fleet in the following ways.
Reach a Targeted Audience
Reaching a targeted audience is an incredible advantage of digital advertising, ensuring your message gets to the right people when they need to hear it. Take OTT advertising, for instance. This form of digital marketing is rapidly growing in popularity among cord-cutting consumers and giving marketers a whole new opportunity to reach this audience — based on tracked and measured data that attracts viewers most relevant to your brand.
Ninety-four percent of OTT viewers currently own or lease a vehicle, and 89% of people planning to purchase a car in the next six months are OTT viewers. Sixty-six percent of people who watch OTT have discovered a new product or company while streaming. When watching OTT content, 40% of viewers have paused what they were watching to go online and check out or even purchase what was being advertised to them.
Find Your Customers on Social Media
Which social media platforms are your customers spending their time? Ensuring you're reaching the right audience reduces the time and effort wasted on audiences that are not interested.
You’ll want to keep the following tips in mind for successful automotive social media marketing:
- Set up business pages
- Showcase inventory
- Use videos (i.e., DIY, how-to's interviews, etc.)
- Before/after content
- Answer common questions
- Share interesting posts
- Share happy customers' stories
- Build a loyal community
- Post often
- Engage with followers
Showcase Your Authority with Content Marketing
Content marketing is your dealership's opportunity to show customers that you're not only established experts in the industry but that they can trust you to offer them nothing but the best in the market. For example, you can show your expertise in your field by publishing blogs/newsletters by explaining what's new and keep consumers updated with the latest. The key, however, is to create shareable, valuable content for your prospects.
Once you've got the right content, you'll also want to use SEO to show up in organic searches, optimize your website to make it more professional and appealing — giving visitors a reason to stay longer. The truth is, quality content builds trust in you as an authority in the automotive industry, and there's no better way to maintain that trust than through content marketing. In fact, 70% of consumers would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post over a traditional ad.
Use Email Marketing in Anticipation of Customer Trends
It is nearly impossible to ignore the success of email marketing over the last decade. There are nearly 3.9 billion users (a figure predicted to reach 4.3 billion by 2023). That number is nearly double that of Facebook's active users and more than Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users combined.
Email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind, especially when it's used for sharing interesting details or updates with leads, nurturing them until they are ready to buy, and sending out email blasts in anticipation of:
- Back to school (need a bigger vehicle for carpools)
- Winter (snow tires, safety, etc.)
- Busy times, slow times
- Popular car-buying times of year
- Hot/cold weather needs
- Driving trends based on time of year
- Car/repair needs
When it comes to boosting your return-on-investment (ROI), it's important to note that combining marketing channels for an integrated campaign is the ideal strategy. Take, for example, combining TV and digital since more and more consumers are turning their attention to multiple devices at once. Research has shown that launching streaming and traditional TV ads in tandem increased ad recall by 34%, and 65% of multi-screen users will look up product information on the other screen while watching content on their main screen.
Automotive dealers believe digital will account for more than half their sales within three years — making it more important than ever that your dealership gets ahead of the curve. Working with a media partner who understands how to use digital marketing tactics specific to their needs will make this transition easier and more effective.