7 Auto Dealership Marketing Tips to Help You Win Over Smarter Buyers

By: Muhammad Yasin

Winning over today’s consumers is no easy task for auto dealerships. Marketing and sales strategies that worked for you five years ago won’t get you far today, as many people in the industry are discovering the hard way.


For some sales reps, it can be downright stressful, as one consumer recently shared in a Reddit post: “I had a car salesman start crying on me when I told him I was still looking and not going to buy the car that day. He excused himself, went to see his manager, came back, and cried some more. He said he thought we connected and was sure I was going to buy the car.”


OK, has it really come to this? It doesn’t have to be that traumatic.


Auto dealerships that are adapting to consumers’ changing shopping habits are the ones that are winning. Take a look at our top 7 auto dealership marketing tips for winning over prospective buyers.


1. Carefully Monitor your Website

Your website is the No. 1 destination for about 90 percent of the people who eventually end up at your dealership.


A significant number will be in search of used cars. That’s why it’s essential that one of your No. 1 marketing plans should be a strategy for keeping your site consistently updated with the vehicles on your lot.


Your website is the No. 1 destination for about 90 percent of the people who eventually end up at your dealership.


Make it comprehensive — including as much information as possible upfront about mileage, CARFAX history, and other details.


2. Make a Visit to your Website Memorable

Back to the website. It’s that important. You’ve heard it before from numerous sources: Car buyers are spending 8 to 12 hours researching online before they head to a dealership or a private seller to make a purchase.


You should strive to grab as much of that time as possible. The longer a prospective car buyer spends on your site — gathering the information they need, the more likely they will think of you when it’s time to finalize the purchase.


That means engaging prospective buyers with valuable content — including financing options, trade-in appraisals, and interactive forms that are entertaining and informative.


Be critical in your appraisal of your website: Is there any compelling reason why a person would give you their personal contact information? If not, consider an upgrade.


3. Implement Targeted Advertising

According to Google, six out of every 10 people who are shopping for cars have yet to decide which car they want to purchase. As previously noted, those searches span numerous hours. Use targeted advertising using consumer data — keeping your site in front of them as they navigate various sites for information.


Make sure the ads are designed around their interests, whether it’s a luxury vehicle, a family van, an SUV or a sports car. Being positioned in the right place when they’re close to making a decision could be a key factor in them showing up at your dealership.


4. Invest in Video

Driving is an experience. Purchasing a new vehicle takes it a step further as an exciting experience. Tap into that excitement with videos that further engage your buyers — whether they’re in the market for a new vehicle or a used vehicle.


According to a recent study, consumers are steadily spending more time consuming videos online, especially younger users who spend an average of 1,504 minutes consuming content on videos each month.


Videos, from car manufacturer videos to financing tutorials, can give your dealership an edge in the industry. Also, don’t forget that vehicles can seem more realistic with the benefit of video instead of still photography.


5. Optimize for Mobile

According to Search Engine Land, consumers are now conducting nearly 60% of their searches on mobile devices. It’s essential that all aspects of your online experience should be highly optimized for mobile.


It’s worth noting that some car buyers — 14% percent — used a mobile device only when researching, according to IHS Automotive.


With so many components of the car buying experience involving calculators and detailed financing options, it’s important that you test these to ensure that consumers will be able to easily navigate them on your website.