Car Dealership Advertising Ideas to Drive Success Despite the Pandemic

February 8, 2021| Zach Klempf

With COVID numbers continuing to stay high across the nation, many consumers are still shopping from home, and although e-commerce has been around for many years, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital marketing and digital shopping. You may already be posting customer-centric content to your website's blog. That's a useful starting point, but in this newer landscape, what will be the most efficient use of time and have the best ROI for your auto marketing strategies? 

Although some of the platforms for marketing are changing, the good news is that the foundation remains the same. Relationships and going to where the people are is still everything. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the top car advertising ideas that are both actionable and timely. 

Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, and More

Did you know that more than 20 million people click on vehicle listings in Facebook Marketplace every month? Additionally, more than 1 out of every 3 people on Facebook in the United States use Marketplace to buy and sell things. Facebook Marketplace is an invaluable resource for auto dealers, whether you're posting listings or posting ads to find inventory for those sub $10,000 vehicles.  

Marketplace isn't the only way to utilize Facebook for your auto marketing. A Facebook business page offers a megaphone for sharing valuable and relevant content with your customers; if a particular blog post does well, you can boost its reach by creating an advertising campaign where the post appears as a sponsored post in customer's timelines. 

Another way to use your Facebook business page for auto marketing is video promotion, for example video test drives and vehicle walk arounds. Shooting the video doesn't have to be complicated: you can use your phone to record and upload it, in fact. Customers like to see salespeople, and video helps foster familiarity so that when they do come into the dealership, they feel like they already know you. There are many types of content you could use for your videos. One useful thing would be to record your cleaning measures; this reassures customers that they'll be safe when they do come in. 

Another example of a way to drive interaction would be to post a video contest showing three different vehicles on your lot and invite people to vote on which car they'd like to see the inside of. This question offers insight into what interests your potential customers and drives engagement, which will boost the post organically. Set a deadline for when voting stops. When that deadline passes, record an interior tour of the vehicle that won. 

Think about what types of prizes your customers might enjoy or need, such as a free gas card. Besides asking people to comment to enter the drawing, consider inviting people to like your post and share it with their network to earn extra entries. This incentivizes shares and participation to boost visibility. Facebook's still one of the most popular social networks, and having people share with their networks expands the eyes on your post and business, without you having to pay for anything other than the prize. 

Facebook's integration with Instagram makes it simple to share video content so that your content reaches customers across various channels. As you repurpose content, consider some SEO research to explore keywords and bring more customers to your content organically. Staying informed of where your customers are spending time may lead you to shift the platforms where you're posting.

YouTube's sponsored ads might be another good option to explore, instead of using ads on television. Many people have stopped paying for cable and now watch their favorite shows using streaming services and YouTube. 

If you don't want to purchase ads on YouTube, consider recording your own Youtube content. Offer people tips on how to check their oil levels, how to change their windshield wipers, and similar basic car maintenance. At its core, however, your content should offer value to the customer. The focus is to build their trust in you as a source for car information. You can mention your dealership, but instead of telling them how much you can help them, demonstrate that you are helping them. 

Stay Connected to Your People and Leads Who Are Already There 

Your advertising ideas shouldn't only reach out to new people who haven’t purchased from you before; they should also include contacts and leads you've already gathered and stored in your CRM. This may be individuals who've purchased cars in the past, or it might be leads that you are nurturing. A robust CRM will allow you to create campaigns to target these customers or leads to re-engage them. 

It's much easier to keep a lead than it is to get a new one. You can use some of the tools mentioned above for your car advertising that connects to prior customers. For example, send a "Car Anniversary" text to a past client or a text asking if the client has any referrals and the fact your dealership has a paid referral program. These sorts of texts are simple—but meaningful—with the right tools, templates, and integration. 

Leveraging digital tools to execute your car dealership advertising ideas doesn't have to be overly complicated or require loads of additional time. Some apps can help streamline posts to Facebook and Instagram so that they are prescheduled, and there are dealer-specific systems as well. In fact, if you combine your CRM with automation, you can easily send text messages, timely and relevant emails, and more—all while saving time and energy on your marketing and communication and maintaining the personalized touch that strengthens customer relationships and facilitates closed sales.

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Tags: facebook marketplace auto marketing car dealers instagram automotive auto advertising

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