Top 6 Automotive Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales and Fuel Business Growth
As the consumer landscape changes, so do the plans for automotive marketing to cater to the consumers. This holds true for all industries, even automotive services. Having the right automotive marketing strategies to implement at the right time is the only way to reach out to your target audience.
Putting your customer at the center of your auto dealer marketing strategy is a sure-shot way to convert them so they finally purchase from you. This means that being ready at the right time, and in the right place is imperative.
A buyer’s journey is an important aspect that a business owner needs to know to clearly map out their plan to do marketing for the automotive industry. This is because the buyer behavior at each stage of the journey is different.
Prospects who are aware of their problem will read articles and guides and will actively look for solutions. Others, who already have a handful of solutions, will look for ads and make actions indicating purchase decisions.
Bottom line: For any business owner, it is imperative to know which one of your automotive marketing ideas attracts a customer at which stage. This way you can curate the content you will put out and attract the right people to push down your buyer funnel and convert them successfully.
We will be discussing the stages of the buyer’s journey, and the automobile industry marketing approaches for each stage:
6 automotive marketing strategies to get more dealership and repair shop sales
Before jumping into the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, there is one thing left to do for you, that is extremely important – inciting the journey, or in other words, triggering it.
For example, you have been thinking of buying a t-shirt, but nothing ever pushed you to buy it. But one day, your favorite t-shirt rips. Now you realize, you’ve gone too long without buying a t-shirt. The ripping off of your shirt is what triggered your journey, which means you are in the awareness stage of your buyer’s journey.
These are the automotive industry marketing strategies that we have divided according to relevancy under every stage of the customer funnel:
- Boost your digital presence
- Improve your reputation and branding
- Leverage a multi-channel and multi-device strategy
- Add converting CTAs
- Provide estimates and quotes
- Offer coupons, deals, and discounts
At this stage, your customer will start realizing their problems and define their own pain points. This would lead them to research the solutions.
The questions you need to ask yourself at this point:
- What auto challenges could the customer be facing?
- What are their goals to address these challenges?
- How will they educate themselves on the solutions?
- What would happen if you did nothing?
It’s important to provide your target audience with more information at this point. That is because this is when they realize they need something, whether it’s a set of new tires, a safety inspection, an oil change, or even a new car.
1. Boost your digital presence
Every business owner realizes the importance of having a strong online presence. Having a brand online is an efficient way to reach your target audience. Now, there are multiple ways to use your online presence to attract customers. We have listed a few channels that are easy to leverage and help you boost both your SEO and your customer relationships.
Building a reputable and recognizable brand is important for automotive services and car dealerships. This means you need to make the content and design of your website consistent with the vibe of your auto shop.
A fully functioning website is a good marketing strategy for the automobile industry and will help you attract the right customers at the right time. Make sure it has high-quality images of your services, products, and shop.
Your website’s content should be informative and have all the data needed to answer the customer’s questions. This way you can provide your customers with the info they need, and drive impressive sales and better service opportunities.
ii. Online directories
Listing your repair shop in online directories is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get services for your potential customers. Especially when these customers are looking for the right shop to answer their needs.
Some auto shop scheduling software will have the functionality to list your auto shop on Reserve with Google and enable your customers to book appointments directly from Google, Maps, and the RwG website.
iii. Google ads
Google ads are a good way to drive quality traffic to your business while your prospects are searching for auto services like yours. It’s a sure-fire way to boost your website visits and increase in-shop traffic.
You can target keywords like garage repair, auto repair, or dealership keywords, like make, model, etc as a part of your automotive marketing strategies. This makes it easy for your customers who are in the research process to find your business.
iv. Social media
Use popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to post content and pictures that will help you connect with your target audience. You can even encourage bookings by adding a ‘Book button’ to your socials, but we will discuss that later in this blog.
Here’s a tip!
Ever wonder how to get more customers to your auto shop and retaining them? Here’s the solution!
Use popular platforms like Instagram and Facebook and add a “Book Now” button them so your clients don’t have to spend time searching around for a booking link!
Choosing the right social media platform is quintessential for any business. Keep the automotive dealer marketing strategy for your social media simple and manageable, and reach a wider audience who trusts and respects your brand.
2. Reputation and Branding
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.Benjamin Franklin
Only with continuous efforts to build and maintain your reputation will you be able to leverage it to attract customers. Rather than adopting reputation management, taking a proactive approach towards your brand’s presence with reputation marketing is a good way to boost your marketing strategy for the automobile industry.
i. Word of mouth
Having a good reputation is a must for any business. According to NPD Group Car Care Track, when selecting auto shops and dealerships, customers want to be recommended by someone they know and trust.
It’s a free marketing idea for the automotive industry triggered purely by doing a good job and encouraging your customers to talk about you. The best way to do it is to exceed expectations, showcase your skills and really hone in helping your customer.
Reviews provide much more than feedback on your services. They build trust in your business, which in turn helps with the overall success of your brand. Experts at Moz suggest that off-page SEO considerations like relevance, trustworthiness, and authority are a big factor in ranking.
Boost your online presence with third-party reviews on sites with high domain authority like Trustpilot, Yotpo, etc. Showcase 5-star reviews on your social channels including Yelp, Google, and websites – make sure to cover all your bases – and hone your reputation and expertise.
Consideration is the second stage in the buyer’s journey. At this stage, your potential customer is aware of the problem and actively considering solutions. 60% of the customers at this stage get in touch with a sales representative.
The questions you need to ask yourself at this point:
- What are the types of solutions for the automotive problem that the customer is facing?
- How will the customer look for the solution?
- What are the deliberations (pros and cons) of each and every alternative solution?
- How will they finally come to a solution?
It’s imperative you know what the buyer feels like at this point. Conducting interviews with current customers and interested prospects to pinpoint the exact feelings, and therefore, the related actions.
3. Multi-channel and cross-device strategy
Making use of multiple channels and devices is a good way to cover all bases. With this, you can make sure that no client is missed out when you have curated marketing strategies for the automotive industry for every single channel and device.
i. Multi-channel strategy
You can effectively extend your marketing strategy for car sales to a wider audience by adopting a multi-channel plan. Use all communication channels, both online and offline.
Make sure you know exactly what your message should be. But having a static message across all channels is not going to help you get customers. A dynamic car marketing strategy for consistent message creation is the way to go.
With multiple channels involved, it is notoriously difficult to know which campaign, or which one particular message or ad contributed to a sale or a push inside the funnel.
This means that constantly monitoring all touchpoints is a must. Knowing what triggered each response will help you in guiding your prospect further in the buyer’s journey and eventually lead to a purchase.
ii. Cross-device strategy
It is important to know that your customers use each device differently. In fact, it is unlikely that your consumers will browse the same websites on different devices. For eg: browsing Reddit might seem more prudent on a desktop, but scrolling through Instagram is easier done on a mobile phone.
Plus, it is now common knowledge that the average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. People watching the TV will simultaneously be using their phones or the ones who read a book while riding on the train.
Cross-device marketing strategy for the automotive industry is the most effective way to identify which channel works best for you. Spread your efforts for vehicle marketing over multiple devices like mobiles, desktops, tablets, etc.
To target mobiles, you can have a separate marketing campaign for Instagram, or to target desktops, you’d use new tab openers to showcase your ads.
The more touchpoints you have, the deeper your insights will be. For every click on an auto ad from the phone, or every call to a number you printed on a billboard for a car dealership, you will know exactly which channels are working and which ones are not.
iii. Scheduling software
Scheduling software is an intersection between the cross-device and multi-channel approaches to automotive marketing. Not only will the right one let you connect different integrations to help with business administration, but also help you promote and leverage your automotive marketing advertising ideas effectively on all social channels and Google.
Automotive scheduling software will help you go paperless and help with more than just marketing in the automotive industry. Your online booking portal can be your marketing manager, help you make data-driven decisions, provide a platform to take online bookings and therefore increase convenience.
As we have mentioned earlier, the goal of any marketing campaign is to eventually guide your customers into the buyer’s journey. This is why, as a marketing, a CTA is important to encourage prospects to take action.
What is a CTA?
CTA stands for Call-To-Action, and it does exactly that!
It is a part of a webpage or an email or any advertisement that encourages your prospects to do something. Once a reader takes action, they successfully convert from casual visitors to leads!
(i) Learn more
“Learn more” is an effective CTA for customers who are just getting to know the product to understand all the understandings of the product. This car marketing idea sets you up as a solution that is helpful and one that makes sure that the customers are thoroughly catered to with all the required information.
(ii) Subscribe to our newsletter
This type of CTA is an unintrusive way of letting your customers know that they can get more information and insights from sources they can trust. The way to go about this is to make sure your customers don’t feel like they are being spammed.
(iii) Book now
The “Book Now” button can be spotted easily on your business page, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook. The placement is strategic, to make sure your profile visits turn into bookings. This CTA is a segway between the consideration stage and the decision stage and is a really effective marketing strategy for car sales or repair shop sales.
The decision stage or the conversion stage is the final stage of the buyer’s journey. This is where your potential customer will make a final decision based on their pain points and considered solutions.
The questions you need to ask yourself at this point:
- What do your customers appreciate the most about your offerings?
- What influences the final decision?
- How many people will be involved in making the final decision?
- Do they expect a trial before making the final purchase?
- Do they need additional information before making the purchase?
Keep in mind that buyers do not want to be pushed into making a decision that they are not ready to make. Haphazard car dealership marketing initiatives will only prompt the buyer to drop out of the buyer’s journey pre-maturely.
5. Estimates and quotes
You know you’re doing something right when your customer asks for a quote. It means they are primed to make a purchase. This is the moment where you make sure your quote is the final push that leads to a purchase.
Mention the benefits of availing your auto shop services or buying your product. Add a CTA to your emails that prompt them to ask for a quote. A positive reply or further questions means your potential customer is quickly turning into one that makes a purchase.
6. Coupons, deals, and discounts
A good way to create urgency and subsequently push a purchase is to have limited-time offers, deals, and discounts. If you sell add-ons, this is a good time to empty slow-moving stock.
Favorite products, or services like oil filter changes, at a 10% discount for a limited time is a great CTA for your customers to finally make a purchase.
The journey does not end when your customer decides to purchase. After they sign the paperwork and drive off with their new vehicle, the automotive customer lifecycle has essentially just begun.
It is not every day that a person buys a car, but the likelihood of the same customer coming back after years to the same dealership and salesperson is extremely high. Plus, they will refer your business to other people in the meantime. This is the stage we call loyalty.
Ensure that your customers know about your referral programs, whether your business is a car dealership, a repair shop, a tire shop, or even a gas station. Follow-up is an important part of any automotive marketing idea and should be done to retain customers.
Doing this will make sure you build long-lasting customer relationships and your business will continue to grow bigger and better. Keep in mind that there is no one size fits all strategy for this. The customer landscape is extremely dynamic, which just means your strategies and plans have to adapt to them.
And what better way to keep up with the time, than to use technology made exactly for that? Appointy is one such online scheduling software that has inbuilt tools that will help with marketing in the automobile industry along with other features that help with your daily admin tasks, like online prepayment functionality, management tools like resource scheduling, service dependency, and much more!
We hope these automotive marketing strategies help you boost your business and increase sales like a pro. Good luck!
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
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