5 Tips Every Automotive Marketer Needs to Know

The automotive industry has a long and storied role in the American economy. “Big 3” owners in Detroit, hybrid owners in California, and subcompact car owners in the city all demonstrate the range of the automotive industry’s reach and the pervasive nature of automobiles in American culture. Automotive marketers are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to take hold of buyers in the short-term selling cycle and also in the long term with brand awareness objectives.

Here are some great tips every automotive marketer can use to achieve their objectives.

Figure Out Who You’re Targeting Using Analytics

If you’re reading this, then you’re already aware that manufacturers target different types of buyers across product lines and markets. Make sure you understand your local customer by building a customer persona. Aggregate data using your analytics sources and your demographics data, including home ownership, age, gender, and more to create your most likely customer. Present marketing plans as if you are reaching out directly to that customer. This provides a straightforward approach to more accurate targeting.

Analytics tools allow you to gather customer data from website visits. Anybody can access online analytics sources, as long as they have an up-to-date web presence. Google Analytics is the most prominent, free analytics platform that allows you to measure customer data on your own websites. Use this data to target ads towards specific customers online, which we’ll discuss later. Facebook also has a fantastic advertising network, complete with targeting tools that allow you to take advantage of customer-completed data sets, rather than relying on educated guesswork.

Build Communities Around Your Dealership & Brand

Local automotive dealers are already engaged with a huge network of brand loyalists and community fanatics simply by carrying a brand name. How do you keep fanatics interested? By providing new sources of engagement like video reviews, community events, blog posts, and social media community management. These tactics all work to increase audience engagement. I cannot speak enough about the importance of these organic marketing efforts in a vertical with so many dedicated “fanboys.” By reaching these influencers through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you are adding marketing experts to your team for free simply by participating in a space they care so strongly about.

Harness the Power of Email Marketing

The days have passed when a newspaper insert was the chief marketing strategy of the local auto dealer. While print advertisements are still effective, digital marketing can help you extend the life of your print advertisements and reach even more people.

The digital era provides savvy marketers a key opportunity to target older generations. Why should we be using digital marketing efforts to target older generations, you might ask? Although populations are ever-changing, “millennials” don’t yet have the same level of buying power as the more established populous. As a source of information, younger generations might stray from email use and gravitate towards social media as their primary method of communication; but prominent car buying demographics like gen X’ers and baby boomers are the top users of email services, with more than 90% of these age groups using email. So targeted email marketing can help you directly reach this demographic quickly and easily.

Use Retargeting Display Ads to Strengthen Your First Impression

Your website is both your frontal assault and last line of defense. Through your marketing efforts, you will drive the digital consumer to your website. This is the first opportunity for a customer to interact with your brand on a personal level. Consumers will likely leave your website without taking any further action after the first visit either because it’s still early in their research phase or they’re just gathering initial information about your dealership. This is where retargeting display ads come into play. Retargeting allows you to show a display ad to a user who has left your site while they’re browsing the internet to keep your brand top of mind.

Use this medium to revisit those consumers and generate interest in an individual who already has your brand in mind. You can even use specific listings to target consumers who viewed that listing and show them an ad for a specific vehicle they’ve already seen.

Understand the Importance of Good Customer Service

Some auto marketers treat online auto listings as an extension of their showroom. This should not be the case. These listings allow you to get your foot in the door with a customer, but they are not your final interaction. You cannot sign a contract on a listing page. You can only encourage customers further down the purchase pipeline.

It is vital that your physical presence and customer service is as high quality as your online presence. 54% of consumers would rather buy from a dealership that offers a “preferred experience,” even if their prices aren’t the lowest. Make sure your sales representatives are knowledgeable and relatable, and they will be able to bank on the success of your hard-fought marketing efforts. And, focus on following up with leads quickly – research shows that 50% of customers will choose to do business with the first company that calls them back.

Because so many ad dollars come from the major manufacturers, the automotive industry is an exciting and challenging space to compete it. Make sure you stay ahead of the technological curve by following these steps and staying ahead of the competition. Learn more about automotive marketing on our website.

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Daniel Morris

Daniel is a Digital Marketing Manager at ReachLocal in Phoenix, Arizona. He works on delivering strategic social media management for SMBs nationwide and has experience in local and national markets. He enjoys using his problem-solving skills to solve client needs and meet objectives. Outside of the office, he embraces all things tech and gushes over his feline companion, Penny.

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