The automotive industry is flooded with competitors, and it takes a unique edge to engage and convert target customers. Brands need the top automotive marketing strategies to help them stand out in this massive market.
Only one in every three car buyers knows what they want when going to a dealership. Almost 80% of new and previous car customers have to use search before finalizing a deal. And these customers have to visit a website at least 4.2 times during their buying journey.
Automotive buyers clearly need a lot of convincing.
But how do you persuade automotive marketing customers?
And how can you fashion your approach to be unique from your competitors?
From SMS marketing and PPC ad campaigns to building credibility and referral marketing, we have loads of ways to reign the automotive market!
Ready to learn about automotive marketing strategies and the best automotive marketing success stories?
Here we go!
Before digital marketing and technology, automotive shops had to secure sales and brand awareness from their local communities. These micro brands didn’t have the know-how or platforms to reach global audiences and accelerate their reputations and reach. But this is now very different. Now micro automotive dealerships and repair shops can use a long list of online strategies to tap into new markets, build brand loyalty and rise against competitors.
Source: Chris Haroun
If you’re looking for awesome automotive marketing ideas for maximum sales, here they are!
Cars are an investment because they typically cost a lump sum. To convince buyers to spend large amounts of cash, you must develop authority and credibility. There’s no better way to do this than through customer reviews on your website.
Customer reviews matter so much because they give prospects an insight into your business and product value. When buyers have seen others have positive experiences with your brand, this gives them more reason to trust your offerings. And if you use video testimonials instead of customer reviews, you can increase your chance of conversions by 80%!
So how do you get your customers to leave reviews to build brand credibility?
Here are the best ways to generate customer reviews for automotive marketing:
Referral marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy to attract more buyers through your existing customer base. When a customer refers someone to your brand, you can offer them an accessible and valuable incentive.
When most buyers walk through your doors, they are naturally wary of sales reps. Sales reps at car dealerships are notoriously known for putting pressure on buyers to make a sale. While urgency is a fantastic marketing tactic, it’s better to make your customers feel comfortable. Get your sales reps to find personalized options and not just close the deal.
Your referral marketing campaign will achieve your desired results with a well-trained and friendly sales team. Think about this in action. A buyer walks in. A friendly sales rep welcomes them with a smile. The sales rep asks all the right questions, listens to the buyer’s needs, and finds the best options.
Your buyers will certainly want to tell their friends and family about the pro sales rep that didn’t rip them off. The people they share this experience with will gain interest in your brand because they also want to deal with sales reps like yours.
But you can apply this logic to any aspect of your business. Customers will share your brand if your product is fantastic. And the same goes for hands-on customer service and optimizing your buyer experience.
Here’s how you can run a successful referral marketing strategy for automotive brands:
Incorporate traditional marketing strategies for automotive marketing.
Unlike Ecommerce brands that rely solely on digital marketing, automotive brands deal with physical customers. Conduct research to understand your target audience well and determine which traditional marketing strategies will engage them and how you can achieve this.
Do your customers watch a lot of television? When would be the best time to run TV commercials based on your audience data? What must your content cover to engage targeted buyers?
There are many other traditional marketing strategies you can use for automotive marketing like:
While optimizing all the digital aspects of your automotive marketing strategy, don’t forget traditional marketing!
SMS marketing works because it’s not as invasive as phone calls. Customers may not have time to answer your calls or postpone your calls. This can complicate your sales and marketing funnels.
However, if you use an SMS marketing campaign, buyers won’t feel obligated to hear what you have to say. You can reach them while they’re in their comfort zones through assertive and personalized marketing.
You may be wondering about SMS vs. email marketing.
Based on your target audience and how much time they spend on email, email marketing can be effective. But compared to SMS marketing, your customers may not spend as much time reading and acting on email newsletters.
There are many ways to use SMS marketing for automotive companies like:
Paid-per-click (PPC) ads will boost your web traffic. Organic traffic works but having the extra help makes a difference. Because you have to be so specific in your search terms for automotive marketing, you can build a highly targeted ad campaign.
Here are the best tips for PPC automotive marketing ads:
Negative keywords are a new concept to many business owners. You exclude these keywords from your PPC ads, so your ads don’t appear for specific key terms.
The automotive industry is huge and highly competitive. If users search, “buy a car”, how saturated do you think the search results for this keyword are? And how many kinds of automotive buyers would use this search term?
When you manage negative keywords, you can focus your PPC ads to hone in on targeted keywords relating to your business and ideal buyer.
Remember, you spend money every time someone clicks on your PPC ad. So, when you exclude negative keywords from your PPC ad campaign, you can ensure your targeted buyers are clicking on your ad. If random buyers click on your ad because of vague or general key terms, you’ll spend more on your PPC ad campaign than what you convert.
SEO keyword research and customer analytics is the only way to know which negative keywords to exclude from your PPC ad campaign. When you understand the search terms used by your target audience, you can focus on optimizing your PPC ad content based on these keywords.
SEO keywords change over time. Keywords that are trending today could be entirely different tomorrow. It’s vital to manage your negative keyword list because of this. Be strategic about the keywords you must exclude and consistently maintain your list for a successful PPC automotive ad campaign.
Remarketing is a practice that aims to re-engage web visitors who viewed and interacted with your products but didn’t purchase. This process works with web cookies. Web cookies garner and use small bits of data based on how users interact with Google and what they search.
These web cookies will track buyers’ online activity and place your retargeted ads on websites they frequently visit. Your retargeted ads will appear on sites users visit after yours.
Around 97% of people that leave your website won’t return. To minimize this figure, use personalized retargeted ads and drive traffic back to your website. Retargeted web visitors are about 43% more likely to convert, and retargeted ads have a ten times higher conversion rate than typical PPC ads.
These are the best tips for remarketing ads that convert:
We recently explored negative keywords for automotive marketing. So, this should give you a hint that SEO plays an important too. In automotive marketing, targeted audiences start with the local community. Automotive buyers typically buy in their area, so your SEO strategy must consider specific key terms.
Let’s say you’re selling auto parts in New York City. Avoid vague or general search terms like “buy auto parts” and “auto parts for sale”. Use keywords specific to your audience, like “buy auto parts New York City”, or “auto parts for sale NY”.
Create a Google My Business Page with optimized information about your brand, location, website, and your service. It’s best to add as many details as possible, so Google can match your business to targeted users searching in your area.
With that out the way, you must ramp up your SEO game on all fronts to attract qualified website leads. On-page and Off-page SEO are imperative to get noticed, and you must maintain and track your SEO consistently. Down the line, you’ll have to retouch old content and improve content based on keyword trends. Brands must evaluate their SEO throughout their strategy.
In the good old days, we had the Yellow Pages, where people could find businesses and services. We now have digital directories that offer the same convenience. Take advantage of this and provide a profile similar to your My Google Business Page.
Getting listed in an online directory offers a range of benefits. First, it’s another opportunity to leverage SEO and drive traffic. Second, you can improve credibility by securing a presence on another channel your targeted buyers use. Online directories are also cost-effective. All you need to do is create your listing and maintain your information.
I want to stress how crucial it is to maintain your business information. Outdated information can make your brand look incompetent.
These are the best online directories for automotive brands:
Covid-19 taught businesses the market can switch quickly. Customer’s lost their jobs, and buying a car fell to the bottom of their priorities.
Keep updated with market news and insights and advertising and SEO trends. Although impactful events like Covid-19 aren’t frequent, stay ahead of what your buyers need and prefer. When car buying declines, put measures in place to minimize the financial impact on your business while accommodating your buyers.
And when car buying increases, create strategies to capitalize on this.
Your value proposition must be different from that of your competitors. There are loads of automotive brands in most towns and cities, making the market highly competitive. You must market your brand as more than just an auto shop.
Why do you do what you do?
How do your brand and products add value to customers’ lives?
What makes you different from the next auto shop?
Your value proposition must align with your brand identity and mission. If you aim to offer the best rates on second-hand cars in California, every aspect of your business must align with this.
These are a few top tips for your automotive value proposition:
Summary: 11 Automotive Marketing Strategies and Ideas
Chevrolet needed a fresh image and a new target audience for their brand. On April Fool’s Day, Chevrolet launched the #BestDayEver campaign to target millennials and broaden their audience.
Using influencers and celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Kelly Clarkson, and Olivia Wilde, Chevrolet created a video campaign of these icons doing “Acts of Awesomeness”. The American car brand worked with YouTube to promote an eight-hour live stream hosted by Garfunkel and Oates.
The campaign was a huge success and filled with fun! Kelly Clarkson hosted a lunch for new moms, sharing good advice and creating connections between Chevrolet and its audience. Alec Baldwin and Olivia Wilde also acted as substitute teachers in college classrooms! Who wouldn’t want to be taught by Alec Baldwin for one day?
Ever thought of hosting a V-day campaign? Well, Mustang did, and it worked! To celebrate Valentine’s weekend, Ford Mustang created a prank video to humor and engage viewers worldwide.
Mustang worked with a talent agency and pretended to offer casting roles to actors and actresses for a dating commercial. The talent agency told candidates they had to meet with the show’s star, and she would decide if they made the cut.
When eager talent met the show’s star, she was actually (and unbeknown to them) a Mustang stunt car driver. She invited actors and actresses to take a drive in her Mustang while she “interviewed” them. The stunt car driver pretended she didn’t know how to drive at all and in a split second, started driving like a headless chicken with the help of her stunt skills.
But why did Ford Mustang use this approach?
The campaign was to raise awareness and remove the cliché of women being bad drivers. While we don’t know how well the campaign changed people’s minds, it drove impressive results.
Digital Diagnosis Marketing is a digital marketing agency that helped a local auto dealership maximize its sales. With the growth of online competitors and the economic hardship from Covid-19, a local auto dealership found it extremely challenging to increase sales.
To solve this problem Digital Diagnosis Marketing used paid search and targeted display ads. They used a series of custom designs and content personalized to the auto dealership’s ideal buyers.
This automotive marketing success story shows how local auto dealerships can leverage digital marketing too! With audience insights and a tailored approach for your PPC ad campaign, micro automotive brands can accelerate sales too.
Summary: 3 Automotive Marketing Campaign Success Stories
Automotive marketing is competitive, and businesses the best strategies to stay ahead. For customer-centric automotive marketing, build credibility through customer reviews, create a referral marketing program, don’t neglect traditional marketing, and leverage SMS marketing.
Although it’s challenging to stand out from the card in automotive marketing, using these strategies makes it easier. Plus, the best automotive marketing success stories have valuable and easy-to-action takeaways for successful auto marketing!
The best strategies for successful automotive marketing include building credibility, leveraging SMS marketing, creating a referral marketing campaign and building a PPC ad campaign. Read this full article for more on the top automotive marketing strategies and the best success stories to learn from!
The top automotive marketing success stories include Chevrolet, Mustang and a case study by Digital Diagnosis Marketing on a local auto dealer and micro automotive brand. Read our article for the key takeaways of these success stories and how you can use these strategies for your brand.
When the automotive industry first came to the scene, businesses had to rely on marketing to the local community. But thanks to digital marketing, micro automotive brands can increase their awareness and reach through personalized, customer-centric online strategies. Read this article to find out how automotive marketing has evolved and the best strategies to use.
Cox: Car Buyer Journey
Brightlocal: Local Consumer Review Survey 2022
MailChimp: What Is Retargeting?