November 15, 2017
5 Key Focus Areas To Improve Your Car Dealership’s Online Presence

When it comes to promoting your dealership, there are so many options out there. You know that you need to be actively marketing your business to attract new customers and to grow – but how? We’ve put together 5 unique ways to promote your car dealership that you may not have thought of.

1. Try Video

In our ever-changing digital world, it’s no surprise that 70% of car buyers who use YouTube to research their purchase are influenced by video content. Video is powerful; it gives people an instant, immersive way to experience your cars from a different perspective, and allows you to show off all their best features. Consumers are looking for car walkarounds, model comparisons and a showcase of additional features of the vehicle, all which can be done best through video.

A particular type of video which is becoming increasingly popular is drone footage; with a remote-controlled drone camera, you can capture sweeping shots from great heights. You can give customers an impressive 360° view of your forecourt, displaying your vehicles in action and honing in on particularly striking aspects of your motors. It truly brings your cars, your customers’ experiences and your dealership to life.

Video is also a great way to expand your audience reach by utilising the multitude of online video platforms available, like YouTube and Vimeo. It often has higher engagement rates than other types of online content, so it’s perfect for sharing on social media and embedding on your website. It has benefits for the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your website as it improves engagement and the time people spend browsing your site.
Invest once in professional, quality video footage and it will keep bringing in value for your business over time. You can repurpose your video footage across different platforms and for different uses, to continue reaping the benefits it can bring.

2. Create a Facebook business page

Not having an active business page on social media is the equivalent of closing your dealership at weekends; you’re missing out on leads and people are going to your competitors instead. It’s completely free and really easy to set up a Facebook page for your dealership, which you can use to engage with your customers and be more discoverable online.

It’s important to make sure your Facebook page doesn’t just become a feed of your cars for sale; while posting about new cars you have in stock occasionally is good, you should also share relevant local or industry news, stories about happy customers (with pictures!) and any special offers you are running. Facebook is also a great platform for asking your customers questions; these can be both to engage people and get them interacting with your business, but also for valuable insight into what your customers want to see from you, like what makes and models of cars they would most like to see in stock next.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Facebook page and to share pictures of their purchases, tagging your dealership in them. One of the first things people see when they look at pages on Facebook is the number of stars the page has based on reviews – happy customers won’t mind leaving you positive reviews! As social media is a very public platform, it also provides a great opportunity to demonstrate your excellent customer service – if people ask questions, respond quickly and helpfully.

If you want to get a bit more advanced with Facebook down the line, it has excellent targeting facilities; you can target a message to a highly relevant audience for your business. Targeting options include demographics, location, interests and purchasing behaviours. For example, you could target a message about a special offer on the latest Mercedes-Benz that you have for sale to men aged 45 – 60 who work in the banking sector, who live in Sussex and who have an interest in high-end cars.

3. Partner with other businesses

All other businesses are not your competitors: working with businesses who are not your direct competitors but with whom you could create a mutually beneficial partnership for you both is a great way to reach new people and to build good business relationships. Often, these partnerships can be created on a contra deal basis, where you agree some kind of cross-promotion of each other’s businesses, without any cost to either of you. For example, if your business focuses on car sales and there is a car servicing shop in the local area that does not sell cars, you could partner with them and agree to promote one another. You could both agree to offer a special discount for any customers that are referred from your partner.

Another way of partnering with other businesses is through sponsorships; you could sponsor an event, or your local football team for example. Sponsorships are great for brand exposure, especially if you’re able to associate your business with a large brand which is guaranteed to have a big audience. It’s often a lot cheaper than you think to sponsor a team or event, especially if you get involved locally or with a charity.

You can also look to do an advertising contra deal with relevant businesses in the industry. You could reach out to car insurance, bodywork or tyre companies and you could ask to send an email promoting your dealership to their customer database, in exchange for their chance to email your customers. This is a great way to expand your customer base, and this type of advertising is fully trackable so you can see what works best for you.

4. Get on Groupon

Voucher and deals websites like Groupon are great for local businesses to get noticed. List a special offer on a popular discount site to help drum up new local business. People are incentivised to come and do business with you once you provide a special offer. You can target relevant people who are likely to be interested in and purchase your offer, based on demographics, location, interests and more. You can also set a cap on the number of units sold or choose to target new customers only.

5. Use your local surroundings

Don’t underestimate the power of your local area. There are lots of good, cost-effective opportunities you can be taking advantage of, some that you may not have thought of. A good way to get in front of car owners in your local area is through petrol pump advertising. When people are filling up their cars with petrol there are no other temporary distractions for these few minutes, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get a message across and leave an impression. Your advert will be in their hands for 2-3 minutes! There are now also digital screens in some petrol stations, which have the added benefit of being able to record how many people look at them, so you can accurately measure how effective your advert is.

Another simple way to get your business out there is by having your own sign on a roundabout in your area. Make sure your sign is simple and visually clear and eye-catching, with a clear statement about what you do. This can get people thinking about your dealership if they are in the market to buy a car.
Distributing leaflets in local cafes and shops is a good way to reach people while they are relaxing, so that they have time to look over your information. Think about your target market and where they spend time, and try leaving a few leaflets at these places.

Try and get a feature in your local newspaper; a story about how your dealership began, how it has grown, or what makes it unique are the types of features that locals will enjoy reading, and will mean that you stick in their mind when talking to friends or family about buying a car.