How Inbound Marketing Grows Dealerships

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The internet and social media have caused a tremendous shift in the way people buy cars. Car buyers are tuning out traditional, interruption–based marketing methods and are choosing when and where to engage with your brand.

Traditional “outbound” marketing tactics such as cold calling, direct mail, billboards and television have become less effective and more costly. Furthermore, dealers are frustrated with the inability to measure the results of these marketing tactics.

In contrast, inbound marketing is the process of creating an integrated online strategy that uses engaging content to educate your buyers, helping them to make well-informed buying decisions. In a nutshell, inbound marketing involves attracting visitors to your website, converting them into customers through leads, and then analyzing the process.

1. Attraction

Attract more visitors to your website by employing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services. This will optimize your site with unique content, blogging, and will also help build a social media presence.

2. Conversion

Traffic means nothing if you can’t convert your web traffic into leads. Below are the most effective conversion tactics:

Call to action—Motivate your prospect to take action and become a lead. Create multiple calls to action; appealing links or buttons that get the person to “click” to receive your offer, e.g. “Receive $500 Off Your New Vehicle.”

Landing pages—Clicking on the call to action takes the prospect to a landing page. The individual must complete a web form to receive your offer. At this point, the prospect becomes a “lead.” You can now use the collected information to begin the sales conversation process.

Email marketing—Many visitors are lured by the call to action and accept the offer. However, they’re not easily converted into a customer. Proceed to foster the lead and build a long-term relationship with an effective email marketing campaign. Focus the emails on providing a source of helpful, relevant content. Engage the prospect and build trust; groom them to buy a vehicle from your dealership.

Marketing automation—This tactic entails the combination of email marketing and lead development. The focal point of your email strategy should be based on the information submitted by the prospect. If the prospect visits specific pages on your website or follows you on Twitter, change the message to cater to the prospect’s interest(s).

3. Analysis

After you attract visitors and convert the leads into customers, analyze the sales and marketing funnel to improve your efficiency.

Evaluate the following metrics: website visitors, leads, customers, conversion rates, benchmarks, and content performance.

Begin your analysis by answering the following questions:

  1. Are you attracting more visitors to your website than your competitors?
  2. Are you reaching your benchmarks for leads?
  3. Are you meeting your visitor-to-lead conversion objective?
  4. Do you have leads but need to improve sales?

Inbound marketing provides your dealership with the ability to set and track your dealership’s marketing goals. First, establish the key metrics, then conduct your analysis. Take steps to create measurable goals—establish quarterly and annual goals; the number of leads required to reach sales objectives; or attain a certain conversion rate.

Bill Parlaman is the director of digital marketing for Stream Companies, a full service integrated advertising agency in suburban Philadelphia. Bill is responsible for the day-to-day activities of Stream’s digital marketing team, including inbound marketing, SEO, paid search and social media marketing. For more information, email

Michael Bowen


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